DVD Title
 Gamera: Legacy Collection 1965-1999
International Title
 Gamera: The Giant Monster / Gamera vs. Barugon / Gamera vs. Gyaos / Gamera vs. Viras / Gamera vs. Guiron / Gamera vs. Jiger / Gamera vs. Zigra / Gamera: Super Monster / Gamera: Guardian of the Universe / Gamera 2: Advent of Legion / Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris
Series Length: 989 minutes Original Length: 989 minutes
Company: Mill Creek Entertainment Release: 2014
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/1.85:1 Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1 Discs: 4
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (1.0 Mono) / Japanese (2.0 Stereo)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (44)
- Gamera: The Giant Monster (4)
- Gamera vs. Barugon (4)
- Gamera vs. Gyaos (4)
- Gamera vs. Viras (4)
- Gamera vs. Guiron (4)
- Gamera vs. Jiger (4)
- Gamera vs. Zigra (4)
- Gamera: Super Monster (4)
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (4)
- Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (4)
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (4)
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

A release that contains eleven of the twelve Gamera films? That means all the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's titles produced and released by Daiei, plus the three 1990's films that Toho distributed. This is either going to be ambitious, or its going to be a budgeted release... and sadly its the latter as the contents are crammed on four DVDs. If staying within your budget is the absolute priority, there is a lot of value here. More dedicated fans, though, are better off looking toward some of the other releases of these titles as they are heavily compressed on this release, which impacts both the video and audio quality of the eleven titles.


 Video: Star Rating

Eleven movies to talk about, so let's get to work in a more bullet point friendly format as there is a lot to talk about!

Gamera: The Giant Monster features a very soft image. This helps to mask the grain a bit, but the light flicker present makes the print look dated. The contrast is set way up too, making things like lab coats lose a lot of details. On the plus side, the print appears to be in good condition otherwise, not featuring scratches or other overt signs of print damage.

Gamera vs. Barugon looks better, featuring at times nice colors and a great print with almost no print damage and minor grain. The great colors come at a cost, though, as the saturation level is once again clocked way up. It also features its own sequence of light flicker, around the 34 minute mark, which is disorienting. The biggest downfall, though, is once more that the image is very soft on account of all the compression needed to fit the material on one disc.

Three DVDs in, and Gamera vs. Gyaos is the best looking yet with even better colors... but still at the cost of over saturation. The print used is in great shape, with no scratches and low levels of grain. Sadly, as before, the compression here is obvious and the image is very soft.

In a continuing trend, Gamera vs. Viras looks better than the previous three. It features vibrant colors, due to over saturation, and a print with no overt damage although the frame is a little unstable for the first half a minute. Sadly, as with all of this set, the image is soft due to compression levels. One thing that is obvious on this movie, although really has been present on all of them in this set, is that the motion has vertical lines present when paused. Almost like the source was converted from PAL to NTSC. Nothing too distracting, but does impact image capturing.

Combo breaker, as Gamera vs. Guiron is a step backwards in video quality. There is a faint purple tint to the whole movie and the colors aren't as vibrant as the others, although that's a trade off as the saturation also isn't as high. Sadly the image here is really soft, more so than the others, although at least the print used for the transfer is devoid of overt grain or scratches.

Gamera vs. Jiger has the same purple tint to the colors, and likewise they aren't vibrant but aren't over saturated to the degree that the earlier movies in this set are. Thankfully, even though the image is still very soft due to the compression, its a step up for what's found on Gamera vs. Guiron.

The purple tint continues on Gamera vs. Zigra. As before, the colors aren't as vibrant but over saturation is also more in check. The image is still soft here, but a bit more detailed than the others which is nice and to be expected given there are only two films on this DVD versus the others.

Of the Showa titles, Gamera: Super Monster looks the best. It has the most detail, benefiting from being on a DVD with two films. While most of the film is stock footage, the segments that aren't look good and the print is in solid condition. Colors are also good, without over saturation but are still vibrant without any tinting.

Moving on to the Heisei series, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe has a video track with a print which is in good condition. There are no scratches or other overt signs of print damage, but does have some grain. Sadly, due to the compression, the grain and artifacting mix together to create obvious pixilation at times. This is most overt on the flame heavy title screen and also when minor details are flying against the sky. The colors here also aren't particularly vibrant, but oddly enough there are still signs of saturation on the light clothes and details getting lost which might be a combo of the high brightness level. This plays havoc during the bright climax battle between Gamera and Super Gyaos, with the light blue background often getting washed out altogether like this sequence.

For Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, all it took was the Toho logo coming up to know that this one was also going to be too bright and oversaturated as well. The grain and artifacting from the compression is at least handled better here, although its still a problem during lighter sequences like the first battle between Gamera and Legion. The image itself is still way too soft as well on account of the compression.

The final film on this set, and it features all the same problems of the previous two 1990's entries. Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris includes overt signs of pixilation thanks to tons of compression, which seems the worst of all the movies on the set. The film is also presented too bright, drowning out details, while the colors aren't particularly vibrant.

In terms of aspect ratio, the 1960's and 1970's Gamera films are presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs. The 1980's and 1990's Gamera films are presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and are also Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

Similar to the video section, lets jump in with a bullet form for each film.

Gamera: The Giant Monster has an overly compressed sounding, Japanese mono presentation. The audio level can get a bit shrill at times, causing the audio to clip. It includes removable English subtitles.

Gamera vs. Barugon is also a Japanese mono presentation with removable English subtitles. It has no shrill peaks in the audio level, but is once more obviously compressed.

Gamera vs. Gyaos is presented in Japanese with a mono audio track. No inconsistences in the track, but its compressed which is not as noticeably as the last two but not as sharp sounding as it could be. The presentation includes removable English subtitles.

Gamera vs. Viras is presented in mono with a Japanese audio track. Maybe its because the audio taxes the volume levels a little more, since it features the "Gamera Song" and more children cheering, but the audio track sounds very flat thanks to the large levels of compression found here. The audio track includes a removable English subtitle track as well.

Although the video track suffered on Gamera vs. Guiron, the audio is one of the better of the Showa entries. The audio track here is mono and is devoid of any inconsistences during its duration. Like the rest of the set, its a Japanese track with removable English subtitles. Now I haven't brought it up so far, as the subtitles are generally pretty good, but ever so often there is a typo. This film has one of the more obvious subtitle goofs, but there are a few throughout the set.

Gamera vs. Jiger presents a Japanese audio track in mono. The audio is obviously compressed, which is obvious during the "Gamera Song" that opens up the movie. The audio track can be accompanied by removable English subtitles.

The audio on Gamera vs. Zigra is sadly awful. It's a huge step below the others as the dialogue sounds harsh and the "Gamera Song" is a bit garbled. I'm not sure on the source, but it's very crude and in need of restoration, betraying the print used in the video transfer which is in good shape. Like the other tracks, the movie is presented in its original Japanese, mono, with removable English subtitles.

Another subpar audio presentation for Gamera: Super Monster. Although the video quality might be a cut above the others, the audio is still rough sounding and dialogue sounds harsh for the Japanese audio track. The audio comes with removable English subtitles which, as a side note, spell Gyaos as Gaos.

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe boasts a stereo track in Japanese. While compressed, the audio track sounds the best of the 11 films in this set with no overt distortions and features removable English subtitles.

Gamera 2: Advent of Legion features a stereo track of the original Japanese audio. The track is compressed, but still holds up well without impacting dialogue or sound effects... although the end song during the credits really suffers and sounds a bit muffled. Thankfully there are no overt signs of audio track damage. The audio track includes removable English subtitles.

The last audio track in the set, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is a stereo presentation of the Japanese audio track. It comes with removable English subtitles. As before, there are signs of compression, although is only very obvious during the opening sequence with the light chorus work and very obvious during the closing song which sounds like its playing between a thin wall and the listener at times.


 Extras:

No extras for this release. Each disc features three Gamera films (except Gamera vs. Zigra and Gamera: Super Monster are by themselves), with a basic menu to select each one, and nothing more. There is no chapter selection or another beyond that basic screen.

One odd glitch that I noted, at least on my playback experience, is if you try to rewind the DVD toward the beginning you will be taken to the end of the movie and it will start to rewind from there. Was not able to reproduce this 100% of the time, but it seems to occur after watching another movie first on the disc.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, this set is a great value, but you're better off searching for individual or two pack releases of the titles. There is just too much compression on this set. The buyer has to be really budget oriented to find this as the most appealing option of owning the 11 movies. Sadly, they aren't readily available elsewhere at a good price on the format, especially the ADV Gamera Heisei releases which go for top dollar. As a last resort, this is certainly a workable solution if not ideal... although consumers are better off looking into the Blu-ray sets for the films contained within that have infinitely better quality thanks to the larger disc format and because they weren't as consolidate as this set is.

As a side note, considered placing this in the box sets, but even though it features a ton of films it comes in a single DVD case with one a deep tray to hold them all. It's similar to Sony's Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection in that regard and so classified it similarly.