Not all Horrors are bad. Zaruba apparently has no enmity for mankind. If anything, it forms a symbiotic relationship with man, albeit only one at a time. For every Garo that has ever walked this Earth, Zaruba has been there. This Horror is destined to form a contract with each and every Golden Knight, and upon doing so, it proceeds to lend said knight with its power and guidance. In fact, you’re not a full-fledged Golden Knight until you put on Zaruba’s ring (for better or for worse — no other knight can form a contract with Zaruba). That’s exactly what we see in this week’s episode as the embattled Leon inches ever so closely towards his manhood, coming-of-age, or what have you. In our young hero’s case, not only will Zaruba accompany him throughout his journeys, the not-so-evil Horror will even quell the raging fire within his heart. That’s pretty fancy for a ring; I hope the anime eventually explores how this exactly works. But for now, I have only one burning question on my mind: why even call Zaruba a horror, then?
After all, I’ve always been under the impression that Horrors are the results of, well, negative human emotions. Perhaps Zaruba nevertheless came into being in much the same way, but as soon as it popped into existence, it just didn’t have the motivation, so to speak, to hunt and consume humans. That’s rather nice of it. Of course, Zaruba won’t just help you for free. Every new moon, the Golden Knight will need to sacrifice a portion of his life force to the Horror. Over time, this must add up, so if Leon makes a long career of this, I can’t imagine him living for too long. I guess this is the price you pay to become humanity’s greatest savior. Point is, Zaruba’s a bro, and that’s more than you can say about Marcelo. Somewhere along the line, Gael’s knight apprentice fell to the dark side and killed him. Still, I can’t help but think that Gael was partly to blame. Sure, Marcelo was never the most competent assistant, and he had been stuck as a knight apprentice for quite some time now. Nevertheless, feelings of inadequacy and resentment don’t often appear out of nowhere.
But in the long run, Marcelo’s story doesn’t really matter, because this episode has a different primary objective. Its entire point is to show us how Leon eventually comes to possess Zaruba, what Zaruba is, and what Zaruba can do for our hero. It would be boring, however, if our protagonist merely stumbled upon the ring in some treasure coffer deep in some underground ruins. Well, maybe not, but my point is, if there’s any annoying formulaic about the show thus far, it’s that it feels the need to throw a monster-of-the-week at us. As such, Gael is quickly killed off even though he’s considered one of the strongest Makai Priests in the region. And as such, we get a glimpse at Marcelo’s personality and troubles, but nothing in-depth. Truly, these two characters are unimportant in the grander scheme of things, but you can’t help but wonder if the anime could’ve nevertheless told us a more interesting story. As it is, Leon gets his ring, flashes his shiny armor for the third time, and beats down the bad guy. For now, the show is entertaining enough, but as the weeks go by, I’m going to want more.
The father-son duo dynamic hasn’t changed much. If anything, I thought Leon sounded a bit whinier than usual in the tavern. Luckily, he settled down as the episode progressed. He’s still hot-headed, especially when he charged after Emma by himself. I’m not sure why he’s so distrustful of the Makai Priest. Sure, she’s disdainful of him and his father, but she hasn’t done anything to suggest that she’s an unsavory sort of character. But speaking of Emma, she remains enigmatic. For a brief moment, it looked as though she was concerned about Leon, but it soon becomes clear she was merely planting a tracker on the kid’s coat. If I have to speculate, I suspect she views Leon as a bit of a ticking time bomb. Emma knows well enough that if a full-fledged Golden Knight ever appears, their odds of success would increase dramatically. Success against Mendoza and his army of Horrors, that is. But if first impressions are anything to go by, there’s no guarantee whatsoever that Leon will come into his own. Of course, we know he will, but that’s the luxury of being in the audience.
In any case, what did Emma mean when she said, “I thought I had some business, but it looks like I was wrong. I’ll have to wait until you’re full-fledged.” I think she’s of two minds here. Again, like I’ve said, she views Leon as a bit of a ticking time bomb. So if something had gone wrong, I think she wanted to be in place to prevent the situation from getting worse. But more importantly, the Makai Priests strike me as jacks-of-all-trades, i.e. they’re not specifically fighters. Sure, Emma can hold her own against the average Horror, but the Makai Knights are the ones who specialize in killing Horrors. Priests, on the other hand, seem to do all the thankless side tasks. In video game parlance, they’d be the support class. In any case, perhaps Emma is looking for a hero to throw her support behind, so to speak, but like she says, Leon is not yet a full-fledged Golden Knight. Until then, she’ll watch and observe — perhaps even help out from time to time — but should things ever go pear-shaped with our troubled, young Garo, she won’t hesitate to kill him either.
All in all, the quality of the anime stayed the same, which is obviously a good thing. I certainly am not complaining about that. But now that we know what Garo can do, I expect steady improvements from week to week as well. Oh, if you’re curious about Alfonso, the episode focused on him for all of about a minute. He was about to die to a bunch of Horrors, but some Makai Knight saved his ass. I wonder who this new guy is. In any case, until next week…