Ga-Rei: Zero (2008) tells the story of two young woman caught in a battle between darkness and light. It is the tale of Kagura Tsuchimiya and Yomi Isayama, both orphans whose families were torn apart by murder by way of powerful supernatural entities. The darker spirits are combated by individuals with latent psychic and mystical abilities working in teams for the Japanese government, of which Yomi is a fallen member at the beginning of the twelve episode series. Another government department seeks to draw attention away from the disasters unfolding in the nation, which they are hinted at being responsible for.
The beginning two episodes are actually showing events that occur later in the series, showing a comparison of sorts and setting up a precedent. This tells the viewer not to show attached to any of the characters and shows how horrific the war between the big bad and the mortal realm truly is. It is gory and groovy, a strange contradiction for the story that begins on the third episode.
During the funeral of Kagura’s mother, Yomi sees something of her own loss in the girl that is several years her junior. Given that Kagura’s father is off hunting down the entity that murdered her mother, Yomi feels compelled to convince her adoptive father to take in the young girl. The young women see each other as sister, so much so that Yomi decides to take Kagura out of school one day to show what she does for a living.
We discover that Yomi is a member of the Ministry of Environment’s Supernatural Division alongside a host of interesting characters. This including Yomi’s betrothed Noriyuki Iizuna with his spirit weasels, the gun-totting Nabuu brothers, the sassy boom box wielding warrior Kasuki Sakubara, and the drill-carrying gay giant Kohara Michael. As the story continues, we learn about the mechanics of the Tsuchimiya, Iizuna and Isayama family, as well as learn more about the strange white-haired boy mentioned in the first episode, as he begins to enact his plan using Yomi and her cousin Mei Isayama.
In the end though, this is a tragic story about two sisters, the power of friendship and the importance of devotion to the cause of greater good. It does so flawlessly, adding some groovy supernatural battle sequences and drama to boot. I found myself genuinely feeling for the characters, and hating the white-haired bastard pulling the strings in the background. Based on the strength of this anime alone, I am inclined to read the manga that this story leads into, Ga-Rei. All in all, I really dig the well-paced twelve episode series and highly recommend it for mature audiences due to some of the gore.