As Sword and Sophie make their journey towards El Dorado, what terrible threats exist beyond Russell City? And who will join them on their journey West? 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.
This is my last little catch-up before I’m finally current with everything. Thanks to everyone who’s reading for holding on as I haphazardly caught up after my little computer accident.
1. Episode 11 opens with a sheriff and a young woman discussing a serial murderer/kidnapper, one who’s escaped the cops on numerous occasions and even had a shootout with a few officers, killing at least one. He’d also apparently kidnapped a young girl, and from that point on, even though the description didn’t match, it was obviously Sword they were talking about. We’re starting to see the kind of influence the organization El Dorado has when outside of Russell City where the Makai Order has a strong foothold. You figure it won’t take them too long to reach their destination, but in the meantime one assumes our protagonists will be dealing with a lot of small plots like this til that happens.
2. This is San Dell Dios, or from the looks of it, “Dodge City”. It has a complex history that involves being abandoned by the government in favor of focusing on cities, which is the most realistic this show’s been in weeks, if not since the story began. Riddled with crime, the town is eventually inspired by an incoming sheriff to enact a form of mob/vigilante justice, which obviously will have a major part in this episode later on. But just like that, we’ve been warped back to the 1800’s in terms of the art style. I’m not sure if I congratulate them for being willing to do things they wouldn’t in the proper, main series…or if I roll my eyes that they think outside of cities it’s just the Wild West out here.
3. Sophie essentially gets kidnapped by a well-meaning denizen of San Dell Dios who doesn’t realize she’s handing her over to El Dorado, while Sword has to deal with a town full of people that want him dead. Unfortunately, after having at least one episode where I know Sword and Gina were beating down the normies this is the episode they decided to enforce the whole “The Makai Knights and Alchemists don’t hurt humans” rule, so we get robbed of any spectacular fight scenes and just see Sword running from everybody the entire time.
Still, there’s this moment, where Sword tries to sneak out of the city and catch up to Sophie only to run into a kindly old grandma…that reveals she’s pushing a cart carrying a gatling gun. Gotta give the show points for its commitment to the Western theme.
4. Sophie’s got nerves of freaking steel here. She gets kidnapped by a woman who thinks she’s saving Sophie from a kidnapper, only to get tossed into a car with the town sheriff who turns out to be a Horror. They try to sedate her and she goes for the woman’s gun, eventually causing a car crash that finally gets her free. At this point, the Horror reveals himself for who he is, and Sophie does the only thing she can. She’s not capable of fighting back, but having had multiple run-ins with Horrors she knows the one thing she can control is her own life, if they’re willing to try so hard to take her without killing her. Of course, Horrors are insane and most people aren’t willing to go through with a threat like this, so they test her on it and she actually pulls the trigger.
Even though she’s only been dealing with this insane world for a short while, she’s already grown so much. She’s proven to be both incredibly resourceful as well as adaptable, refusing to let any one thing hold her down.
5. Sword saves Sophie and kills the sheriff Horror in a matter of seconds, which is about as expected, but then we get to see this fellow: Bishop. And at this point, is there any arguing that Sophie’s brother is the King of El Dorado? I’d been trying to argue against it, but the fact that they’re trying so hard to get her to come there that they’re willing to send not only the Dark Knight but a high-level Horror like this? I can’t imagine why else they would care so much.
6. In his attempt to escape San Dell Dios, Sword only barely survives an entire city of people trying to kill him thanks to the efforts of Gina, a Makai Alchemist who’s been sent to help Sword with his mission. She cuts the chains off his bike and tags along on the road to El Dorado, finally upgrading this series into a true ensemble cast instead of just a bunch of team-ups. Hopefully Luke isn’t too far from this either, both because he needs to redeem himself and because I’d love to see how he plays off of Sword and Gina.
7. As we get further from Russell City, we begin to see what it looks like outside the metropolitan areas in a world that’s under attack by Horrors. We don’t get to learn much about this place as its just something they’re all riding through on their way west to El Dorado, but it helps set up that their world isn’t that different from ours. The government doesn’t care, and corporations have abandoned these cities for others that become more lucrative, leaving these places bereft of jobs and full of despair. Honestly, you’d think Horrors would be more likely to make their home somewhere like this city. At any rate, the group passes through here and winds up in the middle of nowhere, until Sophie spots a motel for them to stay out.
8. I was all ready to defend this dude by saying he was possessed by a Horror but it’s not his fault because GARO often teaches these weird lessons about how you should always just be happy with your lot in life. I was going to talk about how they did the same thing in Episode Two with the guy who just wanted to run again. The antagonist of this episode was a motel owner who lost his lucrative job in Russell City and was forced to open a motel, taking his family along with him. On its face, that’s not a reason to hate a character–being frustrated with one’s station in life is unfortunately more common than one would think.
Fortunately, they tossed all that out the window and turned him into a man who’s obsessed with success and money. Both his wife and child are simply happy to live together as a family, and he’s the only one ruining things by being a spiteful jerk. It becomes clear that there’s no pressure from society and his loved ones, he just wants it. And once the wife starts asking too many questions, he goes from being a jerk to a full-on domestic abuser, beating the crap out of his spouse for daring to question his support for the family. Eesh. Well, they taught me–just let the bad guy be the bad guy, I guess.
9. …Jeez man, did the writers even think about how these scenes looked mashed up against one another? I mean, Sword’s speech about mammaries is pretty hilarious taken on its face, but coming right on the heels of some pretty rough domestic violence it just feels tone-deaf. But, then again, considering this is an anime where nearly every woman in it is incredibly buxom for no reason other than so Sword can have something to stare at, I guess I can’t expect much more than this. Plus, he’s technically…not lying, I guess.
10. The one thing I have to congratulate the creators of Vanishing Line for is really taking advantage of the animated medium. Normally GARO’s a live-action series, and as such is limited by budget as to what can and can’t be done. They couldn’t have done nearly as many establishing scenes that set up this world–setting up a Western town and a ruined city in back to back episodes would’ve been impossible–and they certainly couldn’t create a Horror like this.
After the father essentially loses his mind, he gets absorbed by the Hollow inhabiting the water system, and it eventually consumes the entire motel before taking on this monstrous form. It’s creative and creepy, and my only problem is that Sword kills it in seconds, like he has every single other Horror. I know not every fight can be Garo vs. the Dark Knight but at least let it not be as dull as these–Sword isn’t even doing anything creative, he’s just chucking his sword through them and they blow up. Blah.
Anyway, since the next episode is up, there’s no preview in this article–but we’re back on track so episode 13’s recap won’t be too long from now.
Garo: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.