Fall 2008: 「Ga-Rei Zero」 Impressions

Wow, I thought this show would be shit since the manga sounded oh-so-cliched, but damn this is probably one of the most shocking first episodes this season.

Uh, since the manga story doesn’t seem to apply here, I’ll summarize a bit. Kanze Tooru is part of a team that dispenses with supernatural enemies. Incidents involving them seem to have increased after an event three years ago. His team mates include Kasuga Natsuki (bearing an uncanny resemblance towards Mai Hime’s Natsuki), Shindou Masaki, Kusuno Kudou, Izumi Mami and they’re led by Konparu Kiriya. Their team is the “special forces” type, that deal with high level incidents which normal troops can’t handle.

The show begins with a Category D beast appearance that decimates the first team on the scene, so Tooru’s team is called in and they quickly dispatch of it. But another Category D pops up somewhere else, this time about 30x larger than the first one, so they devise a plan to use the sewage system in order to contain the threat. Natsuki acts as the bait, while Tooru takes up a sniping position and the other two set up stuff to create a large amount of “holy water” using the system.

The plan goes off smoothly but Tooru messes up when he snipes because of his flashbacks to a past event causing Natsuki to suffer a bit of rough treatment. In the end, the beast is dead and the team relaxes with some coffee, but suddenly Masaki and Kudou and killed by a katana-wielding girl that Tooru recognizes as a Category A. He takes Natsuki to hide and gets contacted by Mami, but it turns out she’s possessed herself and killed Konparu, eventually turning the gun to herself as well.

Tooru has a flashback at this point where he was forced to kill his own possessed girlfriend with his own hands, urged on by a girl, I suppose his team mate then. He snaps out of it only to find out that Natsuki’s slain as well and he confronts the killer, the same girl from his flashbacks, which proceeds to slash him as well. The episode ends abruptly at this point, with the caption “Will you kill someone you love, because of love?”

That was… rather abruptly shocking for a first episode. I thought we’d be seeing more of the other guys, especially the Natsuki-lookalike, but they all got killed within the first episode(?). I don’t know how the original manga is, but the anime looks set to be a pretty intense ride if the rest of the show keeps this up.

Notably, the production quality is one of the best yet from the crop of premieres I’ve watched so far. The action scenes are well done and at parts, impressive, such as Natsuki taking down a bunch of low-level enemies by using her mystically-enchanted motorbike tyres. The character designs look good as well, especially Natsuki and the katana-wielding girl at the end but with Natsuki already getting knocked off in the first episode, will we still see her?

The main questions of the series looks set to center on the flashback Tooru experienced as well as the “grand summoning” event that happened 3 years ago, though the issue at hand is how will the rest of the series look like if most of the candidate main characters are already dead from the start? I can’t wait to see how the second episode goes.

5 Comments

  1. Logeres Said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 7:12 am

    What the…?

    This anime has apparently nothing to do with the original manga, which is actually a pretty mediocre shounen manga with lots-of-fanservice-and-lame-jokes. The only connection seems to be the Agency, only that in the story you described so far, the Agency is kind of a paramilitary organisation.
    I hope the anime gets subbed fast, so I can watch that show too. :)

  2. Vandrian Said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 7:32 am

    Yeah I watched this and went from:
    1) Whoa Nice!
    2) Who’s who from the manga?
    3) What d’ hell?
    4) So is… this the end? Is this like revenge of the anime studio’s against streaming media and fan subs? Take something – make it look cool – then “they all die…”

    Feel kind of bad for the mangaka? Maybe she got killed off too? Although I really liked the animation quality. Agree w/ the Kuga Natsuki similarities.

  3. Algoze Said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 4:17 am

    I was speechless in the end, thought at least on would survive but everybody just died?

    The anime seems to be better than the manga, which I didn’t like either.

    Can’t wait for next episode to see what will happen :D

  4. FlameStrike Said,

    October 9, 2008 @ 6:36 am

    The manga is really MEH compared to this awesomeness but the ending really made be go “wtf”?! It’s worse then Souko no Strain since ALL the characters introduced die… If this is one of those “first episode last lolol” bullshits then that would suck. Or we could get a “it didn’t really happpen” type of thing.

  5. david Said,

    October 11, 2008 @ 8:54 am

    This might be a show where they show the present, then spend the next 2/3 of it in the past, before wrapping up the present in some final battle…..

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