Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 10: Luke and his dark father

Oh wait, this isn’t Star Wars? In this week’s episode of Garo, Luke finally confronts the painful memories of his past. As they unfold before our eyes, you can imagine that Luke is finally reflecting on his mother’s death for first time in years (maybe even decades). Part of the harsh truth is that he played a part in his mother Adelaide’s death. She was locked in a battle of life and death with Christopher Harden, her husband and Luke’s father. Luke suddenly called out to her, and that brief moment of distraction — with warriors like these, a second is more than enough — allows the former Silver Knight to cut her down with one strike. With her final breath, she tells Luke that strength is merely the means to an end. He needs strength not for himself but for others. But up until now, Luke likely blamed himself for his mother’s death. As a result, he locked this invaluable teaching moment away in the deep, dark recesses of his heart. In doing so, he could protect himself from the past, but he also keeps himself ignorant of his mother’s lesson. His humiliating defeat in this week’s episode, however, finally opens his eyes.

Yes, I’m referring to Luke’s humiliating defeat in this week‘s episode. With Meifang’s help, the Garo Alchemist pulls his body together and goes about protecting the city. Just the usuals, y’know? Hunting Horrors and erasing people’s memories. Face to face with the destruction all around them, people naturally think terrorists had attacked. The firemen digging through concrete rubble evokes images of 9/11. All that’s missing are dogs desperately looking for survivors and becoming dejected as the enormity of the task overwhelms them. But as I was saying, Luke finds the strength to fight only Horrors. At one point in the episode, he takes out a Horror that is brave enough to appear in broad daylight. Shortly afterwards, Luke helps a firefighter lift up a chunk of debris in order to rescue the child trapped underneath. Unfortunately, when the firefighter finally manages to pull her out, she’s no longer breathing. They are too late. All of a sudden, the chief firefighter shows up and scolds his underling: “You idiot! Don’t give up on her!” The chief then performs CPR on the child, and she miraculously comes back to life. As the firefighters take her away to get better medical treatment, all Luke can do is remain motionless. He’s stunned. He had given up on the girl. He’s been fighting with the wrong mindset all this time.

If you don’t have strength, then you’re not good enough. That was his father’s lesson, and even though his father had killed his mother, Luke took that sentiment to heart. Even as a kid, he looked up to his father more than his mother. He was trained as both a Garo Knight and a Garo Alchemist, but he always seemed to gravitate towards his father. Maybe he simply thought his father was cool. Maybe we always try to seek approval from those who deny it from us. Christopher Harden was seemingly never warm. He never seemed to be a father figure of any sort. On that fateful night, he returned home only to kill Adelaide. He felt that she was holding him back. In other words, his emotional attachment to her — the few strands of it that he had left — was what he needed to sever in order to gain true strength. On the other hand, he never once bothered to raise a finger against Luke. The kid was nothing to him. He essentially had no emotional attachment to his own son. This was the other half of the harsh truth. Not only did Luke play a part in his mother’s death, he looked up to a man who never saw him as a son.

So finally, after going through the process of reliving his painful past, Luke can cast off his father’s toxic teachings and take up his mother’s mantle. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t ever get enough strength to defeat the Dark Knight. It doesn’t matter if he can’t best his father in one-on-one combat. All that matters is that he finds enough strength to protect the people around him. We learn later that the chief firefighter eventually loses his life in the rescue effort. In a world full of Garo Knights and Horrors, the chief was relatively weak. I mean that with no disrespect, of course. After all, he was just a regular human. It’s simply true that he doesn’t have the sort of strength that the Dark Knight moans on and on about. And yet, despite his minuscule power, he managed to save countless lives in just the past few days. He even saved a girl that Luke had given up on. The Garo Alchemist with decades of training and all sorts of tricks in his toolkit couldn’t even save a child, because it’s all about having the right attitude. If you fight for the wrong reason, you’ve already lost. And with that lesson, Luke can finally move on. We see him depart from the city by the end of the episode. I’m not sure why he needed Meifang to give him a black eye, but I guess she did say she would “smack [him] back into shape.”

My only quibble with this week’s episode is that Luke’s father continues to be a terrible, one-dimensional character. We never see him show any love or consideration for his family, so it makes you wonder how Adelaide ever fell for the guy in the first place. He also appeared to blindly seek strength for strength’s sake. He was lured to the dark side much like, say, Anakin from those wonderful Star Wars prequels (hell, his son is even named Luke). But as we all know, Anakin was seduced by power because he desperately wanted to protect his family. That’s what makes his story so tragic (even if you disagree with how it was executed by George Lucas). I’m not asking for Garo to copy Star Wars wholesale, but at the moment, there’s no reason to think that the former Silver Knight was ever once a respectable man. He was a big jerk back then, and he’s a big jerk now. He had an insatiable lust for power back then, and he still does now. Yawn. I was also hoping that Luke would pick his sword back up again and combine both his parents’ teachings, but this isn’t a big deal. If anything, I’m just really disappointed by the Dark Knight.

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5 Replies to “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 10: Luke and his dark father”

  1. This episode is fine, although I do want to know what the f*ck the bad guys are doing right now. Are they enjoying a nice darjeeling tea party somewhere, discussing the current state of the world? No wonder the good guys can take it easy. The bad guys also take the entire thing easy. Lol

    “If you fight for the wrong reason, you’ve already lost.”

    I have no problem with that aesop, but I really wish the anime refines it further. It’s just too simple and sloppy. A right reason is indeed a nice place to start, but you need much more than that to actually accomplish something. But, this anime has been simple in so many aspects from the beginning until this point. No reason to change now.

    “Luke’s father continues to be a terrible, one-dimensional character.”

    This anime does aim to be a simple good vs evil story. So, I guess this is as good as we can get. Let’s look at the bright side of this character. At least there is no way this anime can f*ck this character up, right?

    I do hope that we don’t get the good, old “I suddenly find empathy and regret everything I do so far” or “some flashback to make us think that he isn’t that bad for a bad guy” or both right before he inevitably died or something like that.

  2. @ Sean
    I like that you can see the reason why Chris didn’t kill Luke right there and then with his mother. And DK’s portrayal being too simple so far is a good criticism. Let’s hope the show improves on it. About Luke asking Mei Fang to punch, well, he declined her offer earlier but after reminded of his errors in forgetting his mother’s words, it seemed Luke thought that he needed the “Bright-slap” (borrowing a Gundam term there) before going on his journey.

    @Advaris
    “This episode is fine, although I do want to know what the f*ck the bad guys are doing right now. Are they enjoying a nice darjeeling tea party somewhere, discussing the current state of the world? No wonder the good guys can take it easy. The bad guys also take the entire thing easy. Lol”

    Funny, I never once see a person complaining “Gee, this Dark Knight movie is great but what brought it down is that we don’t see what The Joker is doing in between scenes where he is absent”. You can replace that with any other great superhero movies out there. At this point, you seem to be trying really really hard to look for and say bad things about this anime.

    “I have no problem with that aesop, but I really wish the anime refines it further. It’s just too simple and sloppy.”

    Sometimes, your perspective decides on how you feel your life (win or lose). With this new perspective, Luke is developing and changing as a character slowly but surely. And who knows, this new perspective might introduce him to further strengths. This is all a first step towards a better direction for him.

    “This anime does aim to be a simple good vs evil story. So, I guess this is as good as we can get. I do hope that we don’t get the good, old “I suddenly find empathy and regret everything I do so far” or “some flashback to make us think that he isn’t that bad for a bad guy” or both right before he inevitably died or something like that.”

    When the show is simple when it comes to DK right now, you’re complaining. But if the show tries to give more depth to Chris Harden later on, you already reserved a spot for another complaining. The conclusion is, you will complain and diss the show without fail no matter what the show do.

  3. “When the show is simple when it comes to DK right now, you’re complaining. But if the show tries to give more depth to Chris Harden later on, you already reserved a spot for another complaining. The conclusion is, you will complain and diss the show without fail no matter what the show do.”

    Because I don’t like cheap and sleazy emotional manipulation to make me feel sorry for a guy that massacred a lot of people, murdered his own wife, and scarred his only son for the rest of his life? That isn’t giving depth. That is just cheap emotional manipulation.

    It’s like “Look! The dude may have committed genocide, but he have such a shitty childhood and he said sorry before he died, so it’s totes okay, right? Think of that dude, people!” If you can’t tell the difference between those two things, I don’t think there is much to discuss about here.

    1. I can tell the difference just fine, thank you very much.

      I don’t have much problem with this part of your complaint:
      “I do hope that we don’t get the good, old “I suddenly find empathy and regret everything I do so far” “.
      Heck, I agree with it, especially with the “sudden” part. The “finding empathy & regret” part itself is not a default problem. It depends on the execution.

      My problem is this part of your complaint:
      “some flashback to make us think that he isn’t that bad for a bad guy”
      The “flashback” part bugged me. There’s nothing wrong digging through Chris’ character through further flashbacks later on so that we know more about him. Whether or not it makes him less of a bad guy is up to the audience to decide later on when it happens.

  4. @ Sean
    Oh yeah, before I forget, the knights are called Makai Knights. Garo is the name of just one knight among other knights. In previous installments, besides Garo, we have Zoro, Zero, Zex, Zanga, Gaia, etc.

    And more props to you for getting what this episode is going for with the fireman/firefighters subplot for Luke. It’s refreshing reading someone who gives credit when it’s due (but still sensibly critical) instead of constant bashing just for the sake of it.

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