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The Atlanteans are an advanced race of super-ancient humans. Similar to the people of Mu and Lemuria, the Atlanteans are said to have possessed a powerful and scientifically advanced civilization that was abruptly wiped out and all traces of it disappeared. The Atlanteans appear in both Daiei's Heisei Gamera trilogy and Toho's 1997 film Rebirth of Mothra II. In the Gamera trilogy, the Atlanteans are frequently referred to as Ancients (古人?, lit. Ancient People), while in Rebirth of Mothra II they are called the Nilai-Kanai Kojin (ニライ・カナイ?). Nirai・Kanai
The Nilai-Kanai were a powerful race of humans, but like their modern counterparts they faced the problem of increasing pollution levels. To solve this, they created Dagahra, a kaiju which could feed on pollution and remove it from the seas, safeguarding their aquatic city. Unfortunately, Dagahra went out of control in its feeding, and its byproduct, the Barems, wiped the race out, leaving behind only the Nilai-Kanai Temple, inhabited by a hologram of their leader, Princess Yuna, and the creature Ghogo. In the event of Dagahra's return, Ghogo was sent to the surface world to defend against the creature. Ghogo brought a group of children as well as the Elias to the Nilai-Kanai temple, while the evil Elias Belvera attempted to control Dagahra and have him wipe out humankind. After racing against two of Belvera's mind-controlled henchmen through the temple, the Elias and the children encountered Yuna's hologram, who revealed that Ghogo was the treasure of the Nilai-Kanai civilization and the only hope of defeating Dagahra. When Dagahra attacked the temple, Mothra Leo arrived to defend it, but was overwhelmed by a swarm of Barems. Ghogo approached the wounded Leo and merged his life energy with him, transforming Leo into Rainbow Mothra. Leo successfully destroyed Dagahra's internal Barem-producing organs, severely wounding it. Yuna then activated a device in the temple that dragged Dagahra towards it, causing the temple to explode, destroying every last trace of the Nilai-Kanai civilization and the threat of Dagahra along with it.
Thousands of years ago, the Atlanteans genetically engineered the perfect organism, Gyaos, possibly as a weapon. However, the Gyaos began to reproduce out of control and turned on their creators, feeding on them and destroying their civilization. As a last-ditch effort to stop the Gyaos, the Atlanteans created Gamera, a benevolent creature with the sole duty of destroying the Gyaos and defending the planet Earth from any threats. Gamera successfully destroyed most of the Gyaos, but the Atlantean civilization was completely destroyed. Before the Atlanteans were wiped out, they sealed Gamera in an atoll with a prophetic tablet, knowing that if the Gyaos ever returned, Gamera would arise to stop them. In the present day, damage to Earth's environment by human activities caused clutches of Gyaos eggs to hatch, and three Gyaos appeared off the coast of Japan. Gamera was awakened and attempted to destroy the creatures, but the J.S.D.F. mistakenly considered him the bigger threat and attacked him. Meanwhile, the teenage Asagi Kusanagi developed a telepathic bond with Gamera after touching one of the Atlantean beads recovered from Gamera's atoll. Gamera managed to kill two Gyaos, but the third evolved into Super Gyaos and created a nest on the Tokyo Tower. Gamera arrived in Tokyo and destroyed the nest, and after a long battle managed to kill Super Gyaos. Gamera then returned to the sea, ready to fight against any future threats.
The next year, Gamera was seemingly killed while battling the Legion. Gamera was forced to sever his link with Asagi, and therefore all of humanity, and was revived by absorbing a large portion of Earth's Mana, the energy of all life. Gamera destroyed the Legion, but had to absorb all of Earth's Mana to do so, allowing thousands of evolved Hyper Gyaos to appear all over the world. Meanwhile, another monster with ties to the Atlanteans, Iris, was awakened from a shrine in Nara and raised by Ayana Hirasaka, a vengeful orphan who blamed Gamera for her parents' deaths. While Gamera struggled to battle the Hyper Gyaos all across the planet, Iris wiped out an entire village and terrorized the Japanese countryside. After eradicating a J.S.D.F. platoon, Iris flew to Kyoto but was intercepted by Gamera. The two monsters battled in Kyoto, and after seemingly defeating Gamera Iris attempted to merge itself with Ayana. Gamera stopped the fusion and destroyed Iris using his Mana manipulation powers. Gamera then prepared to face a swarm of thousands of Hyper Gyaos approaching the city.
In Rebirth of Mothra II, the Nilai-Kanai possess very impressive technology, being able to create and at first control a kaiju. They also possess the ability to project holograms containing the consciousness of deceased people, and their temple features elaborate functioning technology and traps even thousands of years after being abandoned.
In the Gamera trilogy, the Atlanteans are proficient at genetic engineering, having bred the genetically perfect Gyaos as well as Gamera. The Atlanteans are also likely to have been skilled at harnessing and manipulating Mana, given Gamera's connection to it. The Atlanteans also created special beads which allow the development of telepathic bonds between monsters and humans.
The Atlanteans are featured on the stage "Atlantis Rises from the Deep" in the game Godzilla Unleashed: Double Smash. In this stage, crystals sent to Earth by SpaceGodzilla raise the city of Atlantis to the surface. On this stage, the player's monsters must battle against the Atlanteans' vehicles and weapons, and also battle against Manda and the Gotengo.
- The Atlanteans' connection to the monster Iris in Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris is not entirely known. A black Atlantean bead similar to the ones found with Gamera is located in Iris' shrine, and creates the telepathic link between Ayana and Iris. In the film, it is suggested that Iris is simply the ultimate evolution of the Gyaos, due to sharing most of its DNA with Gyaos. A much darker suggestion is offered by the character Kurata Shinya. According to him, the Atlanteans may have intentionally created Iris to kill Gamera, either to prevent him from ever becoming evil or to actually allow the Gyaos to wipe out the human race. In addition, another theory is provided which suggests that Iris is the spiritual opposite to Gamera, being the equivalent of the Vermilion Bird and the "Guardian of the South." No theory about Iris' origin is ever proven, but it is certain that Iris possesses a link to the Atlanteans and is related to the Gyaos.
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