A devious wizard , a child born unto flame and the tale of the Makai, desperately trying to reform their Kingdom… Garo the animation is amazing.
Set in a fantasy styled theme more akin to Berserk, Garo the animation is a huge departure from the live action series that preceded it.
It tells the tale of a nefarious Wizard, Mendoza, who convinces his King to eradicate all the witches and magic users, as they pose a threat to the Kings rule. Thus resulting in a great Witch Hunt where many are slaughtered.. but these are not “Witches”, these are the Makai Alchemists and Knights, Sworn to protect the light and serve the people… so with them out of the way, Mendoza can continue with his plans to overthrow the Kingdom for his own sinister plans.
During this “Witch Hunt” a Makai Alchemist is burned at the stake, still carrying her child in womb. In her passing the child is born into the flame, but a glowing Aura protects him… suddenly he is whisked away by a Silver Makai Knight and taken to safety, disappearing for many years…
17 years have passed, and the child saved by the mysterious Knight has grown into a young man… and now seeks to return to the Kingdom where his Mother and his people were Slain.. Guided by the powers of the Makai Knights, and his gift of the Golden Armor of Garo, Leon sets off to where it all began…
So, with the storyline out of the way, what makes Garo special?
Initially I was a little underwhelmed in the first episode, but through its strong Characters, and a storyline with more than a few twists and turns, by the 3rd episode i was hooked.
The Makai Knights themselves, are an impressive lot, although mortal men, they can call forth the powers to adorn the Armor of the Makai, which handily, seems to teleport onto them whenever its required… think…Centurions, but without the “Power Extreme” bit, and a lot quicker.. Whenever we see them in action, the animation uses the new CGI technology to get them moving and looking amazing.
The Makai Knights. Visually Impressive.
Leon is your typical brooding revenge fueled character, always serious, and always wanting to get the job done without any time wastage, his Father on the other hand (The Silver Knight that saved the boy…remember? Its OK…that’s not a spoiler), is absolutely hilarious. A ladies man that spends more time running around naked and getting into trouble with the townspeople thanks to his “Appetite”, than playing the stoic hero. Although, despite his constant shenanigans, can instantly switch to the super serious type, and wise powerful warrior. I found similarities with him and Vash the Stampede from Trigun, although Vash wasn’t too lucky with the ladies…
Leon’s Dad…Yes…he’s talking about his Winky…again..
As the story progresses we meet a slew of allies, discover why Mendoza despises the Makai, as well as the back stories of the main characters.
Never does it feel forced, or gets the “filler episode” feel. Everything flows together perfectly, keeping the viewer entertained until the end.
And what a climax! We see an epic battle and some really….REALLY.. surprising outcomes…. just to keep you on the edge of your seat until the next batch of episodes come out.
Garo the Animation, is a 2 disc set. Aside from episodes 1- 12, you get text less openings for the show, and one of my favorites, a Special Episode where the Japanese Voice actors sit around a stewing pot of Shabu Shabu and reminisce about the season that was!
All in all, Garo is a fantastic series so far, with great fantasy elements, rife with action and strong story telling. Well worth your attention!
Garo the Animation is out now on DVD via Madman Entertainment.
© 2014 “GARO THE ANIMATION” Keita Amemiya / Tohokushinsha