Coming from 2011, and consisting of 12 episodes, Ga-Rei: Zero is an anime prequel to the manga series Ga-Rei by Hajime Segawa. I don’t read manga (mostly because I’m illiterate), so I had no idea what to expect going into this.
The Ministry of Defense has a secret unit known as the Supernatural Disaster Countermeasure Division, whose job it is to defend Japan from all sorts of paranormal bad guys. The first episode shows a unit killing some deadly monsters, and that first episode was incredible. The characters were really interesting, they were all mature adults (rare for an anime), and they seemed to have an intriguing back story. Plus, the animation was outstanding. This had to rank up there with some of the best single-episode animation quality of all time.
And then, once the unit returns from their successful mission, they get slaughtered. SURPRISE! The characters I just invested a half-hour in all got murdered. TROLLING! What remains is some mysterious teenage girl with a katana, who killed them all. That intriguing back story? Never mentioned again. It was just a way to further troll the viewers into thinking these characters would be important, just to extract shock value when they suddenly died.
The second episode introduces us to the real characters for the series, the ones who won’t immediately die. Of course, they are far more cliche and annoying, and far less likeable than the ones in the first episode. The main character is another sword-wielding loli wearing a school-girl uniform. Is there any other kind of main character in anime? God forbid Japan produce an anime with a protagonist who is an adult.
Anyway, this episode also had incredible animation, and interesting fight scenes. It hinted at a more robust back story between the two sword girls, and was still a rather satisfying endeavor. I was still intrigued by this series. However, beginning with episode three, that intrigue started to die as I was subjected to a horrendously slow, prolonged flashback showing everything that has happened leading up to episodes one and two.
This is where the series turned into shit. The next several episodes featured lots and lots of talking. The series sort of trolled us in the way that Moribito did, although not nearly as hard. It tempted us with some action sequences, only to pull the rug out from under us with a million “plot” episodes. I use “plot” in quotation marks because there isn’t all that much in the way of story advancement. What there is a lot of is Kagura crying, Yomi acting like a bitch, an old dude with a white afro wearing nothing but a loincloth, “OH MY GOD WE AREN’T RELATED AND WE ONLY JUST MET BUT WE ARE TOTALLY JUST LIKE SISTERS! SQUEEEAAAL!”, tons of Pocky product placement, and boring people talking about boring stuff to each other.
The characters are completely unsympathetic and annoying. They make it nearly impossible to give a shit about them when some action finally happens again in the last two episodes. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “LOL BUT BRIK TIHS SHOW HAD TONS OF ACTION THERE WAS A ACTION SCENE IS ALMOST EVRY EPISODE LOL!” Technically, you would be right. Several of the episodes did have “action” sequences. But they are the typical bullshit kind that plague most anime. Most episodes have nothing much happening, and the creators suddenly realize, “Holy shit, this is supposed to be an action show, we’d better include some fighting!” So, they throw in a random fight sequence against some random enemy, which offers no plot advancement, and the entire thing lasts under two minutes. Sorry, but when your “action” sequences seem more like an afterthought, they don’t count.
Some other stupid shit in this series included: using an iron filled with holy water as a weapon against zombies, CGI dinosaurs who roll around in a ball like Sonic the Hedgehog, using a motorcycle to kill bad guys, and interpersonal relationships which are meant to be touching but are so trite and lame they come off as stupidly funny. I actually laughed out loud during the scene where Kagura and her father reconcile before his death. It was supposed to be poignant, but it was so melodramatic it was hilarious.
Other than the high animation quality, the only reason to watch this show is for lesbians. Yomi and Kagura make a pretty good lesbian couple, even if both of them are completely fucking annoying. Here is the best scene from this show:
Now that you’ve seen that, you have no reason to watch Ga-Rei: Zero. While it does have lesbians, some good action in a couple of episodes, and excellent animation, it is actually a chore to sit through. And at only 12 episodes, that really speaks to how fucking boring this piece of shit is. Not to mention the fact that it completely wastes an episode just to intentionally troll the audience. Do yourself a favor and skip this one. Now I’ll sit back and listen to all the mouth-breathing otaku tell me I’m an idiot because they thought this anime was great.