Manga: The Secret Story of Chogokin Mechagodzilla's Birth


Gamera vs. Morphos

Japanese Comic Title

怪獣大熱戦 ガメラ対モルフォス
[Kaiju Dainessen Gamera tai Morufosu]


Nenpei Moo


Nenpei Moo
Nenpei Moo


※ The cover is from Animage January 1999



English Translation


With the original publication decades out of print, the story would only naturally be accessible to Japan. Fortunately, an English translation was made available back in 2020. The full translation can be downloaded in the link supplied.

View download page

English translations created by Maser Patrol.


Union Mechagodzilla
Union Mechagodzilla


By: Andrew Sudomerski

Gamera vs. Morphos (or, Fierce Monster Battle: Gamera vs. Morphos) was created as a tie-in promotion for Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999), released two months before the movie’s release. A simple one-shot manga from author/artist Nenpei Moo, who’s only other notable work is the 1998 one-shot manga Mazinkaiser vs. Shin Getter Robo, Gamera vs. Morphos was released for a special issue of Animage. Not much else is really provided–it’s as straightforward as it sounds.

Gamera reigns destruction upon Tokyo! As it does, another Gamera arrives to deal with the destroyer, only to be overwhelmed by its capabilities. Shinya was privy to the battle between the Gameras and recognizes the false double as a creation of his father’s, who had sought to use the metallic organism to benefit humanity and replace Gamera as Earth’s guardian. But after a demonstration, Morphos escaped into the wilderness and thus began its rampage upon humanity.

Meanwhile, an eruption on the seafloor rejuvenates Gamera to full strength, who beelines straight for Morphos to end its reign of terror before it can continue to evolve any further.

I will be going into some detail with my thoughts and feelings on this, so if you want to read this short story for yourself, then please use the link above.

A lot can be done with limited pages to get quickly invested in the situation, but I don’t feel that here with this short story. While the thick of it is simple enough (Gamera fighting an imposter creature that threatens to terrorize the world), it’s very much a “monster vs. monster” romp and little else. It takes notable influence more from the Showa-era films with the kid protagonist yelling off in the sidelines telling him what to do. While the brief 23-page run ensures it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it feels like it takes up more pages than it should.

That said, even for as short as it is, it very quickly breezes over a considerable amount of material just to get to the action in a very contrived manner. I get its purpose is to propel the story forward, but it’s done so quickly it doesn’t really leave time to sit on its own accord. However, what I feel is the most out-of-nowhere drop is that Shinya is… Psychic? That’s my assumption at least. I know it’s common to have the kids and Gamera to have a special connection, but it’s so out of the blue and never elaborated on that I kind of have to ask why. Even if you’re not a fan of kids shouting on the sidelines, it just feels odd to switch from that to a psychic talk, then back to shouting.

I’d probably not have as much issue with it if there was any kind of character depth–which is sadly something the story lacks. Shinya’s just the basic kid-character blank slate meant to facilitate a connection between the reader and Gamera and point out the obvious. The only other character of note is Shinya’s father, but even he’s not really a character as he is the key to driving the story of the rampaging monster forward. I’m not a person who minds simple characters, but these aren’t really much of characters at all, and will fall to the wayside of being forgettable.

The monsters are in many respects the highlight of this story, but even then it’s just standard and nothing exceptional. Not to say there aren’t fun bits, like the Gamera-disguised Morphos firing lasers or (at a later point) turning one of its tendrils into a drill, but nothing overly amazing that makes it stand as a highlight of Gamera’s rogue gallery.

For the artwork–I personally don’t mind it. It has a softer stylized look to it that allows for a flexible range of expression, particularly with Shinya. Gamera (or the mimic form used by Morphos) is well detailed, and the loose detailing of Morphos allows the creature to be quick and malleable. I don’t consider myself much of an art critic by any right, so as long as the art is serviceable to the story being told, it’s fine.

All in all, Gamera vs. Morphos just… Exists. There isn’t much more I can say on it. But I do think it’s fantastic that the good people at Maser Patrol were able to dredge this one up from the obscure realms of out of print manga, and in many respects this is something that should be preserved. Even if the story itself isn’t much, I think the novelty of seeing Japan-exclusive material is a joy to explore. And who knows, maybe someone in Kadokawa can pick up Morphos and reinvent it into something more memorable.