Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys

is a 1999 tokusatsu daikaiju eiga (giant-monster movie), the last (and often said to be the best) of the Heisei Gamera Trilogy. It was directed by Shusuke Kaneko, the original musical score was by Kow Otani, with special effects by Shinji Higuchi.


Three years have passed since the attack of the Legion, and the world is once again plagued by Gyaos attacks. The flying monsters, thought to have been wiped out by Gamera, are now reappearing in increasing numbers across the globe and have know evolved into Hyper Gyaos. Mayumi Nagamine, noted ornithologist, returns to aid the Japanese government in addressing this threat. A graveyard of Gamera fossils has been found at the bottom of the sea. Shadowy government agents Ms Asukura and Kurata Shinji, the former with occult beliefs and hinted by Kurata to be descended from the Atlanteans, are meanwhile working to a different agenda, with Asukura believing Gamera to be an evil spirit that has to be stopped "to prevent Heaven and Earth's destruction".

Tragedy strikes, however, as the monsters take their conflict to the populated Shibuya district of Tokyo. Two Hyper Gyaos glide across the city skyline, relentlessly pursued by Gamera. He manages to blast one of the Hyper Gyaos with a plasma ball over the city, sending its flaming body into a collision with a crowded subway. Gamera bursts into the station in order to finish off his foe, incincerating the dying Hyper Gyaos along with several city blocks. Gamera then pursues the second Hyper Gyaos, firing several plasma balls at it until it is killed. Gamera then flies away into the night sky. An estimated 15,000-20,000 human lives are lost in the battle, and the Japanese government orders Gamera's immediate destruction.

Meanwhile, a young girl named Ayana copes with the loss of her parents and pet cat, who were inadvertently killed by Gamera during his Tokyo battle with Super Gyaos in 1995. A maelstrom of hatred and despair, Ayana finds friendship in the oddest of places: a stone egg sealed within her village temple. The egg hatches a dog-sized, baby monster, whom the girl names "Iris" after her dead cat. Iris becomes the focus of Ayana's quest for revenge, as she seeks to raise her own monster and take vengeance against Gamera.

Revenge comes at a price, however, as Iris attempts to absorb Ayana in the process of his growth. The girl's suitor manages to free her from Iris' cocoon, but his taste for humanity is far from quenched. He escapes and kills the entire populace of the village, draining the bodies of all blood with his tentacles. Iris then grows into his kaiju-sized adult form.

Using organic jets in his back and forming his tentacles into membrane-like wings, Iris flies toward the city of Kyoto, but is intercepted in mid-flight by Gamera. The monsters engage in a high-speed battle in the night sky, Gamera using his saucer-like locomotion to batter Iris. The Japanese army intervenes, however, knocking Gamera out of the sky with a tactical missile strike. Iris then proceeds unimpeded to Kyoto, where Ayana has been taken by Asukura and Kurata, with Asukura deliberately trying to use the girl to summon Iris; Nagamine and Asagi, the girl once psychically linked with Gamera, retrieve her and attempt unsuccessfully to get her out of Kyoto. Kurata expresses a belief that Iris has been deliberately created to kill Gamera so that the Gyaos will wipe out modern humanity, a "decadent civilization".

Ayana lends her will to Iris, as Gamera dives on Kyoto and fires several plasma balls towards Iris. Iris easily bats them away with his tentacles, and the city erupts in flame. The two monsters engage in melee, but Iris easily gains the upper hand, impaling his foe and leaving Gamera for dead. Iris then makes his way to the train station, killing Asukura and Kurata and opening his chest to finally absorb Ayana.

From within Iris' body, Ayana experiences the monster's memories of killing her village, and realizes that her hatred and bitterness over being an orphan motivated the monster she raised. She also receives a vision of her parents' death, and realizes that Super Gyaos, not Gamera, killed her parents and cat. Just as she has her epiphany, however, Gamera smashes into the station and plunges his hand into Iris' chest. Gamera manages to wrench the girl free, robbing Iris of its human merge, but he counters this by staking Gamera's hand to the wall with one of his extendable, sword-like arms. Miss Nagamine and Asagi, trapped within the train station's wreckage, watch helplessly as Iris begins to syphon Gamera's blood, using it to create plasma balls with his tentacles. Before they can be launched, however, Gamera takes action, choosing to instead blast off his own impaled hand with a plasma ball rather than allow Iris kill him and once again absorb Ayana. Iris, having absorbed enough of Gamera's blood to mimic his plasma breath, blasts two plasma balls at the guardian of the universe.

Gamera then points the stump of his arm toward the incoming plasma balls, absorbs them, and forms a plasma fist, and drives it into Iris' wounded chest. Iris shrieks in agony and explodes, blowing the roof off the crumbling train station. The comatose Ayana still clutched in his fist, Gamera sets the girl down where Nagamine and Asagi are hiding. The women are unable to revive her, but Gamera lets out a roar and Ayana opens her eyes. Gamera leaves the girl wondering why he would save her life after all she had done, and the four survivors watch as Gamera marches into the fire-streaked night. As Gamera roars in defiance, a flock of Hyper Gyaos, thousands strong, descends upon Japan.


Daiei's Gamera Series
Species Mutant Gyaos?
Form(s) Baby Form
Adult Form
Height 99 metres
Tentacle Length 1999 metres
Weight 199 tons
Air speed Mach 9
Relationships Atlanteans (creators)
Gyaos (possible blueprints)
Ayana Hirasaka (adoptive mother/spiritual connector)
Major enemies Gamera
First appearance Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys
Created by
Portrayed by: Akira Ohashi

Iris (sometimes spelt Irys in the West) is the antagonist Kaiju from the third film in the Heisei Gamera trilogy, "Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys". Its physical appearance harkens back to the tentacled entities of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Form and abilities

The baby Iris has an armored, mouth-less head with small black eyes, and several long tentacles which sprout from a snail-like shell. It can absorb the life force of organic matter by stabbing them with its tentacle spears, leaving decayed corpses in its wake. The Behind The Scenes feature on ADV Film's DVD shows it was realised on-screen by a remotely-operated puppet.

The adult Iris is basically a bipedal creature with two hooved legs and retractable sword-like arms, topped by a head that resembles a pointed seashell. Its back is a mass of saw-edged plates, and from its sides spring four tentacles hundreds of meters long. Each of these is tipped with a bony spearhead, from which Iris can fire a sonic beam similar to the Gyaos. Iris can still drain the life force from its victims, and in the case of Gamera it was able to absorb the monster's abilities and produce its own fireballs. Its chest region is also covered in glossy, bioluminescent patches. The center patch can suck things into its body.

History within the film

Iris begins its life as a stone egg, sealed within a small underground temple in Nara village and guarded over by a family line named Moribe - local legend said it was the resting place of a demon called Ryu-Sei-Cho. (A character explains this name to be linked to Chinese mythology) A stone of unknown origin is said to keep the demon dormant as long as it's not moved.

A young girl named Ayana Hirasaka - left an orphan by the 1995 Gamera/Gyaos battle and blaming Gamera for her parent's deaths - entered the cave on a dare and moved the stone. In the process she and the latest son of the Mirobe line discover both the egg & an amulet, similar to the one that linked Asagi to Gamera in the first film. The egg later hatched, produced an infant Iris.

Ayana gains a link to the creature via the amulet and feels a kinship with the creature, stating at one point "Gamera killed its family too"; driven by total hatred for Gamera, she raises Iris (naming it after her dead pet cat) in hopes that it will become strong enough to kill him for her. It was shown to have an affectionate nature, but this is shown alongside the sinister way it eats and, later in the film, the woodland animals it leaves dead.

It is not long before Iris it attempts to merge with Ayana - and her actions show she's willingly letting it do so - by sealing her in a cocoon. Moribe discovers her and cuts her free. She is then taken to a hospital. While Ayana is gone, Iris grows kaiju-sized in the woods as it devours several villagers, including Ayana's adoptive parents and brother. Shortly, the monster grows into its adult form.

The Japanese Self Defense Force quickly deploys and surrounds Iris as it sleeps, attempting to take it out with machine guns and bazookas. Some of the soldiers are killed before Iris takes to the sky and heads for Kyoto, where Ayana had been transferred earlier. The JSDF sends two F-15s in an attempt to shoot Iris down, but it is able to evade them and almost kills them. The fighter pilots are saved by the sudden arrival of Gamera, who engages Iris in a mid-air battle. The JSDF ends the battle by shooting at Gamera, which slows him down and allows Iris to continue on to Kyoto.

Soon, Iris lands in Kyoto and fights Gamera on land with Ayana watching and commanding to kill it. Iris manages to knock Gamera down for the count and then attempts again to merge with Ayana; when Moribe intervenes, the creature swats him aside and sucks her into its body against her will. While inside, Ayana realizes that she fueled Iris' destruction with her emotions - it was her hatred that led to the death of her adopted parents, and Super Gyaos instead of Gamera actually killed her parents. All seems lost until Gamera suddenly punches through Iris' armor and rips Ayana out.

Infuriated, Iris pins Gamera's hand to a wall with its spear hand and begins to absorb Gamera's energy. Its tentacles begin to form plasma balls, when Gamera quickly uses a plasma ball himself to sever his own hand. Iris fires the absorbed plasma balls at Gamera who uses his stump to turn the plasma into a plasma fist. Gamera then uses the fist to slice through Iris' chest, killing it and ending its reign of terror.

Unconfirmed origins and motives

The origins of Iris are not explained, and instead the film presents Chinese mythology as explained by Ayana's adoptive brother, the beliefs of the Moribe clan matriach, the theories of government agent/misanthropic recluse Kurata Shinji and the actions of government agent & cultist Ms Asukara.

Grandmother Moribe states that the Ryu-Sei-Cho is a demonic creature that will destroy the world if it is ever released. In contrast, the mythology that the Ryu-Sei-Cho name comes from suggests that the being is the mythical "Guardian of the South", who will defend against a threat from the South; a tortoise (hinted to be Gamera) is said to be Guardian of the North and Ayana asks if the two Guardians are rivals (this was unconfirmed).

Asukara, who (at the start of the Kyoto battle) Kurata refers to as a former shrine priestess and hints her bloodline goes back to the Atlanteans, believes Iris to be a saviour against the "evil spirit" Gamera who threatens to destroy Heaven and Earth. With Kurata's help, she has Ayana moved from hospital to Kyoto, where she's built a shrine and where she attempts to use Ayana & her amulet to deliberately draw Iris to Kyoto. She later seizes the amulet for herself to join with Iris against Gamera (calling it "the God Naibo") and the amulet does appear to react, but no serious connection is made and she's killed in the process.

Kurata's belief is that Iris was designed by "the ancients" (Atlanteans), as Gamera and Gyaos was, but with the specific intention to stop Gamera from saving humanity from the Gyaos - "there could be a worse future for Earth than our extinction" and Iris was created to stop that future. He theorises it will permanently merge with Ayana to gain power, similar to how Gamera bonded with Asagi but to a greater degree so it can overpower the guardian. Here, Iris is basically out to ensure extinction of mankind (something he openly likes the sound of).

Kurata's belief fits in with what is shown of Iris and its actions: it is specifically awoken by the Gamera-hating Ayana, who lifts a stone it is stated a sumo wrestler couldn't move; like Gamera, it has an Atlantean amulet that links it to a human (effectively making it the anti-Gamera); through Asukara, said to be an Atlantean descendant, it is shown there is a long-running religious belief that Iris will protect Earth from destruction by Gamera; and after it is destroyed and Gamera is wounded, Gyaos flock towards Japan as if they know it's left them an opening.

It is also shown that Ayana's hatred and malice drives Iris, and it was her influence that caused it to massacre her village & adoptive family and seemingly her influence that causes it to attack Gamera. This could mean Iris' development was warped by contact with Ayana and it would not have been hostile otherwise, or simply that the creature was designed to be awoken by and to seek out individuals with such hostility in them.


  • On the ADV DVD release of G3, there is an extra called Commentary By Gamera. It is a fictional audio commentary by Kyle Jones, Gamera, Iris, and Soldier #6.

External links

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