Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 12: Cranston Motel

Sophie thinks she’s found a nice, comfy motel in the middle of nowhere, but Sword and Gina know better. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. The motel owner appears to be a disgraced former president of a notable company. For reasons we’ll never know — and it isn’t really relevant anyway — he lost his bigwig job and went into financial ruins. His family had to flee Russell City and make a living all the way out here. Naturally, his despair allowed a Horror to possess his soul, and he now has a sweet gig hustling wayward travelers. He fed guests to a man-eating water Horror, and in return, he got to steal the dead’s belongings. Slowly but surely, he was going to earn his way back to the big city. It’s not an honest living, but… ah, I’ve got nothing. Matthew Cranston is obviously an evil, wife-beating murderer.

This episode almost feels like an homage to Psycho, but it’s possible I’m imagining things.

You even have the guy going down to the basement every so often to talk to someone. Of course, that “someone” is actually the Horror, but since Horrors are born from man’s negative feelings, he is talking to himself. The cellar is where the climactic moment takes place in Psycho.

And maybe Matthew’s screaming wife is reminiscent of Marion Crane. Ahhh, probably not.

Certainly, the original Psycho was never this bloody. I can’t speak for the remake with Vince Vaughn; I’ve never seen it.

In any case, Sword and Gina both do their thing, and the Horror dies. Afterwards, Gina tells Sophie that she’s rewritten the survivors’ memories. They know thing Matthew simply died in a freak tornado accident. The Makai Organization has a very cavalier approach to fucking about with people’s minds. I know they think that this is for the better, but it still doesn’t sit well with me.

There are a couple of cringey moments like Sword’s oppai speech, but I nevertheless found this week’s episode somewhat interesting overall. For one, there’s no eye-rollingly lame message to wrap everything up in a nice and tidy bow. This is a sharp contrast from last week’s ending. Remember how San Del Dios got completely destroyed, but Sword was like, “Well gosh, as long as those people have each other, they’ll be just fine!” You don’t get any of that overly saccharine nonsense here. Instead, you get the feeling that George and his mom’s lives are completely ruined. Yes, Matthew was abusive, but now what? Where are they going to go? How are they going to survive? Sword puts his shades on all cool-like at the end of the episode, and our heroes leave the survivors in their wake. That’s the reality of the situation. Gina reiterates to Sophie that she and Sword are limited in what they can do: “We can only protect the lives of people by eliminating Horrors. Even if doing so leaves behind a harsh reality. It’s impossible to remove all the pain.”

They can’t stop domestic abuse.

They can’t stop rampant inequality from tearing cities apart.

And oftentimes, the survivors are just as bad off now as they were before. Who’s to say despair won’t overcome George and his mother and draw forth even more Horrors? And that’s really something interesting to ponder about. Sure, the Makai Order can’t fix mankind’s problems, but mankind’s problems are often what leads to Horrors. I mean, look at the screenshot of the broken, lawless city full of hungry vagrants and violence. That has to be a breeding ground for Horrors, no? Gina even says it herself: “The hearts of people with no other place to go continue to darken.” The implications are obvious. And I understand the idea that mankind’s problems are out of the Makai Order’s scope. They barely have enough people to keep Russell City from completely falling apart. This whole El Dorado business has sprung up out of nowhere, and they barely have any information about it. So it’s natural for Sword to think, “We can only eliminate Horrors. We can’t save the hearts of man.” They’re only capable of treating the symptoms and not the disease. Cut down one Horror today, but hundreds more can appear overnight.

Logistically, this is a lost cause. There’s no way the Makai Order can keep up with human population growth. In Garo – Vanishing Line, we get to see Sword and company be the heroes and try to save the day. And they probably will. They’ll probably march into El Dorado and kick the King’s ass. But if the situation here is already this bad, you can’t help but imagine what a hellhole the rest of the world must be. And it can only get worse.

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7 Replies to “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 12: Cranston Motel”

  1. They’re not kidding when they say that this is a lawless zone abandoned by the government and probably a lost cause for the Makai defenders. The zone is this worse version of Detroit and of course superheros can’t really solve economic problems. Sword & Gina did what they can for the people in San Del Dios & Cranston family but their main mission is still El Dorado and that is their priority. Even Sword who is compassionate towards the common folk couldn’t do much.

    It’s a nice episode that stresses this particular grim aspect in Garo.stories.

  2. As a stand alone episode, this episode is fine. I don’t like saccharine nonsense unless if it’s meant to emphasize the black part in black humor.

    As a series, the tone of this anime is just all over the place. The last episode is so campy I wish this anime just completely embraces the camp and becomes a parody or satire with “crosses the line twice” black humor. Now, this episode isn’t just a homage to Psycho, but a genuinely dark and serious piece, ignoring some lame attempt at comedy. I know this anime is episodic, but episodic series still have consistency and theme. And I still remember the beginning of this anime when it seemed like it would become anime Terminator 2. Is this anime just going to become a series of homage to old American movies with Garo trappings?

    Oh well, it could be much worse. At least it’s watchable from time to time.

    1. “I know this anime is episodic, but episodic series still have consistency and theme. And I still remember the beginning of this anime when it seemed like it would become anime Terminator 2.”

      Again, people don’t seem to have a problem when Cowboy Bebop did this and is still hailed as one of the best anime, but now it’s suddenly a problem to have both lighter episodes and heavy episodes in a series. Go figure.

      1. And what make you think I’m fine with Cowboy Bebop when it does this? I don’t like the lighter episode of Cowboy Bebop and I also don’t like Ed and that dog. Go figure.

        1. Because you’ve been repeatedly saying that you want GVL to be like Terminator 2? Don’t you know that Terminator 2 is a marriage between heavy themes and levity just like GVL? I mean, in one scene, you have Sarah Connor, the mother of the MC, being molested by her keeper while in another scene, you have John Connor giving orders to the Terminator in a comical way.

          Are you sure you’re not complaining here just for the sake of complaining?

          1. I think that this is all just come down to the fact that I think that this Garo is unable to blend its serious moments and light-hearted moments harmoniously and you think that it is. I guess we just have to agree to disagree on that note.

            1. So now we know that the problem is not “consistency” like you claimed above. Like GVL, Terminator 2 that you often hail is also not consistently dark, heavy and depressing. It has a good portion of comedy and even family-friendly warmth in it. And you’re fine with it. So, it’s okay for a movie or a show to not have a consistent tone. It’s not necessarily a negative by default.

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