If you’re talking about the season’s most under-appreciated, you’re sure to have mentioned Garo somewhere in your conversation. No one expected an anime series that could hold itself together, much less walk on its own legs. The series does not aspire to be more than what it is nor does it condemn itself to its own confines. That is exactly what Garo does – and it does so beautifully.
Essentially, Garo is a story about good versus evil. There is nothing special nor wholly new about it, but that is where the show keeps it tight. The series takes us to a fantastical but horrific world of plagues and demons and the protectors who fight against them. We follow Leon, a young Makai Knight, struggling to discern between two ethos: a desire for revenge or the duty to protect. Its narrative may be sorely lacking and at times questionable but it does have an ample amount of intrigue and cleverness. All in all, Garo unfolds a pretty decent and solid story – a tale of discovering one’s duty and purpose.
One of the more striking things about Garo is that it handles the ideals it holds impressively. While they are thriftily given, the ideals never stray too far. Instead of being pretentious and overzealous, they are humble and, more importantly, relevant to the story, something not all anime series can easily grapple with. In the event of introspection, realization, and declaration, the characters never spew out random, nonsensical lines just to sound cool. They say the just right thing at just the right moment while placing importance in saying with simplicity.
The character development during the most part of the series is focused on Leon. His wasn’t a grand, 180 degree turn. It was rather kept simple. The rest have their fair share but it would take only one or two episodes for their development to be completed. At the very least, these characters weren’t used for unwarranted fan service. Though archetypal, each of them remain distinct and memorable.
The art in Garo does well in portraying the setting. The Knights are ornate and flashy but not overbearing; the Horrors are terribly grotesque. I would say it’s all fitting. The music does a superb job in keeping the scenes exciting. The animation especially in the fight scenes are an outstanding feat. The choreography is neat and elegant, fluid and energetic – something one would not totally expect if they’re only seeing Garo at surface level.
To sum it all up, Garo comes as a surprise. It may lack the intricacies and refinement that adorn the bigger anime shows but behind all that it is one daring and remarkable effort.