5 Point Discussions – Garo: Vanishing Line 16: “Chance Meeting”

by Sage Ashford

Sword and the others continue on the journey to El Dorado. What new challenges will they face as they get closer to their destination? 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. After several weeks on the road, we’ve finally gotten to the point where the group’s starting to get on each other’s nerves for tiny things. When the episode starts, Sophie’s stopped speaking to Sword because he ate her chocolate. He apologizes, but that’s not quite enough to pacify Sophie (who wanted to share it with the group), and the argument continues until Sword mistakenly brings up how watching her is more of a job than he signed up for. The implication is that Sword’s only doing this because if he didn’t Sophie would be Horror food or captured in a matter of seconds.

It sounds ridiculous, but in light of Sophie’s history it’s understandable she’d come to that conclusion–her entire life has been the story of people abandoning her. Her parents, her brother…even the nun that was killed by Knight. All kids are a little fragile to begin with, and it doesn’t get any better once you add the realization that she could be abandoned all over again after this El Dorado business is done.

2. The best thing about this episode is that aside from an appearance by Rook, this episode is entirely devoid of Horrors. There’s still plenty of action–the main story follows a young kid who wants revenge on a gang leader for murdering his girlfriend for refusing to be a prostitute for him–but there’s not a single human-chomping baddie in this episode.

Early in the episode Sophie storms off into the slums of an already dilapidated city and nearly winds up attacked by some creepy old men only to be saved by Gina, and not a single person reveals themselves to secretly be a monster wearing human skin. It seems like a strange choice at first, but in reality it’s the only thing that makes sense. Horrors work off tapping into the corrupted hearts of men, so if humanity were pure then we wouldn’t have a show. Episodes like this don’t need to happen all the time, but they remind us that the problem isn’t inherently the Horrors; most of these struggles come from humanity just being terrible.

Also, can I give one more shout out to Gina for being so much more than what I originally thought her to be? Garo’s representation of women is usually what you’d see under the dictionary definition of problematic, but Gina’s been so much more. Yeah, they’re still going overboard with the fanservice for her but she’s been portrayed as every bit as competent and capable as Sword in battle and knowledge about the Makai world.  And more importantly, in a show that’s normally about masculinity, her and Sophie’s relationship is prominent and surprisingly well-done. She’s supportive when she needs to be, protective when she needs to be, and the very definition of a great influence on Sophie’s development into an adult. The show’s still not perfect, but you gotta pay credit where it’s due.

3. With the finale only nine or so episodes away, we’re starting to clear away some of the mysteries of the show. First up? Sword’s backstory, in an episode that’s surprisingly thorough even though it doesn’t really revolve around Sword himself. We’ve known for some time that Sword lost his little sister, but we weren’t aware of what happened or his connection to El Dorado until this week. Sword had already been in training to become to wear the Golden armor and become Garo, when his sister was killed due to an accident at the Signa Slam research lab next to her school. Coincidentally, last week Rook brought up having to destroy a lab in a failed experiment involved with El Dorado. It’s unclear what their experiment is supposed to be for, but we know for sure now that Sword is as closely tied to this as Sophie is.

4. The A plot for this week is about a young man named Pedro, who’s been trying to kill Gordon, the leader of a gang that has absolute control over the city. Only…Pedro’s kind of a loser. His attempts at killing Gordon have all been half-baked, usually resulting in Gordon’s men kicking the crap out of him while the other denizens of the city mock him for his inability to get over the murder of his girlfriend Monica. It’s clear Pedro’s both a guy that’s at the end of his rope because he’s let revenge consume him…but he’s also not exactly cut out for revenge in the first place.

It might just be me, but it was difficult to feel sorry for the guy. I had plenty of pity for Monica, a young woman put into an awful situation and eventually murdered because she wouldn’t bend to the will of a disgusting monster of a gang leader. But Pedro? By the time Sword arrives and saves him from his latest butt kicking, he’s had a year to think of a plan. A year to learn to fight or use weapons in a way that would’ve likely easily placed him far above the chumps in Gordon’s gang, but he spends most of his time crying and begging anyone and everyone to help him out. Seeing some of himself in Sword, he tries to convince Pedro to let it go because it’s not how Monica would have wanted him to spend his life, but it doesn’t work. He nearly gets himself killed a second time near the end of the episode until Sword shows up at the last second and literally punches a bullet away during his rescue of Pedro while attempting not to actually hurt any humans.

Finally, given a chance to get his revenge, Pedro’s reminded of Monica one last time and decides Gordon isn’t worth it. We’re not really shown what happens to Pedro after that, but hopefully having given up on revenge he’s working towards moving out of the city.  But back to that bullet punching…

Points to this episode of Garo for showing the only real reaction to that. Everyone always wants to fight the guy who does something utterly insane, as if that wouldn’t result in getting beaten into paste.

5. In sharp contrast to last week where everyone that wasn’t a regular wound up getting murdered horribly, this week’s episode was actually pretty low-key. But we couldn’t even get to the end of this episode before they let us know that episode 17’s going to be a different story. While the group briefly stops for a refilling, the sky darkens with the arrival of something sinister. Will the team even make it to El Dorado?

Garo: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.