Corruption looms over the prosperous Russell City, where manifestations of negative emotions called Horrors cause chaos and mayhem. The Makai Order is the last bastion of hope against these unholy creatures. Using several small businesses as fronts, they deploy powerful Makai Knights and magical Makai Alchemists to combat the Horror threat.
Within this secretive order, the highest rank of Golden Knight has been bestowed upon a large, powerful man named Sword, granting him use of the Garo armor and blade. He alone knows of a plot that threatens the entire Makai Order, with his only hint being the phrase “El Dorado." While fighting a Horror, he encounters Sophia "Sophie" Hennis, a teenage girl whose brother's disappearance years ago is also linked to the same phrase. The two agree to work together to uncover the truth behind "El Dorado" and the disappearance of Sophie's brother.
Sometimes, old ideas never die and Garo is an example that feels timeless regardless what setting it takes in. Upon being announced for a new anime series, I was rather ecstatic upon realizing the setting this show would take place. Contrary to some of the past series that took place in dark fantasy world, we got a modern Garo. That’s right, a series that takes place in modern times with politics, technology, and new dangers lurking in the shadows.
Confession time. I’m actually not a huge Garo fan. In fact, my first exposure to the franchise is from 2014 when Garo: The Animation aired. Basically, I
missed out on the original series that aired over a decade ago and only understand the anime side of the franchise. That’s no problem though as it seems that any new viewer can jump into this anime right away without a big question mark. You can basically watch Garo Vanishing Lines even if this is your very first Garo series as a whole. The real question is whether you can accept and enjoy this series for what it is.
Taking place in a modern setting, Garo Vanishing Line breaks the traditional norm. Because of this, the mood of the show at first feels different. Upon watching the first few episodes, I had a sensational feel about how the series would be presented down the line. The roadmap seems to follow a format that people may feel familiar though. The typical monster-of-the week starts the adventure for our main characters. The rogue gallery consists of Horrors that gets more twisted and twisted each week. It shouldn’t take long for viewers to get comfortable to watching this series once you realize what you’re in for. That being said, Garo Vanishing Line offers a peculiar character cast consisting of Sword, Sophie, Gina, and Luke. All of them have distinctive backgrounds, personalities, and motivations in this series but it’s easy to see how they connect. The most prominent relationship is between Sword and Sophie. From strangers to becoming close friends, they grow close during their time together. It’s also important to note that after being exposed to the existence of Horrors, Sophie’s character begins to grow more confident and sets a promise to find her lost brother.
Sword (known as Garo the Golden Knight) plays the role of a badass protagonist with the motivation to find “El Dorado”. Throughout the series, we can see that he is similar to some of the other Garo characters from previous franchises. He reminds me of German Luis the most as both of them are known for their lustful personalities yet are also very courageous in the face of danger. On the other hand, there’s Luke. As a Makai Alchemist, he is a lonewolf type of character and seeks vengeance for the murder of his mother. Throughout the series, we learn more about his own story and it’s easy to understand his personality. Finally, Gina enters this series as a professional thief. Also known for her skills as a Makai Alchemist, she is what I initially see as a femme fatale. She’s the type of woman known for her dangerous charms and can be quite manipulative. However, her more delicate personality is shown through interacting with Sophie. Throughout the series, she almost seems like a mother figure to her and it’s not hard to see why once you see their character chemistry. Her interaction with Sword plays on a lot of flirtatious moments although her feelings also seem genuine in later episodes. So there you have it, the diverse main cast of the series. Whether you like them or not isn’t the point but rather how these characters all build on one another to make this story.
While this series follows a monster-of-the week format at first, later episodes focuses on a more complicated storyline. It gets thrilling, emotional, and some scenes are very impactful on the characters’ state of being. The most prominent example is Sophie as she discovers revelations beyond her imaginations. I think for most parts, this show adheres to psychological horror with a sense of dark comedy. For me, the series can be both heartwarming and depressive to watch. The storytelling’s pacing catches up after building up events and hits its climax in some ways that you may be unprepared for. On the other hand, the series’ flaws can be looked at for some of the inbalanced storytelling in its first half. A few of those episodes can be quite forgettable as there’s little value that comes out of it. In essence, “filler episodes” can really be either memorable or forgettable depending on your perspective. The main plot carries some of these problems too if you’re not invested into the main cast. And trust me, I wasn’t really sold into the main cast until after I watched a good amount into this show. Personally, I wasn’t invested in Sword’s role in this series much as he feels like a one dimensional character and receives little development. However, this series did make me realize how sad some of the characters’ background stories are. In particular, I feel like Sophie is the most tragic characters in this series after seeing what she’s been through. Poor girl.
Adapted by studio MAPPA, Garo Vanishing Line presents the mature vibe that is very suitable for this anime. The graphic violence is carried by the action scenes with the fighting involving Horrors. It isn’t shy to throw in violence whenever it finds a situation suitable. As such, expect limbs to be blown off, blood to be spilled, and bodies hit the floor in stomach-inducing ways. The Horrors also gives off a Lovecraftian horror vibe with the way they’re designed. There seems to be a larger variety of them too ranging from shapeshifting types to even Horrors that can control people and technology. Also, be prepared for fan service. Gina is the main culprit of this as the series makes her look as sexy as possible with her outfit, curves, and alluring face. As this show also contains heavy action, expect the choreography and battle scenes to have a fast pace. Sometimes, it feels like it’s hard to keep up but once you get used to it, it’s very electrifying. Finally, I want to say the series’ creative team did a wonderful job at crafting the setting for this show. Russel City (based on New York) not only shows the concept of the modern era but also carries a dark metropolis feel. It has a very different style compared to the previous animated Garo series but works creatively well.
To me, Garo Vanishing Line’s main voice cast did a pretty decent job at their roles in particular for characters such as Gina and Luke. The way they speak reaffirms their personalities while showing how they can react differently under certain circumstances. The battle OST and music molds a variety of style to present this action thriller. Some of the emotional scenes in this series also look impactful with the moody soundtrack. The theme songs are also made with care with its thrilling details.
Even as a new series introduced to the Garo franchise, it feels that the show always fit right alongside with the others. With a new group of characters, it will take some time to grow and accept them. In fact, you may end up not liking any of them in the end. That’s okay as Garo isn’t a show that is suitable for everyone. This isn’t one of those series that feeds you along the way with every episode. Honestly, I think Garo Vanishing Line stood out with how it was able to take its new ideas and makes an identity for itself. And that’s a thumb up in my book.
Garo: Vanishing Line is the third Garo TV series, with a modern setting with action happening in Russell City, it follows the story of Sword, a makai knight who dons the golden armor to protect human from the eternal threat called horror which comes to this world from Makai Realm using humans negative emotions, Gina, a makai priest who uses spells to destroy horrors, Luke, who uses guns to hunt horrors and Sophie, a girl who is searching for her brother.
Great unique story, well paced episodes having well choreographed battles, characters which whom you will instantly love and a ride that
will make you beg for more is what Vanishing Line lacks.
Let's talk about the story.
The story starts good, looking promising. After few episodes I found myself wanting more, after half of this aired I started to feel something was lacking, what this lacks is a good arc, with few exceptions this show follows the episodic rule meaning you won't find longer arcs, the episode starts and by the end the conflict is over, of course there is the long arc which is the sole purpose of this anime who in the end fails to deliver and it brings the old twist that even a 5 year old kid might've guessed.
The animation here is better that it's predecessor which completely failed it. The 3DCG animation blends well with 2D .
The character design here is good, showing masculine males when it needs and normal looking females. A good depiction of reality with various types of the human body.
What I dislike here is the fact they didn't put enough effort in showing golden armor at it's full potential, the battles where short, you would catch a glimpse of the armor and everything is over in the next second.
The sound was okay, the voice acting was good and the songs where catchy. Nothing too memorable here.
This is another bad thing about Vanishing Line. The characters are developed, but only in the case of good guys in the case of villains, the creator must thought something among these lines: "I want some villain who is strong and also some drama." "How about some one sided character, a traitor who is obsessed with power for no apparent reason?" "Great! Let's do that!". While others are just there with some brief explanations thrown in haste.
While the characters are developed up to some point they stop growing in more directions and when they grow unidirectional the attachment towards them won't change. In my case I was neutral to all because they lacked solid backstories. Heck, I might be attached more to a random character who appears for 2 minutes just to be killed for the sake of story, than the main characters.
Enjoyment 3/10 and Overall 4/10
A story that tries to be different but falls in the cliché category too many times, lack of solid twists, predicable developments, although I wasn't particularity displeased in every episode, there are several good episodes in this, I was left hoping for more and it seems it was just another Garo anime made to milk the original series with no intention of surpassing it.
This was too long for it's own sake, this could've ended in 12-13 episodes without significant content loss, this fails to bring out the full potential of Garo, the spotlight is more on horrors than the Golden Knight. As a movie this could've been much better,great even, but as a 24 episodes run this stretched for too long, leaving much potential unused and failing to bring in light what could've made this a better anime.
As a verdict and also a summary of everything above all I will say is: You might enjoy this if you are not looking for something outstanding, you don't look for too much in your characters, you are happy with action anime that shows little action. Or you are looking for a normal anime, not a part of Garo series, this is okay but as a Garo anime this is a disappointment.
For those who want to get into Garo series I'd recommend to watch the original anime or the live action, just stay away from this and the other Garo anime.
Would you like to get HYPED? Are you looking for some action? Here is the place!
Garo:Vanishing line is a standalone anime, so you don't need to watch the older Garos in order to watch this one. What is this about? Well the sypnosis probably tells it better but in summary: Knights and Alchemists fighting Horrors, making their way to uncover the mysteries of El Dorado.
Why did I like it so much? Because it was great. It did exactly what I was looking for.
Sometimes it feels like shows try to make action anime epic yet fail with some underhanded tactics. Either fights ending too soon, or
just not being hype enough. But... Garo did it right.
The combination of the music, art and animation, and the fight scenes in general were well done.
What about the story? There was a general story line about going to El Dorado. But... It was a bit lacking. Since it was a 2 cour, they had a lot of time to... strech? Some episodes didn't really contribute to the general story line and just showed some cool fights. So basically the story picks up its pace only later on.
While it didn't feel the most original story ever, it was pretty unique. And you don't really need to reinvent the wheel in order for a story to be great.
Sound was amazing, it made every fight scene make me hyped. Also, OP/ED were fine, nothing too impressive but not bad either.
As for characters... There was some fine development. Some getting stronger, or for some we can see the relationships grow stronger.
None of the characters really fall to "cliches" so that was pretty nice.
Overall enjoyment- I didn't watch it weekly. I watched a bunch of episodes every month or two, and this week I binged the last 8 episodes. Binging it all together is a lot more fun than weekly in my opinion. Generally, I enjoyed that.
Do I recommend it? YES I do! If you're an action lover, you'll probably like this.
Bottom Score: 8/10
Bonus part: Since I watched the very first Garo anime, I might want to compare it a little.
Garo:Vanishing Line and the first Garo are pretty different because of the eras. (This one is modern, older one is in the middle ages). Vanishing Line was better.
I felt like the older Garo was nice to watch as well but I don't remember it being as hype as Vanishing line. And I also don't recall it having action fights as great as Vanishing Line.
As a MAPPA fan, I almost never deny their shows a try, with Garo: Vanishing Line being no exception. And it was actually a quite nice watch. Nothing mind-blowing or world-changing, but a comfortable and colourful watch. This is my first entry to the Garo-franchise, so I will have no comparisons with the other series in the Garo-universe in my review.
The story is a bit slow paced, taking its time to its finishing line (yes, pun intended). As gathered from the synopsis, the main story is about the girl Sophie Hennes and the Makai knight Sword, and their common goal to find this
mystery Eldorado. Its about more than that though. The story takes place in a more or less post-apocalyptic US-like country, with isolated cities scattered throughout. Horrors (demon-like creatures) is rooming the landscape and infiltrating the cities, hunting for human flesh and souls. Humans are usually not aware about the existence of these creatures, and it happens quite frequently that they get possessed by one when their emotions get dark and the horrors get attracted by those emotions. Once possessed, the person can never get human again and the only way to salvation is to get killed along with the horror. Against this threat, a secret group of people exist, the Makai Knights. Their sole purpose is to defeat horrors and protect people from them at all costs. There are different types of Makai Knight´s, like the gunslinger, heavy-sword fighter, or the alchemist, but all have in common that they can use magic of some sort. Sophie is an orphan and are looking for her older brother, and Sword is trying to make up with his with his past.
The basic idea isn´t overly original, deep or thought provoking. But as a mentioned before, it has a nice vibe, sometimes cosy and sometimes right out horrifying (yes, pun intended again). It has classic cool elements, like, a young girl looking for her brother, monster that needs to be slain, and personal problems that need to be solved. The main story is built on progressively throughout an otherwise episodic pattern which ebbs out towards the end by getting more coherent. The episodes of episodic nature often have common themes though, like searching for a clue about Eldorado, fighting horrors and other enemies, and eating delicious meals. And some are used to get to know the key characters and their pasts, or current paths. I think it was a nice touch.
Is this MAPPA´s most dazzling creation? No, it gets quite obvious that Garo: VL wasn´t their top priority. It looks very good in the beginning, but slowly drops in quality to hit a low somewhere half-way, to get a bit better towards the end again. Especially the art. I like the fact that they used a very strong and distinct colour palette, with vibrant red, purple, yellow, pink, brown, blue and green. I think that drew home the atmosphere of the show. The action scenes can be a “wow” or “whaat?!” experience. They often have neck breaking speed, but if you force yourself to really watch, the movements make sense. Watched like that, they actually became kind of cool, but it demands effort. Character designs are good and original enough, with distinguishing traits.
Speaking of the characters, they were actually pretty good. Once again, not ground breaking, but good. Sophie is stubborn, naïve but brave in her own way. Sword is the classic brawny explosive character with a huge fancy for the opposite sex. At first, he has no intentions to team up with Sophie, but she´s quite persistent, and together with some unavoidable events, starts to warm up to her. I digged their dynamic. Tina and Luke are also pretty interesting in their own way. Luke is your quiet and brooding type of guy, which has roots in his past. Tina is your typical femme fatale, but with a pretty heavy arsenal up her sleeve. I liked their individual journey´s and chapters. The rest varied in quality and appeal, but many filled out the story well.
The sound and soundtrack are decent enough, but nothing overly exiting either. The VA´s (Japanese) were all more than ok, and well matched with their character.
So, to summon things up, I liked Garo: VL quite a lot. Not an 8 maybe, but a solid 7. I will probably re-watch it to get a better all over flow and feeling of it, I have a suspicion that Garo: VL is better watched that way. Sadly, this show seems to have been put in the shadows these past two seasons, and probably never will have a larger audience. Which is a shame, because Garo: VL probably has better qualities than more than half what’s been airing at the same time. I can warmly recommend you Garo: VL if you are into classic action-hero stories, don´t have a problem with slower paced episodic narrative and can accept some quality fluxes in the art and animation.