What is the secret to the disappearances at one of the city’s movie theaters? And will Sophie ever stop chasing Sword around? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions please share it on Facebook or Twitter. And if you have any questions or comments, please hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!
1. To illustrate the kind of series Garo usually is, in five episodes I never questioned where Sword actually lived. It sounds crazy, but in a largely episodic, “hero on a mission” series like this it’s rare that you even think to ask a question like that. I just pictured him riding around on Motorbike!Zaruba, making his bed where ever he can, before waking up bright and early the next morning to start hunting down Horrors. The negative emotions of Man constantly fuel the Horrors, making them cross from their realm into ours and turning his mission into a neverending blah blah blah.
Instead, Sword’s life is pretty regular. He lives above a Chinese restaurant and stays there for free in a rather spacious room that looks like the kind of place a musclehead like him would hang out: giant, spending his mornings cooking for the restaurant to pay his rent, even though he mooches off their food and doesn’t pay his tab. It’s hilarious, but it also sets Sword apart from the usual edgelords and angry kids that run rampant in the GARO franchise. He’s nowhere near as detached from society as the guys we’re used to, and because of that he’s able to reach out to members of society in ways most Makai Knights fail to.
2. I can’t decide if Sophie’s tenacity is cute or incredibly annoying. After Sword finishes up his “chores” at the restaurant, he heads to the diner to see about a meal and a possible mission. As usual, he runs into Sophie who’s still looking for information on El Dorado. Of course he hasn’t found very much, so the discussion changes to figuring out where he lives. He points out that he’d rather not share that with her, which is the right of any person regardless of their relationship with another person.
But that’s not good enough for Sophie, so she plants a tracker on him and follows him back to his place. The only reason you don’t find this creepy is because Sword’s a mountain of a man and Sophie’s a teenaged girl, but it’s still a disgusting invasion of privacy. If someone doesn’t want to let you into a certain part of their life, that certainly isn’t OWED you, so seeing her track him down kinda set me off.
At the same time though, because it’s an anime, they immediately off-set that by having her help out at the restaurant, taking orders and doing the cooking and apparently being even MORE useful than Sword was. And ultimately the only reason Sword’s able to help out against the Horror this episode is because of her as well. This is a very dangerous game the writers are playing–eventually she’s going to have to come down on one side or the other.
3. Luke makes a return this week, and that he really doesn’t like anyone getting involved with the Makai Order’s business, as he reminds Sword that he’s really doing more harm than good by letting Sophie get so close to their world. He’s not necessarily wrong, but it’s such a hardline stance that you begin to wonder where he got it from, so of course it’s this episode that gives us Luke’s tragic backstory. His father was a member of the Makai Order and trained him to be a future Makai Knight. Seemingly though, Luke’s body didn’t quite make the cut under the harsh physical training required to become a Knight, forcing him to settle for being a Makai Alchemist instead.
As for Luke’s mother, well…she was killed in front of his eyes as a child, presumably by a Horror. Taking that a step further, it’s probably a good guess that she wasn’t involved in their world at all, leaving him to become closed off emotionally in order to protect innocent humans…and his own heart. This means Luke is Batman with a more fantastical origin, explaining why he’s so obsessed with being a loner rather than teaming up with Sword more consistently and shutting down twice the Horrors in half the time.
4. During Luke’s flashbacks to his past, his father references the Golden Armor of Garo. If I haven’t brought it up yet, Garo is the head of all the other Makai Knight armors. It’s the most powerful, and only goes to a specific chosen one, which explains why Luke is so at odds with Sword. Ultimately, Sword was chosen OVER Luke, and given how intense the guy is, that’s a fact that probably sticks in his craw. He’s haunted by the memory of his father demanding that he be the strongest, and yet every time Sword armors up the proof that Luke will never be that, it is always right in front of his face.
5. Vanishing Line continues to take advantage of being animated in order to bring us some of the more unique Horrors that you’d think would be more difficult to do in live action. This week, the Horror is literally an entire movie theater! Rather than offering power to any one human, this horror instead preyed on those with damaged emotional connections who chose to sit in a specific seat. It’s honestly so specific that it’s almost harmless; Luke attends a movie there once entirely without incident, and it’s only when he figures out that the Horror only attacks people in seat L13 that he’s even confronted. I guess that’s why they made its particular MO so insidious: it only consumes those who have lost important loved ones, so it’s like it’s taking advantage of people just feeling extreme sadness? Gross.
Garo: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.