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‘Gammera the Invincible’ is wonderful and confusing, all at the same time

December 6, 2017

Assistant Editor Sophie Koch gave me her DVD of Japanese monster movies to watch about two months ago.

This week I finally used a DVD player to watch them.

“Gammera the Invincible” was on this movie collection and to be honest, I had about as much of a clue as you do of what this movie was about.

So Gammera is like if Godzilla was fat.

Fat and with a shell.

He’s a giant turtle.

From what I got of the beginning this giant turtle was just sorta chilling in the arctic, because the movie opens up in the arctic. It’s got all these Japanese dudes and American dudes duding around, some general jerk making the joke of, “I hope my camera doesn’t freeze,” while he hangs with the Inuit.

No one laughs.

You know, chill stuff.

There’s an interception of a Japanese mission ship that’s sent to the Americans, who promptly freak out at the Japanese saying, “Something weird is going on.” It’s a plane, a strange unidentified plane.

And no giant turtle yet.

The Americans are not about this plane and ask it who it is and what it wants.

And if this was “Cars,” the plane would be all like, “I’m just a normal plane, please do not shoot me down, I am carrying nukes.”

But the Americans probably wouldn’t have cared because they waited like five seconds and promptly shot it down.

The ice cracks and steam comes out.

Sassy music starts to play.


A turtle puppet shows up and makes a weird screaming noise.

It has bad teeth. Not like adult bad teeth or little kid, “Who cares – they will all fall out,” teeth.

No, I mean middle school first slow dance and waiting a week to get braces put on style teeth.

He looks like a freaking saber tooth turtle.

He’s perfect.

The Inuit can smell trouble in the air and give the Japanese a devil rock.

The Japanese obviously need this rock because, as their ship tries to survey the damage of an atomic bomb, the saberturtle starts straight up punching mountains to get to them.

“AEAHRGHJTGHLFSJLKJFHK!” Screams the turtle as it spews fire.

Everyone thinks that this is a hallucination.

But scientists say, “This could be a hibernated ancient turtle that has mutated and become a monster man via nuclear energy.”


“I’ve devoted my life to science,” the same man states, as if that justifies saying that a giant turtle survived underground in the arctic for thousands of years.

A lot of not-clear stuff happens.

Then an army man shows up late to a meeting with a PYT because his son has been drawing Satan turtles and misbehaves with his pet turtle. Which is a really hard thing to do because we’re talking about a six-inch turtle.

He releases him into the ocean and the giant monster turtle gets ticked and shows up near him lurking and swatting at people from the ocean.

His parents watch the monster from the safety of their not-too-far-from-the-beach house. The turtle straight up K.O.s the child for releasing his pet into the ocean, which you would think a turtle would be more supportive of. Good news though: the giant turtle terrorized his six inches so much that the baby just stayed in his shell and waited for his daddy to come back.

Everyone chills for like five seconds until the turtle comes back and straight up messes a electric plant up, eating some energy and absorbing the other with his punches.

I guess he’s not about pollution.

Anyway, he follows the military men to their military base and just keeps punching. Gammera, the turtle, really hates those guys, because he is straight up stalking them and their children.

The Japanese team up with the Americans and want to nuke the crap outta this turtle, but the turtle just eats fire and fear so, probably a bad idea? Then they put their heads and their hearts together to refrigerate the monster because he was frozen before.

They just make a huge hole and kinda try to stick him in there. Or at least, it seemed like that was the plan because at the last moment they make a freezing bomb of some sort and stun him?

He flips on his back and can’t get up because nature hates turtles. But oh my lord does nature love this turtle, because he shoves his appendages back into his shell and starts to shoot fire. Then he just spins around like a flying saucer and goes up into the sky.

No, that is not the end.

Everyone has to work together to kill the beast, even Russians and Americans. Meanwhile, Gammera has been beating things up. Looking for nuclear energy, screwing up ships, hiding in water and punching Tokyo tower. He also kind of kicks it, like when people on reality shows manage to get another person down and just start kicking them in the stomach. That, but with buildings.

The scientists are just kinda hanging out, trying to get a general idea of what to do. They decide, “Hey, let’s just put Gammera where there is a ton of oil and have him nom out.” This all works out until a volcano coincidentally explodes and Gammera is all about the tasty snack.

Nom, nom, my turtle.

He does a little dance with hip turns and head waves, then everyone signals each other. And I guess the signal was to send him to mars?


Mars Turtle?

I guess, sure.

I can’t even rate this – I don’t understand what happened.

Turtle? Out of turtle?