Originally aired between October 7, 2005 – March 31, 2006, Garo is one of the few Tokusatsu series targeted at adults.
Created by the legendary Keita Amemiya, the series is also known as Golden Knight Garo (黄金騎士ガロŌgon Kishi Garo). Season one, the original run, can be simply described as an action-packed romantic horror story with gratuitous amounts of nudity and gore.
The story follows the stoic Kouga Saejima, the current Garo, as he carries out his legacy as a Horror destroyer. Heir to a prestigious family of Makai Knights; humanity’s defenders against demons called Horrors, it is Kouga’s duty to go on regular missions to destroy these monsters.
Horrors are demons that reside in a netherworld realm and thrive on the darkness of humanity. They feed on humans, eating them on a nightly basis.
One fateful night, the stoic Kouga rescues the kind, if clumsy, Kaoru,who has been cursed to die in 100 days. The series is dedicated to the melting of Kouga’s icy heart and the devlopment of Kouga and Kaoru’s gawky romance as he races against time, Horrors and plot twists to save her.
The two would eventually have a son, Raiga, who was the star of his own series in season 4. Also in the original series was the secondary knight Zero, who would go on to have his own six-part movie series in 2014.
Garo’s iconic theme song was sung by the masterful JAM Project. Aptly named “Savior in the Dark”, the song would also feature in certain action sequences in the series.
Garo is definitely tokusatsu for adults, given the mature story line, often overly sexual Horror designs and dark feel. Unlike most Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, most of Garo’s activity occurs at night, which is reflective of the series’ tone. It was also one of the only series to be specifically slotted for a late night run.
A cult favourite, the series has picked up speed in the last few years; with the newest anime series propelling it further into the limelight. It currently spans five live-action seasons, 11 live-action films and a two-season animated series.