Gamera: The Little Braves (Translated Title) Gamera: The Little Braves (2006)
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Year of Release: 2006
Japanese Title: Chiisaki Yusha-tachi, Gamera
Credits: Directed by:
Ryuta Tazaki

Writing credits:
Yukari Tatsui

Ryo Tomioka
Kanji Tsuda
Susumu Terashima

Produced by
Yoichi Arashige

Suit Design by
Tomoo Haraguchi

From Monster Zero 07/13/05:

Gamera 2006 Filming Report

Roger Shanks, July 13, 2005
Source: Photos by Roger Shanks

Gamera 2006 (Photo by Roger Shanks)

FIlm student Roger Shanks was on hand for the filming of Gamera 2006 as an observer and extra.

Right now I'm on holiday in Japan, since the 1st of June until the 8th of August. Every now and again I go to an Internet cafe to contact the family back home or organize transport to where ever I was going next. I saw on Monster Zero that they were looking for extras for the new Gamera movie and that they were shooting in Iseshima. I was in Osaka which was only about two hours away from Iseshima and I had no real plan about where I was going so I decided to head down and see if I could get a place.

They told me that they didn't need foreigners for extras. I had put down that I studied film in college on the application and that I would like to at least watch the shoot. They said I could watch and that they would be shooting in Nakiri on the 9th and 10th of July.

On the 9th of July they started shooting at 9. They were shooting a scene where a wounded Gamera was driven down a street in Nakiri. Basically a police bike, an army jeep, an truck with Gamera (with a wound to his neck) strapped to the back and a police car drove down the street and under the bridge while people looked on. The child who was Gamera\'s friend sees the truck and runs down the road after it.

The road was small so for each take they either would have to reverse all the vehicles back to starting positions or let them drive on and drive around a long way back to the start.

Because of this they didn't use the actual vehicles for rehearsals. Sometimes it was just the police bike or a man holding his hat or a book up in the air (to represent the height of the Gamera Model). I remember in the first rehearsal there was just the police bike. The police man directing the parade kept waving his hand miming to imaginary vehicles. At first I thought that it would be CGI tanks added in post production and a part of me sank.

Then they went for the first take with the actual Gamera model. It was a big surprise - I couldn't stop grinning. There was a lot of press there taking photos and video. I asked the man who seemed to be dealing with the press if I could take some pictures. He said only the press had permission to take pictures. I could understand his situation but couldn't resist taking a few anyway. They shot this sequence stopping when it rained to hard and continuing when it started to stop. Towards the end the rain was just too heavy and they decided to stop for lunch and get ready to shoot the next scene.

One of the guys on the crew invited me to lunch. I tried to explain that I was just a visitor and had nothing to do with the film. He said it was okay so I had lunch with the extras. We ate in Nakiri Elementary School (this was probably the unit base for this part of the shoot). During the lunch Kaku-san (thats probably spelled wrong), the man who played Gamera during the rehearsals, saw me and asked me if I spoke English. I told him I did. He asked me if I could come back the next day. I said I could. He brought me down to the school gym where they were shooting the next scene and let me be an extra. The scenario was that the school gym was a refuge for people whose houses had been destroyed. Kaku-san got me to write a message to my family in English. On that day we just had to my down and sleep. We finished at about six. At the end of the day we all got a free Gamera T-shirt.

The next day I arrived and had breakfast with the other extras. As I was eating breakfast I saw a drawing by the door. They had large white cardboard squares which they put on a stick to represent either Gamera or his new enemy Jidas like a flag. This flag I saw then was for Jidas. The drawing was of a dinosaur shooting fire from his mouth. It had spiky skin and appeared to have a frill thing around its neck. In my mind I liken it to Godzilla 2000 or Megaguirus' design but it doesn't really look much like that. They started shooting at 9. They shot the rest of the wounded Gamera sequence. Kaku-san explained that Nakiri had been attacked by Jidas and that Gamera had saved them. Jidas retreated back to the sea - Gamera had won but had been fatally wounded in the fight. Now the JSDF were trying to help him. He told me that I could take a rest during this scene - I was probably too different to fit into the crowd.

After they finished this shooting we had lunch. It was a very long lunch. They probably shot some scenes where they didn't need all the extras.

The next scenes were back in the gym. The main focus of the scene was the boy and his father. They talked about Gamera or something (I couldn't find the subtitles). I was in the background with my new friend Satoru, a 12 year old Japanese boy. There were a lot of people in uniform giving out aid etc.

There were also people giving out one-sheet newspapers. They featured a story about what had happened and had a picture of Jidas crushing some small houses. The picture was a bit grainy and there was a lot of smoke but Jidas looked fairly much like the drawing.

At one point the director went around the crowd giving out instructions. He spoke very good English (not even a Japanese accent) he explained that me and Satoru should just keep talking -that this was before the other shots and that it had to match.

We shot this scene all night and I got a couple of walk ins front of the camera or behind the action shots which I hope will make the final film. The last shot was of the crowds sleeping. I slept for real and awoke to the clapping of everybody at the end of a good take. At the end of this day we all got 2 Gamera T-shirts (maybe because many people had to leave throughout the day and couldn't stay the whole night).Unfortunately all were large size.

I got back to the hostel at 3:30 in the morning. Five hours after curfew. I ended up sitting on a bench by the sea watching the sun rise (at about 4) and went the rest of that day with no sleep but it was well worth it.

NOTE: Gamera 2006 photo gallery

From Henshin! Online 06/02/05:
The "Friend of All Children" will be back on the big screen in 2006
Author: Keith Aiken and Daisuke Ishizuka
Additional Japanese material translated by Oki Miyano
Source: Sports Nippon, various
Special Thanks to August Ragone and Aaron Smith

The fire-breathing giant turtle Gamera hopes to fill the kaiju void left by Godzilla's retirement. © 1967 Daiei
Six years after GAMERA: REVENGE OF IRIS (Gamera 3: Iriusu Kakusei, 1999) ended the acclaimed Heisei Gamera trilogy, Kadokawa Pictures has announced that the monster will soon return to Japanese theaters. Tentatively entitled GAMERA: THE LITTLE BRAVES (Chiisaki Yusha-tachi, Gamera), the new film begins shooting late this month for a planned spring 2006 release.

The news comes on the 40th anniversary of the original GIANT MONSTER GAMERA (Daikaiju Gamera, 1965). Directed by the late Noriaki Yuasa for the Daiei Motion Picture Company, GAMERA was a box office smash that spawned six sequels between 1966 and 1971. By the third film in the series, GAMERA VS. GYAOS (Daikaiju Kuchusen: Gamera tai Gyaosu, 1967), the movies directly targeted kid audiences by featuring children in lead roles, bizarre and colorful stories, and cartoonish violence unlike anything seen in Toho's Godzilla films. At its peak, this successful formula made Gamera a strong contender for Godzilla's crown as "King of the Monsters". Unfortunately gross studio mismanagement drove Daiei into bankruptcy in 1971. The Tokuma Shoten Publishing Company purchased the studio in 1974 and began limited production of new films, including the stock footage fest GAMERA: SUPER MONSTER (Uchu Kaiju Gamera, 1980). The monster star returned in earnest on his 30th anniversary with GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (Gamera: Daikaiju Kuchu Kessen, 1995). The combination of director Shusuke Kaneko (GMK), effects director Shinji Higuchi (LORELEI: THE WITCH OF THE PACIFIC), writer Kazunori Ito (GHOST IN THE SHELL), and composer Kow Otani (GMK) resulted in an intelligent and creative story that was widely hailed as one the best kaiju films in decades. The team returned, and raised the bar even more, with GAMERA: ATTACK OF LEGION (Gamera 2: Region Shurai, 1996) and the aforementioned GAMERA: REVENGE OF IRIS.

The star of the new Gamera film, 11 year-old Ryo Tomioka.
In July 2002, following the passing Tokuma's president, Yasunari Tokuma, Daiei was sold to the massive Kadokawa Publishing Company. In November of that year, chairman Maihiko Kadokawa launched the Kadokawa-Daiei Motion Picture Company, combining Kadokawa Pictures and Daiei (the name was later simplified to Kadokawa Pictures). At that time the chairman also announced that Kadokawa-Daiei had approached Toho about co-producing GODZILLA VS. GAMERA (see the 11/14/02 report here on H!O for details). After Toho rejected the offer Kadokawa moved ahead with a slew of new projects including Masaaki Tezuka's (GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA, GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS) G.I SAMURAI: 1549 (Sengoku Jietai 1549), a remake of an earlier Kadokawa Picture from the 1980s, and an updated version of SPOOK WARFARE (Yokai Daisenso) from director Takashi Miike (AUDITION, ZEBRAMAN). Now comes official word that a new solo Gamera film is in the works.

Early word suggests that GAMERA: LITTLE BRAVES will not be direct sequel to the previous film but will instead launch a new series of movies by taking the flying turtle back to his "Friend of All Children" roots. Producer Yoichi Arashige (the international hit SHALL WE DANCE? and Takashi Miike's ONE MISSED CALL) remarked that the film will cross monster action with the relationship between a father and son. Directing the film is Toei veteran Ryuta Tazaki, who has helmed episodes of MASKED RIDER BLACK (Kamen Raida Burakku, 1987), MASKED RIDER BLACK-RX (Kamen Raida Burakku RX, 1988), MASKED RIDER AGITO (Kamen Raida Agito, 2001), MASKED RIDER RYUKI (Kamen Rider Ryuki, 2002), MASKED RIDER 555 (Kamen Raida Faiz, 2003), PRETTY GUARDIAN: SAILOR MOON (Bishojo Senshi Serra Muun, 2003), as well as several recent well-regarded Masked Rider theatrical films. In 1999, Tazaki came to the United States to direct episodes of POWER RANGERS: LOST GALAXY and POWER RANGERS: LIGHTSPEEED RESCUE.

Popular child star Kaho plays one of the leads in GAMERA: LITTLE BRAVES. This photo is from her recent television series CELL PHONE DETECTIVE. © 2004
The story by screenwriter Yukari Tatsui (the TV drama VIRGIN ROAD, 1997) opens with Gamera saving a young boy during a battle with a flock of Gyaos. Thirty years later, the son of that boy discovers an egg which hatches a new Gamera. The two become fast friends and the little monster grows quickly. The young Gamera is soon spinning through the air and belching fireballs... but is he up to the challenge posed by a new, threatening monster?

As with the classic Gamera films of the 1960s, the lead roles in GAMERA: LITTLE BRAVES will be played by children. 11 year-old television actor Ryo Tomioka plays the boy who befriends the baby monster. Also starring is 13 year-old Kaho, a cast member of the popular 2004 TV series CELL PHONE DETECTIVE (Keitai Deka). Playing the children's fathers are Kanji Tsuda and Susumu Terashima. The two have worked together before, most notably in Takeshi "Beat" Kitano's FIREWORKS (Hana-bi, 1997) and DOLLS (2002). Tsuda's credits also include the massive hit BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN (Odoru Daisosasen, 1998), MASKED RIDER RYUKI, JU-ON (2003), and ZATOICHI (2003), while Susumu Terashima appeared in ICHI THE KILLER (Koroshiya 1, 2001) and CASSHERN (2004).

While Kaneko, Higuchi, Ito, and Otani are busy with their own projects and will not be involved with the new film, at least one veteran from the Heisei movies is returning for GAMERA: LITTLE BRAVES. Issue 244 of FANGORIA reports that monster suit maker Tomoo Haraguchi has signed on to make the new Gamera suits. In the early 1980s Haraguchi established the company Monsters Inc., with Godzilla suit maker Shinichi Wakasa, and in recent years he has directed the features SAKUYA: SLAYER OF DEMONS (Sakuya Yokaiden, 2000) and KIBAKICHI (Kibakichi Bakko Yokaiden, 2004). The latter film will be released in the US this month from MTI Home Video.

What we know so far: The story by screenwriter Yukari Tatsui (the TV drama VIRGIN ROAD, 1997) opens with Gamera saving a young boy during a battle with a flock of Gyaos. Thirty years later, the son of that boy discovers an egg which hatches a new Gamera. The two become fast friends and the little monster grows quickly. The young Gamera is soon spinning through the air and belching fireballs... but is he up to the challenge posed by a new, threatening monster?
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Cast and crew credits were taken from The Internet Movie Database
Gamera and Gamera character design © ™ DAIEI Co., LTD. 1965
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