Saturday, January 22, 2011

GARO: First Impressions

GARO intro
Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns... yet by the blade of Knights, mankind was given hope.

I've been meaning to watch GARO for a good while now. Lots of people have positive things to say about it, so that's a plus, but it was the announcement of the GARO SH Figuarts that really pushed me over the edge. Getting into a show through toys has done me well in the past, so I hope the trend continues with GARO. So far I'm 5 episodes in and really enjoying it, although it's not quite what I expected.

For those of you who haven't heard of GARO, it's an adult tokusatsu series, or a "Hyper Midnight Action Drama". It follows a young man, Kouga, who inherited the title of Makai Knight. He must fight to protect humans from demonic creatures known as Horrors. It was created by Keita Amemiya, who directed the Kamen Rider J and ZO movies, but it's not that similar to Kamen Rider once you get past the "guy henshins and fights monsters" bit.

Mika Hijii

It does, however, feature a couple Kamen Rider actors. Mika Hijii, (pictured above) who was on Kamen Rider Blade, plays the main female character. Even on Blade, there's something about her that I find inherently likable, and it's really neat to see her in a bigger role.

Ryohei Odai

And Kamen Rider's resident super lawyer, Shuichi Kitaoka, makes an appearance in episode 5! Ryohei Odai mostly works as a voice actor, so I'd never seen him in anything besides Ryuki. It took me a while to figure out was him, but I was really excited once I realized it. He's one of my favorite characters in Ryuki, and it was a really fun surprise. I already know at least one other Kamen Rider actor will be showing up later, and I'm really psyched for that.

I have some thoughts the GARO episodes I've seen so far, as well as some gifs. I'll try to keep the spoilers really mild, so feel free to click if you haven't watched the show yet.

GARO Kouga

The highlight of GARO is absolutely the action scenes. They're extremely well choreographed and exciting to watch, and they offer a surprising amount of variety. One thing I really like is how often you get to see actual people fighting. It feels like a real action movie and not just a late night television show.

kouga gif

The monster design is absolutely spectacular. Because the Horrors on the show have human forms, you usually don't get to see them in their true form until the end of the episode, and there are some monsters I would've loved to see for a little bit longer.

garo gif

Where GARO falls short for me right now is the story. That's not to say its story is bad, because it isn't, but it's where the show has the most room for improvement. I enjoy each episode's individual plots, but the show is only 25 episodes in total, and I don't feel like that much has happened yet. They have set up some pretty interesting things plot wise, so my opinion on this might change completely after I watch a few more episodes.


There's not much comedy so far, so this is a pretty great series for people who prefer their toku shows to be a bit more serious, and it's such a treat visually that it doesn't lose the inherent sense of fun that all toku shows have.

garo toku

I'm definitely looking forward to watching the rest of GARO, and I hope I get as caught up in the plot as I am in the fights!

garo knight

Subtitled episodes of GARO are available through TV-Nihon.


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