I covered a lot of ground. The first time, we discussed episodes 1-4. Now we’re going over 5-11. A lot has happened!
So the first four episodes focused on defining Leon. His past, his desire for revenge, an inability to contain his emotion, then a potential solution for that emotion. With that under our belts, Garo shifts to getting us ready for the raid on Castle Santa Bard.
To that end, episodes 5, 7, and 9 focus on prince Alfonso and his development into the third heroic Makai Knight. He’s a foil to Leon’s brooding and anger. The do-right prince who feels a bit more like your classic protagonist. I like that he and Leon don’t clash despite having different personalities. In episode 9, they happen to meet and share a meal together and it’s a positive encounter. So many anime go back to the frenemies thing where the two heroes are in constant conflict but manage to have a few positive moments. It’s nice to see characters who are different but get along.
The fight choreography hasn’t been quite as dynamic as I had hoped. Like in episode 6, Leon fights Bernardo Dión, the Black Knight, the biggest villain we’ve seen so far. It’s narratively and emotionally meaningful, but visually anti-climactic due to some Saturday Morning Cartoon-like physics. And we have our first major fight in episode 11 between. It’s German vs. Bernardo. You find out they’re old friends, both Makai Knights, but Bernardo ended up corrupted by Mendoza after saving German and Anna (Leon’s mom/the other Makai Knight) 17 years earlier. This is a battle nearly two decades in the making.
It’s…okay? The physics are off. The choreography isn’t that compelling. I do kind of like that it doesn’t drag on for several episodes like in Dragon Ball Z. It’s decisive. At least there’s emotion at the end, as the corrupt version of Bernardo vanishes and good, OG Bernardo gets to reconnect with German. Then vanish forever.
A big theme of Garo has been this transition from how things were to a new era. German and Bernardo and Mendoza all represent the previous generation. We’ve had multiple characters from their era pass away. The alchemist Gael, from episode 3. Alfonso’s master and teacher, Rafael, who passes on the Gaia Makai armor. It makes you wonder how much longer German will survive.
Garo only has 24 episodes (plus a recap episode with the cast), so episode 12 is the end of “act 1.” Meaning episode 11 is the set-up for whatever’s going to happen in 12. Bernardo gets got. Leon and Alfonso finally come face to face with main villain, Mendoza. And we see Mendoza calling forth some ultimate horror.
I honestly didn’t expect it to reach this point this quickly. I thought we wouldn’t get the castle invasion until episode like…18 or 19.
A few potential ways the story can go.
- This could be a first-run failure where German sacrifices himself to save Leon and Alfonso. Then those two have grow without any mentors and do a second run on the castle/Mendoza.
- Leon’s going to give in to his rage and go off a deep end. It could lead to more conflict between Leon and Alonso.
- This ends up being a microcosm of some much larger conflict between the horrors and knights, with Mendoza being more of a harbinger of what’s to come than the actual final boss.
- Something I clearly haven’t thought of.
I’m excited to see where we go!