Gamera the Brave is a 2006 film and the fourth Gamera film to be released in the Heisei era. With no relation to the previous three films, it was intended as a full reboot of the franchise. It is directed by Ryuta Tasaki (Power Rangers, Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) with the screenplay by Yukari Tatsui.
The plot begins in the 1970s, with Gamera sacrificing himself to save a village from a swarm of Gyaos. The plot then moves forward about thirty years or so and shifts focus onto a young boy named Toru as he finds and raises a small turtle named Toto, who is actually a baby Gamera. Meanwhile, a giant monster named Zedus appears and begins eating people, and Toto grows ever larger and stronger. Eventually, the two monsters fight, but Toto is badly injured and Zedus is only temporarily deterred. In the end, though, Toto (now a fully grown Gamera) engages Zedus in another battle and emerges victorious.
The film was released on April 29, 2006. Despite a positive reception from critics and fans, a sequel never materialized and the franchise once again fell into a period of hibernation that wouldn't be ended this time until 2015.
This film contains examples of the following:
- Big Bad: The maneating Sea Monster Zedus is the main antagonist of the film.
- Big Damn Heroes: Toto conveniently crashing into Zedus before the latter could devour Toru's Dad and Katsuya.
- A Boy and His X: Toru and Toto. Their bond is a plot point of the film
- Breath Weapon: Initially, Toto can only burp little bursts of fire, but by the end of the movie he can launch full-powered fireballs.
- Combat Tentacles: Zedus can extend his tongue to great lengths and repeatedly uses it to impale Toto.
- Giant Flyer: Toto. Like all other Gameras.
- Gratuitous English: Toru spends much of the film wearing a t-shirt that reads, in large bold letters, "A BANG UP WORK." The song played over the end credits, "Eternal Love" by the singer, mink, also scatters numerous English words and phrases throughout its lyrics.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The adult Gamera in the prologue blows himself up to kill several attacking Gyaos. The possibility of Toto doing this to stop Zedus is also a fairly major plot point.
- Ill Girl: Mai Nishio, Toru's neighbor.
- Knight of Cerebus: Zedus. The film keeps a light-hearted tone for most of the first act, but the second Zedus enters the story, everything goes to hell.
- Lighter and Softer: More optimistic than the Heisei series, but the movie opens with adult Gamera's death, how the death of his mother impacted Toru's life, and the people devoured by Zedus.
- Missing Mom: Miyuki Aizawa had died in a car crash, which has made Toru fairly cynical.
- Mythology Gag: While exploring Kousuke Aizawa's kitchen, Toto is nearly hit by a dropped knife and breathes fire on it in retaliation. The knife is a reference to the knife-headed monster Guiron, from the Showa era.
- Plot Hole: At the end of the movie, during the final fight with Zedus, Toto being able to fly and shoot fireballs is treated as a big deal, as though he has finally become a fully-grown Gamera... Except that he was able to do both of those things as a tiny little pet turtle at the start of the movie.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: In the space of a week, Toto grows from a cute little turtle to a cute house-sized turtle.
- Reconstruction: Sort of. It returns to the Showa era's focus on children, but combines it with the Heisei era's tone and good writing.
- Reboot: A good one, but it sadly landed as a dud at the box office.
- Sea Monster: Zedus just kind of shows up out of the ocean one day. The first scene which foreshadows him is rather Jaws-esque with him not being shown at all.
- Shout-Out: Sgt. Frog - Toru has to remain polite to Mai in order to borrow issues from her.
- Stock Sound Effects: Toto's roars are recycled from the 1976 King Kong.
- Those Two Guys: Ishimaru and Katsuya, Toru's friends.
- To Serve Man: Zedus is a maneater, and is shown consuming humans onscreen at several points.