Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 8: Breaking point

We get almost nothing but non-stop action in this week’s episode, and we all like action, don’t we? Especially if we love steak as much as Sword. On the other hand, I have almost nothing to write about. I mean, I’m not going to break the fight choreography down. There’s almost no character development in this week’s episode either. At best, you could argue that Sophia loses her innocence, but that topic is really more for next week’s episode. We also see how the old men at the Chinese restaurant do their best to limit damage to the city. It’s still mind-boggling, however, that Sword and the Dark Knight can do their little dance in and around such empty streets. Why are all the lights turned on in those buildings if nobody’s in them? The general public seems to have been teleported to a safe place miles away from the actual fight. Still, at least the city suffers an actual aftermath when it’s all said and done.

The action itself was pretty good, I think. Again, I’m no expert, but if I have to pull a grade out of my ass, I’d give it about a B. It’s not the best I’ve ever seen in anime, but it’s still a solid effort. The overall structure of the battle is a bit stale, though. Luke gets his first shot at the Dark Knight, so he obviously has to lose. He’s got way too much baggage to fight with a clear mind, so you could see his eventual defeat from a mile away. And yes, the Dark Knight is that man from Luke’s painful memories. He was once the greatly respected Silver Knight, but he lusted for strength and power. Somehow, this led him to kill Luke’s mother (but why not Luke as well?) and walk the path of the Dark Knight. What’s notable is that Luke now fights primarily with handguns and rifles. He was once trained with with the blade, though. Is Luke too traumatized to use a sword anymore, or he has just given it up for other reasons? Time will tell.

After Luke goes down, it’s Sword’s turn to take a swing at the Dark Knight. Predictably enough, the two warriors fight to a draw, so they have to call forth their special armor. It’s at this point that I start to sour on the Dark Knight’s characterization. To put it simply, he’s boring. He’s just one of those generic bad guys who is obsessed with power. He lives for the thrill of the fight, he won’t answer any questions unless you can subdue him through battle, blah blah blah. This gives Sword almost nothing to work with, so the best our hero can do is spout back equally generic lines about using one’s power to protect others. Anyway, the Dark Knight initially has the upper hand, but the destruction around them triggers something in Sword. It seems that his sister died in a fire, and Sword probably blames himself for being too weak to protect her. So seemingly out of nowhere, Sword’s “power level” shoots up and he proceeds to overwhelm his opponent with just his fists.

So now that the Dark Knight has been defeated through battle, he’ll surely spill the beans about El Dorado, the king that he serves, and what their dark intentions are, right? That’s where you’re wrong, buddy! After all, have you forgotten the Dark Knight’s words to Sword midway through the episode? He said, “If you wish to ask, ask with your blade!” Sword won with his fists, so that means no answer. Yep, you gotta play by the rules, boys and girls! In all seriousness, though, the ending is such a cop-out. Sword rears back to deliver the final blow, but the Dark Knight just goes poof. He literally disappears into thin air. Sword then somehow hears a disembodied voice telling him to prepare for their next battle. Really? And that, my friends, is why the battle gets no more than a B in my book. Everything was pretty good up until this point. All of a sudden, the writers ran out of ideas, so they had the bad guy cast “Escape.”

It’s one of those episodes where nobody really wins. The Dark Knight seems giddy enough, but he still failed to bring Sophia back to his king. Sword may have won this first encounter, but he’s no closer to the finish line than he was before all this fighting. All he’s done is dredged up some painful memories. Luke is physically and mentally wounded. He finally got to face his mother’s killer, and he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Revenge isn’t really a good look anyway. And as I previously stated, Sophia lost her innocence. She will undoubtedly blame herself for the sister’s death. Worst of all, a significant portion of the city is in ruins, and this an indictment on the Makai Order. They are woefully unprepared to protect the city, and this was just a battle between two knights. How much worse is it going to get when shit really hits the fan later on in the story? They keep referring to backups, but I never see any of the other knights and alchemists. Hell, Gina continues to be MIA. In any case, it feels like Garo – Vanishing Line has finally started.

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5 Replies to “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 8: Breaking point”

  1. Yeah, I always think about how funny it is. In each outing of Garo anime, the Makai Order seem to always be understaffed especially when the “dark side” are really getting serious in wreaking havoc. It makes me wonder why and how the horrors didn’t already rule the Earth back during the Crimson Moon (GCM) era when they can easily manifest from people’s strong desires (which arguably, all people have). Most of those horrors can just pop out of people and easily overwhelm the Makai defenders. Do the horrors lack coordination that badly? The main villains are almost always humans who coordinate the horror. GSF did it by having a bad guy which is an ex-alchemist horror-conspirator where he rules the entire kingdom using the horrors. Things like that should happen more often in this Garo universe to the point where horrors can’t be kept secret anymore.

  2. For an anime that spent six episodes to establish the setting, this anime doesn’t seem to care about its setting at all, huh? Lol

    Back on topic, the action is nice, but the rest of the episode isn’t. I mean I thought that the anime would raise the stake at this episode. It seems like the perfect moment for that, considering the T-1000 has finally appeared. I imagine that after this episode, Sword and Sophie is forced to live on the run while looking for allies and ways to turn things around as the Dark Knight and his hordes of horrors hunt them down. I know that this isn’t Terminator 2, but I think this anime would improve a lot if it learns a thing or two from that movie. Ahnold kicks a lot of ass with guns and fists, not sword. This isn’t a samurai animu.

    But, not only the Dark Knight loses at this episode which means that it’s hard to take him as a serious threat anymore like the T-1000, he loses because Sword gets a shonen power up. This also means that the good guys is not going to be forced out of their comfort zones. I’m pretty sure that the next episode will be Sword trying to cheer Sophie up through some shenanigans that ends up with Sophie finally find her optimism back after helping out at the Chinese restaurant, and probably a scene about Luke learning how not to be a chump and use sword like a “REAL” man. Status quo FTW!!! Lol

    And there is a reason you can’t cast escape spell during important fights, people! I hate “teleporting but just to escape so we can extend this shit” villains.

    1. The setting flaw was more the fault of the Garo franchise in general, not this anime in particular. GVL established the setting pretty well as a standalone independent story. We can just assume that DK is a threat that they’ve never seen or experienced before if we throw the entire franchise continuity outta the window.

      It’s not really a shonen powerup. More like DK loses because he was stupid enough to indulge Sword in a fist-fight which is the style that Sword excels at. DK should’ve kept his Naginata/spear with him XD, but hey, that’s what he wanted, right? He wanted to fight someone who can beat his ass (handicap notwithstanding).

      And what do you mean status quo? If Sophie can overcome her guilt and trauma and comes out as a better person (who can also be cheerful) especially now assuming that she can’t go back to the orphanage anymore, that’s not status quo. If Luke survives and then becomes a better fighter (either a better Alchemist or a Makai Knight) by overcoming his psychological burden later on, that’s not status quo. That’s called progress, the opposite of status quo.

  3. I mean the status quo facetiously. I mean Sophie is obviously going to find her optimism back and Luke (much later, though) is obviously going to overcome his past, but the general atmosphere or feeling of the anime itself don’t change. I expect something more drastic after the massacre in the police station and this city-wrecking rumble, you know?

    I don’t know how to put it… I guess it lacks tension? At this point, I should be worried at the well-being of all the protags because the big bad has sent his most powerful henchman or whatever, but I’m not feeling it, you know?

    1. If you know your Garo anime, they usually won’t deviate from the tone and atmosphere that they have set since the first episode. For example, GSF was perpetually dark and gloomy (save for some jokes here and there) and GCS was consistently weird, slow and underwhelming during its entire run. So, don’t expect GVL to deviate much from its set tone and atmosphere. If GVL break away from that then you can consider it a bonus (but I’m not sure I want GVL to stop being fun). Conflicts will of course escalate and things will get darker as the main villain gets even closer to victory. It’s all predictable hero tropes but we’re here for the entertaining execution and GVL delivers so far. Being entertaining and consistent must comes first. After all, you don’t want GVL to turn into BvS that tried so hard to be profound and edgy but forgot how dumb and drab the writing was, and it crashed and burned because of it.

      “At this point, I should be worried at the well-being of all the protags because the big bad has sent his most powerful henchman or whatever, but I’m not feeling it, you know?”

      I’m sorry you’re not feeling it, but not many shows start to off their protags in episode 8 you know. I mean, we already got Luke just inches away from dying and a bonus death of a nun who is a recurring side-character. That’s already good for a superhero show like GVL.

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