Epic finales are no mystery to any long-time fan of the GARO tokus (read: old people who were alive in the distant past of 2005). In fact, when compared to every other entry in the franchise (except maybe the original 2005 one, and that’s because the most advanced FX back then was MS Paint), this is a relatively low-key finale for any GARO entry.
Did I ever mention that you should probably watch the tokus? Let me reitare that you should probably watch the tokus.
But, in a certain, emotional way, this finale kind of tops every other GARO finale, mostly because of Kobayashi’s masterful grasp of the audience’s heartstrings. If heartstrings were a violin, Kobayashi would be Hilary Hahn.
So, it all begins with Anima, the Michael Jordan of Horrors, wrecks shit as expected of a giant inhuman abomination summoned into an innocent town. In a refreshing subversion of the usual trope involving summoning giant inhuman abominations, Mendoza is not thwarted by Anima, instead opting to absorb it by ripping out his guts, which somehow creates a giant Dyson vacuum in his chest.
Said transformation sequence was amazingly well animated. Maybe now I know where the budget for this entire show went.
Also amazingly well animated is the subsequent fight between Mendoza and León, in which the latter gets his ass royally kicked without much effort. After all, Ultimate Life Form Mendoza can manifest gigantic energy fists out of nowhere and all of León’s attacks have all the efficacy of trying to take down the Empire State Building with a fistful of petals.
Meanwhile, Rafael Banderas, A.K.A. the third manliest badass in this show (third in sheer manliness only to Germán and Ema), shows up for one last time to give advice to Alfonso, who seems to have survived being crushed by an alternate dimension and also a lethal fall.
I mean, look at this shit:
Ema also survived getting stabbed in the chest by Octavia the Gatchaman Crowds reject , somehow. Maybe Makai Knights Alchemists have about the same amount of blood as somebody in a Tarantino film and the skeleton of Wolverine. Then, they work in tandem to throw Germán’s sword to León, which then uses it to combine.
No, I don’t care if it’s impossible in the tokus. It’s just so fucking cool. Seriously, look at that. It’s gorgeously detailed and animated. It’s some of the most impressive, most breathtaking 3DCG to ever grace this medium, and it came from a show where Ema banging
León some nails was a whopping three frames. Maybe this single scene drained the entire budget for the show.
And as gorgeous as it looks still-framed, it’s truly beautiful to see it in motion. It moves with remarkable realism and accuracy as to how a person would move inside that bulky-ass armor. Well, as much realism as can be obtained of a magic wolf armor.
But the highlight of this episode isn’t even that, really.
First, let me praise MAPPA for what they did with Makai in this show. In the tokus, Makai had this bizarre, almost watercolor-like ambiance to it. In this show, however, it looks like the inside of a decaying brain, as perceived by Salvador Dalí. Or maybe just a level from Life Force. It’s a quite interesting take on it, and while I initially resisted this change, but then I realized that its look would not carry over to animation very well.
Second, there’s this beautiful scene in which Anna, which the show established previously to be extremely hot, comes in spirit form and promises to keep Mendoza safely sealed. By “safely sealed”, it means “burned over and over by flames”. Ouch. That’s fucking metal.
And finally, Germán comes for one final scene to give a heartfelt speech about life and duty to León before vanishing from good for this show. This, right here, is a genuinely tearful and emotional moment that is undoubtedly the highest point in the series. So many feels coming at once.
The rest of the episode is fairly low-key. Blah blah blah Santa Bard is destroyed once again, Alfonso is a dork with women, and such. Ema also leaves Santa Bard, because she is needed in her hometown, thus depriving the upcoming season of best guy AND best girl.
Also it turns out that Ximena got pregnant from that one time they did it, because as we all know, impregnation chances are 100% when the male is about to die. It’s supposed to be heartwarming and reassuring us that ZORO won’t be lost like, say, not-KIBA. But all I could think is that, given Germán’s history, what will happen is that Germán Jr. will approach León asking to inherit ZORO and León’ll be like “get in line, muchacho”.
All in all, this was a good finale. Emotions boiled, adrenile rushed, plots got wrapped and overall it was really satisfactory. I can’t wait for S2.