It was only an hour long, and it felt like it’d never end!
Before anyone asks, yes I went into Garakowa, or Glass no Sekai no Who Gives A Shit if you want to be a weeaboo about it, fully expecting to hate it. When I saw that A-1 was producing the thing, that they teamed up the director of Shin Sekai Yori and the writer of Golden Time for the project, and that the cast would consist of nothing but little girls, I knew right away that there was no chance I was going to get any enjoyment out of the film. The synopsis itself wasn’t helping matters either. You remember how the second season of Higurashi built up Oyashiro-sama to be this all-powerful entity that causes people to kill themselves, only to make that retarded reveal that she was just an annoying little girl who went “haaaauuuu” all the time, effectively killing all the tension and causing the final arc to be one long snorefest? Garakowa made it clear from the very promo that all three of its main characters would follow Hanyuu’s example in making the gods lame rather than being the kind of Haibane Renmei-like religious females I can actually tolerate.
Mind you, calling Garakowa religious is a bit of a stretch on account of the fact that it stretches the scope of its world so wide that it comes off like someone wanted to mesh genres for the sake of meshing genres. The show takes place in some weird virtual reality-like dimension called the Box of Wisdom where it’s revealed that our world along with a bunch of other different realities are actually mythical computer programs that can be deleted at a moment’s whim if they’re infected by viruses. Sounds a bit Megaman Battle Network doesn’t it? Occasionally the gods of this world, Dual and Dorothy, try to fight the viruses first before deciding the world is a lost cause and it is during one of their excursions that they meet a mysterious female program named Remo, who states that she has to return to a mysterious “flower patch”, causing the two to take her in. I guess it’s to the film’s benefit that it’s getting its Fractale-like twists out of the way first so we won’t balk at it later, but that’s about the only thing it does better than Fractale.
Garakowa shoots itself in the foot at the very start by assuming you already know who Dual and Dorothy are when we first meet them, and then proceeding to tell us what’s going on through a load of boring plot dumps that flow about as naturally as a WWII subplot in the middle of a Vietnam War narrative. More importantly, it’s world-building for the sake of world-building, preventing the story from even surfacing until more than halfway through the film, not helped by the fact that Dual and Dorothy (and Remo too while we’re at it) are incredibly irritating characters who just react to everything that happens whilst having no relatable flaws or story to call their own. I understand that they’re omnipresent emotionless virus busters who are supposed to be far above humanity and committed to just the job, but that begs the question, “why is the film about them at all? And why do I have to sit through incredibly tedious scenes and numerous montages of the two acting like BFFs with Remo if they’re so emotionless?” “Because it builds character,” is what people might say. “Yeah, how well did that work out for every visual novel adaptation ever?” I retort. “The story of the show is that programs can have feelings too,” they fire back. “That’s an incredibly boring and overdone story!” I say out loud whilst pointing a machine gun at them.
And it’s incredibly charitable to say the story starts after the halfway point either. It’s just more of the characters being reactionary, except with more of an action bent against some viruses that kinda look cool, but their lack of personality or individual threat makes it hard to really care about their destruction, as well as infecting Remo with a mysterious illness that wouldn’t really add to anything even if she had been an interesting character. This leads to a very brief discussion regarding how our world was destroyed due to being incredibly dependent on technology along with a truth regarding the Box of Wisdom that I won’t spoil, but trust me when I say that you won’t be the least bit surprised by the twist because it’s been used in every sci-fi premise everywhere. Instead, you’ll most likely be asking “why am I not watching this movie instead?” And then you’ll realize you do own this movie and then pop it into your blu-ray player so you can cleanse this film from your mind. Or at least you would if the film didn’t go on afterwards by throwing in one more action sequence in order to have an awkward tear-jerking scene that not only came off as incredibly contrived, but it wastes a golden opportunity to really delve into the nature of what it means to be a part of a much bigger world then you realize in the process. Did I mention that the guy in charge of Golden Time’s composition also did the composition for those Key series and Kokoro Connect? Yeah, dramatic timing is really not the guy’s specialty.
As many people have already said, the film is rushed, but here’s the punch line: even as a full-blown series, it’d STILL be bad. In addition to the lackluster characters, the lack of originality in the plot, and the ridiculous amount of padding this thing managed to fit in only an hour, the fanservice in Garakowa is really creepy to the point of being a deal-breaker. Numerous times when they’re fighting, Dual and Dorothy are wearing outfits that leave them half-naked, which I think is just messed up considering we’re talking about anthromorphic virus busters here. There’s even one scene where either due to an animation error or because someone let a pervert into the room that day, Dual is crying whilst topless and covering her breasts with her arms despite the fact that her outfit never showed that much earlier.
Not that I’d blame her for doing so. After being stuck in a movie this bloody awful, I’d lose all hope in humanity and submit myself to the kinky fetishes of a vengeful god as well.
- This review’s tone might be influenced by the fact that the writer’s grandfather was diagnosed with less than a day to live at the time of writing (he’s dead now).
- Positive things about the film: the twist regarding how the Box of Wisdom is still existing is alright.
- Actually, I wouldn’t submit to the god. Because he’d already have turned me into charcoal with his lightning first.