Ga Rei Zero Anime

January 12th, 2009

Let’s get this out of the way first, so you can decide if you want to keep reading – I don’t consider Ga Rei Zero (喰霊-零-) to be a “Yuri” anime. Yes, I saw what you saw. Yes, Yomi and Kagura love each other deeply. But Yuri goggles aside, they really aren’t “in love” with one another – IMHO. Your opinion is yours and if it is that they are absolutely positively in love and if only they had been allowed to be together…and, needless to say, that I am a complete moron for not seeing it…well that’s fine too. ^_^

Yes. I see what you see. No, I do not think it’s Yuri. *I* think it’s a very close sisterly relationship – one I could wish I had with my sister, but don’t. I also think Yomi was “in love with” Nori-chan and I quite liked them as a couple.

Okay, that having been said, now those of you who either agree with me or don’t care can move on to what the heck Ga Rei Zero is, if not Yuri. And my apologies for not catching up on this series last season when it aired. It just kept slipping down the list.

What Ga Rei Zero is, is a entertainingly predictable supernatural/action anime that combines big demony monsters, schoolage girls with magical swords that come with a *destiny*, and a fight to protect humanity against the evil that, etc, etc.

We are introduced to the story at the end, which I’m told is part of the actual series, Ga Rei, of which this is a prequel. Eventually we are taken back to the beginning of the story in which Kagura, the daughter of the chief of the exorcists is taken in by another exorcist who has an adopted daughter a little older than she, Yomi. Kagura and Yomi become very close, so when the obvious crisis rears its ugly head and Yomi is forced into the position of bad guy, we can watch helplessly as they battle it out for supremacy. The whole story would have been fine except for one teeny little thing that annoyed me so very much that I nearly stopped watching.

The first handwave – there are demons who pop into this world and we are protected by the exorcists who fight them. Accepted.

The second – these exorcists use weapons created by a mostly naked guy named Michael, who has a somewhat impractical grasp of “useful in battle.” Accepted.

Third handwave – that Kagura and Yomi, with only a few years of life and experience behind them and pretty much no emotional maturity, are the pinnacles of power in the organization. Accepted

Fourth handwave – that not a *single* person in the entire exorcist organization has two brain cells to rub together. Denied.

It was a case of one handwave too many, when the entire organization is unable to see that Mei is the source of all evil, but how fast are they to spot it when it’s Yomi. And also no one in an entire organization that comprises dozens, if not hundreds of people can see that Yomi’s Uncle is a grasping bastard. If everyone had accepted it outwardly, but in private bitched that it was an extremely suspicious thing that a will suddenly appeared that contradicted Yomi’s father’s well-known wishes, well, maybe I could have bought it. But not a single person even blinked at it.

I could deal with the battle iron, filled with holy water and the battle suitcase which shot projectiles. I simply refuse to believe that there wasn’t a *single* person in the entire organization that had the vaguest grasp of human nature.

Once we got past that, the end comes fast, because it’s too late to just, oh, stop attacking Yomi. The final battle rushes forward and Kagura is forced to step up as the leader of the organization and take down the one person in the world she loves. No surprises there.

Overall, a perfectly fine series, with one too many handwaves. And Yuri that, if you think about it for half a second, really isn’t.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 8
Yuri – 3
Service – 2

Overall – 7

I have to tell ya, all handwaves aside, there is no way that a 14-year-old is going to make a good leader. I don’t care if that’s the basic lesson of all anime, it’s a really silly idea. ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    I agree that Ga Rei Zero wasn’t really Yuri, although the people who worked on this series definitely knew how to dangle just enough Yuri service to attract the fandom (the pocky kiss, bath scene, the theme song visuals, etc). But I liked Yomi and the guy she was engaged to as a couple. Even though she and Kagura could have been a cute pairing, Kagura was still too immature to realistically be paired with Yomi, imo. Plus, my favorite “potential” couple was Ayame Jinguuji and Kiri. ^^ No particular reason, I just liked them.

  2. @ Katherine – Good god, I completely forgot about them! Yes, I agree, they were lovely together. :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for making some remarks about this series, which I needed information on but was far too disinclined to investigate myself, having been told the basics.

    A straightforward verdict of “not Yuri”, and one that agrees with other opinions I’ve already heard, makes my life simpler. Cheers. :P

  4. neo_hrtgdv says:

    I never got interested in this series, but I must agree that, even with the necessary ‘suspended disbelief’ needed to watch most anime, some unlucky/mediocre ones manage to abuse it.

    I think the lesson most anime wants to transmit is “It doesn’t matter you’re a total looser, your destiny is to be the best with no effort at all” and then, doujinshi adds “and you’ll get lots of sex, too!”

    I once used to think every girl smiling to another was “Yuri” and I am glad to be leaving that behind, first because it led me to many disappointments (and disappointments are always oneself’s fault) and second because I got told off many times by girls saying “that’s *not* Yuri” and it was embarrassing.

  5. mdgirolamo says:

    In response to your comments regarding the fact that adolescents are the pinnacles of power in the exorcist organisation and the other members of said organisation are oblivious to the obvious, I would simply reply that this is a classic escapist trope found commonly in Japanese media aimed at…adolescents. Japan always struck me as a rather rigid, gerontocratic society – the notion of an adolescent having any genuine power or independence is even more preposterous than it is in Europe or the US. Furthermore, the cultural and emotional distance between the established generation and the target demographic of this anime is such that authority is, in itself, viewed with suspicion or distaste.

    I remember reading something to this effect regarding NGE’s very pessimistic view of paternal authoritarianism, both in a political and family context.

  6. When someone said that there was Yuri in Ga-Rei Zero, I watched the poster of Kagura and Yomi together and thought, “Oh, THAT kind of Yuri.” You know the type too well: wishy-washy, service-y, blushing for no reason, lots of girl on girl moments that never really come to fruition.

    Then I actually saw the anime. The minute they kissed just proved that this series was completely not Yuri. Unless we’re defining Yuri in the best friend/girls love one another deeply (but not in “that way”) sort of Yuri.

    Actually, while watching it, I thought the Yuri that everyone talked about was between Ayame and Kiri. They barely even touched one another and there was a bigger Yuri vibe from them than you got from Kagura and Yomi.

    Then I had the wonderful task of trying to explain to the younger students in the school’s anime club that Yomi and Kagura were not in love, were not lesbians, and were not even bisexual. It’s sort of funny having to explain to straight, sheltered Catholic school girl otakus why it is a girl can kiss another girl and it doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic or sexual. To think the misguided children thought this series was Yuri!

    To even see a romantic relationship between the two would require glueing the Yuri goggles right onto your retinas.

    All in all, it was an anime that catered extremely well to the fans. It didn’t misstep in any way in appeasing fandom (and fandumb).

    Let’s see:

    Appealing main character that looks like a Japanese beauty and is a tsundere badass? Check.

    Extremely awesome, well animated fight scenes? Check.

    Not so random cast of slightly gay–I mean, QUIRKY–supporting characters? Check.

    Little thought processes necessary for figuring out storyline? Check. (Fans don’t like to think while watching; they save it for later. If they ever get to it at all.)

    Subtle doses of comedy, fanservice, emo drama, romance and every other appealing genre? Check.

    So all in all, I suppose Ga-Rei Zero is a pretty decent anime. It’s just not Yuri as far as I can see. I don’t even see fanfiction possibilities for the relationship between the suspected couple since they aren’t even remotely into one another as love interests. No amount of fanart either can convince me that there’s anything between them except a heavy, deep friendship that took quite an emotional beating until it was nearly unrecognisable by the end of the anime (or should I say the start of the anime?)

    It seems 2008 was the year for “misconstrued as Yuri” anime. Let’s hope Aoi Hana and the others will compensate with REAL Yuri.

    Anime fans need to leave the poor heterosexual girls alone :(

  7. CBanana says:

    To defend Mei, her actions are influenced by the demon stone. That’s supposed to be why Yomi’s actions are reprehensible. It’s not that she’s just not showing any mercy. It’s that she’s killing Mei who just had her demon stone removed, effectively killing someone who may not responsible for their actions.

    Ga-Rei Zero, if judged solely as a supernatural action anime is actually pretty good. As a Yuri anime however it fails as the Yuri in it is about pandering to guys who want to get turned on by girl/girl action but don’t want to see an actual romantic relationship develop (or even be hinted at).

  8. Anonymous says:

    You’re unfortunatly completely right Erica. This wasn’t Yuri – AT ALL. Period. Yuri is something like, Sailor Moon or Strawberry Panic (btw, strawberry panic, Yuri with a big ass Y)
    I saw the pocky kiss clip on Youtube and thought to myself “This actually looks kinda good”, you know? The art work was beautiful, Yuri (perhaps), and I read, that there was some serious violence too. So I was in.
    Then, BAM, my hopes got crushed, cause all there was, were one kiss, a almost kiss, plus a lot of sister scenes. That’s btw, a complete turn-off, ya know? That whole sister thing, incest, all that. Yes, I know they weren’t real sisters, but I always had it in the back of my mind.
    But I actually enjoyed it. The violence compensated for the lack of Yuri, and it was quite touching. Predictible, yes, but touching.

    The series would just have been a whole lot friggin better, if it were Yuri, am I right?
    I know I am. :)

  9. zac says:

    this review is terrible. i feel like you didnt even watch the series or understand the depth of the emotion and character development. i guess it takes a deeper mind to enjoy the show than someone just looking for TnA. /sigh. this is probably one of the best series i’ve ever seen.

  10. @zac – It was a fine anime. Predictable, full of plot holes, but fine. I don’t mention tits or asses at all, but I do address the issue of Yuri, which is the point of this blog, so, basically you’re just annoyed I didn’t love it as much as you did. Sorry. I’ve seen 100 anime *just* like it.

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