「葵上 -あおいのうえー」 (Aoi Ue -Aoi no Ue-)
“Aoi Above”

First Glance:
Sharing in the same premise as the GA-REI manga, GA-REI -zero- brings us supernatural action of a different flavor with a completely new cast of characters. Produced by AIC Spirits and asread, the series should benefit from the former’s previous work on another supernatural anime—Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou.

Aside from the existence of evil spirits that can’t normally be seen by the naked eye, it’s a bit difficult to assess where this rendition is headed; however, the first episode did an awesome job in grabbing my interest with scene after scene that could only be described as “intense”. I mainly attribute this to the excellent use of music throughout, which had me looking up who actually composed it. As it turns out, the music is done by Agematsu Noriyasu, whose only other work I’ve heard something from was in Girls Bravo (barring opening/ending themes). I can’t say the music in Girls Bravo was very memorable, but the usage of Noriyasu’s work here really establishes the tone in GA-REI -zero-. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing via a recurring flashback thus far, so my interest is piqued enough to want to see how things turn out. What throws me in for a whirl though is that all of the main characters were killed at the end of this episode (with plenty of censoring), leaving me wondering where the next episode will proceed from since there was no preview. There’s always the possibility that this first episode is actually the last in the series chronologically, but I seriously hope it’s not as I’m not a huge fan of this storytelling approach. (Omni mentioned that this was used in Touka Gettan.)

From what I’ve seen so far, I have no complaints about the production quality since it looked consistently good. What caught my interest the most though were the characters. In particular, the heroine of the series, Kasuga Natsuki, whose ability to fight evil spirits with a sport bike is as unbelievable as it is amazing to watch. Played by Kitamura Eri (Otonashi Saya in BLOOD+), Natsuki has this cool-calm exterior that I want to see a lot more of. It doesn’t hurt that she’s easy on the eyes either. The main protagonist, Kanze Tooru, on the other hand is played by Maeno Tomoaki, who’s still relatively new but starred in Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~ last season, plus Toshokan Sensou the season before that. He does a really good job portraying a Tooru here, so I’d actually like to see more shows he’s involved with down the road. Support cast also features a nice assortment of seiyuus, with the likes of Koyama Rikiya, Yahagi Sayuri (who took over as Mami for Fukuen Misato), and Kakihara Tetsuya (who’s actually not annoying when he’s not playing anyone named “Kazuki” or “Kouichi”).

Supernatural horror action has never been a genre that I really look forward to, but GA-REI -zero- has started off with a very strong first showing that will surely keep me around for at least another episode or two. In fact, I somehow get the feeling I’m going to end up watching this one all the way through just to have something different from all the other series this season. Anyone else ready for episode two already?


Notable Cast:
– Kanze Tooru (観世 トオル) : Maeno Tomoaki (前野 智昭)
– Kasuga Natsuki (春日 ナツキ) : Kitamura Eri (喜多村 英梨)
– Shindou Masaki (進藤 マサキ) : Kakihara Tetsuya (柿原 徹也)
– Kusuno Kudou (葛野 クドウ) : Koyama Rikiya (小山 力也)
– Konparu Kiriya (金春 キリヤ) : Miyamoto Mitsuru (宮本 充)
– Izumi Mami (和泉 マミ) : Yahagi Sayuri (矢作 紗友里)
– Isayama Kousen (諫山 黄泉) : Mizuhara Kaoru (水原 薫)


  1. hmm o_o I wonder if this has any relation to the manga Ga Rei… I remember reading the first chapter only and it started out way different… but then again it does have “-zero-” in it…

  2. Ya this episode was mind blowing for me to, i mean come on first episode and that stuff happens… also we already have a cliffhanger. that was awesome. ya i only read like 3 chapters of this but i already saw dif’s, but who cares right now (thats what im thinking) and Alyss maybe right that the anime is a totally dif story, i mean first of all the names were not the same for the main’s got to checkout next episode… hum maybe this was like the a near last episode that they just showed first. whatever… i think im gonna read the manga and watch this. and if they are different then that just means 2 new things for me to watch and read lol

  3. “There’s always the possibility that this first episode is actually the last in the series chronologically, but I seriously hope it’s not as I’m not a huge fan of this storytelling approach. (Omni mentioned that this was used in Touka Gettan.)”

    ya i don’t like too, cause it gives me the feeling “of ah wtf i just watched the last episode and this happened wtf is their a point for me to watch the prequel episodes, i don’t care when i already know this is going to happen.”

    However, i don’t stuff like Rental Magica or Haruhi…

    lets hope its not reverse chronological… or else ill wait till they finish the series and watch it from the last ep to first…

  4. Read a few volumes of the manga and liked it enough that I ended up looking forward to the anime. I was a bit disappointed when I first heard that it wasn’t going to cover the manga, but reading this and seeing the caps made me feel much more hopeful. Will be keeping tabs. Thanks for the recap, Divine!

  5. well that’s xtrange they change the cast, to one that does not have anyting to do with the manga but they very well keep the villans from the manga, 100% sure that girl with the katana is yomi and the dude is a prominent figure in the manga on the bad guys side. but more then foreshadowing i got the impresion of a flashback on those parts though, Mmmmmmmmm i am not a big fan of dead sweethearts >:/, somehow i feel gonzo-ed with this but hey expect the worst and hope for the best as a manga fan, it work for me after the disaster of linebarriel.

  6. I don’t get where you guys are saying it doesn’t relate to the manga when two of the manga’s characters already showed up. It might not have the exact same storyline, but there’s nothing preventing it from being somewhat of a prequel to the manga (yet). For those of you who do remember, the fact that ‘she’ killed all of the characters corresponds with what happened in the manga, albeit the lack of mentioning of such divisions as in the anime.

  7. 1st episode looks good though I haven’t read the manga version. Anyways, the show’s concept of “evil spiritual beings” seems somewhat similiar to that of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within although this being just the first episode & i’m sure more will be revealed as to the background of these “beings”. >.< But i don’t fully understand japanese…is there a fan-subbed version of the show? Would really appreciate if someone could provide a torrent or link.

  8. my theory is that i’ll watch any show as long as it isn’t a gonzo production in any way, last one i gave a chance was blassreiter and i loved the entire series till the finale where they pulled the cheesiest and most stupid ending for a tragedy series trying to make it all giddy-giddy at the end…. -_- THAT effectively has made me hate gonzo and refuse to watch anything with their label on it…

  9. Wow this is really worth watching, I mean in 1 episode all the supporting character and main character were killed what a surprise. It’s hope that really not the last episode and some explanation will be shown next episode cause if it’s really airing like what divine say that would be confusing and the series will get bored soon. And i thought that Omni will be interested enough to blog this series instead of divine.

  10. Really cool animation! That ending has everyone talking. My guess we got a premonition dream sequence. There are so many flashbacks, it makes sense. No one’s menioned it but this episode was heavily censored blacking out the killing and gore sequences. Expect alot more gore in the dvd release.

  11. Wow, I’m not sure how they continue this if the protaganists all die o.o

    And to the others asking about the manga and anime, they are 2 seperate stories.
    Currently noone is translating the manga

    Roger Fong
  12. i think it goes to dif characters? “Freshman Nimura Kensuke has the ability to see ghosts, and his life changes when he meets Kagura, a girl with the power to summon a “Ga-Rei” called Byakuei. The two work together to find evil spirita and devour them with the Ga-Rei.
    [Taken from ANN ” what anidb says

  13. Wait a moment guys, could this possibly be the Prequel of events that happen. After all, that girl with the sword looks familiar to Kagura’s sister Figure. SPeculation only though. I definetly remember her wielding a sword and killing a bunch of people from her section. I don’t even remember if she was given an actually name. I could be wrong. Well if a name was given and its not the girl who killed everyone name, then fuck I’m wrong lol.

    Sora no Kaze
  14. No, not a sequel, but a prequel.

    From a post of mine in a certain forum:

    Ok, it’s cool, but this actually got me confused. (And got me to read the manga again. Stopped at the end of 2nd volume.)

    “When I started watching this anime, I was expecting the dog-dragon (those furry dragons look like dogs to me) and the two main characters in the manga. (Never really watched the trailers.)

    So the anime is actually a prequel to Ga-rei as implied by the name “zero” and Yomi in schoolgirl outfit, atleast I think so. ANN’s reports are all saying that this will follow the manga, which doesn’t seem like the case.

    The first episode had all the characters dead… so is the 1st episode chronologically the last? D:

    Because, I also went to their official site, and saw none of the people in the manga… instead only those who were… killed… in the first episode was there.

    And also, the site mentions that Kanze Tooru is the protagonist of the story, and Natsuki is the heroine. So, there really isn’t any mention about the manga characters, except from Yomi (who appeared in this episode) and that boy who gave Yomi the sesshouseki.

  15. Well we have to wait. It looks really like Yomi, and Yomi’s family name was Isayama which is in the animu.
    Anyways, the mango DID not stop. Just that the tankouban takes a long time to be released as the chapters are monthly, not weekly

  16. yeah, it does look yomi and kazuhiro, and with yomi’s background of killing someone’s dad.. and this series being titled “zero”.. iono.. a prequel to the events of the manga?

  17. not a big fan of future episodes being shown first but the action was nice. it just sucks that now we will know what happens to those guys later. and if that doesnt happen, wtf was all that for?! a dream? that would just kill the suspense kinna.

  18. The butterfly wings makes me think we’re dealing with an antagonist that can play with memory or reality. Which can always end in fail – but it can also be epic, it really depends on the skill of the writers.

    The bike was awsome – and unique, there’s alot to like in the series.

    From what I’ve read the show is set in the same world as the Manga but that’s about it.

    But talk about a gripping ending! I don’t think we’ll see any answers soon.

  19. Awsome review from epi 1!! Congrats!!! =D

    yeah! i really like the epi 1…but…has you said, i hope this epi is not the final epi in the all story… I’m not a huge fan of this storytelling approach, to!
    Dammn the Natsuki Kasuga ( all most say, Natsuki Kuga XD ( bike etc…)…oh my…i love the way she fight with bike!! just love it!!

    One thing i know: i wanna see more! XD

    take care! o/

  20. Damn those producers!! They didn’t even put a damn preview, now anything can happen…
    I really hope that this episode reefers to the massacre part in the manga because if it is just a dream or illusion, it will be an epic fail. >_> Besides. I really wanna see Kagura and Kensuke in action.
    Either way, even if it won’t follow the series and it was just a dream or whatever, I have to admit that the last 5 minutes of the episode made me say “wtf” at last three times and think that if I was watching the non-loli version of Higurashi. Definitely looking forward to episode 2.


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