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1. Fifteen episodes and we’ve finally made it! The city of El Dorado. As it turns out it’s everything it was promised…and all you expected it to be. A shining, futuristic city of tomorrow that seems absolutely perfect. There’s not a speck of trash. There don’t seem to be any homeless people. Technology upgrades happen so frequently they’re informed about it on a daily basis! Everyone looks to be happy, and the whole place seems perfect. However…
2. Our focus character for most of the episode is this woman, Carol Warren. We join her on the bus into El Dorado, and she’s fortunate enough to only be forced to see the awful slum that is El Sanvador from inside. She muses at how unfortunate it is that their dreams couldn’t take them out of the squalor to the light of El Dorado, and you just know she’s doomed.
Two separate times in the episode you assume she’s going to wind up killed. First in the bus, where she’s surrounded by people that all mysteriously disappear before the bus even comes to a stop. Then, later she’s invited to join a man on a date. Each time she seems to skate by, and you almost believe she’s going to live. Until. Invited as a guest of a special night club, she seems to be enjoying herself when suddenly the club owner pronounces her as a “special guest”, alongside two other women. The crowd is told they’re about to help paint the night, which…is weird.
At this point though, the truth is becoming obvious. We hear a scream, and then a splatter of blood gushes from the area of one of the women. The other suffers the same unseen, but gruesome fate…and suddenly it becomes clear: the entire nightclub appears to be full of Horrors! Our poor woman attempts to escape, but runs into…yet another Horror, just of a different type. Her life comes to a messy end, and you realize this is likely the fate of most humans in El Dorado, sooner rather than later. You realize she dies because she believed herself above the suffering of other humans, but as with most things in Garo, it always feels like characters are judged far too harshly for wanting something so simple.
3. Our heroes actually don’t appear this episode, and instead we’re granted a look into the daily lives of the “royals” placed in charge of El Dorado. It’s a good choice, as now there’s only nine episodes left and we need to get a sense of the characters beyond Knight.
There’s actually not much of an alliance between them, and if anything they just seem to be working together because of their shared desire for King to succeed. Knight does whatever he wants. The Queen is only concerned with protecting the King to the exclusion even of the city itself. And only Rook seems to care about the actual goals they’re aiming towards, which remain shadowy as ever. We only know they plan on using El Dorado for an experiment, and that they’re willing to blow the whole thing if the experiment goes sour. Uh-oh! Maybe that’s why, in all this time, the King hasn’t ever gotten caught before?
4. Aside from the King, there’s one central character for most of the episode: a being who spends most of the episode wandering in search of King. It’s not clear who he is at first, another Makai Knight or a new Horror, until he turns two hapless people into clones of himself.
He causes as much havoc as possible in search of the King before gaining the attention of the Queen, and that gives us his true identity: a literal pretender to the throne. Seemingly not every Horror is on board with the plan, and a few gain enough confidence to mount attacks on El Dorado. But in the most brutal defeat thus far, the Queen dispatches with the pretender to the throne with ease. She boasts monstrous plants that consume his clones and claims a limb before finally allowing him to limp away.
5. Even his escape doesn’t last long however, as Knight finds him almost instantly and cuts him in half with ease. This single episode establishes El Dorado as a harsh city where the powerful become fuel for the even more powerful. How will Sword and the others survive, when they finally reach here?
Garo: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.