Sui Gin is a student at a private high school who loves computer games so much that he brings his computer everywhere, even to the pool. One day, he and his cat Wanchoi are shoved into the pool by bullies, but are rescued by his popular classmate Riku Rei. After this incident, they become friends. Somehow, one year later, this results in Sui Gin becoming trapped in a dark world where he has to fight off endless hordes of the undead to protect the school and Riku Rei’s life.
If that summary seems short even for a 15-minute short-form show, that’s because this episode did a really, REALLY bad job of explaining what is going on. It starts with an “in medias res” scene of Riku Rei enjoying her peaceful school life while Sui Gin fights off the undead. While there’s nothing wrong with a show starting in the middle of the action…this scene took up SIX MINUTES of the episode’s 15, then cut to a brief flashback of the two’s first encounter before spending the rest of the episode focused solely on Gin’s fighting. No explanation at all of how he got there, why he’s fighting, or even why the undead hordes are somehow connected to protecting the school and Riku Rei. I came out of the episode mildly interested but mostly frustrated, scratching my head in confusion at what on earth was going on. Even for a short, this is one of the most terribly paced first episodes I’ve ever seen.
Still, Gin no Guardian was not entirely without its positives. First among them was Wanchoi, Gin’s pet cat and best friend. He is seriously adorable, and the friendship between the two was heartwarming. Gin was even willing to dive into a pool (despite being completely unable to swim) just to save Wanchoi! I especially liked that the episode’s ending sequence is entirely focused on the heartwarming bond between the two. Gin himself is also a pretty interesting character, and I’m interested in seeing what exactly changed him from a dorky guy playing on his computer poolside to the zombie-fighting badass he ultimately becomes. (Also, the sun hat he wears during the pool scene is downright adorable). Riku Rei unfortunately comes across as a fairly generic “rich, popular but sweet high school girl” character, but at least left me with an overall neutral impression rather than a negative one.
My overall feelings about this episode were frustration due to the terrible pacing and, despite that, some remaining interest in actually finding out what’s going on. The OP showed some interesting looking villain characters, and I wish the episode had shown them rather than endless hordes of hooded, red-eyed, visually dull zombies and repetitive fight scenes. Maybe I’ll give it a second episode, maybe not. But for now, out of 5 Dios: