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Episode guide: 316- Gamera Vs. Zigra

Movie: (1971) In the (sigh) seventh outing of the long-running Japanese monster movie series, aliens from a distant planet, called Zigra, send a spaceship, called Zigra, commanded by a strange creature — called Zigra — to Earth with a plan of world domination. Opposing him is a pair of concerned marine biologists, pesky brats Kenny and Helen and, of course, giant turtle monster Gamera.

First shown: 10/19/91
Opening: J&tB are having a root beer kegger to celebrate the last Gamera movie
Invention exchange: The Mads have invented Three Stooges guns; Joel has invented the Crow-ka-bob; Frank spoils Dr. F’s surprise
Host segment 1: The bots have built a scale model of Gamera
Host segment 2: The bots present their shoe box dioramas
Host segment 3: Kenny and Helen visit on the Hexfield.
End: J&tB present different ways to sing the Gamera song
Stinger: Fish boy talks to himself.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (98 votes, average: 4.38 out of 5)

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• It isn’t my favorite Gamera movie (that would be “Guiron”) but this one is plenty strange and very riffable, and the guys do a great job. The host segments are fair to good.
• The Shout DVD menu notes something I never noticed before–there’s a preponderance of Monty Python references in this one, for some reason.
• At the beginning of the IE segment, Joel hits the piñata a little too hard, I think, and it spins around and empties the “guts” contents with the opening facing away from the camera. Joel quickly reaches in and taps it so it spins back around, and we can still see some guts hanging out, so we get the joke, but we never got to see what we were supposed to see.
• “I’d take the pizza off the ceiling” is a reference to a commercial at the time. I can’t find it on Youtube.
• It must have taken some practice for Trace and Frank to line up those guns so they would meet.
• Tom makes a raspberry, and Joel notes that Tom has no fleshy parts with which to make it.
• Sandy Frank probably didn’t appreciate the assertion that his IQ is 13-and-a-half.
• In the segment with the Gamera model, you can see some “guts” leaking out the bottom from behind the door before Joel opens it.
• Joel says “Oh, Lisa…” before opening the “guts” door. “Green Acres” reference?
• As I noted when we watched this on KTMA: I don’t really understand the anti-science message that floats through the movie. The two dads are biologists. Doesn’t that make them scientists? And are scientists actively polluting the sea? So why are scientists the problem?
• As I also noted then: I have seen this movie a dozen times now and I still cannot make heads or tales out of the weird Zigra monster up on the shelf in the alien spaceship. It looks a little like a skeksis from “The Dark Crystal,” but what’s with the billowing cobwebs?
• Also from the KTMA comments: How did “your Earth science” pollute a planet 400 light years away? I ran that back and listened to it again and that’s definitely what he says. Doesn’t make any sense.
• Then-current riff: There’s a deserved slam on once-prominent KKK leader David Duke, but how many people even remember him now?
• The appearance of the Japanese version of the Monty Python “It’s!” guy seems to go nowhere, as does the whole “who gets to buy the fish” subplot. What was all that about?
• During the sketch with the dioramas, a table has been added to the set in front of the normal desk. It looks like it was something out of the prop shop — there’s spray paint patterns on it that they didn’t even try to cover up.
• It’s a nice touch that Cambot goes through the diorama door.
• Callback: Tom sings the Wild Rebels song. Also: “McCloud!” (“Pod People”)
• Tom again does an impression of Dr. Erhardt saying “Enjoy!”
• A glaring mistake in the dubbing: Lana says she is going to feed the kids to the dolphins, but the animals in the tank before her are killer whales.
• Obscure reference/pun: “That terrapin is stationary.” The right Deadheads will get it.
• In the host segment with the hexfield, the model of Gamera is, well, lame. By the way: this is Bridget’s first appearance on the show.
• The whole sequence where Gamera rescues the crippled bathysphere and delivers it on shore like Lynn Swann scoring a touchdown, which we saw in the KTMA version, is missing here. Tom notices.
• Suggestive riff: “You know, Gamera’s never seen the mohel…”
• I love Gypsy’s bullet bra in the ending segment.
• The final, harmonized version of the Gamera song seems to be all Kevin Murphy, overdubbed.
• There’s no cast and crew roundup this time: Some people did work on other movies we watched, but they’ve all been mentioned in previous episode guide entries.
• Creditswatch: The mole people “roadies” behind Dr. F. and Frank are Kevin Murphy and Jef Maynard. There’s also a “special thanks” to St. Paul Harley Davidson. Wonder why. Maybe for Trace’s and Frank’s getups?
• Fave riff: “And, uh, maybe you could dust up here some time!” Honorable mention: “Wait, I found some more oxygen in a drawer. We’re fine.”

70 comments to Episode guide: 316- Gamera Vs. Zigra

  • 1
    Dan in WI says:

    I need to start out by saying I want a Coke.

    The root beer kegger was well played on the SOL. The thing that just topped it off was the drunken Magic Voice proclaiming Joel a great human being.

    Anybody out there play Battletech or watch Robotech? Shiskabob Crow kind of reminded me of Battletech’s Riffleman mech or Robotech’s Raidar X mech.

    The Gamera model is probably my favorite host segment from the Gamera experiments. It is a lot of fun and well presented. It also contains an underrated and personal favorite catchphrase: “Stay with the group Joel.” I use that whenever touring something or explaining something complex.

    We have a call forward riff. Joel says “Iwa Jima babies from Jim Henson.” In season four that would turn into “Jim Henson’s _______ babies” and get run into the ground over the first half of the season.

    I really do like the effect of Cambot passing through the diorama on the way into the theater. Nice touch.

    I have to say they got the wrong stinger on this episode. It should have been the kids sticking their tongues out to the camera in the bathysphere.

    We have another “one last” Gerry and Silvia sighting during the Mads’ version of the Gamera song at the end.

    Well it is time we bid adieu to our favorite turtle/film franchise. Gamera you are gone be will live on forever in Shout! Factory’s volume XXI collection!

    Favorite Riffs:
    Crow: “Hey save the message for the end of the movie.”

    Dad type character “You two watch television too much.” Crow “Say what you want Dad but we are in some deep crap.”

    Crow “Fish Argument Theater will be back. But first a scene from plot convenience playhouse.”

    Tom “This film is getting implausible.”

       3 likes

  • 2
    robot rump! says:

    aaaaaaahhhhh! aaaahhhhhh!! aaaaaaaahhh!
    now that i’ve snapped you out of the space chicks koo-koo spell, i have to agree this was not my favorite out of the ‘Gamera’ box set. it had it’s moments the goofy adults, the fish argument really got on my nerves pretty quick. i still have no idea what was going on with the insane man in the seaweed outfit. as far as the monster went, i think they rushed him off the production line too quick. one final question, was it a reocurring theme in the ‘Gamera’ genre for him to show up, fight a little, get his shell kicked, lay out for half the movie then show up and save the day with 10 minutes left for insane human banter and soul searching? BTW i want a Coke…

       1 likes

  • 3
    Spalanzani says:

    Another incredibly silly Gamera movie; I think this is probably my second favorite of the bunch. While I loved the nonsensical story in Vs. Guiron, here it annoys me at times. Not entirely sure why, but I think it has to do with how in Vs. Guiron the childlike logic drives the story forward, while here it actually stops the story dead in its tracks a few times. Most notable is the scene where Zigra takes the kids and their parents hostage, so all of humanity (as represented by that room full of people at Sea World) decide to surrender and everyone basically stands around until the kids+parents escape Zigra. Call me callous, but if an evil alien monster takes four hostages and asks for the complete subjugation of Earth in return for their safety, those hostages are dead meat as far as I’m concerned. And Zigra’s entire plan (which he even tells all the Earthlings) is to eat everybody, so you wouldn’t really be saving any lives by complying with him. Then there’s the part where the kids run across that hermit in old-timey clothes living on that deserted island, which makes the kids think they’ve gone back in time, until the hermit explains he dresses the way he does because…well, I’ve forgotten the reason, but it was something absurd. Something about the Minamoto clan? Anyway, while it’s all nicely weird, it also effectively stops the movie until the pointless plot cul-de-sac wraps up. And somehow I forgot about the “fish argument” scene until reading Sampo’s post. What the heck was that scene all about?

    Another thing that bugs me about this one is the use of earthquakes. Zigra causes numerous earthquakes all over the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, but at the end of the movie this little detail is forgotten and everyone just laughs as Gamera plays Zigra like a musical instrument. The tone seems more than a little off; it’s another instance where the childlike logic is more jarring than amusing (for me anyway). Now, I know that all these giant monster movies have cities flattened and countless causalities, and treat this death and destruction pretty casually (with the original Gojira being a notable exception) but I think having people die by a real-life cause like earthquakes instead of a fantasy cause like giant monster attack changes the tone of the movie. This part of the movie has always bothered me, but of course it stands out a lot more in light of the huge earthquake in Japan, plus the other big earthquakes around the world this year.

    But all that aside, this is a pretty good episode overall. The ridiculously fake moon set never fails to crack me up.

       1 likes

  • 4
    snowdog says:

    Ugh! Time to bid a fond good-riddance to the Gamera movies by watching what has to be the worst of them. As Sampo said, the host segments are fair to good, although I think this may be my least favorite of Mike’s guest appearances. Great to see Bridget show up in a pre-Mr B Natural role. Did anyone happen to watch Shout’s original trailer for the film? I’m pretty sure there a couple scenes again missing from the MSTed version. And somehow, Kenny is even more loud and screechy in Japanese than in English, which is a difficult feat.

       2 likes

  • 5
    robot rump! says:

    oh yes, can someone please explain to me the system they were using to measure earthquakes? i thought we were all on the richter?

       0 likes

  • 6
    Edge says:

    Naughty riff: Gamera never did see the moyle, did he?

       0 likes

  • 7
    Dan in WI says:

    Robot #2> The get your butt kicked, go into hiding and then come back and dominate was a reoccuring Gamera thing. But it wasn’t just Gamera, many Godzilla movies used that same formula. Probably other monsters have too.

       1 likes

  • 8
    Ericb says:

    “The get your butt kicked, go into hiding and then come back and dominate was a reoccuring Gamera thing. But it wasn’t just Gamera, many Godzilla movies used that same formula. Probably other monsters have too. ”

    Not to mention Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” and the legion of spagetti westerns that followed
    in the wake of Sergio Leoni’s Yojimbo rippoff/”remake,” “A Fistfull of Dollars.”

       0 likes

  • 9
    Spalanzani says:

    More trivia, courtesy of the English and Japanese Wikipedia pages for the movie:

    When this came out, Daiei was in tough financial straits, and the film only did so-so at the box office. Daiei soon went bankrupt, and so that’s why this ended up being the last of the original series of Gamera movies.

    Kenny is “Ken’ichi” in Japanese, a common Japanese name. I really should make a list of all these Kens and Kennys (Kennies?) throughout the Sandy Frank films and what their original names are. Helen was called that in Japanese too (since she’s supposed to be from America), while Laura Lee was originally “Chikako Sugawara”. The hypnotized Chikako/Laura is supposed to be called “X-1” or “Woman X” until her true identity is revealed, but I don’t think these phrases turn up in the dub.

    Speaking of which, Chikako/Laura is played by Eiko Yanami, who starred in another Daiei film, Shameless Adolescent Road. Based on her credentials in that doubtlessly masterful piece of cinema, she got cast in this film as eye-candy. Director Noriaki Yuasa said the scene where she walks around in a bikini was included for the sake of all the dads in the audience.

    This movie actually had a bigger budget than the previous one, Vs. Jiger, but still looks pretty cheap, with all the action being set at one main location, Kamogawa Sea World. They had really great miniatures of Sea World, but couldn’t actually break them, so not a whole lot actually gets destroyed in the movie onscreen (I guess that’s why they have all the off-screen earthquakes to make up for it).

    The movie poster shows Zigra eating lots of people, but this never happens in the actual film.

    Zigra’s based on a Goblin shark.

    This is another Daiei movie where Japanese kids have adventures with American ones, something done to make the films more suited to US rebroadcast. This trend started in Gamera Vs. Viras and continued to the end of the series, but only two of these Gamera movies were featured on MST3K, this one and Vs. Guiron

    I’ve never seen this officially confirmed anywhere, but I’m reasonably certain “Zigra” is supposed to be a pun on the Japanese word for “whale”, kujira. This is a straightforward pun in Japanese but takes some explaining in English. See, Zigra’s name in Japanese is Jigura; “Zigra” is a perfectly valid Romanization of this. Rearrange Jigura and you get gujira, and by removing a single diacritical mark on the “gu” you finally get kujira. On the same note, the “game” in “Gamera” comes from the Japanese word for “turtle”, kame. Add the aforementioned diacritical mark and kame becomes game. This happens often in real words too: for instance, “sea turtle” in Japanese is umi-game rather than umi-kame.

       10 likes

  • 10
    Edge says:

    Gerry and Sylvia make an appearance as backup for Frank and Dr. F’s band (inspired by ‘the Plastics’?)

    Also the hat party riff makes a comeback.

       1 likes

  • 11
    Sitting Duck says:

    As a point of interest, the editor of the film is one Zenko Miyazaki. When I first saw this episode, it prompted me to crack, “Hayao Miyazaki’s less-known brother.” Such a riff is especioally appropriate when you consider the film’s heavy handed Green Aesop. Though it’s hardly surprising that Joel and the Bots didn’t make any similar remark, seeing as how he was pretty much unknown outside of Japan at the time the episode aired (and his more notorious Green Aesop films hadn’t come out yet).

       1 likes

  • 12
    Fred Burroughs says:

    I remember this as the bikini chase scene movie. Even though there’s not much plot, it’s still distracting for me to follow because I recognize most of the characters from other Gamera movies. I.e.: one of the good dads is the sweaty alcoholic cripple- and woman- beating thug from Gamera v Baragon. Although the Turtle movies get goofier as they go on, this one is a little hard to watch in that it seems no longer geared for 18-24 yr olds or even 12-18, but rather for the kindergarten set. I really want to hurt those kids by the end of the movie. Please sacrifice them for the good of mankind.

    @3 Spalanz: The earthquake / mass destruction theme is a little disturbing to me in many Japanese movies. I guess it’s an unavoidable obsession for a country that’s lived through a devastating nuclear attack; but often you see scenes of cities crumbling, and thousands if not millions dying, and they seem to shrug it off in the next scene. Still, I’m sad to see Gamera go.

       1 likes

  • 13
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    There is water at the bottom of the ocean.

    Sampo and Edge: Suggestive and naughty are on the right track, but not stern enough: The mohel riff is a candidate for the dirtiest riff ever because of what’s on the screen at the time.. Gamera’s.. ahem… head poking into and out of his neck folds and looking very much like well you know.

    back to the ‘sode.

    I can only go 2 stars because I really dislike the subject film genre ( guys in rubber monster suits ), and this reduces the overall watchablility for me.. the invention exchange was terrible, the host segs were better than the film, but again hard for me to enjoy becasue of the context.

    But even arguably below average MST is better than most other stuff on TV.

    And I always appreciate lottsa Talking Head references.

       3 likes

  • 14
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    I loved the “badly dubbed” Kenny and Helen in the third host segment. That was a nice touch.

    This is my second favorite Gamera movie after “Zigra.” One funny part is, when I first saw this episode, during a scene when I started noticing how weirdly oversaturated the colors on the print are, Tom notes “It’s a crisp Kodacolor world they live in!” I laughed so hard; it was like Tom was READING MY MIND. Thus I always remember that bit; it’s always great when the riffers seem in sync with you.

       2 likes

  • 15
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    #13: I meant after “Guiron.” Oops.

    And another thing about the Japanese “It’s” guy scene.. they note that it’s the “eighties” and the film was made in 1970. It really threw me off a bit; why the heck would you set a film ten years into your future when nothing’s all that different, and it’s a fantasy anyway?

       2 likes

  • 16
    Stressfactor says:

    I don’t mind this one, really but all throughout the Gamera series I’ve kind of wondered about the guys decisions on what to cut from the movies. This one in particular cuts the unintentially hilarious scene of Gamera ‘sneaking’ around (underwater no less. How does one sneak underwater?!) to steal the bathysphere while Zigra is sleeping and returning it to land. Surely the guys could have cut something else — like the completely pointless fish arguing scene.

    The gang seemed to often to choose to cut the fight scenes. Why? Were they just to hard to make jokes about?

    Also, the special thanks to Harley Davidson I assumed was mostly for Trace’s t-shirt. During the Mads’ ‘Heavy Metal’ style rendition Dr. Forrester is wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. I assume the local dealership sent the shirt for some reason.

    My own personal favorite is probably still “Gamera vs. Gaos”. Grandpa mooing, ‘Itchy’ instead of Kenny, and a movie that’s chopped up a bit less so you can still actually follow the plot.

       1 likes

  • 17
    E.P Dingus, esq says:

    Even as an avowed lover of the Gamera episodes, this easily rates as my least-favorite. I think it’s the Sea World set pieces. That whole place just looks…not fun. Which is odd because I regularly go to zoos and aquariums. More than you wanted to know about me.

    I imagine the writing room for this movie was a group of anxious, flop-sweat covered, men – downing coffee and pouring over lines – with the words, “What DO kids like?,” written on a chalkboard and circled numerous times. The answers they produced: coke, fish, Gamera, and hot bikini ladies. Reading that list, I cannot say I really disagree with their conclusions. I’ll just conclude that they were inept.

    I’m fairly certain that the fish buying scene was meant to be a bit of lampshade hanging on how the Sea World employee just happened to be out and about near the ocean to pick up our brainwashed moon-lady. Or maybe just to show how much he loves his fish? I thought the come-hither looks earlier in the film already established that.

    One of my favorite lines:
    The young boy is addressed as “Kenny” for the first time.
    J&tB: Kenny? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Not the best line, but I felt their pain.

       1 likes

  • 18
    Sharktopus says:

    *pushes nerd glasses up nose* Ahem, orcas technically are dolphins.

    Anyway, considering the quality of dubbing in Sandy Frank imports, they could’ve become piranha. “I’ll feed you to these sea lions!”

       2 likes

  • 19
    snowdog says:

    “One of my favorite lines:
    The young boy is addressed as “Kenny” for the first time.”

    Actually J&tB don’t catch that on the first time because they were riffing over it early in the film. The first time is when What-her-name comes in to wake the children for school so they can be like the dolphins. I wasn’t sure I heard the name correctly, so I skipped back a seconds to hear it again. They don’t react until the second time.

       1 likes

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

    #14: why the heck would you set a film ten years into your future

    That way they can just presume that the hundreds of thousands of deaths alluded to earlier were prevented by the earthquake modification net that would be invented within the next ten years. Or something like that.

    “What’s the best way to fail to predict the future? Don’t even try.” — from agonybooth . com’s recap of “Space: 1999: Breakaway”

       1 likes

  • 21
    E.P Dingus, esq says:

    @18 Snowdog.

    Good catch. Like I said, not my favorite of the three, so I tend to zone at parts. Still, Kenny. *shudder*

       1 likes

  • 22
    MikeH says:

    I think I like this one strictly for the Kenny and Helen segment. It’s just so stupidly funny with the bad “dubbing” and all. I’m always talking to myself saying “Gamera is my..boyfriend” and “I am feeling really good!”

       2 likes

  • 23
    Manny Sanguillen says:

    My favorite Gamera movie, if only for the shout out to ‘Don Knotts’ movie music. Knotts movies were my favorite form of entertainment as a very young child. Ghost and Mr Chicken, Reluctant Astronaut, Mr Limpet, Shakiest Gun in the West, Love God, etc. The man made me laugh. And I loved the Vic Mizzy music, enough to even sit in front of the tv and tape record it.

    But this is also a Gamera rife with hot babe action. Even a romp through the streets in black underwear!

    Good riffing throughout. “And maybe you can dust up here sometime” always gets me. As does the Sammy Davis Jr guy that Trace riffs on so well. Good episode .

    I’ll stick to my old vhs tapes for this one like I do with ‘Wild Rebels’, as I am certain that Shout will ramp down the movie sound level way too low as with the rest of their offerings. I prefer to hear the Vic Mizzy-like music at a decent level that only the old tv broadcasts can give.

       2 likes

  • 24
    dsman71 says:

    Great episode, horrible Gamera movie to say the least – its too bad they cut the scenes with Zigra on his 2 feet during the fight scene before Gamera gets knocked out. The Zoellner sisters were interviewed in a recent issue of GFAN
    There is only one film worse than this and its Gamera SuperMonster, which never became an MST episode – probably since its 99@ stock footage..
    Observations :
    Joel’s hair grew out here to its fullest, as it was cut shorter again.
    I think the guys took a short hiatus after this before it seems like things looked a little different starting with Viking Women
    This is the last episode to have the Crawling Eye in the intro – from Viking Women until Mitchell its Godzilla sliding on his tail – the Mads also look kind of different for some reason. Dr F has a weird hairdo himself .. the silhouettes were also larger…I also noticed a little more of Joel aging
    oh well
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    Zoeller Sisters of Death
    Godzilla sliding on his tail
    T-H-E-R-A-P-Y
    Breath deeply ……………
    Smile

       2 likes

  • 25
    Spector says:

    I’m suffering through a miserable cold writing this, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. The last of the Gamera flicks, and certainly the silliest, providing lots of good riffing material for Joel and the ‘Bots. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the Gamera series, but I did enjoy Gamera vs Guiron, the third in the series. This one, the last in the series, was pretty good, but by this point I was weary of the Gamera films. Still, it certainly has its moments, especially those with the villainous running around in a skimpy bikini. Whoa, momma! Um, where was I? Oh, yes, pretty good episode, 3.5 out of five.

       2 likes

  • 26
    Edge says:

    I want a caramel colored carbonated beverage, flavored by the cola nut.

       4 likes

  • 27
    Joseph Klemm says:

    # 10: Actually, Hayao Miyazaki’s first Green Aesop film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, came out in 1984. Of course, given the only dub of the film that was out at the time was the awful Warriors of the Wind dub, I’m sure the Best Brains guys would have not been aware of the film’s existence.

       0 likes

  • 28
    rcfagnan says:

    My reaction after seeing this for the first time on receiving my vol XXI box set was “Wow, this must have the most Python references ever!” So, needless to say, it’s my favorite of the Gamera eps.

       1 likes

  • 29
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    As much as I love Gamera vs Guiron, I can’t say the same about Gamera vs Zigra. I do rewatch this episode when I’m in the right mood, but Kenny and Helen are so intensely annoying that I get kind of twitchy each & every time they speak, or stow away, or act bratty, or speak, or demand a Coke, or speak. Plus, the whole weird thing with Gamera playing Zigra’s ribs like a giant xylophone is just too much to take. This movie clearly panders more to kids & their sensibilities, so much so that it’s a misery. Luckily, the Brains do a fine job of riffing, and the host segments are fun (I like Joel’s expression over a mug of root beer in Segment 3 while Crow & Servo discuss the picks for the game).

    Tom: “Look at that, they’ve got a Bass Finder on the dash.”
    Crow: “Fassbinder! I love his films!”
    Joel & Tom: “BASS Finder.”
    Crow: “Oh.”

       2 likes

  • 30
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    At the beginning where Joel goes “Brace yourself Jeff Smith”, I about did a spit take. Jeff Smith is the name of the guy who introduced me to MST back in ’91. Does anyone know who the Jeff Smith is that Joel is referring to here? Jeff and Joel seemed to be meeting for the first time when me and Jeff went to a CT show in Seattle a couple of years ago, but there may be a giant conspiracy I am unaware of. They’re probably both laughing at me, right now. As to the episode, I still need to watch the last half hour but it was better than I remembered, good riffing and the movie is crazy enough and at least keeps moving along. Nice to see a good quality MST for once as this is the first episode from the box set that I am seeing.

       1 likes

  • 31
    Raptorial Talon says:

    #18 Sharktopus, you not only have consistently good taste, you also beat me to the nerdery I was about to engage in! Kudos, sir. Orcas = members of the Delphinidae = world’s largest dolphins (in the broad sense). Still, not the best choice of translation for English – not that orcas actually eat people anyway.

    As for the episode . . . the first time I watched it, I was discombobulated. Flabbergasted doesn’t cover it. It made no damn sense whatsoever and was all over the place, incoherent and wordlessly bizarre. Couldn’t make heads or tails of it. It was frightening. Later viewings cleared up some of the “dear god what’s *happening*?!?” aspect, but it’s still very, very strange.

    It’s also my favorite Gamera outing on the show. I can’t say I understand the love for “Guiron;” except for Mike as Michael Feinstein at the end, that episode put me to sleep. Zigra is so unrelentingly weird that it’s never boring, and the riffing is, for me, a lot better than any of the other Gamera episodes (IMO Zigra > Gaos > Gamera > Guiron > Barugon). Though I readily admit that I’m not a big fan of these episodes in general, despite the fact I like kaiju stuff and riffing on silly monster flicks like these in particular.

       2 likes

  • 32
    I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Cheapskate Crow @30.

    Given the cooking context, they mean Jeff Smith from “The Frugal Gourmet” a once popular public TV cooking show.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Smith_(TV_personality)

       3 likes

  • 33
    Fred Burroughs says:

    @30 Cheapskate: I think the Jeff Smith he refers to is the “Frugal Gourmet” of Midwest PBS fame, who makes an appearance on MST3k played by Mike in episode Code Name Diamond Head. Not sure if its because the food is bad, or because Smith seemed overly sensitive to criticism. I don’t think it’s referring to the pastor who married me (and my wife) and also is a virtuoso solo pianist, CDs available online. He’s Jeff Smith too.

    ALso, why does Zigra’s head look like a bowl of candy? Or is that his ship, not his head? Or is he a robot, or a fish?

       3 likes

  • 34
    EricJ says:

    Three days after watching this movie, I never remember ANY of the riffs from it (which cannot be said for Vs. Guiron)–
    Except for the Maidenform Villain rather conspicuously sneaking up on the kids:
    “Dum…dum…dum…dum…DUMMM…”

    @33 – The Frugal Gourmet riffs were usually because Jeff Smith (the chef) was, well, rather annoyingly colorful and folksy (which roused the Brains’ anti-Jack Perkins/Andy Rooney hostilities), and all over PBS at the time, ie. early 90’s.
    Can’t remember the early (S2-3?) episode where one of the crew credits is named Smith, and Crow riffs, “Hey, it’s the Frugal Cameraman: (folksy Smith voice) ‘Now, please don’t write in…'”

       2 likes

  • 35
    Droppo says:

    5 stars. One of the all-time best episodes, right up there with Guiron.

    Host segments are among the all-time best: Kenny and Helen’s visit and the Gamera songs at the end.

    LOVE it.

       1 likes

  • 36
    CT Himes says:

    @15 They say it’s the 80s because this film was dubbed and released in the States in 1985. I don’t think a year is mentioned in the original Japanese version.

       2 likes

  • 37
    Creepygirl says:

    Not a favorite of mine but not not bad. Host segment 4 with Mike & Bridget is a fave though. “Gamera is my..boy…friend”

    I had not watched the season 3 version in 4 or 5 years so a lot of riffs were new and fresh for me. The KTMA version is a real haul to get through. I just did not want to see this movie again so soon. I did and I’m glad. It was fun.

    I’ll give this an overall 3 stars.

    SIDENOTE: The guys call the hotel fish guy Johnny ShortRound. I think that would be a cool SATELITTE NEWS handle for any newbies out there. I don’t think it’s being used.

    Cornjob on the other hand is taken. Now that’s a good one.

       2 likes

  • 38
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ #36, correct, these Sandy Frank versions were dubbed in the 1980s and to make them seem current they used 1980s in the dialogue even though this film is about 10 years older than the Sandy Frank version. The original AIP dubbed versions of these films are older and those were the ones shown on UHF stations back in the 1970s for those of us who saw Gamera on TV years before MST3K. It was weird when I was a kid, it seemed weird still on MST3K, and years later it still seems weird even taking into account cultural differences I am now more familiar with. Godzilla and other films like it never seemed as weird to me as Gamera. Gamera is “out there”.

    I like this episode a lot. My favorites of the Gamera five on MST3K are the original followed by Gaos and Guiron, but this one and Barugon are goofy fun too and I’m glad to have them all now on nice commercial releases. “Aaaah, AAAAAH!”

       1 likes

  • 39
    Sitting Duck says:

    Spector #25: Still, it certainly has its moments, especially those with the villainous running around in a skimpy bikini.

    And as a result, somewhere on the beaches of Japan, there’s a young woman in a daze wandering about and wearing just a snorkeling mask.

       4 likes

  • 40
    MarcusVermilion says:

    That Japanese “It’s” Man scene was one of those where you knew someone would make that riff but you’d still laugh anyway.

       4 likes

  • 41
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Thanks @32, @33, @34 for clearing that up for me! I had a feeling they weren’t talking about my friend…

       1 likes

  • 42
    Trilaan says:

    I am glad for 18 and 31 spilling the beans that Orcas and dolphins are related. I would have beaten you both to it if I hadn’t forgotten this was the next episode! Anyway, let me point out another one no one has yet. “This dolphin is blind yet it never seems to run into a wall. Is it possible dolphins have a kind of sixth sense?” Yeah, it’s called ECHOLOCATON!!! That bit is the most annoying oversight in any MST3K’d movie for me.

       2 likes

  • 43
    Raptorial Talon says:

    @42 Not just related, closely related, in the same small clade . . . every organism on the planet is *related* to every other one . . .

    Out-nerded! Hahahahaha!

    Erhrm. Sorry.

    Yeah, the “dur, what’s ekkolokashun?” line is pretty stupid. Researchers knew plenty about that by the 70’s – but no one’s accused Gamera movies of respecting the audience’s intelligence.

       1 likes

  • 44
    Trilaan says:

    @43 Hey, you can’t outnerd someone using semantics! Related, closely related, adopted third cousin, twice removed, etc. Bah to you!

    I haven’t seen the original language version of this so I have no idea if it’s a dub script problem or an original script problem.

       1 likes

  • 45
    Raptorial Talon says:

    Hey, I apologized! ;b And that’s not semantics, that’s the bread and butter of modern phylogenetics. Gotta define the clade you’re speakin’ of. But you’re right, of course, that “close” or “distant” are very relative.

    Heh, relative.

    That’s an interesting question. Seems odd that they’d take the time to mention it, yet completely and utterly botch it within two lines. I certainly wouldn’t expect much in the way of accuracy from a second-rate kaiju franchise, though.

       1 likes

  • 46
    mstgator says:

    I miss the “shower-y-scope” riff from the KTMA version. That was a Season 3 quality joke.

       1 likes

  • 47
    Alex says:

    Probably the goofiest Gamera movie I’ve seen.

    The rifffing is good in this one. The last Gamera film ceartainly needs its good ‘ol bashing treatment. Wink

       0 likes

  • 48
    NoTrafficAccidents says:

    Favorite riff:

    The Monty Python “It’s…” guy: What are you doing here?
    Crow (as Helen): Slouching towards Bethlehem!

    Gotta love a W.B. Yeats reference.

       3 likes

  • 49
    Kali says:

    Okay, my favorite Gamera film — and that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the alien girl/pawn walks around town in a bikini for most of the movie. Not a bit of it. Wherever did you get that idea?

    Dr F got so angry that Frank let the cat out of the bag. The Mads’ Three Stooges guns are ridiculous.

    The alien space crawler which has clearly been special made by Toys R Us and too many jellybeans. I think I saw that prop on the game show Press Your Luck. Smile

    I loved Mike and Bridget as Kenny and Helen: “Gamera is … my boyfriend!”, and it was as badly dubbed as the film. I think this is the one where Joel questions how wrong it is that even the monster is badly dubbed.

    And when everyone cries into that thingamabob to break Zigra’s control. And it’s supposed to sound like whale noises, or something, right? Ever get the idea the dubbing cast had no idea what they were supposed to do here?

    And the wonderful Barbershop Quartet version of the Gamera song at the end of the episode. One of the classic music moments of the series.

    Now go get Helen that coke – after all, she’s been through a lot today.

       2 likes

  • 50
    Reaper G says:

    Yuasa and Daiei had been planning yet another film, “Gamera vs. Garasharp”, in which the Friend of All Children would do battle against a giant two-headed snake, but as has been said, Daiei went bankrupt right after this film was released. Considering how bad “Zigra” was, you can imagine how bad that would have been.

    #24 — You beat me to that issue of G-FAN, but I must add one thing… the Zoellner sisters grew up to be hot!

       0 likes

  • 51
    JCC says:

    This has become one of my “comfort” episodes – if I’m having a bad day I can put on one of these episodes and guaranteed by the time the Stinger rolls I’ll feel at least 90% better. I told Bridget at the second convention how hilarious I thought she was as Helen and she said the line “Gamera is good. Gamera is my boyfriend” for me. I can die happy. My favorite riff in the episode has to be when Servo says sarcastically “Ooh the great Kanto earthquake”. Don’t know why it just always cracks me up.

       1 likes

  • 52
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I want to party like Joel and The Bots, as this is the final GAMERA episode. YAY!

    As has been documented in previous episode guide entries, I am sort of “meh” on the whole GAMERA series. They are all “good, not great” episodes for me. Not sure what it is about them, but they are nothing if not consistent. They all land squarely at 3/5.

    Despite my feelings towards these eps, I still totally plan on buying the MST3K vs GAMERA box set, if not just for the nifty extras, then just for collection and completist sake.

    RIFFS AND THINGS:

    As noted by others above, the Dr F line “Brace yourself, Jeff Smith” is a winner. As usual, Dr. F’s nicknames for Joel are almost apropos of nothing. And I totally grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet and always thought he was kind of a weirdo (but aren’t all chefs?) but always appreciated the references on MST3k.

    when the laser beam makes the fake moon-car go all blurry,
    CROW: “Oh, the stretching beam. You blurred me!”

    movie: “Henry!”
    Crow: “Portrait of a Serial Killer.” ——–Dark movie, man. Dark movie..(but great!)

    Joel: “Iwo Jima babies, by Jim Henson.” ——A precursor to the “Jim Henson’s —- Babies” riffs in the future, which seem to get a lot of flak here on the message board, but I have always liked that series of jokes.

    Servo: “Stay off the moors!” —–American Werewolf in London reference, another great horror film!

    Servo totally says “ENJOY!” like Dr. Erhardt at one point.


    And yes Sampo, I remember who David Duke was/is. He deserves all the flak he can get.

    Just like all the rest of the GAMERA movies,
    GAMERA VS. ZIGRA, 3/5

       2 likes

  • 53
    Warren says:

    The Gamera episodes aren’t my all-time favorites but I find this one more watchable than the others MOSTLY because of the bikini-clad woman but not completely. There’s not much more to say than that. It doesn’t give me a slight headache, maybe I was just having a bad week but the first 2 of these 5 episodes kind of put me off.

       0 likes

  • 54
    ByThisTimeMyLungsWereAchingForRiffs says:

    Call me crazy, but I have developed a fondness for this one. “Sure, she can conquer the Earth, but she can’t run in heels…”

       0 likes

  • 55
    losingmydignity says:

    My favorite of the Gameras.

    Okay the riffing flags at times in the latter half of the ep, but you try writing riffs for those sub-plots that go nowhere…

    The “children”, of course, are highlights in the riffing. They seem especially weird in this ep so it give the Brains a lot to work with. Is it me or is the older of the two girl siblings really odd or what? I talking about her acting. She looks stunned or frightened…easy to imagine her running to her parents after the director calls cut. Just truly weird.

    I love when Zigra or the ship, or whatever, is compared to the Sydney Opera House. Not sure why but that one floors me every time. It really does look like the opera house!

    Sampo, I think the idea is that Zigra is an ancient all knowing god. He speaks through different channels–the girl in the bikini, the monster, the boat, etc. So this is just an ancient statue that represents Zigra. They don’t have ladders on their planet and, in deference to Zigra’s obscure wishes and wants, he does not like to be dusted. Either that or the set design looked really bad and the director, after spanking the set designer, had the cobwebs added for effect. But Gamera does speak through channels. In fact, he is speaking to me now. He says I want a Coke.

    The special effects are the worst of the series in this one…Gamera’s floppy arms. WTF?

    Favorite (sick) riff: (in little girl’s voice, me paraphrasing as always) Can I have it now?

    Since I missed the weekend Gamera discussion please let me indulge in a recap the eps in the order I like them…

    Zigra: one of my favs of Season 3 A-
    Gamera: still great after all these years A-
    Gaos: Bumped up this one’s grade considerably. A new “find” A-
    Guiron: Used to be my favorite but hasn’t held up for me. I still love the film. Watched it as a kid. A-
    Baragon: Without kids this one isn’t as funny. B+

       1 likes

  • 56
    fathermushroom says:

    Don’t much care for Gamera episodes, but Zigra Lady is HAWWWWT.

    Even hotter in the little orange skirt. I see London, I see France….

    Crow: I see heaven!

       0 likes

  • 57
    Mickey Bruce says:

    “Hey.. that’s not a Coke! She has a Rolling Rock!”

       2 likes

  • 58
    Rocky Jones says:

    The oceans are precious! Oh, and by the way…did I mention how precious the oceans are? And, while I’m on the subject, I’d also like to remind you that the oceans are precious! ARE YOU GETTING IT YET?…I MEAN ABOUT HOW PRECIOUS THE OCEANS ARE?…

    The environmental subtext in this movie is only slightly less ham-fisted than the one in “Birdemic”.

       1 likes

  • 59
    bdtrppr6 says:

    didn’t jeff smith get arrested/accused of having child porn or something? i remember some scandal related to him disappearing entirely. yeah, he was really annoying and kinda pompous.

       0 likes

  • 60
    bdtrppr6 says:

    should’ve looked it up. he was accused of sexual assault on a 15 yr old and a few others while working at a church food pantry. great.

       0 likes

  • 61
    fathermushroom says:

    #60: Re: Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet. Don’t know where you found your news, but at the time I recall the main flap was that he sexually harassed one of his younger male sou-chefs. That other stuff may have emerged during the investigations.

    But I liked his show, and his recipes are excellent. (He sold a lot of cookbooks.) And Mike did a number of impersonations of him — any time he ends a sketch with “I bid you peace,” that’s the Froog.

    #50: Now I am curious about the Zoellner sisters. Is there a picture online somwhere?

       0 likes

  • 62
    Sharktopus says:

    It’s taken me a few days to get all the the way through this experiment. Nothing to do with its quality – more my that attention span’s been pretty taxed this week. There is one observation I wanted to share with the group before it’s too late: While Helen and Kenny 2.0 are indisputably annoying, possibly the most annoying kids in any Gamera movie – which is really saying something – they’re annoying in a surprisingly realistic way. Unlike Original Recipe Kenny, Ichi, and the kids from Guiron, they act like real young children – asking annoying questions, getting in the way – and they’re appropriately frigthened when they find themselves in danger. Plus, they’re only in the movie because their fathers are involved in the Zigra situation, not because they’re Gamera experts called in to share their monster expertise. So, basically, I find their annoyingness much less annoying because it makes sense withing the movie. It’s also nice to see that their fathers are irritated by the kids’ presence as well.

    I wonder how much longer the oxygen in the disabled bathysphere would’ve lasted if those two stowaways weren’t there hyperventilating it all away? Good thing they were all saved by editing.

    I wonder, did Sandy Frank Distribution use the southeastern American usage of “coke” in their translation? The stuff in those bottles doesn’t look like cola to me. I find it helps my sanity to focus on this sort of thing rather than try to follow the fakakte plot…

       0 likes

  • 63
    Loreta Bordges says:

    LOL, I’ve to say the on-line dating or electronic dating has come a long way since the days of simple chat rooms. Much more and far more individuals are turning to on-line dating internet sites to display likely dates.

       0 likes

  • 64
    frankenforcer says:

    I don’t why, but this is my favorite Gamera movie they did. Maybe it’s the feeling that the maker of this film didn’t take themselves seriously as the other films seemed to do. Maybe it’s the attractiveness of the space woman helping Zigra and the Benny Hill loke chase that occupies about two thirds of this movie all with the delightful accompaniment of her line ” I won’t hurt you” ad nauseum. It could be the horribly delicious stupidity of the anti hypnotism call. Or the fact that earthquakes is Zigra’s main weapon. Or that the category 18 so oftly threatened made absolutely no sense but they sold it with a gravitas of Academy Award winning caliber.All the pieces come together to make a film I absolutely love more than the others in the Gamera ouevre. I don’t know why, I’m basically assuming it’s Space Woman in a bikini.

       1 likes

  • 65
    Servotron3000 says:

    @Mickey Bruce, my favorite riff in that movie. I actually DID have a Rolling Rock in my hand when I first watched that episode.

       1 likes

  • 66
    Mature Dating Club says:

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       0 likes

  • 67
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Maybe the fish argument scene makes perfect sense in the original Japanese language and context. People who both speak English and can lip-read Japanese probably have a way better understanding of these things…

       0 likes

  • 68
    lancecorbain says:

    This episode always sat on my head and crushed it, as Joel said in a later episode.

       0 likes

  • 69
    Clark Gable in Hell says:

    I was watching the KTMA version of “Gamera vs. Zigra” last night and something struck me. Has anyone else noticed that the voice of Zigra sounds an awful lot like the unnamed narrator of “Blood Waters of Dr. Z” (“Sargassum, the weed of deceit”)? They’re both going on about how “fish are going to rule the universe” and such. So I’m wondering if maybe the same guy did both. Is there any way to verify this?

    Favorite riff from Episode 316:

    As the “Zigra Woman” is walking down a hallway looking for the 2 children who she must kill:

    Crow: “Sister, that dress is headed for trouble and it’s taking you with it”

       0 likes

  • 70
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       0 likes