Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 1: Retweet this man-eating Horror

“There’s never an end to Horrors here,” Sword says shortly after taking one out in the middle of a bustling metropolis. He had to transform in order to defeat the latest threat, leaving behind a smouldering bridge in his wake. In the early morning, the city has finally responded. After all, someone had to put out the fire. Someone will have to rebuild that bridge. But this isn’t the first Horror to attack the city, is it? Not only that, we saw this huge monster tearing through the streets, eating at least one victim in plain sight. In this day and age, that shit would be all over the news. No, not just the news. It would be all over social media. Youtube. Twitter. Instagram. I hope that’s what we see in next week’s episode. I hope society at large — using whatever platform possible — is going, “What the fuck was that?” Otherwise, this setting just won’t make sense to me.

I can give the first episode a pass, because it is the establishing episode. You establish the main characters, and you establish the premise. Sword is the badass, boobs-ogling, bike-riding Makai Knight of the 21st century. Sophie is, at this point in time, the innocent maiden, but I hope she can kick some ass later. And we’ve got monsters to kill. Horrors haven’t fundamentally changed much. They’re still the manifestation of humanity’s sins. But I wish the writers had done a better job establishing the setting. Utilizing a contemporary is more than merely changing the battlefield location. It’s more than just replacing our hero’s trusty steed with a gnarly bike. You have to capture the essence of what it means to be in the 21st century. I just can’t get my mind around the idea that there isn’t any sort of public freakout.

In the first Garo anime, the world was pretty destitute. Outside of the major cities, people lived miserable, wretched lives. They were also isolated from each other. So a few peasants go missing… is the regional lord really going to raise an army over that? On the other hand, if the city doesn’t mount any sort of credible police or military force against rampaging, man-eating monsters of the night in Vanishing Line, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. Don’t just give me a list of missing girls. Again, we’ll see what happens. Time will tell how the rest of the series handles the contemporary setting. Maybe Sword will find himself in the classic modern-day hero dilemma where he is stuck between two sides: the nightmarish Horrors and a faceless police force that doesn’t trust a vigilante hero who comes and goes as he pleases. Don’t let me down, MAPPA.

Some other loose thoughts and observations:

— The action is very herky-jerky thus far. We’ve come a long way since the first Garo series, but I would still like to get a better look at all the combat.

— We’re obsessed with boobs, aren’t we? The nameless victim at the start of the episode (did she ever get saved?) has her breasts prominently featured. Even the monster has boobs? Sword ogles the girl he picks up later. He ogles the waitress at the diner. God, don’t tell me this will be a thing for the rest of the series.

— Where is this city, anyway? Is it somewhere in America?

— When Sophie goes into the online world, I got vaporwave vibes. I wonder if this choice actually means anything.

— Then when she goes to see the Moon Wizard, the cityscape changes again. Where is she now? Is this some Disney-ish replica of a European side street in the middle of a modern metropolis?

— The Moon Wizard’s dwelling is also anachronistic. I feel like the candle wax would just drip from the ceiling and make a terrible mess.

— Funny thing… El Dorado used to refer to just a man. Then it become a mythical city of riches. I wonder what it’s going to be in this series.

Goofy.

— I guess this is supposed to be a creepy moment, but dolls don’t really do it for me. Does the Horror turn his victims into dolls or what? There’s very little storytelling in this first episode. I’m actually reminded of the scene in It when one of the kids stumble into a room filled with clown dolls.

Goofy again.

A E S T H E T I C S

— Such a badass.

— What is that? Fries with… mashed potatoes?

— Meanwhile, Sword is feasting on a hunk of meat that couldn’t have come from any cow. Along with that mountain of french fries and tomato-flavored sugar sauce, I’m sure he’ll have a find time shitting it all out later.

— I think Sword does manage to keep his promise. Too bad some innocent dude still ended up being eaten. I couldn’t help but think of the Joker’s first conversation with Batman in The Dark Knight: “I wanted to see what you’d do… and you didn’t disappoint. You let 5 people die.”

— The climax was a bit perfunctory, and not really that interesting to me. I’m just eager for the rest of the story to get started.

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6 thoughts on “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 1: Retweet this man-eating Horror”

  1. I really enjoyed this premiere, especially the new makai knight: Sword, unlike most anime heroes Sword doesn’t look weak or scrawny, Sword is a total baddass, the guy doesn’t sell anything(yet), very refreashing indeed.
    I also hope that this story goes a little deeper like the first Garo anime, character development specially from the horrors themselves will do wonders because as much as I like bombastic action it could get tiresome.

    1. He’s definitely different than the average anime hero. But I say badass facetiously. I don’t really see him as cool or badass. More like an oaf. A dinosaur.

  2. I’m conflicted about this one. I feel this Garo has better animation (for the first episode) than the previous one. But on the whole, the first episode of this Garo is weaker than the previous one. The first episode of the previous Garo is able to:

    -> Give me a broad description of what the story will be. (Nope, Makai Knights must protect the world from Horrors is a given for Garo, so I don’t count it as the “actual” plot or even conflict in Garo.)
    -> Give me a broad description of what the main characters’ roles in the story will be. (The previous Garo is able to give me a broad description of what role of Leon, German, and Alphonso will play in the story and draw me in. I don’t know jack squat about Sword and Sophie. Nope, Sword kills Horrors and Sophie is Sword’s charge isn’t good enough. I know the lingerie woman at the end of episode is supposedly to have some sort of connection with Sophie and stuff, but it’s still weak. I assume that this Garo will become anime-version of Terminator 2. Let’s hope it’s as good as that.

    Sword does look badass and manly, but I hope that he will be more than that. I mean other than his 80-90’s western action movie hero’s look, he is still kinda bland. Sorry, but being a badass is a given for a protag in anime like Garo. In fact, the one who will carry and move the story seems to be Sophie. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just that Sophie herself isn’t exactly interesting (I do hope the anime proves me wrong and this is just the first episode.) and I hope Sword will turn out more interesting than what I just watched.

    I also hope that this Garo is better than the previous Garo on the ending part. The previous Garo has a solid beginning and middle, but it loses its steam and edge nearing the end of the story. I’ll still watch this one, though. It might get better at the second episode. Garo and MAPPA have earned good will from me to give them more chances.

    And (I know this is a little nitpicky) it seems that this Garo wants to make up for the lack of woman in the previous Garo and not in a good way. It seems this anime not only want to have a 80-90’s action movie hero, but also the feel of those old sexploitation movies. I know the previous Garo starts with German having a bit of an exposition with a prostitute, so Garo isn’t as shy as your average anime about sex. But this Garo is more exploitative and mean-spirited about it at least to me.

    The first episode starts with a sea of dead women, continues to attempted not-sexual assault, and ends with an evil lingerie chick while being interrupted with perverted old man’s antics. I hope that the perverted old man’s antics isn’t going to be a running gag. If it isn’t the first time, it isn’t going to be magically funny the second time. And I hope the next case is less sexual or at least less sea of dead women.

    The action is fine, but I hope the story will improve on the previous Garo’s “Horror of the week” formula and introduce more interesting antagonist or at least Horror.

    1. Everything you wrote is valid, but nothing bothers me as much as not utilizing the setting properly. It’s nothing more than a gimmick right now. Garo… BUT IN NYC (or whatever the fuck they are)!

      1. Yeah, that would be great and it’s definitely going to make this Garo stand out. The previous Garo also has a good world-building. Unfortunately, I’ve given up on urban fantasy anime utilizing its setting properly. I mean have you ever see one urban fantasy anime in the style of Garo that utilizes its setting properly? If they even bother, it’s usually solved by the good guys having the ability to create some sort of barrier that separates the area where the battle occurred and the real world, so nothing happens in the real world. Or the good guys outright go to some sort of alternate reality or world, making me question the urban part in the urban fantasy. Or the action happens in some sort of empty warehouse district or part of the city that is abandoned. Or whatever the f*ck the creators can think of to ensure that they don’t have to deal with the mess that comes with having a Dragon Ball battle in the middle of the city.

        If they don’t bother, there is no difference really. Apparently, no one in the anime world even the cops and the social media enthusiasts are concerned with daily colossal property damage. Heck, I’m pretty sure no civilian ever died or even injured as a collateral damage in those fights unless the story wants to go melodrama on us.

        1. A dude definitely got eaten in plain view. If no one talks about that, then this Garo has already greatly disappointed me.

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