Sophie and Sword finally find the clues they’ve been searching for in relation to the inscrutable El Dorado. But can Sophie handle what her questioning will bring? 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. When Garo was originally created in 2005 as a late-night live-action series, it’s primary marketing point to viewers was “edgy tokusatsu”. For purely anime fans, “tokusatsu” is a Japanese term meaning “special effects”, though it generally only refers to any film or TV series that was fantasy/sci-fi and had heavy use of SFX. Essentially, this is where stuff like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai come from–and Sentai is where us Americans get Power Rangers from. That said, while tokusatsu can handle some mature themes it’s usually aimed at children from the ages of 5-11. So when Garo came out, it’s spot in late-night television and general aura was telling us that this was clearly a show for tokusatsu fans that hadn’t grown out of the genre, and yearned for something adult: so add in blood and tits, basically.
But after ten years of that you generally get used to Garo’s excessive violence as a hallmark of the series, and most things just tend not to surprise you. That’s why I was left in shock with the first death of this week’s episode. It’s so quick and brutal that it’s almost comical, and I replayed it twice because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Twelve years in, I suppose its a good thing they’re still capable of causing that level of shock?
2. This week we finally get a lead on what El Dorado is. This probably could’ve come an episode or so sooner, but to the writers’ credit they’ve been working out the character relationship dynamics between Sword, Sophie, Luke, and Gina so it’s not like they were wasting time with only Sword for the past six episodes. At any rate, El Dorado turns out to be an organization run almost entirely by Horrors. They take advantage of people who’re heavily attached to the internet either in their careers or their hobbies, “recruiting” them for one reason or another.
In some cases, they have some greater purpose for them that this episode left unknown but in others…well. They get hungry. And that’s why El Dorado is both terrifying and utterly non-threatening all at once. The person that gets hunted earlier in the episode was seemingly supposed to be used for “non-food” purposes and yet still got chomped on like a snack during a movie’s previews. I can’t help wondering if whatever awful goal they’re attempting to reach wouldn’t have already been achieved if not for their agents eating people they shouldn’t have.
3. I am 100 percent positive there’s a list of “bad-ass nuns in fiction”, and this sister should be in the Top 10, easy. After seeing how this week’s Horror did his first victim, I figured once they tracked Sophie down due to her digging too deeply into El Dorado, the nun and everyone she knew was toast. What I didn’t expect though was for the nun to literally be so skilled in martial arts that she could hold off the Horror long enough for Sophie to get the rest of the kids to safety. It’s unfortunate that she didn’t get enough development of her own before being fridged for Sophie’s development, but it was still heartbreaking to watch her battle.
4. Speaking of Sophie, it feels like the writers have been reading these columns because they decided that we clearly didn’t pity her enough. She’d been waffling between making her creepily intrusive and refreshingly useful, but this week they decided to just mash ALL the sympathy buttons at once, with her being forced to leave the only home she’s had since her brother vanished in an attempt to save her follow orphans. But if that wasn’t enough, she makes it back to the orphanage in time to see one of the villains impale the nun??
First off, there’s no way she’s not mentally ruined by this. The end of the episode has her face literally covered in the blood of her guardian. Second off, the fact that Sophie is “wanted” by the Master of El Dorado means it’s either her brother, or one of her parents, right? She’s just some random kid otherwise, but this week had a LOT of focus on people figuring out who she was and where she lived.
5. If there was one sin this episode had, it’s that there may have been too MUCH plot. That’s usually a side-effect of a story running in place, where the writer remembers “oh crap, we’ve only got this many episodes left and we need to hit all these points for everything to make sense”. I don’t necessarily feel that’s the case here since there’s another 17-19 episodes to go, but still. This powerful El Dorado member that’s been looking for Sophie most of the episode all but says the head of El Dorado is someone connected to Sophie, but the writers don’t think that’s enough to go out on so they follow up with Luke attacking the guy and revealing he’s the Dark Knight, hinting that they have some kind of past together too.
If you’re new to GARO, the Dark Knight is usually a member of the Makai Order that became corrupted by their own desires and essentially become no better than a Horror. This is almost certainly our big bad going forward, so next episode there’s a good chance Sword and Luke barely escape with their lives. It’s rare to see a Makai Knight get challenged, but when it happens it’s usually a one-sided beatdown…and it ain’t in favor of the good guys.
GARO: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.