Title: The Golden Knight
Name Meaning: Fanged Wolf
Member of: The Makai Order
Featured In: GARO Television Series (2005-Present)
Make no mistake, there are things that go bump in the night and there are plenty that bump them right back in the same shadows but for many of them… They are heroes whom are either misunderstood due to their distinctive lineage or circumstances, and oftentimes the monsters they fight are those of their own creation however inadvertently. Such is not the case for the likes of Garo.
Now, before I really get into this review, let me make one thing perfectly clear. The name of “Garo” refers strictly to the Makai Armor and not the individuals wearing it. Like most Makai Armor, the Garo armor is passed down through the bloodlines of the Saejima family or, in some miraculously rare cases, won rightfully. As such, whenever I refer to Garo it more towards the armor and not the actual individual wearing it. That being said, let’s begin!
To start with… well, I shall be frank, I’m only going over the absolute highest of highlights here and I severely recommend watching the show and/or checking out the wiki for more information. That being said, the Garo armor, like most Makai Armor, had been crafted by the Makai Order whose sole purpose is to protect the world from vile monstrosities known simply as “Horrors.”
Though the name sounds rather tame, let me assure you that Horrors are by far the most frightening “monster of the week” I’ve ever seen bar none. In point of fact, I’d go so far as to say that Horrors are more frightening than anything from Western media. There has not been a single one that hasn’t had me shivering in my seat and far too many that leave me wide eyed and pale faced for hours afterwards. Every Horror is distinct save for their “natural” form that bares a strong resemblance to the unholy union of angel and devil.
Garo is able to combat these Horrors solely for the fact that he and his weapon are composed of a material known as “soul metal,” a type of metal whose properties rely partially on the wearer/bearer. Case in point, it takes a strong will and even stronger discipline to even don the Garo armor let alone fight in it. The same can be said of any weapons made of soul metal as their sharpness or effectiveness relies on the will of the wielder who can make the weapon light as a feather to heavier than a meteorite.
However, being made of soul metal, the Garo armor has one fatal flaw shared amongst its many brethren. It can only be worn for exactly 99.9 seconds. To wear it any longer than that runs the risk of severe injury as soul metal can and will easily burn through human flesh due to its inherent properties. Weapons are only slightly different because of specialized wrappings around the hilts and such to protect the wielder but such cannot be done for the armor.
Sadly, there is another inherent flaw in the Garo armor, one that can at least be partially blamed upon the wearer. If the wearer chooses to continue wearing the armor rather than letting it be returned back to the Makai realm from whence it came, via a very cool summoning through a sword with Garo’s case, then the armor will mutate both itself and the wearer into a monstrous hellion berserker. This topped with the agony of being burned alive from within makes Garo a nearly unstoppable threat to friend and foe alike.
Of the Makai Armor seen throughout the various GARO series, the Garo armor has shown to be the most mutable of the armors insomuch that it has many distinctive forms unique both to its wielder or the circumstances of a particularly difficult fight. Aside from its genuinely golden appearance, bar one particular instance, and wolf motif, Garo has attained such things as angelic wings and other distinctive protrusions/protections in his fight against Horrors.
Lastly, like all Makai Knights, Garo possesses a… unique… form of transportation in the form of a Madou Horse, a biomechanical horse that can traverse different dimensions—particularly pocket dimensions created by Horrors— and can augment their rider’s abilities by leaps and bounds. Some Madou Horses have also displayed powers unique unto themselves such as Garo’s own steed Gouten who can change Garo’s sword from a regular medieval styled blade to a massive zonbatou. Only titled knights such as Garo are granted these powerful steeds and even then, they must first slay a hundred Horrors and go through a distinctive trial to earn the right to ride.
Overall, while Garo is certainly not the horrific or even the most powerful of Halloween styled heroes, he is quite easily the most distinct among them insomuch that his wearers are all human from beginning to end. They are not some manner of lost soul briefly turned to the darkness nor are they those whom are born from evil but are not ruled by it. They are human beings fighting against the darkness by wielding that same darkness in the form of a shining golden brilliance set in a fearsome visage.