American AF – Garo Vanishing Line Midseason Review

The good Blackatron recommended to me early in this season to try out Garo. He assured me that of any other shows I may or may not be watching, this one was a “Nick Show” and so I gave it a shot. Damn if @blackandyellowog wasn’t right. The show sits somewhere in the midst of being a mix between Berserk and Ghost Rider with a modern western twist. After watching the first episode, I was absolutely hooked on the action and the protagonist, Sword even if it was a bit confusing and random at first.

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Literally me after watching the first episode.

Let me clarify that Sword is literally the only character with this derpy name. Everyone else has a normal name like Sohpie, Luke, Gina, or Martin and honestly this is my biggest gripe. So Sword is a Makai Knight, who fights the Makai Horrors that possess and corrupt humans into man eating monsters. Sword is an interesting character as his personality is something I would best describe as the flipside of All Might in being “American AF.” Note that All Might is “American AF” as he rocks American flag based uniforms rivaling patriotism of Captain America’s uniform screaming attacks named “DETROIT SMASH” or “TEXAS SMASH” and is an overall example of an all American hero. Sword is “American AF” in that he rides the Hummer equivalent of a motorcycle, eats 640 oz. steaks that look like a fresh cross section from a cow and a pile of steak fries, loves tacos, and absolutely, positively loves well endowed women. One of my favorite aspects of him is that every time he encounters a busty woman, he genuinely claps his hands together and bows, giving thanks for being alive. I don’t know what it is about this but I just love how unique a trait that is for a character. While we’ve all seen ecchi/pervy protagonists before I can’t remember one that did so in such an interesting and entertaining fashion.

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Onto the show proper, the first few episodes were good world building and didn’t seem long or drawn out. We were introduced to Sword and other good guys in the form of Makai Alchemists Luke and Asstacular Gina as well as the humorously upbeat Titular Chiaki. Surprisingly enough while it makes them apparently beautiful, we aren’t beat over the head with the sexualization of these women, with Gina being shown to be a capable combatant on her own in addition to utilizing her wiles and Chiaki absolutely not accepting Sword’s sexual harassment shit. Luke is shown as another great juxtaposition to Sword, effectively serving as his fallback plan to keep widespread knowledge of the Makai Horrors a secret through a combination rain maker/amnesia drug that he uses to wipe away memories of those who have seen the Horrors.

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The plot for the first episode included Sophie, a girl who searched for her brother and a mysterious “El Dorado” with another couple episodes of introducing Sword’s colleagues Luke and Gina. The show resumes back up after seeing how Makai Horrors come into existence by manipulating and seducing mortals with promises of glory or power and turning them into the aforementioned flesh eating monstrosities. We then see Sophie prove herself to not be a mediocre scrub of a civilian but a woman with some actual balls. She does not shy from these monsters, nor does she get in the way, but instead serve to assist the Makai Knights in their task and keep moving forward to finding her brother, never quite hitting the annoying kid trope even if she comes close every now and then. As of the 7th episode we hit some real plot in the form of finding out El Dorado is apparently a locale for Horrors and there is an organization including a Dark Knight who may or may not be Luke’s father who killed his mother (my guess) and the King of El Dorado tied to the Horrors plotting something.

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Even though I love this show so far, it’s not all amazing and I have a few complaints to make about it. First, the animation at times is rather rough and detracts from enjoying the show. It is a strange time when CG can sometimes beat out traditional art styling, where the transformations into golden knight mode and Sword’s motorcycle can look better than some of the stock images in the show. My other complaint is the random internet scenes where in a Shadowrun-esque display we see Sophie communicating with others of different languages and regions through unique avatars. This shift is interesting but most certainly doesn’t have a logical reason to be here and seems just out of place if you ask me. Finally, and I admit this is minor, it gets kind of annoying how they have a recap scene for things that only happened an episode or two ago. Given today’s day and age where missing one episode means you go back and watch it, I don’t think these recaps are really all that important or necessary and could be applied to improving overall quality of the art instead.

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Ironic, given how badly you are drawn…

Now that we got that out of the way, lets get to the stuff that really hooked me on Garo -Vanishing Line-. Right off the bat, the action was just really done well and like I said, the CG action in and of itself is really well done, rivaling if not beating normal animation at times. Like I said before, Sword as a character was something that really entertained and interested me with his very unique style and approach to things. The music here is also very well done, with ambient music playing really perfectly and while the ED is an ok calming outro, the OP is an amazing action song very reminiscent of a 90’s Saturday morning cartoon. All in all I highly recommend this show as one of many very good offerings of the season. I admit it may not be the best for all people, but it’s a funny action show with an interesting world and backstory that I think most people would enjoy. All I know for sure is Blackatron called it right and I’m sticking with this show for the season. Do you like this show so far? Have any other show’s you’re following this season that you like as well? Let me know in a comment and leave a like and subscribe to avoid a “wonderful night” like below!

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