Little Leon is so kawaii, isn’t he?
I know I’m repeating myself here, but Garo gets how to do compelling drama. Unlike Shirobako, it doesn’t think small. Unlike Rage of Bahamut, it centers the serious on complex conflicts. Unlike Amagi Brilliant Park, it doesn’t try to have its cake and eat it too. Unlike Your Lie In April, it isn’t constantly clarifying things I can clearly see. Unlike Mushishi, it’s still able to remain fresh without being being repetitive. And unlike Psycho-Pass 2, it’s not a motherf*cking atrocity.
Don’t get me wrong. I still like a good amount of those shows. But that’s in spite of the fact that they haven’t been able to sell me on the serious front. Garo does. Okay, maybe Alfonso’s mother stupidly killing herself off at the last minute was a bit of a dumb move, but otherwise the show understands that drama on its own is not engaging. You think Grave of the Fireflies is considered one of the most classic tear-jerking films because it made you cry when the kids died? No, what made it sad it was attached to a compelling story regarding how stupidity during a crisis is something you cannot afford. Said tragedy was ultimately an enhancement tool used to further that point, and Garo uses its overblown theatrics to push home the fact that ultimately, Leon could not be the hero because his inexperience leads to disaster.
Whilst it may not seem like he suffers as much as Slaine did in Aldnoah Zero on the surface, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll realize Leon wishes he was a princess’s bodyguard instead of a Makai Knight stripped of his power and shunned by his comrades. He had it all, and it was taken away because he is just that bad at handling things rather than forces beyond his control. That’s the kind of personal tragedy that’s actually interesting when put against a large backdrop of a story like this show’s, and the fact that it’s conveyed through demons and stuff is just the icing on the cake.
At the end of the day, Mendoza biting it (rather anticlimactically, I might add) is a minuscule detail compared to Alfonso gaining the Garo powers and Leon…committing suicide I guess. Garo is a story about personal tragedies and how different upbringings, personalities, and such lead to different outcomes when dealing with said tragedy. As such, it only holds up strong when it’s focused on the individual’s journey, and everything else is just a means to fulfill said journey. Including the Horrors. Including the aesthetics. And most of all, including the drama.
Though seriously, I’m really not a fan of how Mappa clearly doesn’t have the resources to pretty this show up more. Jesus Christ the animation sucks at times. Someone please buy more of their Teekyu Blu-rays.