First Impression- Garo: Guren no Tsuki

Fall15-TV-Garo2Can you spot the villain?


Garo truly is an odd franchise.  It combines all the things that I love about Tokusatsu shows like Power Rangers or Ultraman, but makes those tropes totally not suitable for little kids.  So the return of Garo brings us to a new time period, with a new cast of characters, and new monster’s to horrifically murder innocent women.  Well, they are called Horrors…

A Savoir in the Dark


For the uninitiated, Garo: Guren no Tsuki is set during what looks to be Heian era Japan (from 794-1185).  We have a world were evils spirits called Horrors exist, beings that either eat people or posses them… so that the possessed people eat more people.  They’re exactly as one-dimensionally evil as the name Horror suggests.  Standing against the Horrors are the brave Power Rangers Makai Knights, warriors vowed to annihilate all the evil forces threatening the Kyoto.  Their pinch hitter is Ultraman The Golden Knight, a man covered in some sweet looking armor with a lion for a head.  Aside from the Horrors and the Makai Knights, the only other constant for the Garo franchise, whether anime or live action, is that skull ring called Zaruba.  Everything else changes drastically from show to show.

Like I was saying, this Garo is taking place in Kyoto, with Horrors stalking the night just messing up the populace.  There is a brief scene inside the Light Palace, a place where nobles live that has a barrier put up 24/7 by the Onmyouryo (think wizards, but using things like Sutras instead of wands).  The noble who appears to be a big shot really doesn’t care at all about any dead carpenters or some destroyed gate.  Then again, we aren’t yet at the stage of the show were such things are important.

Garo2015-10-10-19h27m27s632Seen here: 10th century peanut gallery

Garo is in large parts a very episodic show; honestly this premier episode does feel like an week 6-7 kind of episode.  The main plot of this episode is a sort of morality play.  At night, a Nio statue has literally been getting up and leaving the temple it is staying at (Nio statues are traditionally placed at the gates of Buddhist temples to scare away evil demons).  So the temple hires a carver to make a statue of a Bodhisattva to calm the statue down.  It doesn’t work and the carver,  in his desire to create a perfect Bodhisattva the carver gets possessed by the Nio statue he tried to appease, gets turned into a horror shaped like a Nio, and starts murdering young women around the capital.  Irony.


While all this is happening, we also have to meet our new cast!  So far the main players are Raiko the Golden Knight, Kintoki his young aide, and Seimei.  Seimei is by far the most interesting of our man cast so far, she is shown to be in total control of the situation whether it involves slaying Horrors, acting as bait, or just playing the Biwa and messing with some nobles.  All three of this main cast are clearly long standing comrades, though the relationship between Raiko and Seimei seems a bit unwanted.  But since Raiko doesn’t have a true mastery of his powers, he needs Seimei to help out by enabling him to use transform into the Golden Knight.

Garo2015-10-10-19h34m31s574That’s what I want my prince in shining armor to look like!

For a premier episode, Garo: Guren no Tsuki doesn’t have nearly as much impact as the first season of Garo does.  Which is a bit odd, because unless you are a fan of the franchise, nothing about these shows is really that similar.  We go from Inquisition Europe to Heian Japan, from completely crazy Horror designs (my personal favorite has always been a cross between a tank and Rodin’s The Gates of Hell) to ones that look like a cross between a zombie and Devilman, and we lose Ema Guzmen in favor of Seimei.  Both characters are voiced by Romi Park, who is one of the few voice actors I actually bother to remember the name of!  The brief action in this show is also unimpressive, this episode involves more cool posing then actual fighting (though that’s not really a surprise for a Tokusatsu).  Then again, everything that I find fun in other random Garo episodes is still here, so there really isn’t anything for me to complain about as a fan of the series.  If this is your first did into the world of Garo, I can understand if this doesn’t blow someone away.  This show is a bundle of Tokusatsu fun, and shouldn’t be missed out on.

Garo2015-10-10-19h23m39s667Play us out Seimei!


I’ll use this spot to just talk a little about Garo as a franchise.  As someone who was watching Power Rangers (Mystic Force is probably my favorite of all the different series) well into high school, Garo is the logical next step in Tokusatsu fandom.  I’ve watched a bit of the live action versions, and they are a great combo of typical J-Drama overacting with some nice choreography and interesting visual effects.  Its one thing to see an anime character have their life essence sucked out of them and dissolve into dust, when that same process happens to an actor it provides some genuine creepy feelings in me.  And of course, I have to mention the fact that Jam Project works on all the shows, providing lots of amazing music. ( or  So far the soundtrack to this Garo has been totally awesome, with some great guitar action and another great opening theme song.  If you have fond memories of watching Power Rangers, or are just looking for a good fantasy adventure, Garo is the show for you.


As someone of questionable tastes and even more questionable ethics; if we laugh at the same things you are one of two things: A person of discerning taste or a weirdo. Guess where I fall.
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10 Responses to “First Impression- Garo: Guren no Tsuki”

  1. zztop says:

    The new character designs are by mangaka Katsura Masakazu, who designed the characters of superhero anime Tiger and Bunny, and created the Zetman manga. Which is why Seimei looks like Blue Rose in Japanese clothing.×335.jpg

    Fun fact: Katsura himself also guest starred in one of the live action Garo episodes as a sketch artist, and guest voiced a minor character in the previous Garo anime.

    • Samsura says:

      Did not know the designer also did Zetman, but I can totally see that. Zetman is pretty neat even though it makes absolutely no sense. Never did see the anime though…
      That is almost as cool as Fukumoto playing one of his generic yakuza thugs in the Kaiji live action movie.

  2. Overcooled says:

    I was tempted to ask to join you for the FI because Garo is so great, but the opening episode wasn’t all that inspiring. But I get the feeling we’re just off to a slow start and things will pick up eventually. Er..maybe that’s just blind optimism though.

    So far I barely remember any character except for Seimei and that’s ok because she’s wonderful.

    • Samsura says:

      This episode really feels like something you air in the middle of the season. And there is no beating being born while your mother burns at the stake. I have no doubts Garo will be a good show, though I understand why this premier won’t blow any minds.

      • zztop says:

        Garo’s officially got 26 episodes listed, so plenty of time for the story to prove itself and play around a bit with “weekly-Horror” episodes.

        I’ve heard the previous anime’s Blurays sold badly, which actually didn’t matter to the parent franchise since they weren’t intending to make money from it anyway.

        • Highway says:

          I wonder if the franchise owner then has to kick in more to the anime production company, since they’re the ones who generally eat the costs on the anime production and don’t really care what bump the other things like the manga get. So if the BD’s don’t sell, even if the licensor doesn’t really care, the animation company does.

          I imagine it would take some ‘convincing’ on the part of the licensor to get a company to make another anime after the first one was a financial disaster.

      • zztop says:

        They can affors to play it slow, Garo’s got 26 episodes.

        • BlackBriar says:

          I saw the news on that. That’s an episode more than what the first season got. It must be quite a story unfolding right now.

    • BlackBriar says:

      So far I barely remember any character except for Seimei and that’s ok because she’s wonderful.

      Seimei is effortlessly upstaging the other two in her group right now. I feel mislead, however. When they said this season’s protagonist would be a girl, I assumed it would be a first female Makai Knight wearing the Gold Armor. So it was somewhat of letdown to know she’s a Makai Alchemist instead. Her attitude is reminiscent of Emma Guzman. And here’s a fun fact: Emma and Seimei are both played by Romi Park.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    At least those jumping in for the first time don’t have to backtrack to last season for story coherence. Though they should if they want to better understand the purpose of Makai Knights and Alchemists.

    Not as eventful as the previous season’s first episode but passable. The Horrors are just as nasty on that corner of the world. The new Gold Knight is unexpectedly laid back and makes it undeniable that Seimei is holding group’s reins.

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