At a Glance: Ga-Rei: Zero
Intro & Summary:
How's this for a story - you get all interested in this badass crew, and they all die in the first episode?
That's just the kind of emotional thrill ride that Ga-Rei Zero is. Pulling no punches, it's the heartbreaking story of two adoptive sisters, Yomi and Kagura. They have supernatural abilities, and eventually Yomi grew up to be evil.
Ga-Rei Zero is a prequel manga to Ga-Rei, which is a manga that (as of yet at least) has no anime adaptation. TV Tropes notes that the tone of this anime is heavier and darker than the manga. The story, as a prequel series, is about how Yomi ended up on a path of darkness. You could think of it as one big flashback.
The sisterly bond is a consistently emphasized theme in Ga-Rei Zero. The idea is that Yomi and Kagura started out as very loving siblings, but circumstances beyond their control drove them to fighting each other. Therefore, Ga-Rei Zero is a tragic tale of sisterhood gone wrong.
Manga by Hajime Segawa
AIC Spirits & Asread
Sequel Manga: Ga-Rei and Ga-Rei: Tsuina no Shō
When I do these "At a Glance" reviews (of the first 20% of the content), the main question I ask is, "Does this much make me want to see the rest?."
In this case, the answer is a definite, enthusiastic, yes. For one, nothing makes me happier than anything with new twists on an old theme or idea. Secondly, Ga-Rei Zero was a show where I felt a lot of emotional pull. It doesn't use cheesy or cliché or fake tactics to manipulate the viewer emotionally, but it has genuine-feeling emotional impact. That's something most shows try to do, but few pull it off well, and I think that Ga-Rei Zero does. It feels like the show handles emotions in a very mature way.
Another good thing about it is it's a mystery. It starts with a simple puzzle; Yomi and Kagura started out in a very loving and supportive sisterly relationship. Now, Yomi is killing people and attacking Kagura. What happened? Very few anime have a premise that strong, the kind of premise that by itself makes you want to see more to find out what's going on with the rest of the story.
But that's not all, this show also delivers quality action and fighting stuff that would make the biggest shounen shows proud. If you like stories about strong battle-maiden type characters, kicking ass with big swords, you've come to the right place.