Gamera is the Daiei Studios kaiju star and chief rival of Toho's Godzilla, King of the Monsters. The several-hundred foot tall fire-breathing giant monster, who spins like a firewheel as he flies through the air, plays off the Japanese archetype of the sea turtle, an animal which is a holy creature in Asian mythology and not the comic figure it is in the U.S. Unlike Godzilla, who first appeared in an SF horror film, Gamera was introduced in a light-hearted children's fable, making him prey to increasing silliness as the original series went on. Fortunately, a new series of Gamera films have updated the origin and returned some measure of dignity to one of our favorite kaiju.