|This article is about a/an episode in Garo: Makai Senki.|
Trump Card is the fourth episode of Garo: Makai Senki
A Horror with a love for gambling has set up an island poker club to feed on humans. However, it has also set up a barrier so that no Makai Knight can detect it. Kouga must go undercover without his weapons to find out which person in the club is the Horror.
The episode opens in a casino lounge where a group of people are playing poker. One of the players asks a Mr. "Black Jagger" to show his cards as she has a Full House. Black Jagger is revealed to be Kouga and he reveals that he has a Straight Flush which beats her hand. One of the players named "Kid" is impressed as Mr. Jagger's skill as he expected such from such a skilled player. Zaruba congratulates Kouga on his win telepathically, but says the real game is beginning and to stay sharp. Kouga asks Zaruba if he has found the Horror yet, the ring responding that the demon has sealed away its power with something in the room, thus he cannot find it. A cautious Kouga observes his surroundings, aware the Horror could be anyone.
A flashback to earlier in the day shows Kaoru and Gonza playing Old Maid, offering Kouga to join them, but he declines. Kaoru thinks Kouga does not like to play card games and in response he is about to change his mind and play. However, Zaruba tells Kouga he is receiving orders for them to go to work. He reads the Orders Document which tells of Horror on an underground west island gambling club who likes to play death games with humans before he eats them. The Senate divulges more info and tells him they intercepted a private invitation from a Mr. Black Jagger. Kouga will pose as him in a poker tournament to uncover the Horror's identity. Kouga embarrassingly admits he doesn't know anything about poker, but Zaruba says he will teach him how. Reo states that no weapons are allowed on the island and Kouga's magic coat would conceal the Garoken, but the receptionists are required by the club rules to confiscate his coat. This means he cannot get to his sword and become Garo, thus he is at risk of being killed and must stay undercover until the right time comes.
Kouga almost blows his cover by saying his winning hand is a pig hand, which Zaruba complains is a term for a losing hand and to pay attention to his teachings. "Big Mama" simply sees it as "Jagger's" dry sense of humor about his victory, thus he is safe for the moment. Kouga notices something odd with the candles in the room and asks what they are. The Dealer says that they are candles that represent each player's lifespan, the more a gambler loses the shorter their life will be and winners will keep their lifespan at a certain point. The lifespans are collateral for poker chips in this game. If a player wins the jackpot, they will get 250 million yen and live. If they lose they all will die. Some of the players complain how bizarre or unfair this is but Kid thinks it makes the game more fun. Kouga glances at the Dealer, suspecting her as a possible candidate for the Horror. Big Mama goes all in and bets her winnings, showing she has a Full House. However, one of the players, Ririka, blows her cigarette smoke and her cards change to a Straight Flush and Big Mama's becomes a losing hand. Big Mama's candle goes out as she bet her whole lifespan on that hand and is sent through a gate via a flying deck of cards on the wall. The Players are all scared by this and the Dealer says that this was the agreement of the game. "Ichirou" panics and tries to run and leave the casino, but get sent right back to where he was as the house is enchanted with a barrier to prevent anyone from leaving. Ririka encourages the game to resume, knowing that gamblers must gamble their lives at some point. Kouga thinks he can still save the gamblers as a gate means the Horror won't feast on those trapped inside until all the players lose. Big Mama being taken makes things easier as the suspects are now down to Ririka, Ichirou and Kid, as the Dealer is too obvious.
The poker game goes on for several hours and Kouga takes a break at the bar watching Ichirou and Ririka play. Ririka loses her hand and asks for collateral to continue playing. It is revealed she has a "boyfriend" named Daisuke and she uses his life as collateral. (It is implied in a flashback Ririka was very obsessive and violent, as Daisuke is seen lying in a hospital bed with third degree burns. He was begging her to kill him via a Laptop, only for her to smash the laptop and punish him in some unspecified way.) Ririka tries to use her trick again to change the cards and Kouga stops her and inspects her cigarette holder. He reveals there are hallucinogenic drugs mixed in with the tobacco so Ririka could trick the players into thinking she had a winning hand. The drug wears off and her hand is revealed to be a losing one. As a penalty for cheating, both Daisuke and Ririka are taken away by the cards. This makes it easier for Kouga as only two remain: Ichirou and Kid.
Ichirou stays and goes all in as "Jagger" exchanges three cards and gets Three Kings a Four of Hearts and a Ten of Clubs. Ichirou raises his bet by borrowing chips with the collateral being his girlfriend Yumi. Kid raises his bet too and calls the Dealer. Kouga raises his bet as well despite Zaruba protesting they could lose everything in this single hand. Kid has a Two Pair, Kouga has a Three of a Kind and Ichirou has a Straight. Kouga loses and gets sent into the gate, but tells Zaruba that this was part of his plan so he could find the Barrier and shatter it. While Zaruba searches for it, Kouga watches the remaining part of the game to see which of the players is the Horror. Ichirou wins the game with a Full House and Kid gets sent away. Ichirou gloats on his victory, but surprisingly, he gets sent through the gate as well. Kid reveals himself to the trapped Kouga as the Horror and says he lost on purpose to get to the Makai Knight as he knew he was coming. He let Ichirou win so his "flavor" would be better as Joy is what Genojika likes to enhance his food with before he eats them. Genojika is prepared to eat Kouga, but Zaruba reveals they have one last poker chip, thus the game isn't over. At first, Genojika isn't interested as he already has Kouga in his grasp, but the Makai Knight plays on Genojika's vanity by saying that a gambler should end his foe on a gamble.
Genojika lets Kouga out and the two begin a card game to get the final poker chip. Zaruba suggests they add the Joker card to the deck to keep the game interesting and Kouga requests they use the cards on the wall as the playing deck. Kouga seems to be on the losing side as Genojika has five Aces and the Joker in his hand and goes all in. Kouga then takes a risk and uses Kaoru as collateral to get more chips and goes all in, calling the Dealer. Kouga loses the game but destroys the Joker card, deactivating the barrier and freeing the gamblers who were trapped. Angry that Kouga cheated, Genojika attacks him and the Dealer and staff of the casino are revealed to be more Horrors. Kouga quickly gets to his magic coat and pulls out the Garoken, sealing them. Kouga injures Genojika but he sheds his human form and sends him skyward. Kouga summons Garo and then duels Genojika on the roof of the Trump House mansion, quickly ending him with a furious strike of slashes and then cleaving him in half in mid-air. Zaruba says that the hand Kouga had was a Two Pair and if it was Old Maid, Kouga would have won the game. Kouga doesn't care and walks off towards home, taking his coat.
During the credits, Kaoru is playing a match game with a deck of cards and then tries to make a house of cards with the deck. She then tries to guess which card is in a selected circle of stacks and then gets tired and falls asleep. This inspires her to make a picture painting of the young girl meeting a wizard using magic to make a deck of cards fly around.
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- Tokusastu veteran Toshiki Inoue is the writer of this episode. This is his only writing credit for this franchise. Inoue would later be the head writer for another Keita Amemiya project, Shougeki Gouraigan
- This episode reveals that Zaruba can talk to Kouga telepathically.
- Kohei Murakami guest stars in this episode as "Kid"/Genojika, he is more infamously known for his role as Masato Kusaka/Kamen Rider Kaixa from Kamen Rider 555
- Kouga's undercover alias is a pun on the card game Blackjack.
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Home Video Release
- Garo Season 2 Vol. 1 featured episodes 1-13 on two discs, with English subtitles by Kraken Releasing.