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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 312- Gamera Vs. Guiron

Movie: (1969) In the fifth movie of the long-running Japanese monster series, two boys accidentally hijack an alien spaceship and fly to a dying planet, where they encounter two evil babes and knife-headed monster Guiron. Can Gamera save them?

First shown: 9/7/91
Opening: Crow and Tom are playing “school lunch”
Invention exchange: The Mads show off their racy Rorschachs, Joel has invented a collapsible trashcan
Host segment 1: J&tB sing the Gamera song (with English lyrics)
Host segment 2: Joel’s “sawing a robot in half” trick gets ruined
Host segment 3: J&tB do a pageant about Richard Burton, based on the kid in the movie’s vague resemblance
End: the Gamera song again (with fake Japanese lyrics); meanwhile, Michael Feinstein is headlining in Deep 13
Stinger: “What a monster!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (139 votes, average: 4.78 out of 5)

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• Wow, this episode is so much fun. It’s my favorite Gamera outing for sure, and just a really fun MST3K episode all around. It has great riffing, and all the host segments are at least worth a smile. And then there’s the movie itself, a truly zany outing (featuring the inimitable Cornjob) made all the zanier by the hamfisted dubbing. Much fun, and no traffic accidents.
• This episode was included in Shout!Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Gamera Vs. MST3K (aka Vol. XXI).
• Note the MST3K lunch boxes (now no longer available) in the opening segment … Frank has one too!
• I’m not sure what’s funny about Joel’s invention. Seems pretty useful, actually. Oh, and: call your lawyers, Joel.
• Did you notice the season one-style table slap! What happened to the buttons?
• The awful, awful dubbing in the press conference scene early on makes for a gaspingly funny few minutes of riffing.
• References to things completely forgotten: “The New Munsters” and “Superboy.” Sheesh.
• Crow gets roughed up by Joel in the theater after deploying several puns in a row.
• Callbacks: The space ship is “funny flying.” (Rocketship XM) “…so much…about…lately?” (Gamera) “And he’s givin’ it back to you!” (Sidehackers) “Rex Dart” (Godzilla vs. Megalon)
• There’s a funny in-joke when the bots point out a starfield created by putting “a bunch of Christmas light against a wall” and talk about how really cheesy that is. That, of course, is exactly how BBI did it.
• Joel rolls with the punches again: In the theater, as the Gamera song begins, Crow’s arm falls off. Joel just reattaches it and continues. Crow’s arm falls off again in the next segment and Joel pops it back on again. They keep going.
• The lyrics to the song in the first segment kind of restate the premise. I wonder if they were they getting notes from the network asking them to restate the premise more.
• One curious lyric in the song is when, explaining the kinds of riffs they do, J&tB sing: “So we hi-keeba all over the place and talk of a thousand wonderful days.” The first example is a pretty good description of a typical riff, but “talk of thousand wonderful days,” a callback to a line in “Rocketship XM,” has maybe been referenced twice since then. Did Mike (who, the credits say, wrote the song) really think that was a typical example of a movie riff?
• The whole notion of a twin earth on the opposite side of the sun (which we previously encountered in “Stranded in Space”) pops up for a moment in the movie and is then forgotten.
• Tom and Crow come into the theater still wearing their hats from the host segment 2; Joel removes them. Crow has no net for the entire theater segment.
• Another moment from this movie that always has me in stitches is the whole “Hello! Thank you!” routine. A classic case of taking something innocuous in the movie and exaggerating it for brilliant comic effect.
• During the flashback, we get a few minutes of a Gamera movie MST3K didn’t do. (A commenter tells us it’s “Gamera vs. Viras.”)
• One of the kids says, “wait a minute…” and Tom says “You’re not a cop!” Both Tom and Joel express their love of that joke. (A commenter explained that this is a reference to a scene from “High Anxiety” I’d completely forgotten about.)
• Zappa fans loved to hear “Weasels ripped my flesh! Rizzz!!”
• Instant catchphrase: “I’m feeling really good!”
• Vaguely dirty riff: “Wait, touch me here while you do that!”
• The Richard Burton sketch is pretty dumb, but it’s saved by Trace’s great impression. Also, it was definitely written in pre-internet days, when they could have easily looked up info on him (such as that he was born Richard Walter Jenkins).
• Is this the first time Crow has called himself “Crow T. Robot”? Joel seems surprised by it. Also, Joel amusingly refers to himself as “the sleepy-voiced narrator.”
• This is the episode with the memorable “Gamera on the high-bar” moment, later used in the opening. I am a little surprised it wasn’t used as the stinger.
• Toward the end of the movie, there’s a riff in which Tom rattles off a bunch of New York-area railway stations. Gotta figure that was provided by Frank.
• This is also the episode with the infamous “most obscure reference ever”: “Stop her! She’s got my keyboard!” (By the way, it’s often quoted — including by cast members — as “…Mike’s keyboard…” but that’s not what is said.)
• In the closing segment, J&tB sing the Gamera song AGAIN–this time in fake (and mildly racist, it seems to me) Japanese. I’m not sure I get the point, but it’s wacky!
• Mike is hilarious as Michael Feinstein, but wow does he ever hit a sour note at one point.
• Cast and crew roundup: Again, I am not going to repeat all the connections named in previous Gamera movie episode guide entries. Which narrows down the list a lot. The score was composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi (misspelled in the credits), who also gets a credit (though it was probably just a needle drop) in “Zigra.” Similarly, Kenjiro Hirose gets a credit for music and lyrics in both this movie and “Zigra,” when they probably just used the same music.
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Brian Wright returns for the first of five eps as audio guy. Someone named Carolyn Sloat was a prop assistant for this episode only. For Thomas Alphonso and Tom Henderson, this was their last show as interns. Also, a minor typo: “Gamera in ‘it’s’ [should be ‘its’] many forms.”
• Which brings us to a special treat, courtesy of a MSTie named Lisa Wakabayashi and her mom:

The Gamera Theme Song translated (the Japanese lyrics are, obviously, phonetic. The English lyrics are in parentheses after each line.)
Verse 1
Gamera, Gamera
(Gamera, Gamera)
Ikasuzo, Gamera! Ikasuzo, Gamera! Ikasuzo, Gamera!
(So cool, Gamera! So cool, Gamera! So cool, Gamera!)
Nichi, Getsu, Ka, Sui, Nichi, Getsu, Ka, Sui
(Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Nikkoh saegiru, Akuma no niji da
(Shadow the sun, evil’s rainbow)
Reitoh kaiju, kurunara koi!
(Frozen monster, dare to march!)
Haneta-zo, tonda-zo. Go! Go! Go!
(Jumped, flew. Go! Go! Go!)
Kaen funsha de yattsukero
(Destroy with jet flame)
Ikasuzo, Gamera! Ikasuzo, Gamera! Ikasuzo, Gamera!
(So cool, Gamera! So cool, Gamera! So cool, Gamera!)

Verse 2
Gamera, Gamera
(Gamera, Gamera)
Ganbare, Gamera! Ganbare, Gamera! Ganbare, Gamera!
(Hold out, Gamera! Hold out, Gamera! Hold out, Gamera!)
Getsu, Ka, Sui, Moku, Getsu, Ka, Sui, Moku?
(Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
Gekkoh yaburu, satsujin onpa
(Overcome the moonlight, super sonic)
Mach kaiju, itsudemo koi!
(Monster mach, come anytime!)
Hikatta, yoketa-zo. Go! Go! Go!
(Burning bright. Go! Go! Go!)
Kuwaete hanasuna, Fukitobase.
(Bite hard and blown away)
Ganbare, Gamera! Ganbare, Gamera! Ganbare, Gamera!
(Hold out, Gamera! Hold out, Gamera! Hold out, Gamera!)

Verse 3
Gamera Gamera
(Gamera, Gamera)
Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera! Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera! Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera!
(So strong, Gamera! So strong, Gamera! So strong, Gamera!)
Ka, Sui, Moku, Kin, Ka, Sui, Moku, Kin?
(Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Kasei ka, Kinsei, dokokano hoshino
(Mars, Venus, any other stars)
Uchu kaiju, nandemo koi!
(Come monsters from the universe!)
Kitta-zo, Tsuita-zo. Go! Go! Go!
(Stabbed, shoved. Go! Go! Go!)
Kaiten jet de, taiatari
(Tackled with circling jet)
Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera! Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera! Tsuyoi-zo, Gamera!
(So strong, Gamera! So strong, Gamera! So strong, Gamera!)

• Fave riff: “We’re from the padding department! Where’s the plot hole?” Honorable mention: “You know, guys, it just dawned on me how weird this film is.”

125 Replies to “Episode guide: 312- Gamera Vs. Guiron”

  1. littleaimishboy says:

    That’s a true story.

       1 likes

  2. Lisa H. says:

    …“talk of thousand wonderful days,” a callback to a line in “Rocketship XM,” has maybe been referenced twice since then.

    That lyric always perplexed me (and I’ve seen Rocketship XM a bunch of times). Now I know!

       0 likes

  3. Be Right There says:

    This is probably my favorite of the “Gamera” series. A good deal of what makes it great has been mentioned by others, including the odd (even by Gamera standards) plot, the hot-but-evil alien brain-eaters, the doofy but lovable Cornjob, and so on.
    Also, is it just me, or is Guiron kind of a cool looking monster, despite all his inherent goofiness?

       1 likes

  4. schippers says:

    #98 – oooh, that’s DARK. I like it.

    Thank you!

       0 likes

  5. schippers says:

    Hello!

    Not to get all pedantic on the “star-planet” thing, but what we call “planets” were originally thought of as being pretty much the same as stars (the word “planet” is derived from a Greek root meaning “wander,” since the planets, unlike the rest of the bright twinkly things in the night sky, seemed to move about, or wander, if you will). They were just stars that moved.

       1 likes

  6. schippers says:

    Oh, I see Spalanzani covered the origins of the concept of planet and star quite well long ago. Forget I said anything.

       1 likes

  7. Doug Glassman says:

    I’m with the J+TB, the song really does sound like it’s saying “Senorita Gamera”.

       2 likes

  8. EricJ says:

    Kenneth Morgan: As for the collapsable trash can, I’ve also seen junk drawer organizers sold in Wal-Mart.So, how many of Joel’s inventions have actually been turned into products, and does Joel get a piece of the action?

    One of Joel’s better inspirations.
    (Flingsbins-dot-com, available at fine stores near you.)

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Servo: “I’ll pick him up when he’s 21.Thank you.”
    Joel: “Shut up and keep driving.And Thank You.”

    Even though the Mike era would take one strange/misdelivered line and bully it into the ground for the next twenty riffs, the “Thank you!” “Hello!” conversation is just so cheerily unaware in the original dub, J&tB’s heckling of it just comes off as pure spontaneous silliness. Found humor. :)

    Sitting Duck:

    So can anyone who has seen the uncut version of this film tell us if they explain why Akio is so obsessed with traffic accidents?

    Most Japanese cities have narrow winding streets, drivers not particularly worried about pedestrians, and mirrors on the corner posts so you can actually SEE the guy barreling around them ahead of time. (And let’s not even mention jaywalking being considered “traditional” in Osaka.)
    If you grow up in a suburban Japanese town, you worry about traffic accidents.

       1 likes

  9. thequietman says:

    “It’s Micheal Jackson! And he’s armed!”

    It’s like an old friend watching this one again. While the host segments didn’t really do much for me (although Crow depicting Richard Burton ‘passing away’ was expertly timed), the film itself more than made up for it.

    Of course, Mike steals the show once again in the closing segment, and Frank and Forrester perfectly sell their rapt attention as they nurse their scotches. It really makes the final “Kill ‘im Frank! No, better yet I’LL kill ‘im!” all the more hilarious.

       4 likes

  10. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I may be thinking of a different movie, but IIRC Akio’s mother is Caucasian, right? And the fact that she IS Akio’s mother implies that her husband is Asian, right? It’s noteworthy that the movie never seems to consider this, well, noteworthy. I don’t doubt that Japan has a few Caucasian citizens, but I’d imagine that they’re very much a minority, so casting one as a parent of a main character in a children’s movie seems a bit outside the box. I doubt that any American children’s movie has ever cast a non-Caucasian actress as the mother of a Caucasian child without at least a line or two of dialogue calling attention to it.

    On a separate note, having the only Caucasian character play the voice of skepticism probably means…something.

       1 likes

  11. schippers says:

    #110 – the Caucasian lady is Tom’s mother. She’s coming to pick him up (Hello!).

    Several of the Gamera movies have token Caucasian characters in them. It was to enhance the film’s appeal in Western markets (lots of Japanese genre movies did that). However, it’s interesting to note that the Caucasian kids play second fiddle to the Japanese kids, which is only to be expected considering a Japanese studio was financing the film.

       2 likes

  12. pondoscp says:

    Trilaan:
    Regarding the question of hi-keebas and talking of a thousand wonderful days, I’m thinking Mike just liked the phrase “talk of a thousand wonderful days”.I do. It’s a very lyrical phrase and thus lends itself very well to song.

    Those song lyrics tie in to a thesis statement I’m working on that basically states that the most influential (or important) episodes of the series are 104 and 201-203. The reason for this is that they appear to be the most referenced episodes in the entire series. Virtually every episode from 204-317 (and many more after) contains at least one callback to those episodes, whether it be a Hi-Keeba, And A Good Friend, Chili Peppers Burning My Gut or a Charbroiled Hamburger Sandwich. I’ve come to the conclusion that newbies should be shown 201-203 first, followed by 104 and 110. It prepares them well. (why the viewing of 110? To explain the host segments from 201 and 104 that reference Robot Holocaust.)

    Don’t even get me started on Beatles and Wizard Of Oz references ;)

    This all culminates in my master work on episode 317, coming up in a few weeks.

    Oh, and I enjoy this episode a lot.

       3 likes

  13. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I wonder if giving cannibal aliens (okay, technically, they weren’t cannibals per se because they weren’t eating the brains of their OWN species but close enough) a monster who looks like a giant KNIFE was intentional or coincidental.

    That’s right, kids, strange women want to cut out your brains and eat them and your mother doesn’t even believe that they’re real. Good old-fashioned nightmare fuel…

    #111

    Well, as noted, I wasn’t sure if I was remembering correctly or not. Thanks. :-)

       0 likes

  14. goalieboy82 says:

    was in Japan from from 83-86 (outside Tokyo as my father was in the US Air Force). need to ask my parents about driving in Japan.

       0 likes

  15. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Hello!

    Love this episode, one of my top ten (Disclaimer: My top 10 may actually consist of more than 10 episodes).
    I notice there’s a semi-cancelled callback during the asteroid scene – Tom starts saying ‘Rock Candy’, but is cut off by Joel (oh, the irony!).

    Thank You!

       3 likes

  16. Bruce Boxliker says:

    OK, here’s my uncut blu-ray report.

    Again, bad subtitle timing & over-simplifying the dialogue.

    Probably only a minute or so of video is cut from the Sandy Frank / MST3k version. There’s a bit at the beginning explaining various things in space, and then mentioning a signal coming from an unknown planet, then the people all gathering for the press conference.

    Notes/Observations:
    -Akio really does say traffic accidents, but no reason is given.
    -I noticed after Cornjob (I’m still calling him that, because) tells the kids to walk their bikes, they actually do (even once out of sight of him)!
    -Tom & his mother’s Japanese is really quite good, but you can tell it’s not their native language. Tom also occasionally speaks English words, but usually nothing more than ‘Wow!’ and such.
    -During the Gyaos/ Guiron fight, Akio has an expression of mild bemusement the whole time (or Dull Surprise?) – not what I’d expect from 2 kids watching giant monsters fight
    -Why is Guiron’s door under a river? Couldn’t their advanced science let them put it anywhere, or even redirect the river somewhere else?
    -The translation machine is called the ‘Ultra Speaking Machine’ (spoken in English). Also, those translators the space babes attach to their throats look very uncomfortable.
    -Speaking of the Space Babes, their names are Barbella & Flobella.
    -After Gamera does his gymnastics & nails the dismount, Tom gives him a 9.9. I’d give the giant fire-breathing turtle that’s saving you from alien monsters & bringing you back to your home planet a 10, myself, regardless of the performance.

       2 likes

  17. Cornjob says:

    See #86 for my previous comments and the reason I chose Cornjob as my handle.

    Fantastic episode. And I like the Richard Burton segment. Very much.

       2 likes

  18. radioman970 says:

    neat! just finished this one 30 minutes ago. I agree with that kid about traffic accidents! Self driving cars is the answer!

    Also got me to thinking I need to pick up the blu ray set of the movie series.

       0 likes

  19. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Despite my issues with the subtitling, the blu-rays are completely worth it. The picture quality is fantastic, and it’s nice to have them uncut. I’ve seen the MST3k versions so often, I hear the riffs in my head while watching the blu-rays anyway.

       1 likes

  20. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    -Speaking of the Space Babes, their names are Barbella & Flobella

    Aka Barbie and Flo?

    Meanwhile, elsewhere, “We are KEN!” So near and yet so far.

       2 likes

  21. Cornjob says:

    The first big monster fight in Pacific Rim was with a kaiju called Knifehead. An allusion to Guiron?

    I think someone once described this movie as seeming like it was made not just for children, but by children. That sums up the weirdness of this film pretty well. Combine that with singularly bad dubbing, kitschy Japanese space babes with deep southern accents, a monster that is both terrifying and silly enough to make almost Gamera look believable, a junior Richard Burton, and of course the hero of the movie; Cornjob, and you get absolute riffing gold. Almost like the film makers knew that MST3K would come into existence one day and they wanted to do the show a favor.

    “Fine, I’m going to grow up to break up the Beatles.”

       3 likes

  22. radioman970 says:

    Bruce Boxliker:
    Despite my issues with the subtitling, the blu-rays are completely worth it. The picture quality is fantastic, and it’s nice to have them uncut. I’ve seen the MST3k versions so often, I hear the riffs in my head while watching the blu-rays anyway.

    Great to hear! Those are very high on my list, have nearly bought them 2 dozen times! I was actually delaying since they don’t include the dub audio track, but I’m over that. I think it’ll be great to see them this way. A shame the full movie set doesn’t include Gamera The Brave…

       0 likes

  23. Sitting Duck says:

    A possible theory as to why the Space Chicks have Southern drawls. Perhaps in the original Japanese, they spoke with a Kansai dialect. IIRC the people of the Kansai region (particularly around Osaka) have a reputation for being boisterous and down to earth. Certainly many anime dubs have Osakans speak with Southern or Texan drawls. Of course, considering the amount of They Just Didn’t Care that went into the dub, I’m probably giving them too much credit.

       1 likes

  24. Ro-man says:

    Love this ep. Especially love the space babes twang.
    missed riff: when the kid fires his dart gun and the other asks how many shots he has left, the Dirty Harry possibilities abound.

       1 likes

  25. mnenoch says:

    This episode is so silly and fun. The songs (all of them) are just hilarious and the ending with Mike is one my favorite moments. Not only his singing bit but the composed song being played at the end of the episode is really cool as well. The movie is very silly and the dubbing is mind blowing bad. This does setup a lot for Joel and the bots to riff on. I wonder if the girls twang is supposed to represent them talking with a different accent. I know that in other dubs I’ve watched for anime and other Japanese movies that sometimes they either do a twang or southern accent to represent the characters having a different accent in the original lines. I absolutely love this episode.

       2 likes

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