GARO: Crimson Moon (Or, in Japanese, GARO: Guren no Tsuki) is the second animated entry in the GARO franchise, serving as prequel to GARO: Carved Seal Of Flames animated by MAPPA and written by Yasuko Kobayashi.
In Heian-Era Feudal Japan, a trio of secret warriors stand against monsters called Horrors that prey on people in the night. The current bearer of the GARO Armor, Raikou, (aided by his young attendant Kintoki) must rely on the Jerk with a Heart of Gold Makai Alchemist Seimei to help him don his armor, as he is unable to wear it on his own due to a seal placed upon him.
Spikes in Horror activity have put the Light Palace and it's retainers on-edge. These spikes are soon traced to a dark curse-bearer known as Ashiya Douman, who manipulates the downtrodden and spiteful into becoming Horrors to do his bidding.
As the trio fight, hints of a larger scheme begin to unravel. Not helped is Seimei herself, who also has things to hide....
Garo: Crimson Moon is avaliable on DVD as well as freely avaliable for simulcast on Funimation. It's followed up by the 2017 sequel Garo: Vanishing Line.
This work contains examples of:
- Action Girl:
- Seimei is an onmyoji who assists Raikou in combat with her magic.
- Suetsumuhana tries to be this against the Mask Horror. She utterly fails.
- Aesop Amnesia: Despite Izumi succeeding in gettng Masamune to rid himself of his lecherous ways, his wife's death due to Horror possession leaves him all too happy to indulge once again.
- Apocalypse Maiden: Once Seimei has been provoked properly, she becomes the host to Rudra, a world-destroying Horror.
- Kaguya is the inverse, being Rudra's seal.
- Attack Ofthe 50 Foot Whatever: Rudra emerges from the Crimson Moon as a twelve-faced, eight-armed monstrosity that demolishes the capital in minutes and towers above Japan.
- Big Bad: Ashiya Douman, who is causing much of the Horror activity in order to summon Rudra.
- Big Damn Heroes: Quite a bit. Examples include:
- Haruaki using a spell to let Raikou enter Seimei's heart and purge her of Rudra.
- Yorinobu helping Garo during the Horror Cradle's attack on the Capital.
- Zanga and Kaguya during the battle with Rudra.
- Big Good: The tripartite fox goddess "Watch Dog" Inari, who sends Seimei and Raikou on missions to slay Horrors.
- Deconstructed with Michinaga, head of the Light Palace. He has moderate knowledge on Knights and Horrors and despite showing signs of being The Unfettered, he has no issues hearing his servants out and generally just shows a strict-yet-fair attitude. Come the Finale, he opposes efforts to let common citizenry into the Light Palace for shelter against the giant Horror Rudra, succumbing to Japan's Fantastic Caste System. Yorinobu has to let them in behind his back, forcing him to give a Rousing Speech to save face.
- Breather Episode: "Worst," focusing on the Comic Relief Masamune's Lovable Sex Maniac tendencies.
- By-the-Book Cop: Yorinobu plays this painfully straight. He eventually becomes leader of the Police Magistrate after Kinto becomes possessed.
- Cast from Hit Points:
- The seal keeping Garo under control requires massive amounts of energy on Seimei's part to maintain.
- The spell Haruaki uses to let Raikou enter Seimei's heart costs him his life in exchange.
- Cognizant Limbs: The resurrected Rudra has eight arms, each of which can act on their own.
- Dark Action Girl: Seimei while acting as the vessel for Rudra.
- Despair Event Horizon: Ashiya's targets for Horror possession are typically people pushed to the brink of this.
- Everything's Better with Samurai: Try Samurai cutting down eldritch body-snatchers in wolf-armor!
- Upon Raikou reaching maturity and breaking his seal, the Garo Armor gets a Mid-Season Upgrade granting him a layer of Feudal chest and shoulder-pads.
- Fantastic Caste System: Nearly all of Ashiya's targets for Horror possession are the angry, desperate results of those shunned/held back by the rigid social structure of Heian-era Japan.
- Gender Flip: Seimei is named after the famous onmyōji Abe no Seimei, but is a woman rather than being a man.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Haruaki uses a spell to let Raikou enter Seimei's heart and purge her of Rudra. He pays the ultimate price for using it.
- Honor Among Thieves: Hakamadare's group are fiercely loyal to him and obey his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Seimei can come off careless and a bit of a Gold Digger, but she usually has others' best interests in mind. Especially Raikou.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the live-action shows' non-nonsense Crapsack World portrayal, Crimson Moon has a rather expressive cast of characters; Notably Kintoki, who acts as Plucky Comic Relief a lot of the time.
- Mythology Gag: The whole show, really. Many of the show's side-characters and Horror hosts are adaptations of various famous figures in Japanese history and/or mythology.
- Next Tier Power-Up: Midway through the series, Raikou unlocks a power-up for the Garo armor that changes it from a bestial suit of knight armor to a bestial suit of samurai armor.
- No Ending: Episode 23 ends immediately after the battle with Rudra and the final death of Ashiya Douman.
- Older Than They Look: An extra episode reveals that Kintoki was once a Makai Knight whose Armor robbed him of memories and age each time he used it, hence why he appears to be a young child and has forgotten his old life.
- Orcus on His Throne:
- Michinaga typically sits in the Light Palace, letting the police magistrate investigate the disturbances on their own.
- Hakamadare sees the Light Palace in general as this. He's not wrong.
- Power Gives You Wings: During the final battle with Rudra, Garo is forced into Lost Beast Soul Form. Kaguya saves him by granting his armor angelic wings.
- Power Limiter: Seimei's seal on Raikou, designed to prevent another transformation into the Garo Armor's Lost Beast Soul form. Raikou eventually matures to the point that he undoes it permanently on his own.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The aristocrat Masamune is implied to laze about all day while his wife does his business for him. The only business he does is skirt-chasing.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Raikou not only turns Michinaga's offer to let him serve under him down, he all-but-denounces him. In front of his By-the-Book Cop brother, no less.
- Sibling Rivalry: Michinaga and Ashiya Douman are brothers. Michinaga wants to protect the Light Palace while Ashiya wants it, and the world, destroyed.
- The Starscream: Ashiya kills Doushi during a disagreement on whether or not to sick Seimei-turned-Rudra on the heroes right after her possession.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Lost Beast Soul Form for Garo. Seimei initially found Garo in this state, calming him down before applying the seal that would become his Power Limiter.
- That Man Is Dead: Once police magistrate Yasusuke's discharge becomes possessed by a Horror and is cut down, he discards his status as a member of the Fujiwara family and his name, becoming the Gentleman Thief Hakamadare.
- The Unfettered: Inari has no issues or remorse ordering Raikou and Hakamadare to cut Seimei down once she comes under the control of Rudra.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Michinaga, ultimately.
- We Can Rule Together:
- Michinaga seems to want this arrangerment with the Makai Knights, giving them both some variation of the offer at various points. They turn him down.
- Michinaga then invites Ashiya Douman, his brother, to the Light Palace and gives him an offer to reform and serve under him. He turns him down.