First Impressions Digest: 10/9/14 II – Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

Chaika 2 - 01 -1 Chaika 2 - 01 -20 Garo - 01 -6 Garo - 01 -16

The mayuge are back.

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle – 01

Chaika 2 - 01 -2 Chaika 2 - 01 -3 Chaika 2 - 01 -4
Chaika 2 - 01 -5 Chaika 2 - 01 -6 Chaika 2 - 01 -7
Chaika 2 - 01 -8 Chaika 2 - 01 -9 Chaika 2 - 01 -10
Chaika 2 - 01 -11 Chaika 2 - 01 -12 Chaika 2 - 01 -13
Chaika 2 - 01 -14 Chaika 2 - 01 -15 Chaika 2 - 01 -16
Chaika 2 - 01 -17 Chaika 2 - 01 -18 Chaika 2 - 01 -19

Hitsugi no Chaika seems a fitting symbol of this season overflowing with middling shows, given that it remained squarely on the blogging fence for as long as any show ever has.  I managed to get through an entire cour without committing myself, which seems rather silly in hindsight and left me resolved that while I have real affection for the series, it would need to do more early on for me to stick with the second season.

Alas, this premiere gives me little to push me in either direction – which I suppose is a push itself, if I stick to that standard.  It was pretty solid, but nothing great – giving the impression of another random mini-arc mixed in with nuggets of information vital to the final resolution.  The guest star is Claudia Dodge (Katsuki Masako) a hero from the war against Emperor Gaz and possessor of what looks to be his heart.  She knows who Chaika is and keeps giving her chances to defeat her in battle and win the remains, but refuses to fight to the death.  She’s managed to make her peacetime fortune in running a winery, and even offers Chaika some advice on how to improve her battle skills (shorter incantations and better defense).

All this is fine – the characters are likeable and the story is competently told – but so far it’s not the level-up I needed to keep me on-board.  But it’s a premiere, and there’s enough interesting stuff going on with Team Gillette (pretty much no way he’s really dead) and the truth about Gaz‘ plans to suggest such a level-up is at least possible.  You know the drill both with Hitsugi no Chaika and this season – incomplete information to make a call, so stay tuned.

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin – 01

Garo - 01 -1 Garo - 01 -2 Garo - 01 -3
Garo - 01 -4 Garo - 01 -5 Garo - 01 -7
Garo - 01 -8 Garo - 01 -9 Garo - 01 -10
Garo - 01 -11 Garo - 01 -12 Garo - 01 -13
Garo - 01 -14 Garo - 01 -15 Garo - 01 -17
Garo - 01 -18 Garo - 01 -19 Garo - 01 -20

I was always planning to give this one a watch, though I’m by no means a fan of the Garo franchise or those of its close relatives.  But it’s at the urging of my kouhai at RC, Samu, that I’m doing a First Impressions post because he’s been relentlessly positive about it.

My take?  I don’t quite get what the fuss is about, though I think this first animated take on Garo is rather good for what it is.  There’s a bit too much CGI and musical puffery for my taste, but anime that are as unabashedly grandiose as this one is aren’t that common these days, so I’m glad to see Garo out there.  Witches being burned at the stake, warlocks torn in half by wagons, succubi, evil counselors poisoning the ear of the King – you name it, Garo: Seal of Flames has got it.

It’s interesting to see MAPPA doing two shows in one season, and both (Garo and Shingeki no Bahamut) have a lot of the sword-and-sorcery, lusty medieval fantasy/horror thing going on.  As much as I love Namikawa Daisuke I’m not sold on him as the 17 year-old hero Leon Lewis, but Horiuchi Kenyuu is spot-on as his adoptive father GermanHashi Takaya is likewise perfect as Mendoza, the obviously evil Councillor who’s goading the King into siding against the obviously good witches and warlocks whose real role seems to be sealing “horrors” away.  The King’s son Alfonso (Nomura Katsuhito) who has a strong karmic link to Leon’s turbulent birth seems destined to play a major role too.

I’ll keep an eye on Garo, though for now it’s just another on the massive pile of shows I can say that about.



  1. H

    Torn on GARO. I like the world and sorcery but dislike the tokusatsu elements/main characters. I mean it's nice to see a bunch of fantasy shows airing again, but so far all have been compromised to a degree.

  2. K

    Hmmm…agreed. I am a bit disappointed by the CGI but it redeems itself by seemingly targeted to adults. Miss shows like Records of Lodoss that seem s bit more grounded. They should do some reboots 🙂

  3. J

    Garo's CGI also bothered me. At first, the episode borned, but it began to pick by the halfway point, and I think it will be worth watching, unless it drops the ball in the second episode. The lack of censored was also surprising.

    Cool blog. I followed it, as well as your Twitter and Facebook (as James Starslayer).


  4. Thanks James, great to have you on-board.

  5. z

    Another retro show, along with Gundam and Parasyte. So far I'm interested, but the CG is distracting. And the kid sounds too old. Plus he looks like Munto.

  6. K

    Garo is quite good though it can be pretty dark at times…

  7. m

    I absolutely love the names of Chaika's spells. They're possibly the funniest things in anime. I lost it when she was shooting her gun and said "The Overwarming"…..that's very intimidating. The fact that these big anime companies are either unwilling or unable (I expect the former) to hire a decent English speaking employee to check the things they say (and more so HOW they say them) never ceases to amaze and amuse me. No don't go attack them with your daggers, I'm going to shoot their fort and make it overly warm, that's clearly the best move here….

  8. Z

    They just don't care if the English is misspelt or ungrammatical. If it's Japanese however expect them to go over it with a fine tooth comb.

  9. Z

    There is a lot in Garo that I would ordinarily like, but every time the focus returns to the out of place main characters I get disinterested.

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