Why Has There Not Been A "Shin Gamera" Movie Yet?
I want to move away from the Monsterverse for a bit and start talking about another series that has been popular with fans. One that started back in 2016 by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi dubbed the "Shin" series. This is a series of live action films that has "Shin" in the title. This includes Shin Godzilla, Shin Evangelion, Shin Ultraman, and Shin Kamen Rider, which ultimately are combined through a collaboration of studios into one marketing franchise called "Shin Japan Heroes Universe." So far, Shin Godzilla, Shin Evangelion, and Shin Ultraman have all been received with high praises and Shin Kamen Rider expected to release March 2023. With all of these different franchises getting rebooted with the "Shin" treatment, there is one franchise that is desperately in need of a reboot and fans still scratching their heads on why it hasn't happened yet. That franchise is the Gamera series.
While it doesn't get brought up often, I do see comments from time to time under any thread post talking about Shin Godzilla or Shin Ultraman asking when or if a "Shin Gamera" film will be made. In an official statement, Hideaki Anno claims he has already technically made "Shin Gamera."
In an interview with The Tokusatsu Network's Ryan Firestine, Shinji Higuchi was asked if there will be a "Shin Gamera" in the future. This was his response, "For me when I made Gamera, that was Shin Gamera. So if there was a new version that would come out, it should be made by someone younger than myself. I was 28 when I made Gamera. I think it should be made by someone in their youth currently, someone who looks at my work and says 'Oh Director Higuchi's work, that's boring, I can make it a lot more interesting' so I am ready to pass the torch. But if no one accepts I'd be glad to do it."
For those that don't know, Higuchi was the special effects director for the Heisei Gamera trilogy, which spanned from 1995-1999 and was considered the most successful series of Gamera films. The trilogy includes Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Even though Kadokawa/Daiei considers Gamera: The Brave as part of the Heisei series (really making it the Heisei quadrilogy), the first three films are the ones that fans talk about the most and for a very good reason. That reason being those three films are the only good films in the entirety of the Gamera series.
To give a brief history, Gamera was a monster that Daiei Studios created to try competing with Toho Co.'s Godzilla. The first movie was released back in 1965 with Gamera: The Giant Monster and Daiei would make seven more movies ending with Gamera: Super Monster in 1980, nine years after the studio filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy should already tell you that these Gamera movies were not popular by any means resulting in them tanking at the Japanese box office.
By 1995, Daiei Studios revived Gamera with a new look and the approach to reinvent the monster with a much more serious story and special effects that went above and beyond Toho Co.'s Godzilla movies at the time. However, not even Gamera would save Daiei from closing their doors and being absorbed by Kadokawa, which turned into Kadokawa Daiei. Gamera: The Brave was released in 2006 by Kadokawa as a way to start a new series of films. Plans for future films were later canned after the movie was met with underwhelming reception and underperforming in the box office. Then in 2015, a proof of concept teaser trailer for Gamera appeared at New York Comic-Con having fans believe a new movie was in the works. This followed up with silence afterwards for a few years until Kadokawa stated the trailer was the full movie.
To make the long story short, Gamera has had a long history of films consistently failing at the box office with the exception of those three films and struggles to find enough public interest for a new film. Even in the mid-late 90s Daiei sort of regarded Gamera as a last resort to save the studio from going bankrupt.
In order for "Shin Gamera" to become a reality, there are two hurdles that Kadokawa and Higuchi have to leap over. Those are to make sure there is enough interest to make a new film and the movie has to be good enough to be a box office success. While the "Shin" series is doing very well, the question of doing "Shin Gamera" will see a return on their investments keeps coming to mind.
Also, Higuchi did say he would rather have somebody much younger to do Gamera. To keep in mind, he is not totally closed to the idea of doing another Gamera movie. It is just that he will do it if nobody else will make one. He already has made the Gamera movies that he wanted and he wants to pass it on to somebody else that thinks they can do it better.
It did seem like someone did try to pitch an idea for a new film and Kadokawa presented it at Comic-Con in 2015 just to see if there was interest. I think that while kaiju fans has generated a lot of interest for a new film, there was not enough interest from the general public to justify doing another movie. Last year, Kadokawa Daiei released 4K versions of the Heisei trilogy in theaters for Gamera's 55th anniversary and not a whole lot of people knew about it. So you get the idea that Gamera is more niche than Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Evangelion combined.
What are your thoughts on Shinji Higuchi's stance on "Shin Gamera?" Does this bum you out or are you still hopeful that "Shin Gamera" is going to happen? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on "Shin Gamera." Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.