I’ve only recently started watching tokusatsu shows. For those of you who don’t know what tokusatsu is or what it means, it’s a japanese genre based on fantasy, horror, science fiction usually featuring a protagonist who possesses a henshin * transformation * or adept martial arts prowess. Think Power Rangers.
But anyway, I was put onto this show by a great friend * Madstalin313 of VG Console Junkies *. So I sat down and watched the entire first season of this show. For the most part, I enjoyed it but it’s not without it’s downsides as well.
I will now review …
The story explains the existence of malevolent, demonic creatures called Horrors. They feast on humans but in order to do so, they need a host body. However, humanity isn’t without a savior. There also exist Makai Knights, warriors donning wolf-esque armor and weapon * of the bladed variety *, who’s sole purpose is the extermination and purification of Horrors all over the world.
Enter Kouga Saejima, The Golden Makai Knight of the East and the current ” Garo “. He is introduced as a stoic yet tactless individual who takes Horror hunting very serious. I guess you can say he carries a huge chip on his shoulders due to his father, Taiga Saejima * former Garo * being slain in front of him by what appears to be a very strong Horror.
Kouga is often assigned by the Eastern Watchdog, who takes on the form of 3 sharp tongued little girls. After slaying a Horror, he reports to the Watchdog’s hideout to purify his blade and turn the slain Horror’s soul into a blade to be sent back to Hell. His sole partner in the line of duty is his Madogu * item made for tracking Horrors *, which takes the form of a talking ring named Zaruba.
Kouga is ruthless in battle, showing his prey no mercy whatsoever and no concern for saving any humans caught in the mix.
By slashing his Makai sword in the air twice, he summons his soul armor, which is impervious to nearly every weapon known to man. He also possesses the Makai lighter, which emits a special flame used the detect Horror possessed humans, as well as amplifying the power of his blade.
Upon slaying the Horror, he discovers that amateur artist Kaoru Mitsuki has been splashed with the Horror’s blood * a big no no * But before he can kill her to prevent the blood from making her suffer, she collaspes.
For unknown reasons, Kouga decides to spare Kaoru’s life to use her as bait for Horrors, as the blood on her with attract them like crazy. Doing so, he tracks them down via a special ring created by Zaruba’s saliva given to Kaoru.
While fighting a Horror in an old graveyard, Kouga is struck with an Evil-Crushing Dagger. At the time, the assailant is unknown but one thing bothers him: Only a Makai Knight can wield such a weapon.
Eventually we find that the dagger belongs to Rei Suzumura or Zero, the Silver Fanged Makai Knight. Almost immediately, Kouga and Zero are at each other’s throats, breaking one of the laws stating that Makai Knights cannot fight one another.
Wielding two Makai Blades, Zero proves to be a match for Kouga as The Silver Knight interferes with his Eastern Horror hunting. During their first official death battle, it is learned that Zero’s father and girlfriend were slain by what he thinks is the Golden Knight!
Eventually, the two knights are forced to work together to seal an opening gate to Hell and slay over 100 demons. There, Zero begins to have his doubts about Kouga being his family’s killer.
Soon after, Kouga seeks the council of legendary Priest Amon, a Makai Priest well known for his skill as a smith and mechanic. As payment for maintenance, Amon requests that Kouga finish a game of Bar Chess that he and Taiga started years ago.
Amon informs the young knight that he knows he’s been using Kaoru as bait and that he knows of a way to save her from her impending demise on the 100th day after being bathed in blood.
The Barankas fruit.
Unfortunately for Kouga, they only grow in the Crimson Forest, which is in… you guess it… HELL. To make matters worse, he needs a Makai Priest to accompany him to the forest or risk never returning.The two wager 10 years of their lives on this game and just when Amon is about to win, he proposes that they postpone the game * just like Taiga did when he was about to defeat Amon. *
Shortly after leaving, Amon is killed by an unknown assailant. Summoned by the Eastern Watchdogs, he learns that Amon’s apprentice Jabi has done the horrible deed and stolen 12 Horror Blades and is ordered to kill her upon retrieving them. However, he learns upon tracking her down that she’s innocent. She explains that her teacher was killed by a Horror eating Makai Knight and that she plans to seal the blades herself because the Watchdogs can’t be trusted. After a minor scuffle between the two, Zero appears under orders from the Eastern Watchdogs to kill them both and take the blades, confirming Jabi’s suspicions.
Kouga and Zero have their final battle but due to a moment’s hesitation, Zero gets the upper hand and prepares to kill Kouga when Jabi intervenes and spirits Zero away. Meanwhile, Kaoru finds out about Kouga using her as bait and loses trust in him. Hurt, she runs into the arms of Karune Ryuzaki, a psychiatrist who pays HER for sessions, but when Gonza, Kouga’s butler, takes her to the cabin where he grew up, she understands how he feels and regains faith in him.
Jabi explains the legend of the Horror eating Knight to Kouga and prepares to seal away the blades. Unfortunately, she is killed by a surprise attack by the Watchdog’s formidable butler, Kodama.
Kouga fails to seal the blades and is badly pummeled by Kodama when Zero returns and comes to the Golden Knight’s aid. Kodama proves to be more than a match for both Makai Knights as he single handled decimates them. As a result of sealing being negated, the blades manifest into a huge Horror. Neither Kouga or Zero are strong enough to defeat it but suddenly a Black Makai Knight appears and devours the huge Horror whole!!!! As he appears, Zero realizes that this is the Knight who killed his family.
As Kaoru’s 100th day soon approaches, Kouga finds himself in a race against time to find the Barankas fruit to save her. He travels to the forest alone. Though he struggles against the odds stacked against him, he manages to obtain the fruit * with the help of Zero * and makes it in the nick of time. Kaoru and Kouga reconcile, as well as start anew of Zero.
After the duo defeat a gun-toting Horror, a strange mark appears on Kaoru’s neck. Later revealed to be a Horror Gate, Zaruba tells the three young adults and Gonza of the story of Barago the Dark Horror Eating Knight and reveals that he was once Taiga’s student. Barago lost his family to Horrors as well and trained under Taiga but became obsessed with revenge. He sought power and eventually lost himself after devouring his first Horror * obtaining a cross shaped scar on his forehead in the process *, which lead to him killing his master. Seeking the ultimate power, he seeks to use the gate on Kaoru’s neck to summon Meshia, the queen of Horrors, so he can absorb her. After listening, Kaoru recalls and tells the others that she met Barago long ago as a child and deduces that he placed the gate within her then.
Feeling partially responsible, Kaoru demands that Kouga cut her down for the sake of the world, which he adamantly refuses because he has grown to love her. Soon after, Kouga gets an invite from the Eastern Watchdog, ordering him to face Barago or have Kaoru and Gonza killed. Zero agrees to help him.
While the two knights head to the Watchdogs, Karune shows up at Kouga’s manor and abducts Kaoru, revealing that he is Barago in disguise. He takes her to the Watchdog’s hideout, where he defeats both knights. The watchdogs join together to form Gulm, their true form.
Kouga is once again confronted by Kodama, who dons his armor form. Enraged by the death of Jabi, Kouga loses himself while in Garo form and exceeds his power limits, turning into a wild beast and ripping Kodama to shreds.
Barago succeeds in using Kaoru as a vessel for Meshia as Gulm effortless defeats both knights. Unfortunately, Meshia * possessing Kaoru * reveals that her plan all along was to use her as a gateway to come back and take over the world * not surprising * and devours Barago instead.
The two knights are then forced to fight her in Kaoru’s body. As neither of them are willing to do her harm, she gains the upper hand until Kouga manages to awaken Kaoru and send Meshia back to the underworld.
As Kouga rushes into the underworld for the final time, Zero kills Gulm. Kaoru falls into a stupor but in her dream, she is visited by her deceased parents, who inform her that her artistic talents will help save the world. She then paints and creates a winged mode for Kouga, which he uses to defeat Meshia.
Thinking the battle is over, the trio and Gonza prepare to leave when the portal to the Underworld opens yet again and Kiba, Barago’s Dark Knight Armor, passes through.
After a long fight, Kouga manages to kill Kiba by gathering the power of all of the previous Garos that preceded him. Unfortunately, Zaruba crumbles away in the ordeal.
With everything finally over, Kaoru heads to Italy. She leaves a finished version of her childhood book to Kouga, who tears up at the last page. Zero also has Zaruba remade, as a token of respect for the Golden Knight. The three go their separate ways.
Pros: Easy story to follow, interesting characters, well put together plot.
Cons: Overly dramatic fight scenes, laughable acting, typical tokusatsu flashy posing.
Nevertheless, I enjoy this series so I recommend it.
And that about wraps this review up. Stay tuned and look out for my review of Garo: Beast Of the White Knight.