Keita Amemiya got his start in the anime industry in character monster designing with 1989’s Ultraman. His first created work had been on Iria: Zeiram The Animation. An action sci-fi adventure series. Where he really shines though is in his fantasy works– Mahou Shoujotai, Garo and horror OVA G-9.
Makai Knights under a code of honor by the Order are sent throughout the land to kill Horrors– humans that are consumed by their own grief and/or hatred. German’s wife is killed by being burned at the stake fueling the inevitable witch hunts led by Valiante King’s advisor Mendoza. Some of the best narratives are the side-cast that Garo focuses on. The horror doctor, the mother and child outed from their village, the blacksmith overcome by his grief of losing his son– so many personal issues with these minor characters really build this world into a larger piece that plays onto Mendoza’s hatred wonderfully well. His backstory is awesome: he throws his wife and child off a cliff because they are marked just like him after he was banished from the Order as a Makai Alchemist because he was power hungry.
Ema Guizman is one of the strongest female characters of the past few seasons– she’s doesn’t believe in the Makai Knights and tries to shoulder everything on her own. The episode where her love with human-turned horror Luciano really illustrates the relationships people have with each other and how the code these Makai Knights and Alchemists follow can sometimes in unfortunate circumstances can change them. Sometimes though the plot is flimsy– the handmade Garo Knight felt entirely out of left field just for the sake of bringing back blacksmith apprentice Juliano. Sometimes there’s overacting in times that doesn’t need to be just to deliver a more intense mood. However, overall the story is so good that it’s easily passable.
The soundtrack is just as good as the art– really dark and ambitious. MONACA founder Keiichi Okabe is amazing– I couldn’t tell this came from the same group that did the score of Hourou Musuko! It has understated piano tracks and very toned down drum sections compared to Hiroyuki Sawano. It works wonderfully in this series that is subtle with its grim narratives. If you are a fan of Mahou Shoujotai, enjoy watching fantasy series with more mature themes than I highly recommend this series that is a twisted take on the tokusatsu genre!
Let’s see more original series from Amemiya like this one in the future!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: [91/100]