January 19, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 03

As you may remember, at the end of Episode 02 the Schoolgirl in Black, Yomi, seemed to have finished killing off Our (new) Heroes, including the Schoolgirl in White, her friend Kagura.  So just how in the world is Ga-Rei Zero going to continue?  Do we get another bunch of sacrificial heroes?  Nope. 

We get voiceovers:
Kagura: "On that day three years ago, I met someone important."

Yomi: "On that day three years ago, I met a girl lost in sadness."

The woman in the frame is Kagura's mom.  Yomi exorcised the nasty that killed her, while she died in her husband's arms.

Yomi: "That chance meeting was the destiny of two people who bear the burden of fate."
Both: "That is where it all began."

Flashback episode!


After the memorial service for Kagura's mom (and boy, do I understand how she feels), Yomi comes and sits next to the girl.  Some awkward, one-sided conversation takes place, with the gist of it being that Kagura is to live with Yomi's family.

That's Yomi's dad.  He used to be a big-shot in the battle against the specters, until something bad happened that took his arm, scarred his face, and left him in somewhat frail health.  Now, he's the head of a powerful clan of exorcists, and Yomi is his heir.

After getting Kagura moved in (one small bag, a framed picture of mom, and a training sword), it's time to try and get her relaxed.  As you can tell by the look on Yomi's face, it ain't going well.  Kagura's monosyllabic, very formal, and practically numb to the world.  And those two sad teddybears in the background ain't helpin' matters.  Eventually, Yomi asks if there's anything she wants.

"May I use your dojo?"  Turns out Kagura's in training... and she's pretty good.

But not as good as Yomi.  This makes Kagura even more depressed.  Turns out her father is something of a hardass when it comes to training... "A loss is a loss.  There is no next time in a real battle."  A dismayed Yomi points out that she's older, stronger and more experienced, but Kagura isn't having any of it:  "You can't choose the strength of your opponent in a real battle.  That's what my father said.  Losing is death.  When one with our responsibility dies, a hundred innocent people will also die.  Even if it is practice, one must reflect deeply when they lose.  That's what my father said." 

"Your father is a very narrow-minded guy!  That's just perverse!  Come with me."  A few seconds later, they're back in Yomi's room.  "Kagura, what's your least favorite food?"  "I was told not to have anything like that."  "By your father?  You must have something."

"Preserved eggs."

"Okay, if you lose, I'm making stirfry with preserved eggs for dinner.  If you win, I'll make anything you want.  Game start!  And stop calling me 'Yomi-san.'  Call me 'Yomi-onee-chan.'"

After dinner of preserved eggs stirfry, the two of them are getting ready for bed and an eagerly anticipated rematch, when Yomi's cellphone rings.

It's a code; there's a nasty out there, and she's being called to battle.  Kagura looks sad, but understands.

Out at the HMMWV, Yomi looks back; she can tell there's something going on with Kagura, something she doesn't quite understand yet.  Still, she's got a job to do.

...and here's her boss.  She's the Minister of the Environment, with an emphasis in Paranormal Defense.  She's also wheelchair-bound, interestingly enough, but we don't know why.

The next day, Kagura's waiting for her onee-chan to get out of class.  Awww, isn't that cute? 

On the walk home, she's finally coming out of her shell.  They're joking and laughing, just having fun being with each other... it's quite a well-done scene, actually.  Yomi even promises to make Kagura's favorite meal for dinner that night... cream croquettes?!?!

...and then her phone rings.  "I'm sorry, I've got to go.  I don't think I'll be back late... no.  I don't know."  Kagura nods, and then, finally, the walls completely crumble.

"That's what mother said.  I said I'd be a good girl, so please come home early.  And yet... and yet... Mommy!!!"  I'm not afraid to say that she wasn't the only one crying at this time.

"I'm sorry, Kagura.  I won't leave you alone.  I'll protect you.  Let's go... I'll show you my work.  Come... together with me."  They run to the ever-present HMMWV and get in...

...and all hell breaks loose.  Iwahata throws a small-scale fit, asking Yomi if she's lost her tiny mind bringing a civilian on a secret mission.  That is, until she points out that Kagura's the daughter of Tsuchimiya-dono.  Yes, that Tsuchimiya-dono.  Oh.  Well.  That's different, then.  Suddenly, everybody in the vehicle becomes very interested in the new passenger

Even Nabuu and Nabuu find this development intriguing.  I love those two, they're great.

Iwahata softens and basically says, "Here, kid, have a sword."  It's Michael the 12th, "made by the Master himself."  According to Iwahata, if you pull the trigger on the scabbard when you draw the thing, compressed air increases the cutting ability threefold.  Uh.  Huh.  You don't say.  How in the blue hell...?  No, don't think about it, just smile and nod.

The disposal team pulls up on a bridge to see their target... whatever it is.  The group gets a surprise, though, when they get out.

"There!"  If you remember from Episode 01, normal people can't see supernatural beasties (as you can tell by looking at the passerby), but Kagura sure can.  "Take a good look, Kagura-chan.  This is our job."

Hero Pose!
"We're the Agency for Supernatural Disaster Prevention's disposal team, under the Ministry of the Environment's Nature Conservation Bureau."  Not exactly the most stirring team name in the world, but eh, it'll do.

And off she goes to deal with the... whatever it is.  In a series full of weird creatures, this one takes the cake.  Anyway, fade out, cut to Yomi's dad yelling at her for bringing Kagura on a dangerous mission.  We discover that the reason Kagura's staying with them is because Yomi requested it, but that doesn't excuse her stupidity in dad's eyes. 

Yomi just brushes it off.  Dad's always like that.  Kagura asks why Yomi wanted her to stay there.  "Maybe because I wanted a little sister?"

Sisterly bonding scene!  This one is actually a little deep, as we hear about Yomi's background.  Turns out her real parents were killed by a specter, and the man who exorcised it adopted her.  She's the heir to an important, powerful line of exorcists, but not a blood member.  "Fate.  Duty.  That is the very meaning of my existence."  Guess the two of them have the same sort of background...

Meanwhile, somewhere else...

...Kagura's father is taking part in a summoning ceremony of something of great power.  Fade to black...

...but we're not done yet!  We jump forward a couple of years, to find Kagura in High School...

...and her phone is ringing.  Her mother's condition has taken a turn for a worse.  She leaves school, and gets in a familiar HMMWV, where the rest of the team is waiting.

Including Yomi with a box of Pocky!

Pocky!  The yummy snack of Exorcists everywhere!
Some happy teasing back and forth between the girls, and then Kagura leans over with her cellphone.

*click*

Say, haven't we seen that picture before?  Oh yes, last episode!  Roll the End Credits.

Completely different feeling to this episode... much more slice-of-life (in my fighting anime?  What is this world coming to???), and hardly anybody dies!  We now know a lot more about Kagura and Yomi, and they're both kinda neat characters.  MUCH more talky than the previous two, which is why there are so many more pictures... I suppose I could have just written a lot more, but this way is more fun.

Coming soon, Episode 04 and the reason I decided to watch this series in the first place!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:38 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1

I went and looked at Aroduc's posts about the series.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 19, 2010 04:27 PM (+rSRq)

2  

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 19, 2010 07:22 PM (Cpxcy)

3 Too bad.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 20, 2010 01:07 AM (+rSRq)

4 Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!  Just keep reading, Steven, just keep reading.

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 20, 2010 06:10 PM (Cpxcy)

5 Thanks for introducing me to Ga-Rei Zero.  I really enjoyed it, and hope it comes to Region 1 someday.  The only down-side, is that there was less laser-weasel action than I had hoped for...

I am now wondering if I should try to get the manga that this was the "preqel" for...

Posted by: Siergen at January 21, 2010 10:55 PM (hu1Gq)

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