Ga-Rei: Zero

May 28, 2017

Somehow my inner sadism kicked in that time so I was searching for anime series that had its entire or most of its main and supporting casts getting killed off. That is where I stumbled upon Ga-Rei: Zero as I read in the first couple of episodes all the main characters got killed off. And that’s how I decided to check it out to see how bad it could be and if everyone would just die in the end despite I am not really into supernatural themed animes. What? You don’t approve of my terrorist mind set? So what are you doing to counter the real life terrorism? Forget it. Fighting humans isn’t as scary as fighting evil supernatural beings like in this series. Oh wait. On second thought, maybe I take that back… This series is a prologue to the manga, Ga-Rei (which never got animated) and tells the events that led up to the setting of the manga (which I didn’t read).

Episode 1
Tooru Kanze and Natsuki Kasuga are at the graves when they receive a call to sortie because those paranormal spirits are up to no good again. The 1st Special Division of the Ministry of Defence’s Supernatural Disaster Prevention Agency arrives first and takes out most of the small Category C fries. Till the Category B dinosaur monster burns them all alive. That is when Tooru, Natsuki and the rest of their unit arrive to kick ass and save the day (or in this case, night) because they have better equipment and arsenal. Meanwhile the higher ups are not pleased that their division is almost massacred and aren’t too happy the 1st Platoon of the 4th Special Division under the leadership of Kiriya Konparu of the Ministry of Environment won the battle because now their unit is like a laughing stock. Just when the 4th is about to pick up the pieces, they receive another distress call of another appearance of Category B appearing in another part of the city. Although there are barriers around it, it won’t hold much longer. Standard protocol means they need to use Reisui (holy water) and then finish it off with Mani bullets but according to Mami Izumi’s calculation, 200 tons of water is needed for that exorcism. As suggested by Konparu, if they cannot carry the water, bring it to the source. So while the unit has done all the necessary setup, Natsuki leads the monster into a giant water shaft. Once she is in position, Tooru is supposed to snipe. However a butterfly distraction has him missed and this puts Natsuki in danger. She is injured and although the monster is taken care off, the shaft is about to burst with water. Luckily the other guys get them out. With the mission complete and the team resting, suddenly they are attached by Category A. Everyone gets massacred! Mami got possessed and shot Konparu in the head before turning the gun on herself. Tooru remembers the tragedy whereby his girlfriend turned into a ghoul and he was forced to shoot her. Looks like he would be meeting her in the afterlife as he got his head sliced by Yomi Isayama!

Episode 2
The Disposal Unit is stuck in a gridlock traffic jam. But screw trying to be secretive so they ram through the traffic to get to the scene where another Category B is running rampage. After luring it into a trap, they let Kagura Tsuchimiya finish it off. The higher ups are discussing the high casualties tonight. It basically means their forces are as good as eliminated. While trying to reel from this embarrassment, Ayame Jinguuji, the Chief Minister of Environment and her secretary, Kiri Nikaidou come to ‘forcefully’ have both sides cooperate with each other. Had they done this from the start, things wouldn’t have turned out so bad. She reveals information and the map of the Kantou area whereby Category A spiritual disturbances are spreading. While the medics are picking up the corpses, they suddenly turn into Category D zombies and start attacking. The Disposal Unit goes into action but then they are shocked to see Yomi and her Ga-Rei, Nue before them. She was once their comrade but went missing. Now she is classified as Category A and must be annihilated. Yomi leaves the zombies to play with them. The boss allows Kagura and Noriyuki Izuna to go after Yomi. They split up to look for her in the underground tunnel. Kagura is attacked by Yomi though the former tries her best not to fight her. When she is forced to do so, Kagura bests her. Because she is her old friend, Kagura is unable to kill her even when dared. For this reason Yomi cannot forgive her and still hates her. Yomi fights back and spurns Kagura to do the same when she badmouths about Noriyuki as a coward (Noriyuki is supposed to be her fiancé). Kagura thought she could kill her via some pipe explosion but Yomi is not Category A for nothing. Kagura is caught by Nue. Yomi is upset when Kagura still calls her onee-chan and then slashes her.

Episode 3
Time to go back 3 years in time when they first meet. Kagura’s parents are very powerful and famous exorcists. But a mission gone wrong has her mother died in duty. Thus her dad has to oversee things like inhering the Ga-Rei Byakuei that she had and leaving the care of the branch family to Naraku Isayama, Yomi’s father. Thus Yomi is assigned to support Kagura from the shadows. Yomi is quite lively and friendly but you can’t blame Kagura for not feeling like doing anything except training, which is what she has been doing always. Kagura lost a mock fight with Yomi and needs to reflect deeply on her loss seriously thanks to her strict father’s upbringing. Yomi won’t have any of that and teaches her how to chill. She wants Kagura to address her as her onee-chan. As much as Yomi wants to be with Kagura, sometimes she receives calls for a job. This leaves Kagura sad because her words eerily echo like her mom. And now she is dead. Feeling bad, Yomi decides to bring her along and let her see what they do. She is introduced to her unit in the Disposal Unit consisting of Noriyuki, Kouji Iwahata, Kazuki Sakuraba and twins Nabuu and Nabuu. Yes, they both share the same name. You can’t tell them apart either. Yomi might regret a little bringing Kagura along since Iwahata gives her a special sword, Michael 12. After the mission, Yomi gets an earful from her father never to do such things again. Kagura felt bad and in view of this, Yomi gives her a bracelet as charm since she can’t follow her on the job. Yomi explains she personally requested to look after Kagura because she always wanted a little sister. They can be sisters from now on. Can they? Because Naraku isn’t Yomi’s biological dad and is adopted. But since he treats her like his own daughter, she wants to return his feelings. Therefore she will inherit her fate as the family’s exorcist, the reason for her existence.

Episode 4
Kagura must be real bored in school. Luckily the Disposal Unit often calls her in the middle of class to go for missions. Though, Kagura hates to lie to the teacher that she has to leave to attend her sick mother. We get our first taste of lesbianism when Yomi kisses Kagura as they are fooling around eating the Pocky stick. Sakuraba gets kicked in the face for watching them but why didn’t Iwahata get the same treatment? Because he is gay! Kagura watches as Yomi exorcises a giant spider demon. But when she cuts it into half, the demon parts threaten to fall on a civilian woman. Had not Kagura been there, it would have been her doom. But it wouldn’t make any difference because Yomi knows this woman was trying to commit suicide. She is advised to not waste her life. Kagura does maintenance on her sword. She is freaked out by this weird naked afro old man. Michael Kohara is a famous blacksmith and the one who made Kagura’s sword. He is impressed with its radiance. Then he takes a look at Yomi’s sword, Shishi-ou and takes it back to further refine it. For the time being, Yomi needs to pick a temporary weapon. Hmm… Michael has created lots of weird weapons labelled with English names and numbers. A chainsaw? A boiler room? Yomi eventually settles for an iron. Douglas 28? After practice, the girls detect supernatural activities nearby. They head into the underground tunnel to fight… Pineapple demons? With tentacles! They are shocked to see that suicide woman. She has turned into Category D zombie (she killed herself jumping in front of a train). Also, she has infected others. Kagura is hesitant to kill them because they were once humans. Luckily, her father is here as he summons out Byakuei to devour all of them. In the aftermath, Kagura gets lectured by her father about doing her responsibilities as an exorcist. All is not gloom as he tells her to become stronger.

Episode 5
Naraku gives Yomi his wife’s dress. She is happy to receive it. He also wants to talk to her about her engagement to Noriyuki. He knows they don’t like each other but if this continues, those involved will be hurt. He wants to hear her feelings. Because he has raised her like his own daughter and for the sake of improving both families, she sees no reason to object and accepts this marriage. Kagura could smell perfume on Yomi and teases she is going out on a date with Noriyuki. But when that guy enters, he mocks about the sh*t smell! Kagura covers for her and says it is her perfume. Noriyuki gives some advice to not put so much or she’ll smell like some old lady so Yomi splashes coffee over him. When he realizes the perfume is from her, he thinks she is pushing it on Kagura. The duo summon their beast ready to fight but Ayame puts a stop to it. Yuu, Naraku’s younger brother is against him handing over to Yomi is the next heir. Though Yuu has no right as he abandoned the family mission long ago, he simply doesn’t want it to go to outsiders. After all, he has his own daughter, Mei. But Mei doesn’t wish for him to stand up for her as Yomi has earned the trust of others. Kagura gathers the Disposal Unit to form a plan to bring Noriyuki and Yomi close. Her plan is to have them act as ruffians and attack her and let Noriyuki save the day. The thought of being devoured by her Nue is a no go. Iwahata doesn’t think it is a bad idea if they break up. Because Noriyuki might consider him! Ayame has a better plan… She sends Kiri to meet with Noriyuki and when Yomi comes by, she starts flirting with him to make her jealous. No reaction. The flirting gets lamer. Yomi then buys a can to throw it at him. Finally reacted? Then it descends into a big quarrel before they start slapping each other. Before it gets worse, Kagura comes pleading in tears to stop. She apologizes this is her fault and just wanted to see them get along. They feel bad but Kagura wants to see them make up with a kiss! Noriyuki is willing to do it but Yomi isn’t and judo throws him. That night, Yomi dresses up and talks to Noriyuki like mature adults. They wonder if they can quarrel like this forever.

Episode 6
Yomi and Kagura are fighting a spirit that could imitate their physical looks, abilities and whatever they say! It’s getting irritating. Sure, they manage to defeat it. But how about they take on a bunch of them now! Thanks to Mei, the task is solved but Mei lectures them about inheritance qualifications. This makes Kagura feeling down. She returns to her father since she got word he is exhausted from the exorcism missions recently. He explains the inheritance of Byakuei and the protection of the seal. Once you are contracted to Byakuei, you cannot be unbound from it till you die. Mei is looking for the culprit unleashing high level spirits in the vicinity. She finds Kazuhiro Mitogawa, a kid with a Sesshouseki and attacks him but nothing happens. She is easily stabbed and rid of after he reads her heart that contains jealousy, anger, hatred, loathe and pride. Kagura’s friends are staying late at school when they witness a murder. They try to hide from the killer (in the locker?) but when they are caught up to, Kagura saves them. At first she is hesitant and in shock to see the school nurse being possessed but had to sum up her courage to kill her. Kagura throws up after that. Her friends are surprised to see her.

Episode 7
The Disposal Unit cleans up the school. Kagura is obviously shaken but her friend seems less merciful as she seeks an explanation of everything. As Kagura’s mental state isn’t stable, it is suggests she goes on leave and Yomi the same as to give her emotional support. Naraku wishes to pass on his position to Yomi since anything can happen to him at this age. During the next family meeting he will certainly announce his successor and he wants Yuu to handle the arrangements. Kagura returns to school and they have a new school nurse. I believe Kagura’s pain is just more than physical as she kept crying. Then when she visits the former school nurse’s grave, her friend continues to be mad at her. She is pissed that Kagura is crying at her grave despite she is the one who killed her. She dares Kagura to kill her next. It gets worse when Kagura doesn’t say anything. And then she tells her to just hit her if she feels like it. And suddenly all of them come to their senses and time to let the tears flow with a big hug. Wow. Thank goodness reconciliation was this fast and easy. She then explains to her friends about her family responsibilities and fate but they find it weird and would have accepted it if she herself wanted to do it. Kagura trains with Yomi and the latter advises her about not listening to others and to do what she wants. Thus she takes this chance to go hang out with her friends. As Kagura’s mood is improving, Yomi talks to Noriyuki that she might not need her anymore. Yomi feels that Kagura has been blessed with all the powers when she is born into the Tsuchimiya family. She is already carrying great talent since birth unlike her who can only envy and dream to have those powers. Noriyuki notes that she worked hard to get where she is now and has the best swordsmanship of any current exorcist. They are surprisingly about to kiss but the damn cliché handphone ring stopped them. Kagura calling her to update her outing with her friends? Huh? I guess it took too long so Noriyuki just kissed her! Thankfully the conversation was already ending. After Yomi hits him, they continue to kiss. Strange… Happy Kagura returns home but finds something odd. As nobody is home, she looks around and to her horror finds Naraku lying in his own pool of blood. Time to fall into shock again. After calling the ambulance, Kagura waits for Yomi to return. Time for Yomi to feel the shock too. At the hospital, Yomi gets scolded by Yuu about her whereabouts since she was difficult to contact. However Mei tells Yomi to say goodbye to her father first. Reality hits Yomi hard when she confirms his body.

Episode 8
Gloom and doom at Naraku’s funeral. At the family meeting, Yuu announces he will be taking over his brother’s post as the head of the family but since he is unable to perform the family’s work, Mei will do it in his stead. Although Yomi protests that this isn’t Naraku’s will, Yuu fires back to her about not being able to protect her father and was flirting with a guy during that time. Yuu as the head is also not approved by some like the Izuna side because this puts their arranged marriage between the families at jeopardy. Adding insult to injury, Mei and her father are moving into Naraku’s home and she wants to use Yomi’s room. Where will Yomi stay? In Kagura’s room. Basically, it’s like kicking her out under the pretence for her to be independent. You think that is worse? Mei wants Yomi to hand over Shishi-ou as Yuu deemed her unqualified to wield it for failing to protect Naraku. Yomi has no choice but to do so. As Mei revels in possessing Shishi-ou, suddenly visions that she was killed flash through her mind. She is suddenly fraught with guilt of what she has done. She starts bleeding as Kazuhiro tells her to accept all those negative emotions. Then the Sesshouseki will answer her. She realizes the stone is embedded in her chest before getting absorbed. Kagura prepares to leave the home. So last final yuri fling with Yomi? Several Category B demons are spotted. The Disposal Unit faces some competition with the Special Tactics Squad under the Ministry of Defence. Yomi also makes her way but she is confronted with Mei. She fights borrowing Kagura’s sword. Yomi is shocked to see Mei’s arm regenerate after cutting it off. The Sesshouseki is healing all her wounds. Mei then goes on an anger rant how she was jealous about Yomi. Because Naraku took a nobody in, the privileges that should have been hers went to Yomi. That is why she hated Naraku for it and admits she killed him. Mei is about to kill Yomi when she starts bleeding everywhere. She fears Sesshouseki is being taken away. In that confusion, Yomi overwhelms her to get the upper hand. Mei then reverts to her original self. She pleads for her life but Yomi is filled with hatred and kills her. Shortly Mei is confronted with Kazuhiro. He explains he didn’t turn Mei so but merely pushed her in that direction where her true feelings were. He wonders if she wants a Sesshouseki. Then he kills her.

Episode 9
Yomi is wheeled into ICU. The doctor diagnoses that despite her vital organs were spared, her tendons were severed as though they were explicitly targeted. Furthermore, her right eye and vocal chords are destroyed. She can never live a normal life again. Noriyuki is visibly upset his dad cancelled their engagement. I mean, is he willing to take care of a handicap for the rest of his life? As Mei’s body is also found, it is concluded Yomi killed her as blood stains on Yomi’s sword are confirmed to be hers. 2 months later, Yomi suddenly wakes up. Ayame asks a serious of questions including the meeting up with Mei (Mei did contact her) and Yomi killing her out of personal emotions. This makes Yuu angry as he draws his sword at her. He backs down when Kagura intervenes. Flashback to Yomi’s talk with Kazuhiro. She noticed his Sesshouseki which is supposed to be a fragment of some demon fox. They are supposed to be sealed by the Tsuchimiya family and used in exorcism. Kazuhiro’s one is a more potent and unsealed. He found it at Vatican City. It is revealed those special supernatural counter measure units created by the ministries are some sort of cover up for their slip-up to search for this missing stone. Kazuhiro is trying to find a person suitable to inherit this stone. Mei wasn’t it. Yomi might be it. She has high spiritual power and intense hatred. As Kagura takes care of Yomi, it seems she avoids the subject whenever Yomi wants to meet with Noriyuki. More bad news when Noriyuki’s father comes to personally tell her their engagement is off. If that wasn’t bad enough, Kagura’s tears and ‘whining’ how all this sh*t had to happen to them and wishing for a normal life didn’t make things better. Unwittingly, Kagura says everyone in the agency suspects Yomi in killing Mei but Kagura solely believes she wouldn’t kill Mei out of hatred. Would she? I think it is a bad pun trying to say how speechless Kagura is… From worse to worst, Kagura leaves crying. With Yomi’s emotions in disarray, Kazuhiro comes in and teases her with Sesshouseki. He rubs the stone all over her body for instant healing. All her senses are coming back. He further teases her about her true suffering that needs to be eliminated. By the time Kagura comes back, Yomi has already absorbed Sesshouseki and fled.

Episode 10
Noriyuki turns into a workaholic as he investigates who killed Yomi. Kagura goes into breakdown mode when she tells HQ about Yomi’s disappearance. Too late to regret about how Yomi supported and took great care of her when her mom died now. Yomi visits Yuu and kills him. Kagura’s father confronts Kazuhiro as the source of all the evil spirits in the vicinity. But Kazuhiro doesn’t intend to fight and flees. The next scenes are exactly what we have seen in episode 2. Not sure if there are any extra scenes. But this time we branch off when Noriyuki and Kagura go to find Yomi in the underground tunnel. Noriyuki faces off with Yomi. She ‘b*tches about him not visiting her once in hospital although he claims he was busy searching for her killer. She wants him to kill her. Because he won’t, she has taken Sakuraba as hostage. If he doesn’t want him dead, kill her. Sakuraba pleads to kill her. Yomi pleads to be killed. Because Noriyuki is still a pussy and hesitates, Yomi kills Sakuraba. End of the road. Coward. Then Yomi goes to fight Kagura, scenes we’ve already seen before. The last time we were left off with a cliff-hanger that Yomi supposedly sliced her. But it is actually to fend off an attack by Kagura’s father. Daddy’s here to save the day again? He thinks she has doubts but Yomi dismisses it as she doesn’t have them anymore.

Episode 11
The Ga-Rei beasts fight each other. Kagura’s father manages to pin Yomi down. All that is left for Kagura to do the necessary but she hesitates. Because of that, Yomi orders Nue to attack her and father has no choice but to use Byakuei to protect Kagura. In turn, he receives the inflicted damage and Yomi cuts him down. She couldn’t finish him since Kiri becomes her opponent. However Yomi’s Sesshouseki starts acting up so she abandons the fight. It’s no use for Kagura to regret over what happened. Her father is now in ICU. Similarly, Noriyuki falls into depression and blaming himself that he is like a vegetable. Yomi seems to be regretting what she has done. She tries to kill herself but her body has some sort of barrier. Kagura’s father gets weaker as Byakuei tries to set free. Knowing he has not much time left, he tells Kagura the truth. All heirs in the Tsuchimiya family have short lives. This means Kagura too will die young. Because he doesn’t know how long he would live, he wanted Kagura to mature fast, hence the harsh training since young. Like how it should have always been, father and daughter have a heart to heart talk for the first time. Meanwhile, Ayame and what’s left of the Disposal Unit confront Yomi. Ayame shows us why she kicks ass as her wheelchair is filled with high-tech weaponry. In the end, this is the damage report: Kiri gets stabbed, one of the Nabuu twins gets eaten by Nue and Iwahata gets blinded. And still no scratch on Yomi. Kagura’s father feels his time is up and passes the seal to Kagura in which she reluctantly must accept. Time to grow up. After Kagura embeds it, Michael sees her to give her the upgraded Michael 13 sword.

Episode 12
Yomi continues to kill everyone who pursues her. When she’s not killing, her Sesshouseki weakens and allowing her to wallow in regret. Kagura is able to trace Yomi because their Sesshouseki is resonating. Iwahata and Nabuu fend off the ghouls and zombies to let Kagura face Yomi. The girls talk about family and Kagura somewhat admitting she was being useless and didn’t at least try to help Yomi. When words fail, violence reigns. Yomi overwhelms Kagura and then brags about those she killed. Then she mocks the death of Kagura’s father because it means Kagura gets to possess the most powerful Ga-Rei. This makes Kagura mad and able to fight back but she is still no match. Yomi flees when Noriyuki helps out. Then he reveals his cowardice and why he couldn’t kill her despite Yomi telling him to. Kagura meets up with Yomi again for another fight. This time their clashing is a convenient tool for reminiscing their good times (read, recycled clips). Yomi narrates her true wish is Kagura. She wants to protect her from everything. Even if it means eliminating herself. At this point Kagura is able to stab Yomi. Yomi praises how strong she has become and apologizes for all that has happened. When Yomi truly dies, the surrounding Category D zombies would be the least of Kagura’s problems. In fact she is filled with rage as she summons Byakuei to devour all of them. Looks like for the first time she is doing her exorcist job seriously. Kazuhiro notes how one emotion was enough to turn everything upside down. He is unsure if Yomi’s emotions were strong enough to overcome Sesshouseki or if Sesshouseki really granted her wish. Either way, he is in no rush and will wait for the right time. 2 years later, Ayame takes care of Kiri who has a child-like state of mind. Iwahata and Nabuu are working their ass off under a new old hag boss. Noriyuki becomes some hippie fortune teller?! Kagura’s friends never knew what happened to her and as she is classified as missing. In reality she is going around doing her exorcism role and she has a moody youngster as her disciple whom she passed her Michael 12 to.

Killing In The Name Of Love? Yandere!
So everybody didn’t die as I had hoped. What a sadistic creature I am. But as you might have read from my opening paragraph that I am here only because for the massacre. It is also a good think that I didn’t have Sesshouseki while watching this show because who knows I might just go crazy under its influence and start a mass genocide in real life. I know, silly of me to think like that, right? Well, nothing is so much as impossible now. Not after Donald Trump won, right? Oops! No outside politics in this anime and blog, please! So other than all that killing, I guess watching mild yuri bonding and how good girl gone bad with some evil spirits in the mix isn’t my cup of tea.

I read this series had some sort of relation to Tokyo ESP. I do remember characters like Tooru and Natsuki making their cameo in the latter and that’s all. Here feels the same too but only difference is that they got killed off here! Also, this series also follows a similar format to Tokyo ESP in the sense that the first episode starts off great with some great action and then the rest of the episodes in the series is just a huge flashback. It is like as though a bait for you to draw you in. And people like me who can’t drop anime series that suck halfway will have to watch it till the end. Well, even though this series isn’t really my cup of tea but at least it wasn’t as disappointing as Tokyo ESP series as a whole.

A big part of the focus is on Yomi and Kagura which makes some room for some mild yuri development (Iwahata being gay feels like a distraction and little comic relief). However with the majority of this series as a flashback on the events that prelude the manga, I don’t really feel both these girls as close enough. They do hang out a lot or at least when shown but personally I just don’t feel that closeness that would have made them like, how should I put it, inseparable sisters. Even at the end when they have this big sisterly hug and all, it felt like it was too late to leave any sort of impact. Like as though Yomi had been trolling Kagura and everyone else the whole time just to kill her.

Because firstly it mostly feels like Kagura is a weak girl. She is just reeling from her mom’s death and she looks like she is still trying to adapt to her new surroundings and lifestyle. Yes, she does somewhat get used to life with Yomi and following her on missions but I just have this feeling that she didn’t really settle in comfortably and fully moved on. Because the main bulk of all that stems from Yomi. It only took her father’s death to get it going and Yomi’s death to complete and come full circle for her to move on and become stronger.

Which brings me to my second point to talk about Yomi. I believe she is quite a strong character and a likeable one in a lot of aspects. She is like the big sister whom you can depend on and that is probably why it makes Kagura look like a weakling. Because in most instances it is Yomi who makes and takes the first assertive strike. Kagura is like someone following in her shadows. Like any other humans, Yomi too has her limits and weakness. So it all goes downhill when her adoptive father is killed and evil reared its ugly head to take advantage of that. It was quite a bit of a sad thing to see such a talented and promising girl like Yomi to suddenly fall into the dark side in a snap of a finger. It’s like it is so easy to become evil. All you need is some object of hatred and voila. Welcome to the dark side.

If you’re saying that Yomi isn’t strong in the first place for succumbing to evil, mind you that Yomi had to battle a lot on her plate before that. She has to put up with some of the family members not accepting her as the next heir as she is an outsider and thus facing jealousy from others as well as her own about Kagura. There is also the pressure of her in repaying Naraku’s debts to train herself to be worthy of that heir. That is why it isn’t so much about Kagura needing a big sister to get her through life but rather as Yomi admitted she wanted a little sister most probably to take some pressure off her heavy responsibilities. The death of Naraku only aggravated things further and the spur of the moment hatred spiralled it out of control.

Because the story continues into the manga, it isn’t accurate to paint the rest of the characters as insufficient. Especially this series is named after the supernatural beasts, they are unjustifiably lacking in the overall story here. This is after all a prologue to the main series. Oh heck, lots of them died too so you don’t have to worry about them in the future. But as far as this prequel series is concerned, I guess they are rather okay. Like Noriyuki who is supposed to be Yomi’s fiancé and we are first given the impression that both of them hate each other to the max but after that failed date setup, it is like they suddenly love each other. So did the setup actually work? It feels ironic for Noriyuki’s case because now that he loves her so much, when she turns to the dark side he is unable to kill her. Does this mean he lacks his love for her? This led to his partner getting killed and indirectly Kagura’s father’s death. Now I know why the tagline for this anime rings, “Will you kill someone you love because of love?”. It’s just complicated thinking about this.

As amusing and eccentric Michael is, I was hoping he would make more appearances but I guess he is just supporting. Because how often do you get to see an old white haired afro guy always clad in nothing but a loincloth. Heck, sometimes I can’t help think he is what Colonel Sanders would be if he hit the gym and turned to crafting swords and making weapons instead of chickens. Really. Ayame and Kiri for most of their part feels like they are always in their office keeping track of spirit appearances. They mobilize their unit to do the exorcism until there aren’t enough manpower so they have to go to the field themselves. Noriyuki becomes one of the most redundant character ever. He let his colleague die and then he couldn’t really finish the job of killing Yomi. So what good is he? So bad he is that it is a good thing he didn’t end up as Iwahata’s gay partner. Holy sh*t! What am I saying?! So is his ending justified? Not that I care anymore.

Action scenes are just average. It is just to supplement whatever drama and plot that is going on. Don’t put your hopes up to it. At least Tokyo ESP’s first episode was an adrenaline rush. This one is milder in comparison. Characters do not have a wide variety of set moves because mostly you see Yomi swing her sword, Iwahata using his drills entrenched as his hands and Sakuraba using his briefcase as a machine gun. Yes, a briefcase that comes with a CD player that plays mantra songs to help in the exorcism. I kid you not. And Ga-Rei beasts just, uhm, devouring?

Art and drawing feel rather okay and since this series came out in 2008 (almost a decade from where we are now), I guess my ‘retro’ opinions make it say that they are fine for that era. The characters like the females have this bishoujo look so that you won’t be totally frightened by the supernatural spirits which are, uhm, okay they are not really scary and some look funny like a bipedal Stegosaurus on fire and one resembling a giant wheel! Even the humans turned zombies aren’t that scary either. My only gripe with the visuals is that many of the scenes are quite dark especially the action scenes because it seems those evil spirits only come out to wreak havoc at night. This series is produced jointly by AIC Spirits (Girls Bravo, Tokko, Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club) and Asread (Shuffle, Mirai Nikki, Yuushibu, Corpse Party).

Voice acting isn’t anything spectacular. I only recognized Minori Chihara as Kagura (barely) and Norio Wakamoto as the Nabuu twins. The other casts (many of which also played roles in Tokyo ESP albeit different characters) are Kaoru Mizuhara as Yomi (Gisen in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls), Shinya Takahashi as Noriyuki (Kogure in Tokyo Ravens), Mai Aizawa as Ayame (Minene as Minene in Mirai Nikki), Maki Tsuchiya as Kiri (Megane in Morita-san Wa Mukuchi), Ryouko Tanaka as Mei (Kurugaya in Little Busters), Minoru Shiraishi as Sakuraba (Sakamoto in Nichijou), Tetsu Inada as Iwahata (Ioryogi in Kobato), Mugihito as Naraku (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love), Takkou Ishimori as Yuu (Sengoku in One Piece) and Hirokazu Hiramatsu as Michael (Nakanojou in Nichijou).

To show Minori Chihara’s singing chops, she takes on the opening, Paradise Lost which is filled with lots of techno beats. Sometimes it makes for a good dance song and I wonder if it is suitable for the genre of this series. It is Kaoru Mizuhara’s turn to sing the ending theme with Yume No Ashioto Ga Kikoeru, a slow rock. Don’t be fooled by the ‘bright’ tune of the song because the lyrics are very powerful as she sings about hate, sorrow and destruction. Yeah, there is even one line where she goes “I hate this world”. There are also a couple of insert songs that I noticed. Reincarnation – Last Harmony by Yozuca and Faylan is a slow and sad ballad with the strings playing to full effect. Tamakui by Fairy Empire has this gothic feel to it. Though, it isn’t as naughty as Ali Project’s songs.

Overall, not really one of those animes that would stand out or have anything ground breaking or unique. Although I am not a fan of the supernatural genre, I have a feeling there are better supernatural themed series out there. This anime feels like it is to appeal to Ga-Rei fans and those who are interested to find out more and the continuation of the story in its manga form. Other than that, mild yuri and good girl turning bad and killing off everybody including main characters don’t really quite cut it in my books these days. If I had that kind of girlfriend, I would be screaming down the yandere route before my blood becomes the new paint for the floor and walls. Yeah, yandere. That is what you really call as killing someone you love because of love.

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