Ga-rei-zero, episode 6 – back to the thrills

After a few lighthearted, character-focused episodes, GRZ wastes no time in getting back to moving the plot forward. And by that I mean, plenty of action, blood, thrills and surprises, with time to spare for the occasional yuri fanservice.

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They lead off the show with a battle between Yomi, Kagura and some shapeshifting demons. It also highlights some anime physics, as Kagura’s sword jump would’ve looked much cooler, if it didn’t look like she was just floating really high. But the fight is really just a pretense for Mei to show up and dress down Yomi for acting reckless and expending more energy and causing more damage than necessary.

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don't worry, you'll both get to die eventually

Kagura gets a slight injury during the fight that leads to a couple things, a.) some yuri humor and b.) a short lecture from her father to get stronger in order to assume Byakuei once her father dies. However, we learn a bit about Byakuei and Kagura’s family’s connection to the mythic beast, and it’s not a happy story. It’s more like chains of slavery bound, until Byakeui decides to dump you, in which case you lose your soul. They fight the good fight, but ultimately they lead tragic lives. They also introduce the demon stone, but don’t provide much background on it yet. All we know is it can either heal, in Kagura’s father’s case, or it can steal souls, in the undefeatble blue butterfly boy’s case, as we’ll see.

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In a surprising turn of events, Mei meets her unfortunate (and extremely quick) demise when she comes across the undefeatable blue butterfly boy, Kazuhiro (to be referred to as BBB from now on). Although I assumed Mei would die at some point, I figured she would’ve stuck around long enough to to act as Yomi’s archrival, and serve as a type of subvillain. The subvillain route might is probably likely to happen, now that her soul belongs to BBB. It’s also surprising, how easily he disposed of her. Based on her swooping in earlier to help Yomi and Kagura, she seemed like she was on Yomi’s level, if not superior. No doubt this will lead to a showdown.

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Finally, the episode ends on a cliffhanger with Kagura’s friends walking out on her, having just been saved by Kagura, who had just faced her fears of fighting a humanoid, and killed the nurse she loved. I’m eager to see how they resolve that, because one of the things I’ve been wondering about was how normal people reacted to these guys firing machine guns and hacking swords at demons and monsters that they couldn’t see. It seemed like the secret identity thing was sort of a half-baked part of the job.

All in all, it was a return to the exciting side of GRZ, with twists and turns and a whole lot of action. I’ve been impressed by the quality of the fight scenes and the music choices during them. In this episode, they eschewed the rock and techno that they’ve used before to go with more of an strings-led score. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like it hit the mark. The battles weren’t grand, and the action went in fits and stops, like a horror movie, so the strings really helped add to the tension.

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