- Titles: 牙狼＜GARO＞-VANISHING LINE-
- Genre: Horror, action, gore, drama
- Episodes: 24
- Studio: MAPPA
The world can be a dangerous place. Most of us don,t even realize it. We go about our lives as if nothing’s wrong, not even noticing the horrors that surround us. But that’s only because the brave Makai Knights and Alchemists have been keeping us safe behind the scenes. However, now a new threat to humanity has arisen, greater than ever before. There’s a new king in town and he is building the great city of El Dorado on the corpses of countless victims. But what does all of this have to do with a young orphan girl named Sophie and will the great knight SWORD be able to protect her?
GARO is one of those shows I just kind of picked up because of the Crunchyroll thumbnail and then almost dropped from my plan to watch list a dozen times. I really only ended up watching because the great deities of the AniList random pick generator ordered me too. It was a’ight.
Some of you eagle-eyed readers out there may have noticed that this anime was made by MAPPA studios. MAPPA usually puts out a pretty good product and they aren’t afraid to take risks which is cool. However, I get the feeling GARO wasn’t one of their marquis projects.
Don’t get me wrong, it is quite a well-made anime and there are a couple of visually interesting scenes. But only a couple in 24 episodes isn’t much and for the most part, it’s a pretty enough but fairly unadventurous production. Like it everything was ok but nothing was special.
The only real comment I have regarding the production values is that they seem to have run out of money towards the very end. The last 2 or 3 episodes had some of the characters looking just a little off. Like good but not great knock-off versions of themselves. It really created this visual uncanny valley right at the climax of the story that kept taking me out of it. Even though it was just one small production misstep. it had a huge effect on me, way more than if the art had been inconsistent all along.
Like my title says GARO -VANISHING LINE- seems to suffer as a narrative but it’s difficult to put my finger exactly on why. It’s the type of show that was almost good in every aspect. For instance, the characters are alright, they all have different backgrounds and logical personal motivations for their actions. They have some personalities. But to me, they were all remained too superficial for me to get attached on an emotional level and the character designs were too run of the mill for me to just truly appreciate them as pure eye candy. There was an attempt at making them more grey and giving them some anti-hero traits but again without any follow-through, it just ended up standard superhero stuff.
The story itself is not bad. I quite liked the horrors as the blanket antagonists. They are a bit like a mix of vampires and zombies both on the text and subtext level which I thought was different and interesting. Now I realize that GARO -VANISHING LINE- is just a small part of a greater GARO franchise and you can really tell just by watching. It’s not that I didn’t understand what was happening but I had just the information I needed to follow along. I kept thinking there must be this greater horror lore but it’s not in this series.
As such the main storyline regarding El Dorado and how the mysterious plan behind it felt a tiny bit rushed and sort of just going by the numbers. It’s more like someone telling you all the main events of a story instead of you reading or watching it for yourself. Something always gets lost in translation.
On the other hand, however, there are actually a ton of side stories and filler episodes with characters we only see for one episode or two. Like half the show is that is not more. And for the most part, I found these fairly boring. Early on I had hope that they all held little puzzle pieces that would eventually come together for a glorious resolution but no. Only the ones featuring Luke have a bit to bring to his character development but otherwise, they really were just filler.
So that’s what I mean. It felt like the characters were underdeveloped and the plot was rushed for lack of time but at the same time, I think you could have cut more than half of the runtime without really losing anything.
This can be very frustrating to watch. You start off on a storyline that is exciting or at least that you want to see though but it constantly gets interrupted by these side quests. Then maybe you happen to really like a character just to have to realize they were the victim of the week and you are never going to see them again. The structure of the series itself sort of stops you from forming any deep attachments to either the characters or the plot which is a pretty big problem.
All this said I did watch GARO -VANISHING LINE-, all of it. And it’s not like it was a chore to finish. I have had much more trouble with shorter series than this. But it was just sort of nothing. It had all these elements that had great potential and even episodes that were entertaining and fun to watch. But it just never ended up being anything. I don’t regret watching GARO but I’m not going to say you’re missing anything if you skip it.
Favourite character : Luke, for uhm his personality
Suggested drink: Grog (…close enough)
- Every time Zaruba talks – take a sip
- Every time they eat at the diner – get a snack
- Every time a new horror is born – gasp!
- Every time there’s a message from “the boss” – take a sip
- Every time Sword prays – oh my
- Every time anyone mentions El Dorado – take a sip
- Every time we see a teddy bear – take a sip
- Every time anyone is getting drunk – join them
- Every time we see Sister – raise your glass
- Every time we see little Luke – cheer!
- Every time the heroes cause serious collateral damage – take a sip
- Every time Sword ends up in his undies – close your eyes
- Every time there’s a magical knight transformation sequence – sing the Sailor Moon theme
- Every time there’s a cross motif – take a sip
- Every time Sophie has her bangs down – take a sip
In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!