Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ga-Rei -Zero- - Episode 11

The last episode of Ga-Rei -Zero- brought us back around to pretty much where we'd left the "present day" story in episode two (albeit with extra colour to fit in with all the back story we'd been taken through), with one major little addition to the end - The introduction of Kagura's father as Yomi's next heavyweight opponent.

With this in mind, I was rather expecting a humongous, drawn-out battle between these extremely skilful fighters, but in fact this particular battle turned out to be intense but brief, with Kagura's indecision when presented an opportunity to finish Yomi off (although to be honest it probably wasn't worth much given her near-immortal status) causing her father to be mortally wounded, and allowing Yomi to escape.

From here on in, the action comes thick and fast, but not quite as thick and fast as the bloodshed - Yes, that's right, once again Ga-Rei -Zero- is delighting in killing off or badly injuring as many major characters as possible - You've got to admit they do it with style though. Meanwhile, Kagura tends to her father's bedside, in the knowledge that her part in this saga isn't yet over, and that she still needs to decide which path she's going to travel...

There's always a danger with a series such as this that it will become a case of style over substance, and Ga-Rei -Zero- certainly has the former in spades - The character designs, the weaponary, the fighting may all be in familiar territory to the average anime fan, but that doesn't make them any less awesome, and when even the whelchair-bound former boss of Yomi comes out fighting with both style and grace you can't help but be impressed. Even with all of this going on however, there's still a quiet focus on the emotional aspects of the series' major stories - It isn't in your face, and it isn't anything like as explicitly clear as the death and mayhem, but it's certainly there as a subtle undercurrent that runs through the series.

In short then, Ga-Rei -Zero- continues to be hugely impressive as an action-oriented vehicle, while still carrying enough in the way of strong characters to edge just slightly beyond being a mere hack 'n' slash anime. It's gory and violent to the extreme, yet never feels like it's stepped over the bounds into being overly gratuitous, and you leave each episode that focuses on the action feeling like you've just stepped off a rollercoaster - Which is exactly how a series like this is supposed to work.

No comments: