OP Sequence

OP: 「Honō no Kokuin -DIVINE FLAME-」 (炎ノ刻印-DIVINE FLAME-) by (JAM Project)

“Hell Fire”

「業火-HELL FIRE-」 (Gōka -HELL FIRE-)

For a series that is flying under everyone’s radar, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin really proved itself with an stellar opening episode on all accounts. If you’re looking for a medieval fantasy with witches, knights, demons and darkness all melded together, then this will deliver.

This was one of the shows this season where very little has been given away, meaning that going into it I didn’t really have any tangible expectations, although I knew the art style was right up my alley and from the PV it seemed like a fun watch, but damn this episode delivered.

Beginning with the burning of the witch as the the ill king and his royal family look on, the tone is immediately set; the music is kicking in, the crowd is cheering for vengeance, and a certain priest seems to be behind all of this – or at least he has some plan in this witch hunt. But not long into the burning we see an armoured knight appear (in CG that is actually pretty damn awesome!) to rescue the baby that the witch gives birth to at the stake and flee from the scene before he can be caught.

It turns out that baby is Leon Lewis, our main character, even though we don’t see that much of him episode. Instead the main focus is on the knight that rescued him as a while, Herman Lewis, who is enjoying himself in a brothel, telling a story that I imagine he has told to many women before – about the rescue of the boy, about the truth of the witches and the lies of the priests, and how the Horrors of the world are what need to be dealt with. Now, maybe it’s because I’m used to Game of Thrones, but this Sexposition was actually pretty well done and I wasn’t bothered by it that much at all. It never felt like meaningless fanservice (whether it be of the women or of the many shots of Herman’s hairy, well-toned body), and so it really paid off. Also, when Lewis came to see his father it served for a nice comedic moment as well.

There’s certainly a plot brewing here and for the most part we are left out of it. All the details are misty as of right now, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it worked better that way; it saves us from getting a massive exposition dump. Either way, Leon Lewis is most certainly at the centre of this – he’s the son of the witch, the authorities are still after him 17 years on, and there is mystery brewing from within the royal family as well. I can foresee Queen Esmeralda and Alfonso Saint-Variante playing a part in all this, whether they be foes or allies.

I should also touch upon the art of the Garo, since that is what originally caught my eye. Personally, I love it, from the sharp-featured character designs, to the CG armour, to the sketchy OP. It works for me, though I can imagine it may not for others. If this premiere proved anything though, it shows that Garo takes the best of style and substance, not sacrificing one for the other. It’s story was delivered well, the cinematography was absolutely on-point, the fight choreography was dynamic and impactful, and the directing was impressive from start to finish.

Clearly, there is a massive story ahead here. I’m expecting a great back-and-forth between Leon and Herman, more awesome fights, and plenty of political intrigue. And I can’t wait!



Information Digest:

ED Sequence

ED: 「CHIASTOLITE」by (Sayaka Sasaki)



  1. This Garo is a spinoff of the live-action tokusatsu franchise of the same name, noted for targeting the adult demographic instead of the usual kid-friendly category.
    (Think Power Rangers, but more dark and violent.)

      1. Looks completely new. It’s a spinoff from the original series, though they’ve kept the basic premise of Makai knights fighting Horrors and such. No mention of the 99.9 second time limit for the armor yet, though in the live action, this rule was only obeyed mostly in the first and most recent series with protagonists Saejima Kouga and later, his son, Raiga.

  2. “If you’re looking for a medical fantasy with witches, knights, demons and darkness all melded together, then this will deliver.”…..Samu my dude, I AM looking for all those things!! But when i see glimpses of wonky looking cgi i get this blah feeling in my stomach….ima give it a couple of shots though on your recommendation….

    Btw- a medical fantasy with witches would be freaking awesome!!! I think your on to something…copyright that ish!!

    BROOKLYN otaku
  3. lol, Sexposition. I’m not sure if that’s an actual writing term but i like it ^_^. Nothing like having good exposition that actually seems to flow naturally into a sex scene.

  4. I will probably give it a try but i don’t think it will compare to Shingeki no Bahamut- Genesis … Garo’s use of CG is very distracting and lackluster and they will have to work really hard to catch up to the epicness of Bahamut seen in just one episode (horse fight on a roof, giant dragons and demons, .. etc) .. story and character wise i can’t judge yet (3 episdoe rule) but so far i think Shingeki no Bahamut- Genesis will overshadow Garo in every aspect .. i could be wrong though.

    1. I may earn some hate with this, but ah well.

      I don’t find Bahamut to be all that great honestly, certainly not nearly as engaging as Garo in terms of both its characters and its story.

      Now, to be fair, I do agree that Bahamut is tops when it comes to its use of CG (that opening sequence was pure eye candy) and its animation; very fluid and easy on the eyes. Story-wise though… I can only call it average at best, with its characters best described, IMHO, as cookie-cutters.

      And, on something of a personal note, is it so much to ask that the main character have been given a bit better treatment with respect to his design, particularly when you have a beautiful counterpart by his side which only makes his own flaws all the more apparent? I mean, really, would it have killed anyone if at least his hair didn’t look like something out of a clown show?

      *deep breath*

      Okay, minor rant over.

      All that said, I’m not saying that Bahamut isn’t entertaining. It is, in its own way. Compared to Garo though, what with its medieval themes, and an in-your-face, adult charm that just seems to grab you right from the get-go, it doesn’t hold up quite so well, IMO.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  5. I would recommend anyone who enjoy GARO anime to watch the Tokusatsu series. One bit of advice though, follow the production order since it already had 4 tv series, 2 movies, 1 mini series, 1 V-Cinema, and 2 spin-offs.

  6. I think it’s worth noting that the artist behind this style is Hiroyuki Takei, the mangaka who created Shaman King. He is a quite big name since he has had collaborations with people like Stan Lee.

  7. I don’t get why so many other Garo fans are bitching about the anime, since instead of trying to force it into the continuity of the show (for those who don’t know, the main Garo series takes place in modern day Japan), they put it in the past so they could in fact do a prequel of sorts. (Yeah, no word on if this show is in continuity with the main series or not.)

    Honestly I liked this episode, art, pacing, and all. And to be frank, the CG in this episode is better than the CG in the first season of the damn show. (Oh boy was it bad in some parts.) It is a little weird to hear ‘demons’ and witches’ in place of Makai Knights and Makai Priests, but whatever, with Kobayashi writing, it’ll be good I bet.

    P.S. I’m like 80% sure, but I think that Herman is wearing the Silver Knight ZERO armor, since it has it’s signature dual blades and wolf-like appearance. (Garo nerd ftw)

    P.P.S. If anyone is interested, the Garo series is pretty long at this point, but I don’t think you’ll need to know any of it to understand the anime. If you’re interested in getting into the full series, I recommend watching the main toku series in this order:

    -Garo (TV series 1)
    -Kiba Gaiden (V-Cinema taking place during S1)
    -Garo: Byakuya no Maju (mini-series/movie)
    -Garo: Red Requiem (sequel movie to S1)
    -Garo: Makai Senki (TV series 2)
    -Garo: Soukoku no Maryu (sequel movie to S2)
    -Garo Gaiden: Tougen no Fue (sequel movie to S2)
    -Zero: Black Blood (mini-series)
    -Garo: Makai no Hana (TV series 4 (technically it takes place 20 years after season 2))
    -Garo: Yami o Terasu Mono (TV series 3)

    Hope this helps! 🙂 (Also be warned: lots of random nakedness on the Horrors.)

  8. Thanks Samu, for blogging this! I probably wouldn’t have watched it otherwise. It totally flew under my radar. The visuals are great. And I agree about the art style, I find it very appealing. So yay. Another new series to follow!

  9. Yeah that was a really cool episode. Will have to see how this turns out 🙂

    Good to see mature characters.

    No loli in sight? Check
    No high school in sight? Check
    Adults in sight? Check

    Looks like I will have to give this one a whirl. Looks very mature. Reminding me a bit of Bezerk.

    Lots of great anime for those of us that do not care for high school, teenagers, and loli’s this season.

    Thank goodness!!!! This show and Bahamut alone will keep me busy 🙂

    Rick Anime
  10. The OP was really stylish looking. Thought that was done very well.

    The design of the Knights really reminds me Karas. Apparently, as far as I could tell, there’s no connection.

    Overall, pretty decent stuff.

    Impel Down Hippo

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