Anime / Ga-Rei -Zero-

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"Will you kill someone you love, because of love?"
—The show's Arc Words

This anime series is a Prequel to Ga-Rei, depicting the life of Yomi before her fall to evil, and her strong sisterly bond to Kagura. The two girls' relationship is the central focus of the story, emphasizing why Kagura's heart often wavers while fighting Yomi throughout the course of the original manga. Its tone is considerably different from that of the manga, making the anime more Seinen than Shōnen. The show is probably most notable for throwing off viewers with its first two episodes by killing everyone off. The focus is instead on Yomi, making a character who was originally a rather average villain into a highly sympathetic, tragic heroine.

Licensed by Funimation in August 2010 and released to DVD and Blu-Ray in April 2011.


Tropes employed by this series are:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Shishio and Michael 12 are capable of easily slicing through yokai and other supernatural creatures in a single slash.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: True, it's called Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, a.k.a. G-cans project. Its main function is to keep Tokyo metropolitan area's sewage system from overflowing during rainy season, by storing excessive rainwater in those giant underground chambers.
  • Action Girl: Yomi and Kagura are skilled swordswomen.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Noriyuki's father arranged his marriage with Yomi in order to gain access to the Isayama clan's high social standing. After Mei usurps the leadership of the clan, Noriyuki's father cancels the marriage just as the two of them were starting to reciprocate feelings.
  • And I Must Scream: Yomi's vocal chords were destroyed and her tendons severed by Mitogawa in episode 9, and she can't defend herself against accusations of May's death. Not that she could have otherwise, since she did indeed kill her. She could have legitimately argued for extenuating circumstances, what with the whole murder, fraud, and Slave To Evil thing that her enemy had going on.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • The squad in the promotional posters are dead by the end of the first episode.
    • May, first thought to be a major rival to Yomi, gets killed 2 episodes after being properly introduced... then she is revived as a puppet of evil, only to get Killed Off for Real another 2 episodes later. Turns out her spot in the opening was justified.
    • Kazuki... couldn't even properly show off his briefcases in an important fight.
    • Ah heck, almost every supporting character with a cool weapon or fighting style gets killed off in his or her first big battle.
    • Yomi herself, arguably the main protagonist of the whole show. She at least made it all the way to the final episode, though.
  • Arranged Marriage: Yomi's adoptive father, Naraku, arranged one with Noriyuki's father. He offers to call it off since the two were so unenthusiastic, but Yomi agrees to go through with it out of a sense of duty. During an argument, Nori states he's only going along with it because he can't disobey his father.
  • Artifact of Death: The only way for Byakuei's wielder to part with it is through death. And they don't live long either, because Byakuei's connection to the Bane Stone constantly saps its master's physical and spiritual strength. This doesn't seem to be the case with Ranguren, who is sealed into a katana rather than its owner's body.
  • Asshole Victim: Yomi's uncle, who was disdainful towards her for being adopted and usurped her position as clan head against his late brother's wishes.
  • The Atoner: Ayame, although it's not revealed until much later. In the finale (and manga), Noriyuki become some sort of this.
  • Back from the Dead: Yomi returns as an evil spirit in the Ga-Rei manga, where she is the antagonist of the first arc.
  • Berserker Tears: Kagura cries tears of rage when letting rip with Byakuei against a horde of Category Ds at the climax to episode 12.
  • BFG: The Nabuu brothers wield massive guns that fire purifying bullets.
  • Big Bad: Mitogawa Kazuhiro is responsible for everything bad that happens in the series. He gets away with it, too, by virtue of being an antagonist in the manga.
  • Big Sister Mentor: When they first meet, Yomi declares herself Kagura's big sister and helps train her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: May intervenes when her father tries to persuade Naraku to make her the leader of the Isayama clan, and says that Yomi is a much better choice despite not being blood related. She later reveals that she did so intending for Yomi to have a tragic "accident" so that she could take over. After she's killed by Mitogawa and is resurrected with a Bane Stone, she kills her uncle under the Sesshoseki's control and later taunts Yomi over it.
  • Black Swords Are Better: Yomi wields the Shishio, a long black-bladed katana containing the spirit of a nue called Ranguren.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Anyone with a Latcher attached to their head. Especially horrific with Mami, as it makes her disturbing calm as she's telling the rest of the squad how fucked they all are before gleefully committing suicide.
  • Brand X: Yomi plays on a "Dreambox" (Sega Dreamcast).
  • Break the Cutie: Yomi endures a massive amount of suffering in the second half of the series, setting up her transformation into the villain of the first arc of the manga. Her father is murdered, and her uncle — who disliked Yomi due to her being adopted — harshly berates Yomi for her shortcomings, usurps leadership of the Isayama clan, and passes it to her cousin, Mei. Mei then kicks 13-year-old Kagura out of the house and takes the family heirloom katana, which had been given to Yomi by her father, while rubbing Yomi's losses in her face. Mei later ambushes Yomi, tries to kill her, and admits to killing her father out of ambition and hatred. After Yomi kills Mei, Mitogawa reveals he was behind everything that had been going on, points out that she killed Mei out of hatred and anger rather than genuine self-defence, and cripples her. She spends two months in a coma and wakes up to find herself accused of murdering Mei out of jealousy and mutilating herself to appear innocent, that Kagura no longer needs her assistance as a Vanquisher, and that her fiancé's father has broken off their marriage due to the murder accusations and the fact that Yomi can no longer look after herself. Kagura running away after realizing that Yomi did in fact kill Mei out of anger is what causes her to break down in despair and accept Mitogawa's offer of a Bane Stone.
  • Breakout Character: Yomi. Went from a minor villain killed off early in manga to no consequence to the star of the vastly more popular prequel anime so much so that she was resurrected in the manga. Kagura also received more prominence afterward.
  • Breather Episode: Arguably Episode 5, which solely concerns Kagura's plan to get engaged couple Yomi and Nori to like each other. It is nearly all comedic in nature. Also, the relaxing moments where everything seems to be going well for the main characters before the murder of Yomi's father, the point where everything in the series gets worse.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Master Michael, a master blacksmith who parades around wearing only a fundoshi, and whose creations include a weaponized steam iron and a boiler too large to be practically wielded, all of which are bizarrely named.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Ga-Reis are commanded much like Pokemon.
  • Car Fu: Motorcycle with holy treads, anyone? And then there's that spectacularly awesome wheelchair...
  • Cartesian Karma: Yomi goes through this, with her going berserk and only having Kagura to stop her. In the anime it ends tragically. The entire concept of Bane Stone victims often plays into this.
  • Censor Steam: In the Japanese broadcast, this was done ridiculously with Kazuki's death at Yomi's hands. Averted in the DVD version.
  • Cool Sword: Swords made by Master Michael, but especially Michael 13. It uses shotgun shells to increase the power of its swing.
  • The Corrupter: Mitogawa serves as this to several characters. He kills May and resurrects her with a Bane Stone that causes her to kill her uncle. When she protests that this isn't what she wanted, Mitogawa says it's too late to turn back and the only course she has is to succumb to her hatred and ambition. He also serves as this to Yomi, calling her out on killing Mei after she was incapacitated and begging for mercy as a means of breaking her.
  • The Dark Side: Anyone who works with Bane Stones are vulnerable to this.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Interestingly enough, the apparent villain becomes the actual protagonist after killing the decoys in the first episode, as a result of the show being a flashback showing how things got to that point. To put it more accurately, there is not just a Decoy Protagonist, there is a Decoy Cast.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Yomi's Face–Heel Turn was a result of nearly everything good in her life being systematically taken from her, leaving her with nothing but rage and hatred.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: This series can be called Diabolus ex Machina: The Anime.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Evil Yomi. As pointed out to her by Mitogawa, she had good reasons for her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Dying as Yourself: May regains control of herself from the Bane Stone just in time to be stabbed through the face by an enraged Yomi, who disregards her attempt to explain what happened and plead for mercy.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: The anime serves as a prequel to the manga.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The final few episodes are a series of betrayals. Yomi is betrayed by her cousin May, who murders her father under the influence of the Bane Stone. May's father goes against Naraku's will by naming his daughter as the clan leader instead of Yomi, and May proceeds to rob Yomi of her remaining sources of happiness. When May reveals she killed Yomi's father, Yomi kills her and is delivered a Breaking Speech by Mitogawa, who then cripples her. As a result, the father of her fiancé calls off their marriage as she is no longer the clan head and is suspected of murder, and her fiancé himself neglects to visit her. The straw that breaks the camel's back is Kagura running out on Yomi after realizing she did kill May.
  • Full-Frontal Assault Evil Yomi fights her way out of the hospital naked in episode 10.
  • Furo Scene: In some of the episodes - most gratuitously Episode 4 - Yomi and Kagura are shown bathing.
  • Gecko Ending: The final battle is depicted differently from in Ga-Rei.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Kabuki is... distracted when Yomi kisses Kagura to swipe the last bite of Pocky from her and starts suggestively tickling her. Yomi boots him in the face and calls him a pervert.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Kind of. Kagura does sport some noticeable Tareme Eyes, while Yomi has distinctive Asurimeeyes
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Nurse Misuzu's death. Also, Yomi stabbing May in the face, but just barely.
  • Handicapped Badass: Being in a wheelchair doesn't prevent Ayame from putting up a good fight against Yomi.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Kagura got lite-version of this after she's forced to kill the school nurse, whom she's fond of. Toru never recovers fully from this and this eventually led to his demise, as nightmarish flashbacks come haunting him at the most unfortunate moment.
  • How We Got Here: After the first episode, the series details how Yomi and Kagura met each other, and the former's downfall into evil; before carrying on from where the first episode ended.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Yomi tries to cut her own throat and commit seppuku in Episode 11, but cannot due to the Bane Stone.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Most of the squad members are this way, with various levels of determination.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Kagura laments at Yomi how they couldn't be just like normal sisters. Repeated in the final battle when Kagura has to kill Yomi.
  • Immune to Bullets: Category-B and above. Even if the bullets are spiritually-powered.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: What Yomi realized in her final moment in life is that she only wishes to protect Kagura. Also a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kazuhiro, May, Yomi, Kiri...
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • When Yomi's spirit katana is out of order she has to choose a replacement weapon among: A spirit iron (as in, ironing your clothes), a spirit chainsaw, a spirit jackhammer and a spirit boiler. She decides to use the iron — although the chainsaw would have been much more awesome, she didn't think it was practical.
    • A sword that can launch from its sheathe at the press of a trigger. Can also be linked to its sheathe via chain so it can swing through enemies and come back to the user. Has the slightly more mundane use of making its cutting force even higher at the press of a button due to pressurized air in the sheathe. Gets upgraded to be able to increase its cutting force with shotgun shells
    • Dual Wielding Briefcases. Machine-gun Briefcases with CD Players for sacred mantras!
    • Bike that engraves sacred runes on the street with its wheels.
    • This Is a Drill. Or rather two drills dual-wielded. Two Rocket Punch drills.
    • A combat wheelchair with miniguns, blades and sacred wheels, which can engrave sacred runes on the street.
  • Invisible to Normals: The reason why Seekers technology had to be developed is that spirits are invisible to most humans.
  • Jail Bait: Kagura is shown naked without Barbie Doll Anatomy, but is twelve years old. Yomi, conversely, is seventeen.
  • Just Eat Him: Byakuei's primary means of disposing of threats is by eating them.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Ranguren's primary attack is spitting a beam of energy.
  • Karma Houdini: Pretty much the opposite of Doomed by Canon. Mitogawa being a character in the manga means he gets off scot free until then. Fortunately, his warranty expires in the manga proper.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Only the sword-users have been seen to OHKO Category...
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: When it seems like the worst things imaginable are happening to Yomi, even worse things happen just an episode later.
    • One scene in Episode 9 in particular stands out as a nasty example of this. Yomi has been left crippled and mute by the injuries she suffered confronting Mitogawa, and Noriyuki's father decides to break off his son's arranged marriage with her because of this and the murder accusations against her. So he visits Yomi in hospital to tell her that. To his credit, he doesn't seem completely ignorant of her distress, and even more or less tells her that she can blame him, but one still gets the impression the task was made much easier by the fact she couldn't say anything.
  • Kill 'em All: The show might as well be called Ga-Rei: Yomi Kills Everyone.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: The Arc Words. Because Kagura loves Yomi, she kills her after her Face–Heel Turn. Easier said than done.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Whenever Yomi and Noriyuki kiss.
  • Life Energy: Bane Stones provide its users with power to defy death for some time. However, its Japanese name, Sesshouseki, means "Death Stone" and will eventually corrupt the users and sap them of their life force, turning them into phantoms.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Kagura and Yomi.
  • Love Triangle: A rather odd one. Yomi and Kagura like each other. Kagura also sees Noriyuki as a big brother. He cares for Kagura (probably not romantically). Yomi and Noriyuki aren't exactly getting along with each other but are engaged and do seem to show some interest in each other. Kagura wants them to make the engagement work, because she's idealistic.
  • Macho Camp: Master Michael, or at least he acts it. Iwahata is open about it.
  • Magic from Technology: Generating holy water by filtering sewage through special resonance devices. Also the mass-produced Seeker technology of the Defense Ministry.
    • Don't forget the briefcases, which destroy demons via implanted CD players which recite holy mantras.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Mitogawa is behind everything.
    • May was on the path to being one, but it goes out the window once she's possessed by the Bane Stone — she wanted to be the next heir, but not in the way she did.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Yomi greets Kagura once with this.
  • The Men in Black: Practically everyone who fights the evil spirits. Subverted in that most people understand what they're doing and just accept who they are.
  • Mentor Archetype: Yomi teaches Kagura the way of the Vanquishers.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Bane Stones, which are the crystallized fragments of a nine-tailed kitsune.
  • Mirror Match: Echoer type spirits.
  • Mons: The titular Ga-Reis.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bane Stone victims do this when they regain control temporarily.
    • Mei is horrified when she remembers killing her uncle and runs away, but succumbs to the Bane Stone's corruption due to Mitogawa.
    • After her rampage, Yomi regains control of herself and is horrified by her actions. She tries to kill herself, but is stopped by the Bane Stone.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: Mei uses one. For bonus femininity points, the other end of it even has a Parasol of Prettiness that pops out.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Category Ds are essentially zombies.
  • No Sympathy: When Kiri suggests that the Agency's harsh treatment pushed Yomi into succumbing to the Bane Stone's corruption, Ayame cuts her off and coldly retorts that regardless of Yomi's reasons, violating that taboo of obtaining a Bane Stone is impermissible and inexcusable.
  • Not Using the Z Word: No one ever calls the undead former humans "zombies".
  • 108: Yomi got pierced by Mitogawa's 108 iron needles. She got better. Or not.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted with the Nabuu brothers, both of which are named Nabuu.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kagura finally gains the resolve to kill Yomi once and for all.
  • Operation Jealousy: Kagura and the rest of the squad use Kiri to seduce Nori in order to get Yomi jealous and the two spend more time together. It works, but not the way Kagura had intended.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Yomi and Noriyuki.
  • Slave Mooks: Category Ds and Bane Stone users all count. With the latter, see also This Is Your Brain on Evil. If it could send Yomi that crazy, even May must have had a kind side somewhere.
  • Sleep Cute: Yomi and Kagura, starting in the opening sequence.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Noriyuki was banned from seeing Yomi after the latter is crippled. Then everything went From Bad to Worse.
  • Start of Darkness: This anime is all about Yomi's.
  • Straight Gay: Iwahata, a burly serious ex-soldier, hits on Kabuki and says that if Yomi and Noriyuki break up he might pursue the latter.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: May goads Yomi into doing this, before regaining her consciousness/sanity, then tries to plead with her not to do it. However, considering that May attacked and later told Yomi she killed Yomi's dad out of jealousy of her, it's not surprising that Yomi follows through with May's taunt.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Onryō, called "phantoms" in the English dub, are Category A evil spirits. Anyone who succumbs to a Bane Stone becomes one, even if they're still alive.
  • Survival Mantra: It's a Vanquisher's duty to dispose of spirits that defile the natural order, it's a Vanquisher's duty to dispose of spirits that defile the natural order, it's a Vanquisher's duty to dispose of spirits that defile the natural order...
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The other end of May's retractable naginata also contains an... umbrella.
  • Take Up My Sword: Both Kagura and Yomi were being groomed for this, and the entire anime is an extended example. Yomi's adopted father hoped for a peaceful retirement and succession; after a Double Subversion, Yomi did inherit the sword. Kagura's father expected to fight to his last breath, so it was played straight when the time came.
  • Wham Episode: How many shows have one of these for their very first episode?
  • Wild Man: Master Michael. To stay close with nature, he refuses to wear clothes except for fundoshi. Even when he visits the city.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Yomi, at least at some point during her Start of Darkness.
  • Your Head Asplode: The safest way to kill Category D.
  • You Shall Not Pass: In the final battle, Iwahata and the remaining Nabuu fight the mooks so that Kagura can concentrate on Yomi.
  • Youkai:
    • Byakuei, despite its dragon-like appearance, is an inugami.
    • Ranguren is a nue.
    • The Bane Stones were created from the scattered spiritual power of a kitsune.
    • Kasha are a common type of Category B monster, though they lack their usual cat-like appearance and instead appear as two-legged lizard monsters made of lava.
    • A Tsuchigumo shows up as a Category B monster.

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