The film's title sequence shows a burning cross which transitions into the "me" character in Gamera's Japanese name. This compliments the film's other biblical allusion, a passage from Mark 5:9, which quotes, "And Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' He replied, 'We are Legion, for we are many.'" This was the passage that inspired the monster's name.
When creating the Legion suit, special effects director Shinji Higuchi wanted to design it in such a way that wires are not required to operate it. His solution was to fit two suit actors inside the suit, who would have control of the monster's movement and various extremities. Veteran suit actor Mizuho Yoshida would be the main suit actor to play Legion.
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion went into production in 1995 shortly after the release of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The movie was released on July 13, 1996 in Japan and was distributed theatrically by Toho Co.
After what seemed like a meteor crash lands in the mountains of Japan, insect-like creatures called Legion are unleashed on the country and the Legion Mother is leading the invasion. Earth's protector, Gamera, must stop the Legion before it is too late.
Ever since Shusuke Kaneko had signed on as director for Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, he had always envisioned making the Gamera movies having darker stories. For the first movie, Daiei some what prohibited the director from making movies have dark themes and asked him to stay with a Gamera that still had a child-friendly face and themes. When Daiei saw just how successful the first movie was, they lifted some restrictions on the director and allowed more creative freedom. With that said, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion improved in some ways from the first movie, but the story was kind of lacking.
Taking place one year after the Gyaos attack, the story revolves around an alien invasion that is being contained by the JSDF and investigated by Midori Honami (played by Miki Mizuno) who is a curator from the Sapporo Science Center. Meanwhile, Asagi Kusanagi (played by Ayako Fujitani) makes a return once again as a guide to instruct Gamera on how to approach his opponents. Gamera 2: Attack of Legion has a sort of similar story structure to Shin Godzilla where the movie does not really have a central main character. Most of the movie is focused on the JSDF, whereas characters like Midori and Asagi seem like they have a lot less time through out. On top of that, I feel as though the acting is underwhelming. Dialogue between characters is very monotone and reactions to the monster attacks doesn't make them look nor react as concerned or terrified. There are a couple of events that happen in this movie that affect the next one, but I will get to those in the next review. Otherwise, I felt as though the story and characters were underwhelming.
Gamera's design has been updated just a tad to look a bit more aggressive and intimidating looking with the edges of his shell being a little more sharp and his face having more of a point. I actually like this design the most. He looks more serious and intimidating, but features aren't greatly over exaggerated or softened greatly to appease the child audience. He also gets a new power up attack that is really cool where he gathers all of the mana energy and turns it into a beam that is fired from his carapace.
The idea for the Legion came from a passage from Mark 5:9 in the bible about a demon revealing themselves to Jesus as Legion. Yet, I get a lot of similarities to Aliens with the hive of aliens being insect-like and a queen controlling the hive. I like this approach as it gave a sense of horror to the movie and it showed just how powerful a hive can be without the Legion Mother interfering. The hive alone really forced Gamera to retreat. Just because the hive alone can take on Gamera, it doesn't make the Legion Mother a push over. She has a few powers of her own that assisted in standing toe-to-toe with Gamera such as a blue beam that could level a whole city on its own, energy absorption, and red tendrils that act like whips and can puncture through Gamera's shell. She is also capable of flying and can summon swarms at any given time. This was a very neat monster that I could see making a come back in a future installment. The suit itself was controlled by two suit actors due to how big and heavy it was. So I really give props to them for being inside that monster suit.
The practical effects look a lot better this time around. In my previous review for Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, I mentioned a couple of nitpicks I had where there were a couple of times a scene would not look as great in some angles and how it looked way too fake in some areas. For this movie, there was maybe one shot that I saw that still looked pretty fake, but that was about it. Gamera 2: Attack of Legion has improved a lot in the practical effects and scenes were shot much better this time.
The fight scenes where not bad at all. I liked some of the choreography in this movie. I liked how as soon as Gamera landed in front of Legion, his feet slides across the ground and he is taking pot shots with his fire balls. It shows Gamera is always thinking strategically. He is not always diving head first. What usually happens is that Gamera's first encounter always ends with either a draw or a loss and then comes back in the second or third round finally having an idea of what kind of opponent he is fighting. This actually makes Gamera sort of human if he is thinking of strategically and challenging his opponent on strength. However, that was all because he had a connection to Asagi guiding him. And with that connection severed, this will greatly affect Gamera in the next movie and what happens when Gamera acts on his own accord, which I will say is going to be quite the doozy. So make sure to stay tuned for that review next week.
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion has improved in some areas from the first movie as well as updating Gamera's design to make him look a little more intimidating, but the movie's story lacked personality and didn't really have a main character to fall back on like in the first movie. This is not a bad movie by far, but I do find it as the weakest entry of the Heisei trilogy.
What are your thoughts on Gamera 2: Attack of Legion? Is this one of your favorite movies? What did you like or didn't like about this movie? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on Gamera 2: Attack of Legion. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.