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.
Old Man Dream: Have bad news and good news regarding Pop Team Epic. Bad news, I didn't realize Tubi only had the first five episodes of the series on their site, so that's as far as I can go with it on there. Good news, Retro Crush thankfully has the full series up...
Aug 23, 2021 12:21:21 GMT
Old Man Dream: ...on their site, so I'll be watching the remainder of the series from there. Should be able to wrap it up by later this week, as I expect to be a little slower in my progression of it during the week.
Aug 23, 2021 12:22:18 GMT
Taka: That is bizarre for Tubi TV to only have 5 episodes.
Aug 24, 2021 3:09:21 GMT