Welcome back ladies and gentlmen to another tanka post. My first ever tanka was all the way back in July of last year with theT.A.P. Tank Tag Challenge and the most recent one I did being a standalone tanka post in honor of the King of the Monsters Kaiju. So today we make a return to the tanka scene, but this time we take a stab at everyones favourite turtle monster Gamera. Just recently I reviewed Gamera the Brave, and that inspired me to make another post about the big guy. So some context for those who don’t know what tanka’s are. They are a type of Japanese poetry with a set syllable count and number of lines. The order goes 5,7,5,7,7. All Tanka poems follow this structure, and todays tanka’s are also in honor of the kaiju from the Gamera Heisei series. But enough of my rambling, let’s get into the tankas.
If you want to read my Gamera reviews, CLICK HERE to see all of them in one place.
Born of arrogance,
Exist through fear and terror,
Our wings bring down worlds,
The one sent to wipe us out,
He shall collapse by out hand.
Context: This tanka reflects the origins of Gyaos in the trilogy as well as its place as Gamera’s arch nemesis among the other kaiju. Gyaos was created when the people of Atlantis found a way to create life, and the result was Gyaos. For their arrogance and attempts at playing God, the Gyaos destroyed Atlantis and turned it into the myth it is today. The Gyaos are bron with 2 goals in mind, to expand across the world and to kill Gamera, a true testament to their place as his nemesis.
We are the many,
We are the ones who destroy,
Our home far beyond,
Our goal close and within reach,
Tremble before the masses.
Context: While Legion may have been in what I believe to be the weakest of the Heisei trilogy, I do find their concept facinating. Legion came from space with the purpose to spread across the world and their mere nesting habits pose a threat to mankind. This tanka also referances the famous line describing the demonic creatures of the same name, who say “We are Legion, we are many”, which the Legion monster itself is in clear parallels with.
My blood, made from tears,
My skin, made from hatred,
My mind, made from fears,
My power, made from anger,
My goal, kill the guardian.
Context: Iris is perhaps the most developed and interesting Kaiju in the whole Gamera franchise excluding Gamera himself. Iris was born from the hatred that a human felt for gamera after he killed her parents, and it was her anger that kept feeding the little kaiju until it’s bloodlust grew too much and it became the true monster we know from the movie. Iris’s origins are rich with emotion and her ties to muman emotions make her a monster that in a lot of ways can be reflective of our own innate hatred and terror. The different parts of Iris being described as being made from negative emotions, and it’s goal is simple, kill Gamera for revenge.
Life given by man,
The world hurt by their actions,
My duty to save,
My destiny to protect,
My fate to die defending.
Context: This tanka brings up the topic of Gamera’s Heisei origins, how he was created by humans, but is not blind to the actions of humanity. By the third movie, Revenge of Iris, Gamera has become a full blown anti-hero or anti-villain, killing humans in his race to kill the Gyaos. He is the guardian of earth, not humanity specifically, and fears that one day, humanity will become his enemy. The final 2 lines are in reference to the final shot of Gamera 3. The movie ends with Gamera roaring into the sky as an army of Gyaos, doing his duty to protect earth. With the sheer direness of the situation, I believe this is where Gamera ultimately dies, as he was created to do, to perish protecting that which he was created to defend.
And with that, my Gamera tankas are finished. This was a lot of fun and it was great to revisit this style of writing again. I actually plan to make a tanka post for Mothra when I finish the Mothra Rebirth Trilogy.
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