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Sunday, August 4, 2013

CREATURE FEATURE : Gabara


Gabara (ガバラ, Gabara) is a fictional monster featured in the 1969 Japanese tokusatsu film All Monsters Attack, the tenth Godzilla film to be produced by Toho, which would later be brought to the US under the title Godzilla's Revenge. Gabara is the primary antagonist of the film.


History
All Monsters Attack
Just as All Monsters Attack is one of the more distinctive entries in the Godzilla canon, Gabara is very unique amongst the other Toho-made monsters. It seems that Gabara exists entirely inside the dreams of lead child character Ichiro.
In the context of the film, Gabara is a resident of Ichiro's imaginary Monster Island, and a constant tormentor to the much smaller Minilla, inspired by Ichiro's own real life problems with bullies around his neighborhood. After receiving combat training from his father Godzilla, and extra assistance from the human protagonist, Minilla does successfully challenge the bully. Finally, Gabara was confronted by Godzilla himself, given a sound thrashing, and sent to lick his wounds deep in the jungles of Monster Island.
Despite the film's overuse of stock footage, Gabara was the only original monsters created for the film, along with newly filmed fight scenes and effects.


Go! Greenman
The character did not make any further appearances in the Godzilla film franchise, but did make a 'guest spot' in the fourteenth episode of the short Kyodai (giant superhero) television series Ike! Greenman (Go! Greenman). However, despite this, it's unclear if this means Gabara exists outside of Ichiro's dreams, that Greenman's adventures (or at least that episode) take place within them, or if the two are totally unrelated. The best way to view this situation is similar to Godzilla's appearances on Zone Fighter...only more obscure.


Appearance
The audio commentary for Classic Media's 2008 DVD release of All Monsters Attack humorously compares Gabara to a bipedal cat with car engine problems. Although not based on any real animal (living or extinct), Gabara is very similar to (and more then likely based on) the Oni of Japanese mythology and folklore. His costume design is very reminiscent of these demonic ogre / troll-like beings, further mixing the turquoise scales of a reptile with orange, cat-like fur. He also has three horns on his head, again much like the Oni, whose horns varied between one-to-three on average.
Gabara's ability to electrocute things on contact is possibly a reference to Oni lore, as they too were sometimes associated with the natural forces of lighting and thunder.
Its roar sounds like mocking laughter.


Abilities
Electric bolts generated from its arms and 'Power Horn', of which Gabara can then electrify anything or anyone it touches.


Trivia
Within the context of the film, Gabara is a representation within the dreams of Ichiro, the main character, of a schoolyard bully of the same name. Similarly, Ichiro is represented by Minilla, Godzilla's son. After Godzilla defends his offspring in Ichiro's dreams, Ichiro is able to overcome his fears and confront the real Gabara.
Gabara is the only monster in the Toho universe that exists only in a dream; that is to say, it does not exist in the real world like Toho's other kaiju.
Gabara is the second monster to be defeated by both Godzilla and Minilla. The first was Kumonga.
Gabara is probably an imaginative take on the Oni, an ogre-like race in Japanese mythology. Confirmed Kaiju that are Oni can often be seen in the ongoing Ultraman franchise, with characters like Oni-On, from episode 27 of Ultraman Leo, and Sukunaoni from episode 16 of Ultraman Tiga. Oni are major mainstays in Japanese culture, and are often depicted in fantasy films and TV series beyond the Kaiju Eiga genre, including American produced projects like the 2006 animated movie Hellboy: Sword of Storms.
In a 1990's Monstervision commercial for Turner Network Television (TNT), which used Godzilla film footage with Blue Oyster Cult's related song in a music video like fashion, Gabara is incorrectly referred to as 'Baragon'.
In the Simpsons episode "30 minutes over Tokyo", in the end Gamera, Rodan, Mothra and Godzilla are attacking the Simpsons and Gabara's Laugh like roar is heard.



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