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The armored hunters of the Garo universe reunite for one more blood-soaked battle against the demonic horde in Garo: Kaminokiba (Garo: Divine Fang), the film sequel focusing on Makai Knight Ryuga from the Garo: The One Who Shines in the Darkness television series. And his enemy for this installment in the action-horror saga, reprising his role from previous entries, is Inoue Masahiro, known to many fans of the tokusatsu subgenre as the dimension-hopping title hero of Kamen Rider Decade. Still making frenemies in strange places, I see, Tsukasa!

Garo mastermind Amemiya Keita returns to the franchise once more for writing and directing duties, serenaded by JAM Project, who provides the new theme song “Kaminokiba – The Fang of the Apocalypse” from their latest album Tokyo Drive.

The Garo franchise has more lives than a demon-possessed cat that wants to eat your young. Beginning in 2005 as a late-night action series many believed was a standalone, one-and-done piece, the property slowly blew up into a multi-medium mini-phenomenon, breaking through what has increasingly felt like a hardening shell for budding tokusatsu franchises these days.

Garo appears to have passed the gauntlet of trials to be deemed cool enough to survive among the likes of the popular (and far more kid-friendly) Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman brands peppering Japanese television and movie screens for decades, carving a niche for itself in this somewhat crowded landscape of transforming heroes fighting larger-than-life monsters.

While I haven’t been able to keep up with the massive catalogue of Garo stories, which we can guess won’t be slowing down anytime soon, they clearly know what they’re doing and have the eye of many fans ready to keep jumping back into the macabre world of the Makai Knights. Respect.

Garo: Kaminokiba strikes Japanese theaters January 6, 2018.


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