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Ok, this is my favorite 2-cour series so far. I mentioned previously how much this series isn’t getting the praise it deserves but I will tell you that this has been a tremendous fantasy adventure series! Keita Amemiya knows how to write strong engrossing narratives: I’d really like to see him do an adaptation of Castlevania— he would do wonders in bringing the Belmont family to life!
German pays his respects to Ximena for all she has done for him– it’s about time these two got together. Very genuine romance scene and I’m glad this show handles sex with such maturity– it’s an important aspect of Garo one that even Leon will someday learn of and has been hinted in the first portion of this series with Ema Guzman.
Here though German is about to follow the Order and complete a mission with the once Alchemist turned advisor to the King of Valiante that had been in control of Horrors. Can’t wait to see how Leon will handle his father with this villain at his side. That is just the tip of what happens here– most of this episode focuses on how Leon grapples with Lara’s death and what it feels to succumb to darkness in this case the allure of a Horror.
What a way to develop this by using Lara’s grave and her body as witness to Leon’s wavering feelings of hatred, sadness and pain to distort his reality even further! So the scars that Mendoza had and Leon has had a struggle with since the very beginning are finally taking form– does he perhaps have a hidden power of a Horror within him? The village life he held on to so deeply and seeing it all vanish before his eyes is just the push he needs to either turn into a monster or reunite with Alfonso on equal terms– a Makai Knight. What I did not expect here was that they would fight in order to challenge whom would receive the Madou Ring and Garo’s power.
This is intense! This has got to be the coolest fight scene I’ve seen yet of 2015 and the most well-drawn and animated sequence Garo has shown! The sword spin, the debris and the background designs are incredibly detailed here considering how Yoichiro Hayashi directs the animation, same illustrator that worked on Redline and the lead director of Garo. However, it’s this very scene that kept me at the edge of my seat– I was just waiting for either Leon or Alfonso to get killed here and the the other turn into a Horror. Personally, I feel what made this such a fantastic episode was the amount of detail put into this fight. This gives me the impression that this is the crux for Leon’s maturity into the Garo Knight once again.
Takahiro Shikama is an extremely talented artist– the debris including the sword spin and leg attack Leon lands on Alfonso here is proof that this animator is good at what he does. STAR DRIVER animator for most of the Cybodies’ battles– absolutely amazing! Come to think of it this fight reminds me a lot of how Sword of the Stranger‘s animated fights had been– was this intentional? A nod to Yutaka Nakamura’s work on the final fight in that film. I can clearly see influence written all over this– both Nakamura and Shikama worked on STAR DRIVER together as animators on various episodes so I can see how this scene in Garo would have come up on the drawing boards.
Moving on, this episode is all about Leon reclaiming what he lost from his past [the Madou Ring] and fighting with Alfonso is just the resolution he needs to purge the flames away from his body and protect people without a selfish sense of pride in the way. Lara was what he found and lost– the key figure in his transformation from a wandering boy without understanding of honor to a man filled with a duty to protect people from Horrors.
Ah that second fight is great here– it’s about time Leon returns to the spotlight as Garo and Alfonso with Fernando’s armor. The team is back and what motivates this is the very end– German reveals to them that he will be working with Mendoza! I have to wonder though what will Ema do when she hears of this and how will Octavia end up once she learns that Mendoza is in fact alive? The man that she trusted and worked with to bring Horrors throughout the kingdom only to find out he’s aligning himself with the very people he exterminated in the Witch Hunts.
This show has gone to great lengths to get where it needs to be with its cast and it’s keeps on getting better and better every week!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10