Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 23: Checkmate

We really gotta do this? Really? Yeah, I’m as perplexed as Sword. 

— I like how Lizzy shows up as a silhouette on Sophie’s phone. I like how the connection is full of static even though everything is digital. If the connection isn’t stable, it wouldn’t look like this but whatever. At this point, who even cares anymore?

— Sword and Sophie re-enter ELDO NET the same way they did it last time: diving headfirst into a vat of liquid. Not only that, Zaruba joins them even though I’m not sure how that would work.

— Elsewhere, Luke tries to fend off his father with his guns. I guess he’s choosing to go it his way, but there’s no reason why he should be ashamed of picking up a sword. He was initially trained to be a Makai Knight after all. I dunno, I guess it just feels like they introduced that element to his backstory only to just abandon it altogether. You could argue that Luke is choosing to emulate his mother, but I would just counter that he could fight with both. Why not? It’d look cool to swing a sword in one hand and tote a gun in the other. Do it Bloodborne style and use your gun as a way to “parry” the enemy.

— I’ll also be disappointed if Luke doesn’t take his father down. It would just feel like he never gets to have his time in the spotlight. On the one hand, they’ve been hyping up Sword versus Knight all series long. On the other hand, if Luke can’t stop his father here, then what is he good for? What has he been training for?

— As for Gina, she’s keeping Queen busy. More specifically, she’s making sure Queen doesn’t make it to Sword… which honestly makes no sense to me. If Queen wanted to get in Sword’s way, she should’ve just waited for him by the entrance to ELDO NET.

— What an understatement. Lizzy also says something about how Sword’s body is now logged into the system, so he can use his Makai Knight powers. I think it’s remarkable that King created this virtual world, but he seems to have very little control over it. As soon as Sword tries to enter it, he should’ve been kicked right out. They made sure to program it in such a way that only Martin and Sophie has authorization to shut everything down, but they didn’t bother to make sure intruders like Sword couldn’t enter in the first place? I mean, you can sit here and justify this all day with half-baked excuses like how maybe Lizzy hacked the system or whatever, but why bother going with a modern setting for this Garo series if you’re not even going to try to portray the technology accurately?

— Yeah, the main storage unit is this cerulean thingie.

— The battle between Luke and his father continues. Apparently, Luke’s close-ranged shooting is not up to par. Oh dear.

Are you sure, Luke? ‘Cause I’m getting the feeling that you won’t.

Sick UI. Orange jello engulfs your hands while some low-res screen pops up.

— MAPPA probably saved all their money for these last few episodes. I’m bagging on the story, but the animation looks pretty decent.

— King just shows up outta nowhere and swallows Sword whole. As a result, our hero finds himself in some gnarly-looking abyss. Again, the animation here is fine. The art direction is okay (King notwithstanding). I just hate the story.

— Won’t King eventually consume every single person on this planet if he gets his way? Wouldn’t it be better to just let humans continue to breed while he feasts on them secretly on the side? Nobody knew anything about El Dorado until King and his cronies made too much noise about it. He could’ve easily just laid low and eat all the people he wanted. Why risk it all by even having the good guys come here and fight you? Yeah, yeah, you can argue that the villain’s biggest weakness is hubris, but as a writer, I can’t help but feel as though you need to be more self-aware than this. You can’t always avoid cliches, but why are we still half-assing these villains by making them too arrogant for their own good?

This part is visually cool.

— I had wondered what Bishop would be doing. Since he’s not a fighter, I guess he gets to tango with Sophie and Lizzy instead.

— Luke is losing his duel against Knight pretty badly again. Looks like nothing’s changed.

— Gina reveals that Queen was a former Makai Alchemist. I guess that’s all that backstory we’re going to get. We get nothing about why she’s so loyal to King. We at least know that Knight is a slave to power.

— Queen retaliates by turning into this beastie. I don’t mind it. It’s better than her human form, which is just way too buxomy (like most female characters in this show). But again, Queen’s Horror form reminds you that King is the odd man out.

— Oh hey, we get to see some familiar faces. I’m not sure what King is talking about, though. Last I remembered, Leon was victorious. I didn’t watch the movie, though. Maybe something bad happened to Leon there.

— Sophie tries to disable the main storage unit even though it’s being protected by King’s security system. She insists that Sword is the strongest Makai Knight of his time, which is probably true. It’s just too bad we never  get to see any of the other Makai Knights.

— Sword then gives a speech about how the human spirit can never be crushed, and he knows this for sure! Visions of a bunch of side characters start flashing across the screen. Look at all these girls fawning over Pedro. That’s how you know there’s hope for tomorrow!

— Mamoru, mamoru, mamoru!

— Oh hey, Luke is actually holding up a sword… it’s not the same sword he grew up with, but it’s not a gun at least.

— As a character in any given action anime, you must say the word “mamoru” a billion times.

— Luke can’t best his father in direct combat, but he hopes that his bag of tricks will at least prevent Knight from interfering with Sword’s mission. Again, if Knight really wanted to fight Sword, he should’ve never come out here in the first place.

Nice virtual keyboard… even though you’re already in virtual reality. Can’t you just, like, issue commands with your thoughts?

— I don’t even really know what Sophie and Lizzy managed to do, but now we have a light show. All Bishop can do is stare with a slack-jawed expression.

— Meanwhile, Gina’s pet protects her from Queen. I don’t even remember its name anymore. In the end, Queen doesn’t really put up much of a fight. Kinda. We briefly saw Gina on her knees earlier looking as if she had been defeated. During Sword’s inspiration speech, however, the Makai Alchemists suddenly stood up to keep fighting. Next thing we know, she’s in her car again. Gina then crashes her car into Queen and whips out her gatling gun. Finally, she stabs her opponent right in the head with two short spears. These two ladies definitely got the short end of the stick since all the attention is going elsewhere. Gina gets her triumphant moment, but the entire fight feels haphazard.

— Sword is being swarmed by data. Okay. But isn’t his existence within ELDO NET also nothing but data?

— A giant King once again threatens to swallow Sword up. He also gloats that he can’t be cut down by a blade in this world. Makes sense. And because it makes sense, watch as Sword cuts him in half anyway. You just know it’s going to happen.

— Sword counters that he should just simply destroy this world… but uh, from the inside? With a sword? You’re going to destroy a virtual world with a virtual sword?

— It’s a neat-looking sword, at least.

— Well, whaddya know… he ends up cutting King in half anyway. What is even the internal logic of this series? Plus, we still have an episode left to go, so… uh… I guess Knight’s going to kick Luke’s ass and become the final boss.

— Dope background. I’m not sure how it represents a virtual world, but dope.

Mamoru, mamoru, mamoru!

— Sophie gets to see her younger self interact with her brother one final time. He then turns to face the real Sophie and tells her the password to disable the main storage unit, but what is he? A figment of her imagination? A remnant of Martin that somehow still exists within ELDO NET? Again, I’m not sure how the internal logic of this scene works, but whatever. Clearly, Garo – Vanishing Line is more interested in how a scene conveys its mood to the audience over anything else. Unfortunately, I’m just not invested enough in Sophie’s story to be touched by this moment.

— ELDO NET will soon be deleted, and that means Lizzy will also disappear as well. Wait, you’re not going to say goodbye to your brother one last time?

— Listen to this techno beat, though.

— Bishop just walks away like nothing — like he doesn’t even care how this whole thing ends. He didn’t really do much of anything this episode, did he? His heart wasn’t in it.

— Yep, Luke loses to his father. Not only does he lose, he can’t even keep Knight from leaving. The guy got shafted. With an episode left, this also means that Knight will have that one last showdown with Sword. Lame.

— Sword races for the exit, but he’s stopped just short by Knight who is already decked out from head to toe in armor. Welp.

— Oh God, the beat’s dropping. Get me outta here. In all seriousness, the series can redeem itself a bit if Luke can at least show up and help Sword defeat his father. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.

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2 Replies to “Garo – Vanishing Line Ep. 23: Checkmate”

  1. This anime has gone much further than just jumping the shark. I think it has gone jumping the shark that jumped other sharks. At least the animation is nice. The problem is what is being animated, though. That image of perplexed Sword is perfect for this episode.

    I guess this means that event during episode 4 when Sophie is getting hit with that metal box stuff means nothing, huh? Just like the existence of Luke and Gina. They spent all those episodes to establish all these characters and then throw them away like they are nothing. It’s mind-boggling.

  2. “Last I remembered, Leon was victorious. I didn’t watch the movie, though. Maybe something bad happened to Leon there.”

    Yeah i watched the movie not sure what’s saying either

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