The Garo Franchise is the collective term for the Japanese Tokusatsu series created by film director Keita Amemiya. The first main series Garo was broadcast in 2005, with subsequent specials, sequels, spin-offs, and films released in the following years. The Garo franchise is noted for being more of an adult-oriented form of Tokusatsu entertainment, blending in elements of Horror, Fantasy, and Mythology to its story and world-building.
The general overview of the franchise's world-building and lore centers around the on-going war between the demonic beasts called Horrors and the Makai Knights; sworn protectors of humanity. The main focus of the story involves the titular Garo, The Golden Knight, considered as the strongest Makai Knight, and his battles against the Horrors. While the first two seasons initially focused on the first Garo, Kouga Saezima, the subsequent series introduced other Makai Knights who would also carry the title, exploring their own stories as well. As the Realm of Garo expands further, more events and characters would be introduced, all with their own stories to tell.
The Garo franchise is largely divided into three distinct series continuities, with each series spawning their own stories and sequels. The first continuity is the Original Timeline, depicting the stories of the Saezima bloodline. The second timeline is The One Who Shines in Darkness Timeline (called by fans as the Ryuga-verse), narrating the journey of the new Garo, Ryuga Dougai. The third continuity are the Anime Timelines, each having their own sub-stories per season. There are also the spin-off series of films and TV shows, centering around the many supporting characters introduced in the different Garo continuities.
- Garo: The first entry in the series which aired from October 2005 to March 2006. Also known as The Chapter of the Black Wolf. The series focuses on a young artist named Kaoru Mitsuki who gets attacked one night by a creature called a Horror and saved by a Makai Knight named Kouga Saezima. During the battle, she gets stained in the blood of the Horror and unbeknownst to her, the blood attracts more Horrors and will kill her in 100 days. The original series also introduces another Makai Knight, Rei Suzumura, who acts antagonistically towards Kouga, while a secret conspiracy in the Makai Order slowly unravels, centering around a mysterious Dark Knight.
- Garo Special: Demon Beast of the Midnight Sun: A two-episode TV movie special which aired in December 2006. The special serves as a continuation of the first series and was re-bundled into a feature film upon DVD release in Japan. Set after the first TV series, Kouga is reassigned to the Northern District and soon finds that a powerful ancient Horror named Legules is awakening and will bring destruction to the human world. Joined by Rei and a new Makai Knight named Tsubasa Yamagatana, the trio must obtain the Phosphorus Arrow to seal away Legules and bring peace back to the Kantai Region.
- Garo: Red Requiem: The first feature-length film released In October 2010, four years after the first TV series concluded. In the film, Kouga is asked to travel to a city to hunt down the powerful Apostle Horror; Karma, a demon who can travel through mirrors and devour humans by luring them into her world. Kouga joins up with the Makai Priestess Rekka, along with her colleagues to track down Karma, but his Makai Armor is stolen by her during a battle with Karma's minions. Kouga must journey into Karma's world in order to get it back and seal her away for good.
- Garo: Makai Senki: The second TV series which aired from October 2011 to March 2012. The series continues Kouga's journey as he is promoted as a Makai Knight to the Senate, while also battling the Mysterious Man in the Red Mask, who marked him with the Seal of Destruction. The series also introduces Leo Fudou, a Makai Priest who has a deep secret.
- Garo: Soukoku no Maryu: The second feature film released in February 2013, acts as a follow up to the events of the finale of Garo: Makai Senki. Kouga must go to a dimension called the Promised Land, a magical world where the spirits of lost and forgotten objects take on a life of their own to retrieve an artifact called The Fang of Lamentation. Throughout his journey, he makes new allies and learns that the land's beauty is being consumed by the evil Queen Judam. Kouga must stop her from destroying this world and the human world while trying to regain the possessions that he lost when he arrived at the Promised Land.
- Garo: Makai no Hana: The fourth TV series of the franchise which aired in April 2014 until September 2014. The story takes place 20 years after the events of Garo: Makai Senki and centers around Raiga Saezima, son of Kouga and Kaoru. A museum break-in involving a shadowy figure results in an artifact slab being unsealed, releasing nine Horrors and a powerful plant demon called Eyrith, who could act as the resurrection of an old enemy if it is not sealed away again in 100 days. Aiding Raiga in his quest to seal the nine Slab Horrors and Eyrith is a girl named Mayuri, who has the power to seal away special Horrors in her body and the Makai Knight Crow.
The One Who Shines in Darkness Timeline
- Garo ~ Yami o Terasu Mono ~: The third TV series which aired from April 2013 to September 2013. This is also the first series in the new continuity of Garo. The show takes place at an unidentified point in the future and features a cast of all new characters including a new main protagonist, Ryuga Dougai. Ryuga and two other Makai Knights are assigned to protect Vol City from a special type of Horrors called the Madou Horrors, creatures that can reside in human bodies and cannot be detected or destroyed by certain conventional means the Knights use. The Madou Horrors are working with a human as part of a conspiracy to awaken a powerful demon that lies underneath Vol City. As a twist to the show, the Garo Armor itself had been greatly weakened in the past during an unseen battle and has lost is golden shine, giving it a jet black coloring on parts of the Armor.
- Garo ~ Gold Storm ~: A feature film released in March 2015, serving as the sequel to Garo ~ Yami o Terasu Mono ~. Ryuga and Rian travel to Line City in order to have the Garo Armor purified by the powerful Makai Priestess Ryume. While the city is known as a haven without any Horror influence, peace is seemingly broken when the living Madou Tool Agō awakens and tries to realize his creator's dream of a world without Horrors, by eliminating humanity itself.
- Garo ~ Gold Storm: Sho ~: The fifth TV series airing from April 2015 to September 2015. The series serves as the follow-up of the Garo ~ Gold Storm ~ film, continuing Ryuga and Rian's story in Line City. A mysterious artifact called the Hoken Sword is split into two daggers and triggers a looming threat. Ryuga must collect the two daggers and bring back peace in the city, aided by another Makai Knight Daigo Akizuki. Standing in his way are the powerful Horrors Jinga and Amily, as well as the young Makai Priest Gald.
- Garo ~ Kami no Kiba ~: A January 2018 feature film, serving as a direct sequel of Garo ~ Gold Storm: Sho ~. The story follows Ryuga and Rian reuniting with fellow Makai Knights Aguri Kusugami and Takeru Jakuzure in dealing with a new threat involving a Makai Priestess who stole their Makai Armors. As the three Knights uncover a deeper conspiracy, they must also deal with Ryuga's deadliest foes: the revived Horror Jinga.
Garo The Animation Timeline
- Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames: The first anime entry of the franchise which aired from October 2014 to March 2015. The anime was written by Yasuko Koboyashi of Attack on Titan fame and features a story set in the distant past during the medieval times, with a young man named Leon Luis, serving as the new Garo in the series.
- Garo: Divine Flame: A feature film released in May 2016, serving as the sequel to Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames. It was commissioned as part of Garo's 10th Anniversary year project.
- Garo: The Crimson Moon: The second anime series aired from October 2015 until April 2016. The story is set during the Heian Period of Feudal Japan, with the era's Golden Knight, Raikou.
- Gray Cherry Blossoms: Garo: A feature film released in October 2018, serving as the sequel to Garo: The Crimson Moon.
- Garo: Vanishing Line: The third anime series released on October 2017 and ending in March 2018. The story is set at a distant future, involving a new Garo, the Makai Knight Sword.
- Kiba Gaiden: A direct-to-video feature film released in September 2011. Set sometime during the final episodes of the first series, the film gives the origins and back story to the main villain of the first series, Barago.
- Garo Side Story: The Tougen Flute: A spin-off summer film released in July 2013. Set during the events of Garo: Soukoku no Maryu, the story focuses on the female supporting characters; The Makai Priestesses Jabi and Rekka. The story involves the girls uncovering a mystery about a strange flute made by a Makai Priest to seal away an evil Priestess named Higari. Two other Priestesses named Magi and Agi try to deceive them into reviving Higari though a series of misunderstandings and deception to break Jabi and Rekka apart and then use one of them as a sacrifice to awaken her.
- Zero: Black Blood: A two-part spin-off film duology, released in March 2014. The films are re-released into a six-episode TV mini-series, starring the secondary protagonist of the first two series, Rei Suzumura. The story takes place sometime after the events of Garo: Soukoku no Maryu and involves Rei on an assignment to slay an angelic Horror named Ring, while teaming up with Makai Priests Yuna and Cain.
- Bikuu: Yamigirinochi: A November 2015 feature film released as part of Garo's 10th Anniversary Project. The film revolves around Makai Priestess Bikuu and her missions as a Darkness Hunter, while also uncovering the dark secrets that have been hidden within the Makai Community.
- Garo: Makai Retsuden: The official sixth TV series which originally aired from April 2016 to July 2016. The series comprises of individual episodes revolving around the different characters introduced in all of the live-action Garo series.
- Zero: Dragon Blood: A 12-episode spin-off series released in January - March 2017, acting as a sequel to Zero: Black Blood. The series once again stars Rei Suzumura, with the story involving the mysterious Dragon Knight, who wants to use the power of Makai Dragons to destroy humankind.
- Fang of God: Jinga: A 12-episode spin-off series, released in October 2018 until December 2018, acting as a direct sequel to the film Garo ~ Kami no Kiba ~. The series stars an original character, Jinga Mikage, a Makai Knight who is the reincarnation of the Horror Jinga, reborn as a protector with a mysterious new ability, unique amongst the other Makai Knights.