Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 13: Are we there yet?

No. El Dorado is still some ways off, and if the previews for next week’s episode is anything to go by, we probably won’t reach it for a couple more weeks at least. With all the new and exciting shows airing this season, it’s easy to over look our old friend Garo. In fact, I kinda had to relearn everyone’s names. That’s Sword, there’s Gina, and then… uh… oh right, the kid’s name is Sophie. I’m not even lying; even though she’s the catalyst for this entire story, I actually blanked on her name for a while. I guess this is why we have this detour of an episode.

Sword and Gina have an idea where El Dorado might be, but their information is unreliable at best. So why don’t we pay the Land of Guidance a visit? Like the name suggests, the Land of Guidance will show us–… no, I refuse to reference that stupid goddamn meme. Ahem, the Land of Guidance will give us more information about El Dorado and perhaps even its King. And on our way there, why don’t we stop by an idyllic village full of Makai Alchemists!

Apparently, these people made their homes all the way out here to escape the unending war against Horrors. That reminds me of something I briefly spoke about in the previous Garo – Vanishing Line post. Our heroes will hunt Horrors to the ends of the Earth, but they claim they cannot fix human problems. But therein lies the crux of the matter: human problems eventually lead to the manifestation of Horrors. Are Horrors not born from man’s negative experiences and feelings? And how can you hope to win this war if you do not treat the cause rather than the symptom? Take El Dorado, for instance. It’s kind of an analogue to cults like Scientology, no? Come to us and find infinite happiness! Sure, you can trust us! Seriously, the reason why people fall for this nonsense is because, well, their lives suck. No one goes looking for happiness if they’re already happy. If you improve these people’s lives, maybe this war against Horrors wouldn’t be so difficult. Well, it’s just a thought.

Back to the episode at hand, the village scenes aren’t particularly interesting to me, but diehard Garo fans might like them. We learn that Gina was once an orphan much like Sophie, and as a result, she’s great with kids. We also learn that she has an undying resolve to eliminate all Horrors, but not quite why she’s made this her life mission. Unlike Luke, much of Sword and Gina’s backstories are still not filled in yet. This is too bad, because I particularly like the emotional depth that Luke brings to the table. That’s not to say that Sword and Gina won’t have heavy-hitting character development to undergo in later episodes, but for now, they’re pretty straightforward characters.

After climbing a mountain, the light of a full moon reveals a magical temple. Here, Gina must undergo a pair of combat trials before she can consult the Land of Guidance. Basically, take out some trash mobs then face the big, bad guardian. Upon her success, some mysterious being possesses Mia and begins to impart its wisdom on our heroes. It’s nothing particularly earth-shattering, though. The Land of Guidance confesses that it knows little, so we only get a slightly better understanding of where El Dorado is located. Go southwest, then south. Gotcha. And oh yeah, the darkness is thick there. Thick. Furthermore, the King of El Dorado is apparently an ancient evil who can control Horrors directly with some magical ring. Yeah, we’re going all Lord of the Rings up in here.

All of a sudden, Sophie experiences a waking nightmare (or perhaps a vision). She finds herself lost in a maelstrom, and in the distance, a voice calls out to her. An arm suddenly reaches out for the girl, and she can now hear her brother’s voice. But before she can grab hold of his hand, the maelstrom tears them apart, and she wakes up back in the real world. Huh. And that’s pretty much the episode.

We took a detour to reestablish the story and remind viewers what’s at stake. For me, however, I never felt engaged at any point by this week’s episode. It’s not terrible, but for a non-Garo fan, I can’t say that it’s good either. It’s more functional than anything. I do like the new OP and ED, though.

Notes & observations:

— That’s a lot of food for an isolated village up in the mountains. Somehow, there’s even spit-roasted alligator, which Sword happily bites into, skin and all. That’s a man who enjoys his meat. I can’t say I’ve ever had alligator meat nor do I ever want to.

— Looks like asparagus.

— How useful is money up here anyway? They’re so far from any form of civilization.

— In fact, how do they even have the ability to manufacture such heavy-duty weapons? Keep in mind that this village apparently resides on top of a floating island made with woven reeds.

— I swear, Gina’s breasts are steadily growing throughout the course of this series.

— Ooh, a new eyecatch as well.

— The animation still leaves much to be desired.

— I like how Gina was bloodied and bruised during the course of her trial, but afterwards, she looks fresh as a daisy. On the other hand, Sophie could’ve died without Sword to protect her.

— There’s so much build-up for the King that I can’t possibly imagine how his reveal will actually meet our expectations.

— In the end, Sophie gets a magical jewel that will probably save her from death in a much, much later episode. Neat, I guess.

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