Netflix’s latest anime series Gamera: Rebirth is here and it’s as exciting as it is disappointing. When it comes to kaiju, Godzilla usually steals all the attention and with all the remakes, you might think he’s the only one. But “kaiju” is simply a Japanese term that’s usually associated with monsters (the most popular of course, being the aforementioned Godzilla).

So it’s the summer of 1989 and a host of kids witness a monster attack. Some very arrogant American kids (who are only their because their parents are in the military) have made a name for themselves by bullying local kids and using their money to play arcade games. These kids, Boco, Unichi, and Joe, had saved their money all summer long in an effort to find a way to communicate once they all went back to school. After confronting the bullies that stole their money, they see a clash between the U.S. Air Force and a dragon-looking monster and the fighter jets are losing. In comes Gamera.

Gamera, a friend of humanity, appears to thwart monsters and has a special bond with children. For this to be a well-known story of old, the Netflix retelling of this turtle-like Godzilla is anything but kid-friendly. Even though the kids are extremely young, there’s enough vulgar language to have rated this “R” when paired with the dismemberment of humans and monsters alike. There’s only a sprinkle of sexual innuendos but there’s a lot of conspiracies thrown in there as well so I’d say this iteration is definitely geared towards teens more than children.

If you’re coming into this as someone just looking for new anime to watch, you might end up at a stalemate: you’re not going to hate it but, by all means, you’re not going to like it either. There’s no explanation of where Gamera came from, how he uses his powers, or why he’ll get bopped by monsters and suddenly turn the tide. What’s nice is how the trio eventually embrace Brody and the lessons they learn as the episodes go by (there’s six in total).

Gamera isn’t just your ordinary turtle either. This thing can blow fire out of its mouth as well as use it like a cannon, he can fly, and use it’s shell as a shield and as a weapon. Is it a bit weird to see a turtle fly? Yes, but who said anime had to do what’s comfortable? Although the kids can’t communicate with Gamera, he knows when the kids are in trouble. In your typical “shoot first and ask questions later”, the military finds out that the giant turtle is on their side only after the children convince them. It’s a series that has some good ups, some really bad downs, and a lot of cringy dialogue.

Gamera: Rebirth gets a 6.5 out of 10. This series had so much potential but fell short due to bad animation, poor dialogue, and not enough background story on the kaiju or the main characters. If you’re looking to pass the time with an animated series with episodes longer than 30 minutes, this one’s for you. I can’t promise it’ll knock your socks off, but I can promise you’ll have questions afterwards.

Gamera: Rebirth is available now on Netflix

-Jon Jones

Photos: Courtesy of Netflix

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