It’s Garo vs. Knight for the battle to see who gets to exit the virtual world. And what will happen to SFophie with the journey finally over? 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. The person who blocks Sword’s way at the end of the last episode turns out to be Knight; freed from the ring, he can finally have what he really wants: a fight against Sword. Being completely honest? They could’ve kept this fight scene. It’s poorly shot, as both Sword and Knight spend most of their time on their bikes while the action happens so rapidly you can barely see it. When it’s just Garo versus Knight the visibility improves massively because the camera doesn’t have to fight these gigantic freaking monster bikes, but it’s still nothing particularly impressive. With this being the last episode, it’s safe to say the first fight scene these two did in episode 8 is the best one we ever got.
I just knew the majority of this week’s episode was going to be devoted to topping it, but nope. It’s not satisfying all, managing to be neither a one-sided beatdown or an evenly matched battle of “manly” wills where the two characters burn out their armor time and just wind up slugging it out in human form like I hoped. It seems like it’s just getting started when suddenly Sword breaks Knight’s blade and jams his improved Garo Blade inside of Knight’s chest. The End.
Unfortunately, the gate allowing Sword to exit is closed, and EldoNet starts to fall apart while Sword seems to be trapped.
2. Sophie wakes up not long after managing to shut down EldoNet with Gina and Luke watching over her. Everything seems okay, until she realizes…Sword’s not there. As the gravity of what must have happened dawns on her, she becomes hysterical, bawling her eyes out as she realizes she’s lost the closest thing to family she’s got. Of course, it’s hard to buy this sadness since we didn’t really see Sword die…but then they crank it to 11. Luke starts to load his gun with a memory-erasing bullet, even as Sophie begs to keep her memories.
I’ve never really had a problem with this ability up until now–society couldn’t function if they knew monsters and their world existed. But it feels especially cruel to do it to Sophie. She’s someone who’s proven to be able to deal with the existence of Horrors, and moreover…her life has been altered in a very specific way thanks to her brother and the Horrors. Most importantly…she saved the world! She’s heartbroken now, but the entire experience was an vital personal journey for her, and how could anyone take that away?
3. Months pass by as we enter the epilogue part of this series, and Sophie’s living a happy life again! She’s friends with her roommate again, and has taken the place of the Sister who was slain when Knight made his first appearance in the home. She does the cooking, the cleaning, and takes care of the children in the home–she generally seems to be quite happy. But there are moments when she stares off into space, almost as if there’s something at the edge of her memories she can’t quite pull into the forefront. As we see her in her new, “normal” life she spaces out several times…until it happens one too many times and she remembers.
It’s not sure how or why she does, but the moment it clicks she rushes back to her room and finds the proof she needs: the pendant she was given in the Land of Guidance. With that, she runs across Russell City until she reaches the Diner where she first found Sword, Gina, and the others. It just so happens Gina is there again, impressed Sophie was able to remember what was taken from her. She warns her she’ll have to be prepared to live with these memories…only for Sophie to ask what this story has been leading to all this time: how can she become a Makai Alchemist?
This particular moment put a huge, goofy grin on my face. Sophie carried the weight of all these tragedies on her shoulders without any powers at all. And although she screwed up and caused King to awaken to begin with, she also managed to put her pain aside and accept her mistake for the sake of saving the world. Though she started out only wanting to bring her brother back, by the end all she wants is to protect the people around her and stop them from suffering a fate like hers. It’s the most natural conclusion this story could have come to.
4. All these teases at the tail end of things are pretty weird. By the end Mei-Fang has fallen in love with Luke, but they don’t actually show the two characters meeting again. The head of the Makai Order meets up with a bunch of other old men and we don’t really know what that’s about or is referring to. Bishop is still alive and wonders what he can do with his life now that he’s finally free of dealing with the Ring. Lastly, Luke’s now become a Silver Knight…which honestly should’ve happened several episodes ago. It makes sense for us to learn Sophie’s going on to become a Makai Alchemist, but all these other teases make me feel like they greenlit a season two of this series and no one told me.
Oh, and Sword’s still alive. I added that in a sloppy, haphazard way and at the very end of my recap to mirror the way they handled it in this last episode.
5. Final Thoughts: Garo is a show that comes close to being great, without ever managing to consistently stay there. There’s lots to love–the show boasts the beautiful animation typical of a production from MAPPA. The characterization is generally superb, and there’s not a single character I actually disliked or thought was particularly poorly written. I love that it managed to tell a story about a character who was consistently powerless, but never worthless to the storyline. And I love how they managed to develop Gina and Sword through Sophie, giving her the older sister and brother she so desperately needed after losing her family. In particular for a show with some fairly strong roots in objectifying women, I often found myself in awe of just how much female bonding they allowed to happen between Gina and Sophie.
…Still, it’s hard to overlook it’s flaws. The show has like five important female characters, and of those three of them have boobs bigger than their heads. The fight scenes were usually disappointing because Sword was so OP, but they never wasted an opportunity to show us how good they had tit jiggle animation down.
Then there’s the plot itself. It’s solid, but fails to give everyone a strong enough arc. Luke learns revenge isn’t more important than protecting the people you care about, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have eventually been the one to kill Knight when they had an entire episode where he fought Knight trying to protect Sophie and Sword. As disappointing as Garo vs. Knight Round 2 was, we should’ve just gotten Luke vs. Knight Round 2, with Luke revealing he became a Makai Knight while in the Land of Guidance. They showed him using his father’s sword at the end to do it anyway–they could’ve just had him be a Makai Knight who embraces the bow, like Aguri from Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness.
We see Gina’s resolve strengthened when she learns answers in the Land of Guidance, but we never got any implication she was lacking resolve in the first place. And for a series to boast the same three villains as long as this did, we only got to discover the origins of one of them.
Speaking of fight scenes–for a series that’s supposed to specialize in those, this series was sorely lacking. I talked about that last week, but I was willing to recant it slightly if the Sword vs. Knight face off was what I was looking for. There were some great ones early on, but by the middle most of those had faded away…by the end it’s just Gina in the Land of Guidance and Gina vs. Queen that provides anything remotely impressive in terms of physical scenes.
Still, when the worst critcisms I can muster are all about how “this show was good, but it should’ve been great”, I can only complain so much. Garo is the purest definition of a 7 if I had to put a number to it. It was worth the time I spent watching it, and if someone wanted a Horror action series I’d certainly recommend it…but I can’t say I ever see myself going through it again unless it’s to watch with someone else.
This wraps up another series for the Winter, leaving me with some tough choices for what to recap next. But you’ll find out about them soon enough!