Ahh, I see there are no reviews for this yet. Yeah, this anime does not have great ratings and it has a pretty low viewership. Well, whatever, I'll pitch in my opinion for what it's worth. Garo: Guren no Tsuki is the sequel to Garo: Honoo no Kokuin except it's not really a direct sequel. It's actually an anthology series, where the characters, plot, setting and everything else are different except for the common mythology revolving around the Makai Knights and Makai Alchemists and most of the seiyuu return for new roles. Watching the first season is not at all necessary to view this one, but it does give a little more depth on the lore. (It's kind of like the live action tv show, American Horror Story.)
So. Frankly. Having seen Honoo no Kokuin, it's almost impossible for me to not draw comparisons between the two. I'm also sure most of the people who are curious about this season are probably people who've seen the last season and liked it. Instead of doing a traditional review, I'm going to be doing a compare and contrast with the previous season.
Garo: Guren no Tsuki (GnT) is pretty much the polar opposite of Honoo no Kokuin (HnK) to me in many different aspects. I thought HnK's main strong point was its plot - decently written, if a little cliche, but overall well executed. I also liked the CGI integration because it blended in almost seamlessly with the art style, and the action scenes were also pretty damn good. On the other hand, I couldn't bring myself to like the characters with one or two notable exceptions, the art style itself (so pointy) did not look attractive to me, Daisuke Namikawa felt miscast as the main character and finally, the setting (medieval fantasy Europe) was too familiar and boring, but maybe that's just me speaking from a Western perspective.
Comparatively, GnT has lovable characters that I easily got attached to, beautiful art/animation (not just the art style but color palette, shot compositions, etc), interesting setting (medieval Japan this time), and Daisuke Namikawa was /not/ miscast. I only had two complaints, one small and one big. The big one was that the plot was kind of a huge mess. It's not like HnK, which has an overarching plot that never really lets up. In HnK, with the exception of maybe three or four episodes, every episode contributes to the plot.
Contrary to that, GnT is more like a "monster of the week" type show up until the last 1/3rd. The earlier episodes have small bits that set up a plot, but it doesn't come to fruition until episode 16 or so. This may sound weird, but I actually enjoyed the "monster of the week" episodes way more. It wasn't until the actual plot came in that I felt the show got weaker. Yes, look, I really enjoyed spending time with all the characters just bouncing off each other. Their interactions alone and the fantastic fight scenes were enough for this series. But the plot thread just felt... shoehorned in, and more damning than that, it was just not as well written as HnK. It was almost like the writer didn't want there to be a plot, but was pressured to include one as an imitation of HnK's formula. Not to mention, it ends up being pretty similar to the end of HnK's plot but without all the prior set-up.
I think I would've easily given this 7/10 if it didn't even bother with a plot; that's how much I liked those early episodes. Even Douman, the series villain (played rather hamtastically by Tomokazu Seki) being more of a nuisance than an actual threat just ended up amusing me because of how unintentionally hilarious he was.
My other small complaint was that they didn't do the CGI integration as well. Instead of making it blend in as closely as possible to the original art style, they decided to make it stand out with a sort of grainy texture. It still looks great, but I don't like how it stands out from the rest of the animation.
One more thing I wanna bring up is praise for the newbie actor Masei Nakayama who played Raikou, the main character (MY SON). Unlike some other newbie actors (*coughsSatorufromErasedcoughs*), he has shown some incredible potential. I'll be keeping an eye on him from now on. Well, I think that's pretty much all I have to say.
TL:DR; Animation/characters/action = good. Plot = bad. Result = slightly better than average, but quite enjoyable up until the plot kicks in.
- Overall [5.8/10 rounded up to 6/10] -