The story opens with a simple narrative crux which will be the core of the series from here on, involving the malicious, other-worldly monsters known as Horrors. Following was a short look into the life of our main heroine, Kaoru Mitsuki, and a glimpse into our main hero, Kouga Saejima, and his duty as a Makai Knight who vanquishes the aforementioned Horrors.
As the first episode of this installment, the story is very simple, laying down the groundwork for the following episodes from both a thematic, and narrative standpoint. It being the first episode also means there isn't much to talk about in terms of story as it barely develops yet, and also due to the show's overall structure of being a personal story that is more concerned with character-driven drama, the world around them simply serving as a source of conflict.
In terms of characterization and character interaction, they are done in the style of soap operas to an extent, being somewhat sensationalized and exaggerated, but if you're already familiar with the tokusatsu genre and know how they're usually like, you won't find it annoying. Although, it is implemented in a fairly heavy-handed and simplistic manner that did not sit well with me, and I hope it's rectified as the story progresses. There were also some events that the story did not give an appropriate dramatic weight to, and it bothered me, as I kept thinking "wait, they're really gonna gloss over that?". There were also bits of awkward pacing spread throughout the episode. Aside from that however, I did not dislike it overall, but it could have been handled better.
The aesthetic direction and music are fantastic, being sort of a mix between European and traditional Japanese. The choreography (action) and special effects (both practical and computer-generated), inspired by Chinese Wuxia films and series, are great as well, making the best of what was available to the studio at the time (it is a tokusatsu show from 2005 after all, and GARO wasn't an established franchise yet). But what is truly deserving of praise is the costume and prop design, it is absolutely gorgeous, truly the best I have ever seen from any tokusatsu show yet, bringing a pleasing thematic flair to the narrative.
Overall, I enjoyed viewing this episode, but it is admittedly rough on the story and characterization side, and needs polishing.
Now, this is my first review of anything ever, so I hope I covered all the bases satisfyingly. Though I wished for it to be longer, it is a spoiler-free review, it's pretty difficult to talk about anything in depth, and the purpose of this review series is to garner awareness for the GARO franchise and tokusatsu in general after all, so I wouldn't wanna spoil anything.
Dream: Will post a little later what the next voted anime will be that I will watch and review.
Jan 18, 2020 19:48:38 GMT
Dream: Next anime up to cover will be Dance in the Vampire Bund. Suppose a short anime will do for now following Chobits.
Jan 18, 2020 21:32:36 GMT
Dream: Concluding things at episode 2 with Vampire Bund for the night. Hoping to get back to Basquatch tomorrow, as long as I'm not swamped with anything.
Jan 19, 2020 3:00:33 GMT
Dream: Geez, it's really quiet. No activity in the forums since I posted my review from yesterday.
Jan 19, 2020 15:57:41 GMT
Taka: I'll email the receipts. The best anime and manga of 2019 will be extended to Wed. I don't get time off for Mon because of community service. Please vote if you haven't yet. Thank you!
Jan 19, 2020 20:44:07 GMT
Dream: Hmmmm... looks like the version of Vampire Bund I'm seeing on Funi's YouTube channel's an edited version. A couple minutes of episode 2 were clearly removed with Mina in nothing but underwear battling human assassins. Then again, recall there was a good...
Jan 19, 2020 22:49:15 GMT
Dream: ...deal of controversy with the series a decade earlier thanks to the seemingly underaged nudity of Mina while in her younger form.
Jan 19, 2020 22:50:13 GMT
Dream: Not sure if I should be donning the nostalgia goggles or not giving a damn. Looks like the original Digimon Adventure series is getting a reboot airing starting in the Spring season.
Jan 21, 2020 3:21:13 GMT
Taka: I'll watch it if there's nothing catching my eye in Spring. winter 2020 was a weak anime season for me.
Jan 22, 2020 18:29:46 GMT
Dream: Wouldn't say it's all bad for me. Have a few titles holding my interest. Just it typically doesn't have as many major titles of note that would hold me over.
Jan 22, 2020 23:54:44 GMT
Dream: Done with Vampire Bund. Will be working on a review of it before I hop into the next Funi series. Hoping to get it up either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how lengthy my thoughts get.
Jan 24, 2020 1:44:49 GMT