Garo: Crimson Moon
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Garo: Crimson Moon ?
The people have spoken – the latest daily streaming reviews poll indicated strong disinterest for Garo: Crimson Moon, so these write-ups are being discontinued. Unfortunately, the adventures of Bedhead, some kid, and Sex Mom will continue without my supervision. Honestly though, I can see why viewership plummeted. My main experience with Garo: Crimson Moon has been acclimating to disappointment. Despite my initial hopes, this show can't hold a candle to its predecessor.
It's ironic that we end on one of the better episodes that serves as the emotional climax for the series so far. Resolving last episode's cliffhanger, Raikou and Seimei are finally honest with one another. She loosens her grip on him, allowing him to make his own choice about whether or not to fight by her side. Raikou, meanwhile, learns that Seimei does care about him, and decides to accompany her out of his own free will. He realizes that Seimei has him on a tight leash because of his martyr complex, and that she's not solely responsible for the tension between them. By loosening up, they're finally able to form a healthy relationship. This sudden emotional maturity levels up Raikou's armor, covering it in pineapple-like thorns. Together, Raikou and Seimei (plus Yasusuke) manage to halt Ashiya Douman's attack on the Light Palace. In the aftermath, Douman Sr. expels his apprentice for being too much of a creepy weirdo obsessed with the darkness. With nowhere else to go, Scarface graduates to the solo life of cackling villainy.
Garo: Crimson Moon has been a serious disappointment. Its predecessor, GARO: THE ANIMATION, had its highs and lows but ultimately amounted to a strong and occasionally poignant action show. By contrast, Garo: Crimson Moon, has been a near-constant low. The production and design work took a serious hit this season, by far the worst I've ever seen out of MAPPA. The action choreography was unexciting. The characters and setting were initially promising, but promptly wasted on stock procedural plots and a cliché central conflict about “light versus darkness.” The one consistently entertaining element was Seimei, but there's only so much a single character can do to redeem a floundering show. I've given Garo: Crimson Moon plenty of chances, but readers have spoken, and they've largely lost interest.
It's especially unfortunate since this all had potential. The basic character work could have exceeded GARO: THE ANIMATION. Raikou and Seimei have an interesting kind of relationship that I rarely see explored in anime. (There's lots of “boy resents his dad” stuff, but not much “boy resents his mom.”) The CG and suit designs were also integrated better into the 2D animation. However, individual episodes were just poor, relying on cliché procedural storytelling.
Ah well. I'll keep watching (there may be a full season review down the line), but for most people, Garo: Crimson Moon has succumbed to the darkness of disinterest. RIP in hell.
Garo: Crimson Moon is currently streaming on Funimation.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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