Garo: Crimson Moon
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Garo: Crimson Moon ?
It's time for Seimei's backstory episode! Is the awesome alchemist a diva for any particular reason, or was she born that way? It turns out to be a little bit of both. You see, Seimei's the intersection between two prominent omyouji families, born with the potential to become an extremely powerful practitioner of the art. However, as a result of her talent, the Horrors decided to target her while she's young. At one point, when she was just a little girl, Seimei was surrounded by an entire army of Horrors. Her mother stepped in to defend her, but since Makai Alchemists can't kill Horrors on their own, she only absorbed them into her body. (I don't know if this rule only exists in Garo: Crimson Moon, since Ema got up to plenty of solo Horror-murders in GARO: THE ANIMATION, but whatever.) This turned her into a Horror. Her husband, Seimei's father and Haruaki's son, then sacrificed himself to seal away his wife. Of course, Seimei was watching while her parents died. This gave her a vendetta against Horrors. So instead of taking up her inherited position as the Emperor's personal omyouji, Seimei became a Makai Alchemist. This brings us to the woman we know now. She's dedicated her life to eliminating Horrors, in between bouts of lounging around and grifting her adopted sons. She's also conscripted Raikou to essentially have a Makai Knight at her beck-and-call. Seimei seems to have the whole “slay demons while being an anachronistically independent woman” thing down pat, but one thing still hangs over her head – her mother.
Now Seimei has to do something that she's dreaded for ages – confront her mother as a Horror. Ashiya Douman has been excavating her mother's prison, and he wants to tempt her over to the dark side with this. He doesn't think that Seimei can turn her hand against her mother, thus allowing her Horror to go on a rampage. The episode hangs on Seimei's decision for a while, but eventually she lands on an alternate solution. You know those pieces of talking jewelry that Makai Knights wear? Well, those are apparently Horrors fused into objects by Makai Priests. Seimei does the same thing to her mom, turning her into a giant magical war chariot, because Seimei is fantastic. She then uses it to beat up Douman's evil mining equipment. He stands aghast, as if his plan ever had a chance of working, then flees into the night with a proclamation of eternal evilness. Of course, since he's bringing it up, I know that it's going to be challenged at some point. I'm excited by the prospect that some part of Ashiya Douman hams for the forces of good.
This was another simple but competent episode of Garo: Crimson Moon. It was also all about Seimei, so that's guaranteed entertainment. It explained her background, her strained relationship with her high-class origins, and her current happy-go-lucky demeanor. I appreciate that they didn't use Seimei's tragic past to justify her personality. She deviates from the typical woman in the Heian period, but not because she's broken. The production was also competent this week, with few noticeable modeling issues, some nice use of color, and an interesting Horror design. The primary advantage that this show has over GARO: THE ANIMATION is that it's investing more in the overarching narrative. If this keeps up, Garo: Crimson Moon could break out of its predecessor's shadow.
Next episode looks like it will finally confront the fact that Raikou and Yorinobu are brothers. We almost got that moment in this episode, but Yorinobu chose to ask whether Raikou was tappin' that butt (Seimei's) instead. In terms of more general plot stuff, it looks like Michinaga wants to hire Douman as his advisor, which I'm sure can only lead to good things. Seimei has also acquired this cute little paper doll thing, Shiki-nyan, which she uses to rob people and travel on like a magic carpet. I hope that it sticks around. Also, was that foppish guy from the beginning actually Genji, the main character of The Tale of Genji? If so, he better get an episode. I've got to see how Garo: Crimson Moon bastardizes that landmark text.
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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