After much tossing and turning in my head of whether I wanted to pile something more on my plate during this busy school quarter, I decided to at least check out the new Garo. Then again I was going to watch it anyway since I was a fan of Honoo no Kokuin, but I wanted to decide whether I wanted to cover this or not. First of all, my thoughts.
I was a little disappointed to learn that this Garo would not be a direct sequel of Honoo no Kokuin as I had wanted to see more of Leon and Alfonso’s growth. I don’t know if one of the movies will be the direct sequel, we’ll just have to see. While I was a little saddened by this, I looked on the bright side. I was immediately intrigued when the summary said we’d be getting a female protagonist. But to my dismay she wasn’t the Makai Knight that would adorn the golden armor, but another Makai Alchemist like the previous Garo. But Seimei did not disappoint, I absolutely love her.
Once watching the first second we know that this is not going to take place in the same setting as in Honoo no Kokuin. Instead of a medieval Europe (most likely it was Spain thanks to all of their names), we are now in Japan. The Heian period I saw many people mention, but I don’t really know much about Japan’s different eras and what they were called. This is a big contrast to what we got, but it was interesting nonetheless. Another big difference? THE ANIMATION. It’s superb. It’s drastically improved from HnK, which while had a simple and great artstyle, would look wonky at times. The art style is different and it looked like MAPPA really put a lot of time and money into this because it was gorgeous. The soundtrack was great as well with JAM Project making their return for another OP. And as usual of the Garo series, we had a great fight scene. So before I continue this comparison of the two Garos, I should talk about the episode.
Now even though we have Seimei as our “protagonist”(?), we also have two other characters who are Raikou and Kintoki. Raikou is actually the one who dons the golden armor, I mean just look at his hair. It’s the same as the armor. It was mentioned that the golden armor’s bloodline had died out so I just wonder who Raikou is. So we open up with Seimei, a Makai Alchemist, who travels around fighting Horrors while also playing her instrument around as a job. During her travels she stumbles upon some statues, one particular statue that has been getting rumors of “walking at night”. One man creates little statues to appease this statue but any statue he puts in it just ends up shriveling. Of course, this is suspicious and our other two characters hear about this rumor and Raikou gets interested in checking it out since he knows most likely this statue has been possessed by a Horror. Said man from before making statues has been killing beautiful women as vessels, and he takes that if the statue he makes won’t suffice, then he needs to find even more beautiful women. Seimei and Raikou devise a plan to go after this horror, and Seimei disguises herself as a beautiful woman to be bait (even though she’s beautiful already) and she lures the man to them. She leaves the fighting to Raikou but he’s having a pretty difficult time without using his armor. And funnily enough, he has the Zaruba ring but it’s stone and he can’t summon the armor until Seimei does something to activate it for him. I hope to learn more about that soon. Raikou transforms to Garo and defeats the Horror and that ‘s when the statue arrives. Raikou cuts it down to see it’s empty…but a man was inside. Seimei said he wasn’t a Horror, but worse, and I have no idea what that means. But he looks to be the antagonist of this season.
I’ll admit that this first episode didn’t have as much impact as HnK did, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I noticed that this Garo seems just a tad bit more lighthearted than the previous Garo, maybe because we’re not dealing with teen angst this time. The brighter colors of this season reciprocate that. I’m not too sold on the characters right now, namely Raikou and Kintoki, but I love Seimei already. I love her personality, her design, she’s cool. What I want to know is what kind of relationship does she and the boys have? They don’t seem to be related at all. I was shocked to see that Raikou couldn’t summon his armor until Seimei let him as his Zaruba ring was just stone, so I want to know what Raikou’s deal is. But right now it looks like they share a sort of teacher/student relationship, but of course I’ll be needing more backstory from all of them. If the man in the end really is the main antagonist then I’ll be a little disappointed as we just were given no buildup meeting this guy. He just appeared like nothing in the end. And right now, we don’t really have much of a story going on. And because of this, until we actually get plot, I think this might be more episodic than HnK. I won’t mind too much if I’ll be treated to this delicious animation with a bumping soundtrack each episode, but I hope this won’t deter character development. Of course, this is only the first episode so I’m just taking guesses here.
As for the CGI, people either hated it or loved it with Honoo no Kokuin. For me, I didn’t mind it. I liked how shiny they made the armor looked and I thought it was cool, so I liked it. Well! Animation changed this season, and so did the CGI. If I had to describe how they made the armor this time, I’d say…it’s…well,
It doesn’t necessarily look terrible, but you can tell it doesn’t have as much shine as it did previously. They put less textures into the armor, so…yeah I don’t really know these art terms, but they took a step down. Now, about the armor itself. I thought the different armors felt like they were appropriate for the medieval European setting. But for a feudal Japan setting, I feel like the armor stands out. Or is that just me? It just doesn’t seem to blend in too well with the environment so it looks a little off to me.
As for the setting, it’s a drastic change but it’s pretty nice. If I had to pick I would choose the medieval Europe, but this is fine too. I’m really interested to see what the Light Palace is all about and the characters in it and what they’ll have to do with the story. I don’t want to compare this too much with Honoo no Kokuin or else that won’t be any fun. I don’t think any of these characters will have anything to do with the previous cast (other than sharing the seiyuus), but that’s fine as well. I see people comparing this to the previous Garo, which is a mistake. I only did it with this impression to point out differences and similarities. I won’t be comparing it anymore and I don’t think other people should too. This still seems very promising to I’m going to be checking in. I just hope Seimei will be the real protagonist even though golden Garo armor just SCREAMS protagonist instead. Don’t tease me like this. >:(
Possibility of watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of blogging: Yes!
NOTE: For the people wondering if they need to see the previous Garo to watch this, it was said before that this would not be a direct sequel but instead a new story. So, no, you don’t. So if you’re interested, then go watch it! But I’d also recommend watching Honoo no Kokuin because it was awesome.