GAMERA VS BARUGON
DUEL OF THE GIANT MONSTES: GAMERA VS. BARUGON; WAR OF THE MONSTERS
(Daikaiju Ketto: Gamera tai Barugon)
When it comes to the first of their Gamera sequels here, Daiei do exactly what Toho did in their first Godzilla sequel Gigantis the Fire Monster (1955) and every single one thereafter that is to say, they add another monster to the mix and the film culminates with a showdown between the two monsters. It took Toho four films before they came up with the idea of making Godzilla into a good guy but Daiei do so with Gamera’s second outing although they are probably just taking their lead from Toho who made the switch-over a couple of years earlier with Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964).
Gamera vs Barugon is a surprise to come to after seeing a number of the other 1960s/70s Gamera films, which usually set a fairly low bar in terms of effects and in comparison to the Godzilla series. The first noticeable thing is that this comes in colour as compared to its black-and-white predecessor. While the other Gamera films of this period made a pitch to kids, this takes itself seriously. The first 45 minutes of the show is played as an adventure film with no monsters present. Even then, Gamera only makes a single appearance at the start in a prologue showing how it survived the launch into space where we see it return to Earth and attack a dam. Thereafter it is not until the one-hour point when we see Gamera again where it turns up for a fight with Barugon and then nothing more of it until the big climactic battle. In fact, it should be said that there is more focus on Barugon than there is Gamera it is as though Gamera were an afterthought or Daiei didn’t have a full grasp on what to do with Gamera as a protagonist. It is certainly a better try than most of the other Gamera films of the era but Daiei still haven’t quite gotten to the polished level that Toho had with their monster movies during this period.
Even though the film is in colour and a certain amount of effort is being made in the adventure scenes, the effects are still the weaker ones that dogged all the 1960s/70s Gamera films. The mass destruction is variable, while the models frequently look obvious. The killer is when it comes to Barugon who has ridiculous cartoony eyes that leave you unable to take it seriously whenever it turns up. One of the more WTF features that Barugon has is the ability to sprout energy rainbows from its back.
Japanese trailer here:-