This post will have some spoilerific Ga-Rei -zero- rambles, so read with caution.
Yesterday I marathoned through the last four episodes of AICxasread’s Ga-Rei -zero-. Up until these last handful of episodes, I thought the show was good, but not nearly as good as its first shocking two episodes. Once the show finally caught up to where it left us off in episode two, things just got better and better.
The best part about Ga-Rei -zero- is Kagura’s struggle. I love situations in which characters are forced between a rock and a hard place. By the end of -zero-, Kagura’s not-blood-related-sister, Yomi is possessed by evil, and Kagura has to kill her. If she doesn’t, everyone else she knows will die, including herself. To make it even better, due to Kagura’s unwillingness towards killing her sister, many of her comrades find themselves dead by the end. It’s all terribly tragic, and I love it.
The best part about this whole struggle is how it all climaxes in their final battle–when both Yomi and Kagura are forced to make incredibly painful decisions. Yomi, while fighting her possession resolves to die; and Kagura resolves to kill the one most important to her, in order to save her. This kind of stuff is really hard to do well, but the emotions in -zero- feel very real, and totally convincing.
What helps these last couple of episodes is the show’s middle section. Between the end of episode two and episode ten, the show is a pretty episodic tale of this group of people fighting against the supernatural. Between the fights and other plot-related business, the show focuses a lot on character interaction between Yomi and all the other characters–specifically Kagura. Yomi and Kagura’s relationship is portrayed as very playful, loving and warm. Once one gets to the ending with all that in mind, all the various character deaths become incredibly painful, something I’m rarely phased by in any medium.
So, good job Ga-Rei -zero-. While not an excellent series, it manages to entertain solidly, and brings about some strong emotions at the end. I’d almost do business with it again, especially if it gets licensed or something.
PS, Ga-Rei -zero- is a good approach to the manga commercial that most anime adaptations are. Instead of telling you a story that some other medium already tells you, it’s a prequel that doesn’t need any background info, and leads perfectly into the comic. I was all set to read it until I saw the cover art! Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.