Yuasa felt the previous movie Gamera vs Barugon failed to be entertaining to children and decided to take Gamera back to being child-friendly. Despite the switch back, this third entry Gamera vs Gyaos was more violent than its predecessor introducing blood splatter when the monsters sustain injuries. This is even the first movie Gamera is seen bleeding from his injuries.
Ishiro Honda is said to have been impressed with this film and reportedly sent screenwriter Niisan Takahashi a New Year's card congratulating him on a job well done.
Gyaos would become the only monster that became a recurring antagonist through out the rest of the Showa and Heisei eras.
During a conflict between a village and a road construction company, a volcanic eruption unleashes a monster called Gyaos that Gamera must confront.
Noriaki Yuasa sought to course correct the Gamera movies after noticing the children that were present during the screenings of Gamera vs Barugon were getting restless and the movie's story was too serious for children. Yuasa wanted Gamera more child-friendly and less serious. With Gamera vs Gyaos, I find there are a lot of aspects he criticized the previous film appear in this film.
The story has a similar "villagers/environmentalists vs corporation" story to Mothra vs Godzilla, but this movie does a sort of reverse psychology where the villagers and village elder were getting too greedy. A corporation called the Chuo Expressway Corporation wanted to build an expressway through this village and tried to make an offer to buy the land. This village is very poor and the village elder thought it would be a good idea to decline the offer and protest for a higher price. If he can sell the land at a higher price, then the whole village would come out rich. However, there is a volcano erupting forcing any road work to come to a halt. To put the cherry on top, the monster called Gyaos wakes up from a nearby volcano and starts attacking the village. The villagers start blaming the road workers for the monster's awakening, but then they start rethinking that the village elder should have took up the offer on selling the land when he had the chance before Gyaos appeared.
What I like about this approach is that there is no good or bad side to this conflict and stayed neutral on the issue. It did seem like at the beginning the Chuo Expressway Corporation was being portrayed as the stereotypical evil corporation since the head of the company demanded to have those villagers cleared out as soon as possible. At the climax of the movie, though, both parties were able to resolve the issue and came together to find out how to defeat Gyaos.
Most of the human characters were just fine. None of them stuck out as memorable. However, we see the return of children characters since Yuasa wanted the Gamera movies to be aimed towards children and the last movie didn't hit a home run with the target audience. The only child character in this movie was the village elder's grandson, who is not as annoying as the other kid from Gamera: The Giant Monster, but he can still get a little annoying even though he is not entirely in the movie. The focus is still more on the adults. Yet, the rest of the movies through out this era will have children characters be more prominent starting with Gamera vs Viras.
The best I can describe Gyaos is like a Chinese knock-off of Toho Co.'s Rodan. It looks like scaly pterodactyl with a head shaped like a forked crest. Apparently, the design is more inspired by vampires and bats. While the behaviors of a vampire are there (nocturnal, appetite for blood, and weak to sunlight) Gyaos doesn't really resemble anything like a bat at all. Even when the monster's design was altered in later movies to make it look more intimidating any resemblance to a bat is nowhere to be found. Its design still retains a likeness to a pterodactyl or Rodan. It is as if Daiei contacted Toho and asked to copy their homework and Toho said "sure, but only if you changed some of the answers so it doesn't look obvious," and comes out looking obvious anyways. I guess if Daiei can get away with Gamera as an obvious Godzilla ripoff they may as well ripoff other monsters from Toho's roster.
Gamera is back as the hero of the movie. He still retains some of the animalistic nature based on how he fights Gyaos, but this is where Gamera's friendly nature towards children becomes a staple through out the the rest of the Showa era. His personality is going to change to something more silly after this movie, yet I still appreciate that Gamera vs Gyaos still recognizes Gamera as an overly large animal that acts on instinct. One of the things that also becomes a main stay with Gamera is that he begins to learn from his fights. It will become more common for Gamera to lose the first fight and coming out on top in the second or third fight after learning from his opponent. This is not something you see in Godzilla movies a whole lot. Most of the time Godzilla just barrages through his fights just because he is super strong. What the Gamera films does is have him not so super powerful. Instead, he has to learn and solve how to defeat his opponents.
Gamera vs Gyaos tries to be more entertaining for children, but it still balances out with the adult characters being at the forefront. However, most of the characters are very forgettable. I find the movie's politically neutral approach to a dilemma the most interesting as most other monster movies are usually one sided. It's not a bad Gamera movie, yet it is not a great movie. If you want to watch a monster movie to turn your mind off to this one will do the job just fine.
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