I apologize for the watermark in the corner of all the caps…every single sub I found had it.

The armor design in this series is pretty cool

In a medieval kingdom ruled over by the ill, wheelchair-bound King Ferdinand, the king’s advisor convinces him that burning witches will improve his health. In reality, the advisor has some sort of unspecified grudge against witches, whom he considers demons. One witch, Anna, is sentenced to burn at the stake while extremely pregnant; while burning, she cuts the child out of her stomach. Miraculously, it is born alive and
healthy despite the fire. A mysterious figure in wolf-themed armor rescues the child from the fire, and is identified by the advisor as a “knight of demons”.

Ferdinand soon regains his health, but, enraged that the army was unable to capture the mysterious knight, he orders Mendoza (the advisor) to launch an all-out witch hunt across the kingdom of Variante. Witches and warlocks are tortured and executed by the hundreds. Variante’s army also invades a number of neighboring cities in the name of “witch hunting,” expanding its power.

There are a lot of “tilted” shots like this in this episode

Seventeen years later, a mysterious man, German, tells the story of Variante’s witch hunt to a prostitute. He claims that witches are not demons, but instead are responsible for sealing demons. The story is cut short by the interruption of German’s son, who is furious at his father’s unruly conduct.

Elsewhere Mendoza, who has been searching for the child and his kidnapper, hears of German and his son. Convinced that they are the child and its kidnapper, he is determined to kill them both. Back in Leiden, German ignores his son’s interruption and continues to tell the prostitute about demons, which he calls “Horrors”. He claims that they trick and eat people and then take on the form of their prey in order to ensnare more victims.

German then reveals his true purpose – he had discerned that the prostitute was herself a Horror in disguise. He kills the Horror, revealing that his former identity was indeed “Makai Knight Zoro,” the knight who rescued the boy as well as the child’s father.

The child, Leon Luis (who usually goes by his knight name, Garo) is shown dispatching a Horror. He fights using a lion-themed suit of armor similar to his father’s, and has fire/light based powers connected to his birth. Having defeated the Horrors, German and Leon declare that their life in Leiden is over and they will return to Variante. Back in Variante, it is the birthday of the crown prince, Alfonso. He is widely believed to be the country’s legendary figure, the “Hero of Light,” though paintings of the “Hero” look rather similar to Leon’s Garo form. Mendoza and his assistant, Octavia, skip the birthday celebration in favor of plotting something dark and mysterious.

Yay for equal-opportunity fanservice

I went into this series with no expectations whatsoever, and was left with a very neutral impression. The plot is rather standard shounen fare, with the “chosen hero” facing off against a shady conspiracy lead by a treacherous advisor. Despite the typical shounen story, the fanservice level is quite high – and by “fanservice” I do not mean just panty shots and jiggle physics. German and the prostitute/Horror spend most of the episode nude, including several sex scenes with only the most minimal of censorship. Apparently, this was based on a live action tokusatsu series rather than a manga or game, which might explain the more adult scenes. (And at least the fanservice is equal opportunity – you get just as much naked German as naked woman).

Speaking of German, he was hands down my favorite character in this series so far. He’s a competent badass who is also sexually open, wise, and has an infectious sense of humor. In both looks and demeanor, he reminds me of Rider from Fate/zero, one of my favorite anime characters, so that’s a good sign. I hope that his status as Leon’s father and mentor does not signal an early end for him, as his character was the one thing (so far) that set this apart from its rather generic premise.

The animation was definitely a mixed bag for me. Some scenes clearly had a lot more effort put into them than others, especially Anna’s death/German’s rescue of Leon and Leon’s first fight against the horrors. Leon and German (or rather, Garo and Zoro’s) armor is animated in CG, as are the true forms of the Horrors, which, as it tends to do, contrasted pretty badly with the rest of the animation. Leon’s fight scene was also so brightly illuminated, with flames and light absolutely everywhere, that it was difficult to see the action at times. Some of the non-CG scenes, especially those with the Royal Family, were already showing some signs of Quality Animation. The character design is also rather weird to me – for example, German’s hair, beard, and chest hair are all different colors from one another.

This was pleasant enough to watch, but, as it’s based on a fairly lengthy tokusatsu series and will probably be quite long itself, I don’t think I’ll be reviewing this.

German’s presence raised this a little above average for me, so out of 5 Dios, I give it:

dio dio dio

Expect to see a -lot- of “censorship” like this

Inside of his Garo armor, Leon looks quite badass….

…but outside of it, he looks like every other shounen protagonist.