What They Say:
For thousands of years, the Makai Knights and their allies have fought a secret war against the Horrors. But now the threads of trust that have held the Knights together are unraveling. As Kouga and Zaruba continue to seek a cure for Kaoru’s lethal exposure to Horror blood, the tension between the current wearer of the golden Garo armor and the wearer of the silver Zero armor, Rei, hits the breaking point. Was Kouga somehow responsible for the death of Rei’s family? Why are the watchdogs forcing them to work together when they know what Rei believes? And meanwhile, will Kaoru’s trusted advisor turn out to have the darkest secret of all? Friends die, love shatters, heroes fall, and monsters reign in the spectacular conclusion to the first epic series of GARO!
The only audio track for the episodes is Japanese DTS-HD 2.0. The sound quality is fine, although there are no bells and whistles like directionality. English subtitles are provided for the hearing impaired.
The video encoding is 1080p High Definition in 4:3 aspect ratio and the quality is pretty rough. The equipment used, and the general style, remind me of PBS shows from the Nineties. It’s fuzzy, oddly-lit, and the special effects are laughable.
Standard Blu-ray packaging here. The eleven episodes are spread over two discs, housed inside the front and back covers. Disc one shows Kouga in a badass fighting stance, and disc two shows Rei in an equally badass fighting stance.
The front cover features both characters standing in the foreground with the Big Bad of the series standing behind them. The spine doesn’t feature any pictures from the show and instead opts for a neat half-oval design that borders the show’s title. The back features stills from the show, a story summary, cast and crew credits, and Blu-ray specifications.
The menu design is pretty simple, but easy to navigate. The menu options occupy the left side of the screen, while the majority of screen space is taken up with either a picture of Kouga or Rei.
There are no extras included.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Garo is a Japanese tokusatsu series that first aired in the mid-2000s, but looks like it was filmed in the early ‘90s. The story follows Kouga Saezima, a holy warrior of the order of Makai Knights who holds the title “Garo,” and his trials and tribulations discovering just what that means and just who he is.
The Makai Knights are all that stand between humanity and a legion of demonic entities known collectively as “Horrors.” In addition to their prowess with the martial arts, the Knights also possess powerful talismans that allow them to summon armor, weapons, and even steeds from other dimensions. They take their orders from a triad of otherworldly prepubescent girls who like to sit around on discarded Cirque du Soleil equipment and are protected by an enigmatic butler with mad fighting skills. The otherworldy trio give the knights their assignments and divide up the territories that each individual knight protects.
That’s the gist of it, anyway. The story centers around Kouga. He rescues a young woman named Kaoru from a Horror, but in the ensuing fight, she gets drenched in Horror blood. It immediately infects her, and Kouga knows that she only has one hundred days to live. The standard operating procedure for this situation is for Kouga to kill her so she doesn’t have to suffer, but she’s pretty and he decides instead to find a way to purify her.
Kaoru doesn’t know that she’s walking with a death sentence, and she spends most of her time trying to discover the mysteries behind her missing father and the children’s book he wrote and drew that tells the story of a lonely Makai Knight. She also spends time trying to mend the rift between Kouga and Rei, another Makai Knight. Most of the episodes center on Kaoru getting in trouble and Kouga or Rei saving her.
In general, the show follows the Buffy formula: the majority of episodes are done-in-one monster of the week stories, but peppered in with them are stories that tie into a larger narrative. In this case, the “Big Bad” is a rogue Makai Knight who was once the apprentice of Kouga’s father. It will take the combined might of Kouga, Kaoru, and Rei to defeat the renegade knight, but will they be able to put aside their differences for a common cause? You’ll just have to watch to find out. And if you do watch, drop me a line, because I checked out of the show pretty quickly.
Garo was a hard one to watch and review. If it were animated, I might have enjoyed it more, but the bad CGI, the poor visual quality, the so-so acting, and the use of anime tropes in a live-action show made this a chore to get through. The story was unengaging, and the big dramatic moments were laughable more often than not because what works in anime doesn’t necessarily work in live action.
Garo was, at best, a mediocre show. The writing, the acting, and the production values were strictly amateur night in Dixie, and I had the hardest time paying attention. I started sorting my socks, because that was more interesting than what was on the screen. It did have boobs, though, so at least it wasn’t all bad.
Dr. J gives this a….
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: C-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Kraken Releasing
Release Date: December 12th, 2017
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 Blu-ray Player w/HDMI Connection