Sword and Luke face off against the Dark Makai Knight. Will they survive? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I told ya’ll when they first introduced Luke that Makai Alchemists were usually worthless, and finally a villain shows up to echo that opinion. Luke though had proved fairly useful up to this point, so my opinion was almost changed on him. …Almost. Ultimately, dude tried to throw down with the Dark Makai Knight and got *wrecked*. I mean, he took the kind of anime beatdown you watch and go “Look, no actual human could’ve survived this”, including getting impaled with the same giant naginata that killed the nun from last week’s episode.
What started out as a semi-impressive showing on Luke’s behalf resulted in full-on decimation of this guy’s character in my eyes, as everything cool about him is stripped away in a matter of minutes. He’s spent most of his appearances being built up as this cool, above it all sort of guy…but gets hot-headed this episode and drags himself into a fight he cannot win. The last few times you saw him he was actually useful fighting against Horrors, but this episode you’re reminded he doesn’t wear any armor and thus can’t ACTUALLY fight.
And lastly, his whole goal apparently has been to avenge the death of his mother at the hands of the man that trained him–the Dark Knight in this very episode–and he fails, utterly. At this point even Luke’s going to have trouble trying to overcome what’s happened to him this episode…since we’re totally pretending he didn’t just get murdered at the end of his fight.
2. The Chinese restaurant Sword’s been sleeping above and working at is revealed to have been an extension of the Makai Order, and it’s a good thing too. This episode they perform crowd control and eliminate stray Horrors to keep the populace as safe as possible. I don’t know why it never occured to me that Sword was working with the Makai Order the whole time and that’s why he had an actual place to stay instead of being a roaming vagabond. Probably because most of the GARO series I’ve seen thus far only include a small handful of people working for the Makai Order and any semblance of an actual organization is usually off-screen. Either way, this time they’re stretched more than a little thin, as Luke’s mishandling of the Dark Knight leads to him being taken off the field, so while Sword goes one-on-one with the enemy Luke couldn’t finish everyone else is left trying to deal with a literal host of horrors that they only barely fight off. There’s some excellently executed tension to this episode, albeit it comes from Luke screwing up.
3. Speaking of tension, this week continues Sophie’s awful luck. She just barely escapes the clutches of the Dark Knight in time to have a nervous break down at Fei Long’s restaurant. But she can’t even have that because she’s still being chased, and Sword and the Knight’s battle is doing so much damage to the city the barriers keeping weaker Horrors away start to fail. At this point, it feels like Sophie as a character has reached an absolute nadir in her life: her brother went missing years ago, and just looking for him has caused her to become more noticeable to El Dorado, and as a result she’s lost her home, endangered her friends, and gotten the only person who truly cared about her killed. Now it’s all on what happens next for her–is she going to prove capable of rising above all of this, and help Sword shut down this organization that’s ruined her life? Or is Sword going to do all the work? Hopefully it’s the former, though unfortunately I wouldn’t be too shocked by the latter.
4: As someone who’s watched a lot of DBZ in his life, this was a DBZ-ass fight scene. Contrary to what I initially guessed, Sword and Dark Knight are roughly evenly matched–both as humans and while wearing their armors. They really tear into one another, and in doing so they rip a section of the city apart; shattering windows across an entire city block, turning buildings to rubble, the whole nine. It’s fantastic imagery, and the only thing that keeps it from being one of the best fight scenes of the seasons is the CGI that leaves both Garo armors overly lit, making it hard to understand the action going on between the two of them. They’re moving around so quickly eventually you just give up trying to figure out who’s who. It’s a shame too, because this fight is why it’s so much better having Garo as an animated series–the amount of sheer destruction we see in this episode could barely be done in a Japanese live-action film, nevermind an episode of television.
We do get a bit of insight into the two characters, however. Dark Knight’s just another boring “strength for the sake of strength” fascist, which is expected but nevertheless disappointing. Sword on the other hand, apparently lost his sibling to a fire, and the resulting helplessness he felt at being unable to protect them lead him to seek out power to help as many people as he could going forward. It’s simplistic motivations to be sure, but tokusatsu has never needed to be complex: it’s success has always relied on its ability to emotionally connect to the viewer, and on that this succeeds. You want to see the Dark Knight get beaten into the pavement for being a monster, and you want Sword to do it. (Since Luke sucks and can’t get it done.)
5. Next Episode: Everything ends on quite the down note at the end of this episode, with the city wrecked, their organization nearly ruined, their second ace nearly dead, and Sophie a mental wreck. So next episode is looking more like a recovery episode–where characters have to come face to face with certain realizations. Sophie’s got to say goodbye to the sister who looked after her, while Luke has to confront his own weakness. Still, looks like we’re headed out of the city, so I’m guessing we’re really about to kickstart this story.
Garo: Vanishing Line is available on Hulu and Crunchyroll.