Sunday 14 April 2013

First Impressions: Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness

Garo The One Who Shines in the Darkness Yami o Terasu Mono Season 3 Ryuga

While English-speaking Garo fans continue the long wait for a subbed version of the "Demon Dragon of the Blue Cries" (Soukoku no Maryu) movie to find out the conclusion to Kouga Seijima's story, the legend of the Makai Knights continues on in a third Garo season, entitled "The One Who Shines in the Darkness" (Yami o Terasu Mono). This season features an all-new cast, with just how it continues on from the original two seasons still unclear.

With the fate of Kouga a mystery, the Garo armour has found a new owner in the form of Ryuga Dougai. Though the armour strangely lost its golden shine with its former master, it still wields the power Ryuga needs to battle the evil spirits known as Horrors. Ryuga has travelled to Vol City, drawn to the high concentration of Horrors plaguing the city. Causing quite a scene killing a Horror masquerading as a bride, the newest Golden Knight catches the attention of the city's special task force SG1, but a group of Makai Knights led by a Makai Priest named Burai.

If you've read my review of the previous Garo series, you'll know that I consider it one of the greatest tokusatsu series out there. Though the thought of a sequel series featuring an entirely new cast might be off-putting to some, the first episode of The One Who Shines in the Darkness, titled "Ryuga" does not disappoint. Everything that makes Garo brilliant, from the extremely impressive action sequences (mostly unarmoured) to the adult themes and detailed mythology, is still present - a long with a whole load of new mysterious revolving around these new characters.

Much like the title suggests, this episode focusses squarely on Ryuga and his arrival in Vol City. While he definitely has the same imposing qualities that made Kouga such a badass, it's clear that Ryuga is a very different Garo to his predecessor. Rather than stoic and quiet, Ryuga is wild and sarcastic, throwing quips at Horrors as he fights them. The episode also sets up plenty of questions to be answered over the course of the show - just why has the Garo armour turned black? If Ryuga is a Makai Knight, why is he not assigned to a location and cannot speak Makai language? Why won't Zaruba talk to his new master?

While facing off against SG1, Ryuga comes face to face their female commander Enhou. There isn't much to say about her so far, other than that it's clear she's going to become somewhat of a recurring character. At the very end we also meet Makai Priest Burai and two Makai Knights - Aguri and Takeru (played by Gokai Silver actor Junya Ikeda).

The One Who Shines in the Darkness may not spend a great deal of time introducing newcomers to the lore of Garo, but it's still pretty easy to come to grips with. Once you've established what a Horror and Makai Knights are, like the already established Garo fans what you have to look forward to is a stunning, engaging tokusatsu series that certainly isn't for children.

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