GARO – Vanishing Line #24 — Heart and Soul

March 30th, 2018


I missed you, Chinese girl.


A surprisingly emotional sendoff to the show, but like last week, the ordering of the scenes utterly baffles me. Sophie's speech about not want it all to disappear should have been what they used to build up to the climax of the reunion, not after it, and news of Sword still being alive shouldn't have just been flatly dumped out like that. Hell, get rid of that entire Gina scene in the diner. It seemed to exist just so Sophie could give her speech anyway, and I'm not sure who it was supposed to be for (besides the audience, obviously). Let her be off hunting monsters too so we don't seem to hit the climax and then have to wind back up to the actual reunion to end things.

As for the fight between Dark Sword and Sword… It was token and obligatory, but that ship sailed a long time ago. Still, Sword's 'death', as unconvincing as it was, really probably should been milked a little more. I'm not sure they did the legwork for Sophie having a total breakdown prior to amnesia rainification (either on an attachment to Sword front, or having seen a bazillion people slaughtered in front of and/or because of her front), but they could've made a spirited go at it, especially if they dragged that Sword (and pals) were her family now. Alternatively, rather than Sword just poofing away in the pocket dimension, that could've really done jerked some tears had he been there to say goodbye, especially something in the vein of "You don't need me anymore, but Lizzie does," thereby giving that side of things a little more of a definitive non-conclusion conclusion. 

Still, it was a pretty satisfying way to send off the show overall, even if the execution needed another pass or two through the editing department. The music was just on point as it was last week, and it was nice to see some of the fun faces from part 1 again in the wrapup. Final thoughts below.

Final Thoughts:

Had a little more effort been put into making things come together at the end, it could've gone out with a bang. Unfortunately, that's the kind of work that needs to be done across multiple episodes, and things really faltered at the end when it abandoned the episodic stories and focused entirely on the big picture. I still can't believe they went with the angle that the mystery city that nobody could find was literally just off the highway AND home to Super Ultra IBM-Microsoft. The biggest issue is that most of the cast ended up being pretty under realized. It's great that they're all badasses with their own stories, and I don't think Sword especially needed to learn some valuable lesson or anything, but Luke and Sophie were probably the only two having anything that could even be slightly mistaken for character arcs. Sophie in particular could've (should've) been the heart of the show and the embodiment of all of Sword's speeches about the resilience of humanity, especially given all the sacrifices made for her by side characters. They could've done so much more with her growing and coming into her own that it's disappointing she ends up being by and large just a MacGuffin.

A shame, too, because it did a far better job with its characters than the vast majority of anime out there. How blessed is a lack of chronic insecurity and existential angst, letting the mere fact that there are monsters trying to murder everybody being the driving issue rather than having to find the courage to fight for the things that you care about or whatever the latest dross is. The fight at the end of part 1 was the show at its best; a battle that elevates both the protagonist and antagonist while being visually exhilarating, and not relying on spontaneous invulnerability or vulnerability. Unfortunately, nothing in the second half came close to matching it. There were moments, but the antagonists, especially the main one, were simply not built up well enough, nor was Sword himself put in enough danger for it to have the same kind of thrill.

It was still a fun ride for the most part, even if it flagged towards the end and definitely hit some bumps along the way. A spirited cast of badasses of every stripe, action to spare (albeit mostly chaotic CGI), some great music to rock out to, and ending on a couple emotionally high episodes, even if they were a bit bizarrely constructed.

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