DAY TWENTY THREE:
VAMPIRE MONSTER GYMAIRA
Written by Jonathan Wojcik
We just saw a giant monster "zombie" and a giant monster "witch," so how about a giant monster DRACULER?!? Ultraman continuity has several to pick from, including an actual bat-based vampire named Dracula, as well as a vampire bat kaiju whose bite spreads a vampire virus! Those guys, however, are just a little "on the nose." Cool, but a little straightforward to really grab my attention quite like today's entry.
You would never expect something with a "vampire" theme to just look like a thorny, black dinosaur, but personally, I can see it. It's SO ominously dark and spiny, and eyes are so sinister and there's an additionally "gothic" quality, to me, of its cracked white belly scales and the long proboscis-like horn on its nose. It just feels like it wouldn't look too out of place in a Castlevania game, you know? It's got a real "medeival bestiary demon" vibe going on.
But how, pray tell, does the "vampirism" come into play? Why, how else? It bites people on the neck and sucks their blood! DUH!
"But wait" you say, "isn't it too big to do that?"
I hope you love this every bit as much as I do:
YES!!! YES!!! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!
I mean, for real, I've actually had multiple monsters of my own with this exact same trait, and I somehow never knew Gymaira existed until I started this review feature. The monster drains blood through its tubular tongue, and that tongue branches, and branches, and branches some more, like the feeding probosces of some ribbon worm species, which also inspired a kaiju of my own back in the day! It's an ingenious way for something so huge to sustain itself on blood alone, allowing it to feed from hundreds of smaller creatures at once.
The fun doesn't end there, either; in true vampire fashion, Gymaira can telepathically enslave any living being it has ever fed from, and an entire population of humans on its remote island are drawn regularly to its cave where they obediently submit to its leech-like tendrils. That is so cool! And also like a proper vampire? It even has a kaiju "Renfield!"
This handsome weirdo is Human Monster Lavras, and yes, as the name implies, it is ultimately revealed to have been a human being at one time! Unlike such Kaiju as Jamila, there's virtually no trace of humanity left visible in this big lizard, but there's certainly a ghoulish, mutated quality to its moist looking, wrinkly brown details, gnarly teeth and small, low-set eyes. It also has a crab-like pincer for a left arm, just to make it extra freaky!
Gymaira transformed a human into this messed-up newt with nothing but a weird energy beam from its mouth, serving it as another blood bank and slave. How often can Gymaira do that? Why doesn't it turn everybody into a big monster it can get more blood from?
It's certainly not that Gymaira can only control one fellow monster at a time, because Lavras is only one of the vampire's two kaiju slaves, the other being Octopus Monster Daron! Nobody mentions whether Daron was always an octopus or was once something else, and there's really no telling. Judging by Lavras, Daron could have just as easily been a koala bear for all we know. I do love how Daron's pale green complexion, beady red eyes and kind of blocky head give me such a 50's horror vibe, almost Frankensteinian if that makes sense?
I also now realize that one of my favorite toys as a child, a little rubber critter that came out of a vending machine one day, was in fact a keshi figure of Daron all along. I was actually crushed when I lost the figure only months after getting it, and I've never owned or seen one quite like it since.