I’m a big fan of the “Henshin” (transforming) genre. For those who don’t know, a Henshin show is one where the main character transforms into some sort of superhero. Most are from Japan, but The Super Inframan was a Henshin movie from China, and I’ve heard there are some from Thailand and Brazil. The amazing videogame Viewtiful Joe is a parody/tribute of various Henshin shows. Hence, “Henshin a-go-go.”
Anyway, I like Henshin mainly because it has my three great loves all in one: Superheroes, monsters, and martial arts. The one problem I have with Henshin is that often, all the episodes follow a very rigid formula. A monster shows up, battles the hero for a little while, and finally the hero defeats it with a special attack (usually the exact same attack used to defeat the monster from last episode). One can only stand so much of this before they begin yearning for something more… well, epic. Enter GARO.
GARO is what I would describe as a cross between Kingdom Hearts, Batman, and Ultraman. The hero is Saejima Kouga, a Makai Knight. He’s been charged with battling creatures called Horrors that reflect the Inner Demons of the people they possess. They look a lot like the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts, only more lovecraftian. Anyway, in order to fight these monsters, Kouga has the ability to change into GARO, a hero in golden armor.
The special effects are really stylized, with crazy things like a piece of japanese calligraphy turning into a man with a spear and then attacking the hero happening all the time. But aside from that, the action is INSANE. There are people fighting while running up the walls of two seperate skyscrapers, fencing on top of a train falling from the sky THAT’S ON FIRE… it’s completely unpredictable, and completely awesome.
Just a warning, there is some nudity in this series. Nothing too graphic, just the occasional nude painting turning into a fanged monstrosity… the usual.