5 Point Discussions – Garo: Vanishing Line 20: “Utopia”

by Sage Ashford

Sophie comes face to face with her brother, and Sword comes face to face with his sister.  What secrets do they learn? And how will they carry on from here? 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. Alright, so let’s go ahead and get this out of the way before we get on to the rest of the recap.

I was right. (Also, you’ll totally be seeing that gif again whenever I predict something.  Yes, I am that petty.) Sophie’s brother has been King all along. I started to doubt it last episode, as Sophie found all those letters that indicated her brother maybe wasn’t an evil scumbag. And as he appears in El Dorado, we learn that he still probably isn’t. He’s just a guy with a dream who’s being taken advantage of. The ring that’s been hinted at allowing one to control Horrors apparently does so whether the user is conscious of it or not, so when Sophie’s brother Martin was given the Ring by the real villain over all of this, he suddenly became the controller of both GarEden and El Dorado.
This is why Sophie was nearly killed early in the series but eventually found herself “protected” and sought after by Knight and Bishop. Martin. After years of toiling away trying to finish El Dorado, he finally asked Queen to bring his sister Sophie to look at the finished project–and it was only then that she became untouchable.

2. Hey, Gina’s back!  After Sword followed Sophie into the waters of El Dorado, he wound up immersed in that virtual world as well. While there, his body is left completely inactive and Luke has to watch over him while also trying to escape the headquarters of GarEden. Things look a little dire for a bit, but while he’s dragging Sword’s giant body out, our favorite Makai Alchemist pops up. She’s presumably restocked back at the RPG Village and is ready to face off against the final boss.
I was kind of hoping her return would be as the heroes found themselves in more dire straits, but I also can’t get upset when a series avoids the obvious cliches. She’s back, and that gives us someone who can face off against Bishop while Luke (hopefully) takes down Queen. That’s me being hopeful. Much more likely is she’s back because we need a woman to fight Queen, which bums me out.

3. Trapped in El Dorado, Sword runs into a digital copy of his sister and we learn the truth of the city.  As expected, EldoNet was the prototype of El Dorado, which is a virtual reality world that drags someone’s consciousness out of their body. Within El Dorado, everything is seemingly perfect from the description that Martin gives Sophie–everyone has meaningful work, they can visit exotic locales and eat fancy food because the world simulates all human senses.
But that’s all surface stuff. Sword’s sister Lizzy points out that everyone in the virtual reality world is just food for Horrors. Worse, their consciousness can be overridden in order to serve as anti-virus protection, meaning they aren’t actually “free”, either. This feels like an entirely new low–Horrors have always consumed humans, but their final plan here would involve them controlling the minds of deceased humans as well. The Guardian spirit Gina spoke to talked about the head horror this gen being an unspeakable evil, and this must have been what was meant.

4. Sword briefly throws down against Queen after the system notices he’s there, and it’s pretty one-sided in favor of Queen. Of course, he doesn’t get to use his armor in El Dorado so he’s fighting with a handicap. He nearly gets killed, but his sister shows up at the last second and does a “forced logout” for her brother to put him back in the real world.
Something like this makes me believe that we’re going to wind up with a Sword vs. Queen showdown, and I’m hoping that’s not the case. It at least wouldn’t be “make the girl characters fight”, but it would also be monopolizing the show and making all the other characters look useless. Nobody wants that.

5. This episode ends with an absolute gut punch. Sophie forces Martin to log out and the two of them return to the real world. As Martin finally drags himself back to proper consciousness, he feels a pair of hands wrap around his throat as Sophie decides she has to kill her brother.
This is easily the most heartbreaking thing I’ve seen this entire series. I wondered what Sophie would do once she discovered her brother was actually King. I predicted a minor mental breakdown and we got that, but the show went far beyond. Sophie has experienced life across the country–she’s seen the damage that the Horrors have inflicted upon humanity again and again. Lives have been brought to a brutal ending far too soon, all in the name of King.  All because the “King” wanted her. She wakes up in a room filled with thousands of corpses–the physical remnants of all the humans that were placed in El Dorado on a lie the Horrors sold them. She feels responsible, like she has to do something. So she does the only thing she can…and vows to end the life of the man she’s been searching for all this time. The life of the only blood relative she has left in this world.
She won’t be able to go through with that, because the lesson here can’t be “sometimes you’ve got to kill your family”.  Garo’s a cruel series, but not quite that cruel.  Sophie’s growth as a character continues, and even if she made the wrong choice here, I’m impressed the series for even suggested it.
Garo: Vanishing Line is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

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