Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 3: One step forward, two steps backward

We finally get a tech-inspired Horror this time! And I can’t help but be amused to see that a big, scary mob boss in charge of a first-rate company gets all his information from a such a dinky looking computer. Even its true form is hardly threatening. Still, don’t let its appearance fool you. This Horror still likes to consume human flesh like the rest of its ilk. Where would your body even go anyway? Straight into the void whence the Horror emerged? Actually, I’m even more curious about how the Horror ges its information. Naturally, I can only assume the internet.

Halfway through the episode, the Horror clues its master in a meeting being held by the latter’s peers. The various gang leaders are conspiring to kill him because he’s gotten too powerful. How did the computer get this information, though? Did the gang leaders email each other to set up the meeting, and thus the Horror hacked into their accounts? That sounds awfully careless of them. But it gets even sillier than that. Somehow, the computer can warn its master ahead of time that Gina is coming. I hope SHE isn’t posting her future exploits onto the dark web for everyone to see! “Hey guys, meetup at mob boss’s HQ. We’re gonna be dodging lasers, kicking asses, and seducing creepy old dudes. Who’s in?”

Speaking of Gina, we finally meet the final member of the quadrumvirate. If you’ve been following the Garo series at all, it shouldn’t surprise you that she’s a Makai Alchemist. I think there’s some silly rule that says women can’t be Makai Knights. Nevertheless, she can hold her own against SMG-toting gangsters, and like her predecessors, she’s loaded with gadgets. Most of all, she serves as the brains behind this week’s operation. Naturally, the Makai Alchemist also employs her feminine wiles to her advantage. And since Vanishing Line appears to take place in some unidentified American city, MAPPA happily seizes the opportunity to make Gina tall and buxomy.

But like every major character introduced thus far, we only know what she’s capable of. In terms of goals, motivations, inner thoughts and concerns, so on and so forth, Gina is as much a mystery as the rest of the cast. Mystery is putting it lightly. At worst, they’re one-dimensional. I’m not calling for Garo to unveil anything and everything about a character right from the get-go, but other than Sophie’s search for her brother, there’s nothing compelling about our four protagonists. Leon at least carried the burden of his mother’s sacrifice with him, and that was established right from the very first episode. Sword, Luke and Gina are slick and badass, but I’ve little reason to get emotionally invested in their fates.

Before I continue, let’s get one thing clear: Mendoza was kind of annoying in both his speech and mannerisms. But at least the first Garo anime had a Mendoza. Three episodes in, and Vanishing Line has nothing but the mysterious El Dorado to dangle before us. Of course, not every tale of good vs evil requires a big, bad villain at the center, pulling the strings and cackling demonically at the heroes. But what I enjoyed about the original Garo was the human element on both sides. The Horrors weren’t just man-eating Eldritch monsters. They were often fallen humans, twisted beyond recognition due to their inability to resist their base desires. So far, the only Horror with a pitiable story was last week’s Hardy.

Yes, it has only been three episodes, but Garo isn’t helping itself against the Horror-of-the-week criticism that often gets bandied by viewers. The opening episode featured a run-of-the-mill serial killer, and it’s doubtful this week’s man-eating computer was ever human. Does the computer even have a personality? All I know is that it wants to eat people, and it makes angry emoji faces at its enemies. The Horror-of-the-week actually doesn’t bother me all that much so long as the Horrors are somewhat interesting in execution. The anime finally throws something at the heroes that can only come from the present day, and yet, the Horror is so uninspired, it feels as though we’ve taken two steps backward.

So far, Vanishing Line is manly (Sword), mysterious (Luke), and sexy (Gina). But where’s the heart? What separates this Garo from all of the other shows about fighting demons? The previews for next week’s episode heralds a return to Sophie and the search for her brother. Hopefully, it will also remedy what the anime is sorely lacking.

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2 Replies to “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 3: One step forward, two steps backward”

  1. After three episodes, this anime is still so bare bones. If the anime doesn’t pick up, I’ll be disappointed. It still have decent animation and action, so I’m not going to drop it unless it screws those stuff up as well.

    It’s not that hard to come up with interesting plot points or hooks with this setting. I mean how hard it is to make Makai Knight versus Horror-approved Neo Nazi: the Anime? Unfortunately, the anime so far just go after some low-hanging fruits. Meh. If this anime is just going to be mindless action flick, at the very least it should have the decency to go batshit insane like the Transformers series or the Fast and Furious series.

  2. This episode was enjoyable too mostly because MAPPA’s animation/production values, this week Horror was amusing to watch too, but like you said something is missing, they need to give us something to keep us invested.

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