It’s been more than 5 years now, but Garo is finally back on Japanese television!
For those who are unaware, (and I know there are lots of you) Garo was a tokusatsu series that came out back in 2005.
In many ways, you could call 2005 my own personal perfect storm of dorky self-discovery.
That being said, I think a lot of what got me to start following tokusatsu shows again, was the superb level of quality that many of the shows around the mid-2000′s represented.
In my eyes, other than the older shows like Ultraseven, Ultraman has never been as good as it was with Nexus.
That being said, as much as I loved these shows at the time, in my eyes it was a brand new series, Garo; that represented the cream of the crop.
Boasting superior production values, a more serious tone, a strong cast, and a surprisingly deep universe; Garo was the show that kept me coming back to tokusatsu despite several consecutive years of less than stellar programming.
*Sigh* Few shows excelled in the realm of suck-age and melodrama than did Ultraseven X…
I think a large part of what made Garo so special, was the fact that it was the product of director/writer/artist Keita Amemiya’s truly wondrous imagination.
Over the years I’ve seen nearly all of Amemiya’s movies, and while many of them are poorly scripted and acted, the man’s art design remains some of my favorite in all of film.
I’ve always said, if there was one director I’d like to see be given a chance to work with a Hollywood budget, it’d have to be Keita Amemiya.
That being said, Garo represented a rare occasion wherein the script, costuming, and effects all came together exceptionally well.
The characters were memorable and arched very nicely, and unlike many tokusatsu shows that run out of steam later in the series, the 25 episode length proved to be just about perfect, even if the last episode turned out to be 30 minutes of pure action.
Not that I have a problem with that sort of thing.
In the intervening years since Garo wrapped, a pair of movies have been released, but no series was announced until a few months ago.
The first of these movies, the 2007 Beast of the White Night, stands as perhaps the crowning achievement of the franchise.
It’s action-packed, accessible, concise, exceptionally imaginative in terms of effects and stunt work.
The second movie, the 2010 3D film Red Requiem, is currently on my hard drive, though I have yet to watch it.
I’ve heard it’s kind of a misstep when compared to the level of quality yielded by everything that’s come before it,
When everything else in the franchise is nothing short of “excellent” though, I’d be curious to see what a “misstep” looks like.
That being said, as of a few weeks ago, Garo has returned to Japanese television in the form of Garo Makai Senki AKA Garo Supernatural Chronicles.
I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but it appears the series is on track for greatness once again.
The original Garo hit it’s stride for me around episode 7, and then only continued to get better from there, especially in episode 9 when they finally gave the character a bad-ass theme song… And a horse:
So far Makai Senki is a little on the slow side, definitely making more use of the horror elements in it’s storytelling than the action, but time will tell if it ascends in quality from here or not.
Regardless, I’m just glad Garo’s back, as now I finally have something to fill the tokusatsu gap in my life.
I gave up on Kamen Rider after Den-Ou on account of every show sucking balls after that.
I gave up on Ultraman ’cause frankly, they don’t make Ultraman shows anymore, just silly, over-budgeted movies.
I never gave up on Garo though, so here’s hoping they didn’t give up on me.