A Rival for Gamera?

Well, this one  — though it features a giant turtle — seems to be the product of a completely different genre to that of the Friend of Children — a daikaiju eiga subgenre all its own. In fact it looks rather like a Gamera film made by David Lynch after a wild night at a party in honour of Mack Sennett.


Ichimotsu (Japan-2008; dir. Taku Yamamoto)

Racing, a giant turtle racing against two detectives, racing again!

As all the sites that have information on this strange kaiju eiga are in Japanese, it’s hard to put a coherent synopsis together. But it seems that it is an independent film. It takes place in 1970. The main protagonist is a policeman named Tobisawa (Kohtaro Takaoka), who may be in disgrace (I’m unsure of that) and as a result is sent to a village in Kumamoto Prefecture, where there have been reports of activists targeting a local magnate and his son. This pair have been manufacturing longevity drugs using turtles from a local pond.

Tobisawa is forced to confront an unbelievable creature, a giant (“over 17 feet long”) man-eating tortoise named Gami. Legend has it that the Kaiju Gami is hundreds of years old and will arise once again to take retribution. [“Gami” is a word coined for the film, combining the Japanese words G(K)AME(or tortoise) and KAMI (or Spirit).]

A key feature of confronting the creature seems to involve running away.





Running Away:



Here is a picture of the Gami puppet used in the production:


Somewhere in the mix are Tobisawa’s brother, Kamota (Kazuya Sasaki), an old man named Otojiro (Hiroyuki Kawano), who is suffering from memories of war, and his grandchild Yoshimi (Sayo Yokota) — I’m guessing that’s her in the image below.


There also seems to be a lot of lurking around in the pond reeds:


Strange gadgets, too:


Ichimotsu was filmed in black and white on 8 mm film and was directed, written, shot and edited by Taku Yamamoto. The music is by Taku Yoshida and Taku Yamamoto. It runs for 96 minutes… with “run” being a key word, as you can see from the trailer below. I think you’ll agree that the trailer displays a bizarre exuberance that makes Ichimotsu look like something we’ve never seen before.


Trailer 2:

I suspect that director/creator Taku Yamamoto is a weird guy. Here is his official portrait:


I’d love to see this film. It looks beautifully eccentric and exuberant with that peculiar form of Japanese weirdness that I never tire of. Currently Ichimotsu is not on DVD, though there was a Japanese DVD available a while back. It sold out. Hopefully whatever response that comes from this article will encourage the creators to do a new run.

This entry was posted in Daikaiju, Film, Giant Monsters, Japanese, News. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Rival for Gamera?

  1. Avery says:

    My God I must see this film!! It looks so awesome!!

  2. shonokin says:

    This looks wonderful, I hope it somehow makes it to the West.

  3. G2KM says:

    I’ll look for a translator, but I am not making promises.

  4. Godzilla the ultimate says:

    Rmm… okay, not sure what to think of this.

  5. DroutTrigger says:

    looks interesting.

  6. gojiguy says:

    love it. hope to see more.

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