‘Gamera Rebirth’ (2023) Review: When A Kaiju Becomes Humanity’s Greatest Defender

Hiroyuki Seshita’s Netflix-Series Gamera -Rebirth- might seem like just another Kaiju movie from Japan, if you’re unfamiliar with the premise. Still, the ones who’ve followed Gamera’s story, they know he’s a massive turtle that started off as a monster to the Japanese people, but has since then mended his ways to become their protector. Not only does the Godzilla-inspired Kaiju appear every time Japan is threatened by a catastrophic threat, but he ensures that he wins every single time, thanks to his Goliath-like body and unbelievable powers. In the latest Netflix-Series set in 1989, Gamera returns one more time, seemingly out of nowhere, to protect a bunch of kids when terrifying monsters start preying on the city. Here’s a detailed review of the first season of the show and why you should probably watch it at the earliest.

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What Is ‘Gamera -Rebirth-‘ About?

Boco, Joe, and Junichi are three friends who are looking for ways to stay in touch, after Boco leaves for summer school, in an age when the Internet is unknown to the common people. Thus, the sixth graders decide to pool all their savings to buy a radio, so they can contact each other. However, just outside the electronics store, the kids are ambushed by a few American teenagers, whose parents are part of the US military stationed in Japan. The bullies beat up the kids and steal their money, but Boco decides to take it back. They spend the day making weapons to scare the bullies, and then show up at an arcade to challenge the older kids. However, just as the confrontation is about to begin, multiple fighter jets are heard flying overhead and bombs start dropping a few blocks away.

Multiple pterodactyl-like creatures are wreaking havoc on the city, gulping down people and destroying buildings. Although the US Army’s General Osborn sends multiple F-15s to take down the flying monsters, all of them are decimated within moments, as a massive flying beast appears. Boco and his friends as well as the bullies are targeted by two small monsters, and while the other bullies escape, their leader Douglas is trapped with the protagonists. With the monsters about to devour the kids, help arrives in the form of a massive turtle-like monster, that immediately clears the playing field and takes down almost all the flying beasts with little trouble. Boco can’t help but remember the turtle they’d saved in the forest a day ago while looking at this monster. Although the creature saves the kids, the US air forces open fire at the creature and it flies off like a jet plane. A helicopter descends and a young man named Tazaki and Emiko, a woman in a doctor’s uniform, take the kids to the military base for a debriefing.

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Soon, Douglas, the son of General Osborn, becomes a part of the team, and together, they embark on a journey by ship to Emiko’s company, Future Foundation’s research center, so that they can run tests on the kids exposed to the kaiju. As the group got to know Tazaki and Emiko, Junichi formed a friendship with the genial woman, while Douglas developed a crush on Junichi upon learning, she’s a girl. However, the peaceful bliss was soon interrupted when a new marine Kaiju appeared, that shot lasers from its mouth to take down every military ship of the army, before targeting the ship the protagonists were on. Once again, the turtle Kaiju returned to help, and Boco named him Gamera. The Guardian Kaiju appears again and again to save the day, and no matter how many wounds he sustains, he always gets back up for that one final blow that ends the monster for good.

When Boco and Joe fight inside a room at the research center, Joe and Junichi briefly leave the other two. Meanwhile, a new monster with a sword for a face attacks the research center and, even though Gamera defeats the evil, he loses his arm in the process. However, the real evil is revealed to be someone much more sinister and devious than some monsters, and when the kids learn the truth, they’re not only heartbroken but also terrified to find out what awaits them. The ancient Kaiju named Viras will be offered the captured children as an offering before it can go on a mission to murder 5 billion people – a more extreme method of population control. But why was Viras awoken and who is behind this diabolical plot? You need to stream Gamera -Rebirth- on Netflix at the earliest to find out the shocking ending.

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The Positives

If it’s from Japan, you can safely go in expecting something impressive, and once again, Gamera -Rebirth- doesn’t disappoint. Not only does the series offer some amazing visuals, but also the story is so gripping that you’ll be finishing the entire 6 Episodes in one go. Each of the monsters is designed with so much uniqueness that you can take time to appreciate their strengths and how they pose a threat to the world. Gamera’s art style also makes his Power-ups extremely satisfying to watch, while the overall animation style feels smooth and there’s zero clunkiness.

The character building has been given much thought, and even the smallest of characters get a few moments to themselves, so that it doesn’t feel like they’re one-dimensional and exist only to solve a particular purpose. A major theme of the series is friendship, which becomes a key point towards the end, staying true to the ‘shounen’ genre of anime. Unlike many animated movies from Japan, the action isn’t the only thing the show wants us to focus on, as it offers several more aspects that keep us entertained when the monsters aren’t clashing. The show manages to stay entertaining and interesting, so that the audience doesn’t quit, after the action temporarily stops. Lastly, the major twists in the final two episodes are so jaw-dropping that you’ll want to stay back till the very end.

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The Negatives

Perhaps the most obvious thing that everyone will notice is, how repetitive the Fights become between the Monsters and Gamera, after a while. All the monsters critically wound Gamera, and he lies motionless for a few seconds before powering up and killing them. Each time Boco is in trouble, Gamera comes to the rescue, making the monsters lose their credibility after a while – you just know that help is coming. There’s also not much Exploration done behind each Monster and they appear as Obstacles for Gamera to take down, instead of being real sentient beings. This makes the monsters a little less interesting, if we set aside their fancy weapons and powers.


Overall Opinion

Despite its shortcomings, Gamera -Rebirth- is one series that you’d not regret watching because, above all, it’s entertaining. The anime is the kind that you can binge with the little kids, so you know, it’s a 5 hours of family-friendly action/adventure with a slice of friendship sprinked in. Stream it on Netflix this weekend and share your thoughts on how the latest Kaiju movie made you fall in love with the Japanese monster culture, all over again.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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Despite its shortcomings, Gamera: Rebirth is one series that you'd not regret watching because, above all, it's entertaining'Gamera Rebirth' (2023) Review: When A Kaiju Becomes Humanity's Greatest Defender