Gamera the Guardian of the Universe (ガメラ 大怪獣空中決戦 Gamera: Daikaijū Kūchū Kessen, lit. Gamera: Giant Monster Midair Battle), is a 1995 Japanese science fiction kaiju film directed by Shusuke Kaneko and written by Kazunori Itō. It is a reboot of the Gamera film series, the first film in the Heisei Gamera trilogy, and the ninth film in the series. It was a co-production of Hakuhodo, Daiei Film and Nippon Television, and was the first Gamera film not to be released by Daiei Film. The film was followed by Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996) and Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999).
The last one escapes to the harbor, where she is killed by the giant turtle encountered by Yonemori and the scientists. The remaining birds escape before the turtle reaches the stadium.
After translating the runes, Kusangi explains to Yonemori and his daughter Asagi (Ayako Fujitani) that the giant turtle is called Gamera and the birds are Gyaos. When Asagi touches one of the stone amulets, she inadvertently forms a spiritual bond with Gamera. Kusanagi also tries to convince the government that Gyaos are the threat, but they remain focused on Gamera due to the destruction he caused.
Now working together to investigate the creatures, Kusanagi, Yonemori, and Nagamine witness another Gyaos attack at the Kiso Mountain Range. Nagamine and Yonemori are nearly killed trying to rescue a child, but Gamera arrives in time to save them and kill another Gyaos. The last Gyaos, however, escapes. Meanwhile, Asagi discovers that she suffers the same wounds and fatigue as Gamera due to their shared bond. At Mount Fuji, she witnesses a military strike against Gamera. The attack attracts the final Gyaos to the scene, where she grievously wounds Gamera and forces the turtle to retreat into the ocean. Simultaneously, Asagi suffers a similar wound and passes out from the pain. Kusanagi visits his daughter at the hospital where Asagi falls into a coma after saying that she and Gamera must rest.
After consulting with a biologist, Nagamine and Yonemori learn that the Gyaos are genetically engineered and reproduce asexually. They speculate on the origins and purpose of Gyaos and Gamera. Nagamine suggests that Gyaos were awakened by rampant pollution and Gamera was created to combat Gyaos. They approach Kusanagi with this information, explaining that the incident at Mount Fuji shows that Asagi is spiritually linked with Gamera. Kusanagi dismisses these claims until he witnesses the amulet's power himself.
With Gamera recovering in the ocean, the last Gyaos grows unchecked, becoming a Super Gyaos. The creature attacks Tokyo, causing many civilian casualties and prompting the government to focus on Gyaos instead of Gamera. Attempts to kill Gyaos end in failure and she builds a nest in the ruins of Tokyo Tower.
Upon awakening from her sleep, Asagi warns the others that Gamera has recovered and will attack Gyaos. Gamera catches Gyaos by surpise, destroying her nest and eggs. A massive air battle ensues and Asagi, Kusanagi, Nagamine, and Yonemori follow closely in a helicopter. Initially, Gyaos overpowers Gamera, but Asagi uses her spiritual energy to revive Gamera, who kills Gyaos. Gamera then releases Asagi from their bond and returns to the sea.
Peter H. Gilmore of MonsterZero.us said, "All in all, this is a vibrant and energetic film. The monster battles are full of physical grappling as well as energy weapon exchanges, and the excellent suitmation is well augmented by judiciously used CGI." Popcorn Pictures said, "This is just a great, fun kaiju film. ... Gamera finally has a film to rival Godzilla (but he's still second best to the Big G, though) and rid the infamous legacy that has dogged him throughout his motion picture life." David Miller of CULT MOVIES praised the film's special effects, calling the film, "one of the best of all the giant monster films". Steve Biodrowski of CINEMAFANTASIQUE praised the film's "money shot" moments, stating, "supplying the necessary 'oomph' to push this over from being merely diverting to being outright exhilarating". The New York Daily News praised the film's action sequences, stating, "giant monster movie fans seeking a big-screen treat will find it here". Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, saying that, despite its flaws, "Gamera is more fun" than "megabudget solemnity like Air Force One", and that "Gamera is not a good movie but it is a good moviegoing experience".
Award of the Japanese Academy Best Supporting Actress Shinobu Nakayama - Nominated
Blue Ribbon Awards Best Supporting Actress Shinobu Nakayama - Won
Blue Ribbon Awards Best Director Shusuke Kaneko - Won
17th Yokohama Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Shinobu Nakayama - Won
17th Yokohama Film Festival Best Director Shusuke Kaneko (Tied with Shunji Iwai for "Love Letter 1995)") - Won
17th Yokohama Film Festival Best Screenplay Kazunori Ito (Also, for "Kokaku Kidotai") - Won
17th Yokohama Film Festival Best Technical (for special effects) Shinji Higuchi - Won