I’ll be honest with you, reader, until the news came up on my daily surfing, I had no interest in watching this show. After seeing that one of my favorite new online Anime distributors, AnimeLab, was simulcasting this series I decided to go ahead and watch the first episode…lucky I did otherwise I would have missed out on one hell of an engaging series opener.
Knowing absolutely nothing of what the series had to offer, I jumped in mostly blind. So blind, in fact, that I was a bit surprised when I finally figured out that the series is set entirely in what looks to be medieval times. ‘Garo: The Animation’, from what I’ve read, is an Anime series that is actually based upon a tokusatsu television show of the same name though I don’t believe it is set in the exact same time as the Anime. I am only judging by the screenshots I’ve seen, so if you’re a fan of the television show and have some information that can prove me wrong please, by all means, keep it to yourself because it’ll just embarrass me.
From the studio that brought you Terror in Resonance. The King’s close advisor implemented a large-scale witch-hunt. The tragic victims of this hunt were not witches, however, but Makai Knights and Makai Priests. One Makai Priestess gave birth to a child while being burned at the stake. That child carried the bloodlines of the Golden Knight. Although he was saved by his father, a Makai Knight himself, the newborn, León Luís, suffered greatly from the unjust death of his mother.
And so he vowed to learn the ways of a Makai Knight from his father, Germán Luís, and use his training to seek revenge. During his battles against the demons known as “Horrors,” León must gradually approach reality and accept the truth. Meanwhile, the powerful former adviser to the King, Mendoza, banished Prince Alfonso and his mother while the king was bedridden.
Eager to reclaim his kingdom and save his people, Alfonso embarks on a quest to find the legendary Knight – but destiny holds a twist of fate in store for him. Together, León and Alfonso begin long and difficult journey filled with many hardships.- Madman Entertainment
I’ve not seen such a gripping first act of an Anime in quite some time. ‘Garo: The Animation’ didn’t feature a shocking opening sequence, nor did it feature scenes of unnecessary violence to captivate me. It was the combination of the shows orchestral score and its surprisingly impressive CG animation that really had me glued to the screen. The perfect way for a series to gain a long-lasing audience, in my opinion, is for one to begin with a level of gravitas that people will return for. What makes that Anime even better is if it delivers that level of intensity time and time again so not to lead an audience on.
‘Attack On Titan’ did it, ‘Terror In Resonance’ did it, and now ‘Garo: The Animation’ has done it. There’s more to the first episode though, there’s actual story development and character introduction, most of which takes place in a brothel where one of the main cast is constantly on the verge of ‘getting down’ with a lovely young lady who turns out to be way more than she looks. Not in the good way either. By the very end of the first episode we’re barely introduced to any characters. We’re given a fair bit of their back story but regarding who the character are in the present moment, there isn’t much we’ve got to work with.
The surprising thing about that is that it works to the advantage of the show. It’s kept me intrigued and it has helped me make the decision to continue following it until it’s done so I can only imagine there are many others like me out there who are thinking the same. I somehow immediately like the main duo despite knowing very little about them and I really want to see what they get up to in upcoming episodes. Clearly the series has a deep and rich setting with plenty of things than can come up and be addressed throughout.
Making the series even better than what I’ve already explained is its fight scenes. So far, in episode one, we’ve seen a single battle between the main character Leon and a demonic dinosaur-type creature that is swiftly but excitingly cut down to size by the hero of the show. The seamless transition between traditional animation and CGI is amazing, I’ve yet to see another contemporary anime series that could do it as well.
I’d compare it to that of ‘Valvrave The Liberator’ in regards to the visual excellence of the CG animation but I can already tell its story is going to be way more rewarding. Sorry, ‘Valvrave’, you just weren’t that good. Madman Entertainment have really hooked one hell of a good series. I can honestly only see ‘Garo: The Animation’ getting better and better. If the first episode is any indication of what the rest of the series is going to be like, I can definitely see it being one that I’ll remember as the Fall lineups greatest. Great animation, booming soundtrack, engaging storytelling. It doesn’t get much better than that!