GARO -VANISHING LINE- – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Highly advanced town – Russel City. While people enjoy its prosperity in the town, there is a huge conspiracy secretly going on which will shake the world. Sword, a man who notices its movement determines to throw himself into battles and reveal the conspiracy, but only to find a clue – “Eldorado”. At that time, Sword happens to meet a girl Sophie who has been looking for the meaning of “Eldorado”, a message left by her missing brother. These two, attracted by the word “Eldorado”, somehow feel invisible ties each other and start to act together. Their journey with mixed feelings now begins. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Garo -Vanishing Line- offers a bad ass, highly detailed art style alongside crazy, intense action. It would be absolutely perfect if not for a shaky camera that damages the audiences’ ability to follow the fast moving sequences.
Linny: Unlike the last two iterations of the Garo franchise, which were set in medieval or classic Japanese samurai periods, Vanishing Line is set in modern times, specifically within a pseudo Western city. This gives the show a new twist and should pique the interest of anyone curious about the notion of Makai Knights coming into the modern age and chasing down horrors in a city landscape. Vanishing Line goes hard with its modern western setting, kicking things off with a story line that heavily hints that it is most likely occurring in the United States, or similar, this time around.
Tom: Our hero, for this particular outing of the beloved Garo franchise, is one Sword. Yes that’s his name. Sword. Sword isn’t much of a unique character, outside of his bad ass, more bulky design than the trend of trim and fit anime heroes, he has a pretty standard character type: Bad ass, confident, focused and just a tad quirky, namely in the way he always has to pray when he meets a woman with a rather voluptuous rack. Sophie, the show’s other hero, is a bad ass young girl who’s got some skills and a determination to reach somewhere known as “Eldorado.” While she’s an exciting character, we really don’t learn much about her and she primarily acts as our ‘in’ to the world of Sword, a Makai Knight, vs their classic enemy, the Horrors.
Linny: Sword is a classic Makai Knight archetype. Previous Garo anime have often had at least one playboy Knight accompanied by a more serious Knight and it becomes quickly obvious that Sword falls into the former category. Because of the modern western city setting and Sword’s womanizing nature, the episode features some breasts ogling angles and jiggling and that might make it a bit awkward for modest viewers. Sophie, on the other hand, is a boon to the show in that she’s a believably strong female character. She is well versed in self defence and even when she finds herself in danger, it isn’t because the show makes her do something ridiculously idiotic. She’s a nice balance of competent while also able to get into trouble without coming off as a cliche damsel in distress.
Tom: What Garo does well though is keeping things moving at a fast pace. It isn’t long before action kicks into high gear and Sword is brawling it out with the horrifying monster of the week. It doesn’t hold off thrusting Sophie into the battle between the Makai and the Horrors, allowing the story to get to the good stuff quickly and entice us with spectacle and mayhem. It’s important, I think, that they went this route, as many viewers are likely already familiar with Garo’s tale from entries past, and even if you’re new, the core concept is stunningly simple, making the choice to trim the fat and get to the action a solid move.
Linny: So far, the Horrors a.k.a our constant villain of the franchise again start off with the villain of the week formula even though the show’s summary and parts of the episode itself hint at a more over arching plot. Seeing as the show just started, that should be forgivable and hopefully the show will quickly move on to establishing its big bad of the season.
Tom: While the Shaky Camera puts a damper on one’s ability to appreciate the animated mayhem, it’s not nearly as bad as some detractors would have you believe. We can hope they tone it down, but otherwise the series offers a dark attitude, with bad ass visuals and style, making it an absolute joy to watch. It’s easily one of my top premieres for this season and I have nothing but hope for the series moving forward.
Linny: Aside from the shaky camera during fights, Garo -Vanishing Line- brings the franchise back with a bang. With a loud, modern Makai Knight whose looks, fighting style and weapons are drastically unlike anyone before him, Vanishing Line is sure to appeal to those who like modern spins on their favourite series. The main characters introduced so far are either attention grabbing or intriguing, and will hopefully contribute to this show as an enjoyable return for devoted Garo fans. Also, if you’re a newcomer to the franchise and had your interest piqued by what you’ve read or seen about this newest iteration, the premise of the franchise is simple enough and readdressed briefly in the premiere so you shouldn’t have too much trouble following along.