Garzey’s Wing (English Dub)

Garzey’s Wing (English Dub)

Garzey's Wing anime series DVD cover art
Garzey’s Wing DVD Cover Art

Overview

Garzey’s Wing, also known as Tales of Byston Well: Garzey’s Wing, is J.C.Staff’s magnum opus. You may know J.C.Staff from their entries in the RailDex franchise or DanMachi, but Garzey’s Wing is arguably their most important work to date due to its cult following.

In fact, Garzey’s Wing is the lowest rated anime J.C.Staff have ever created, and yet that’s exactly why it’s so beloved. However, it’s not enough that the anime itself is incredibly bad, it’s the English dub which really makes the series shine.

Since I’ve only watched the English dub, I’d like to think that the dialogue in the Japanese version makes more sense, and yet I have my doubts. Not only is the voice acting terrible, but the dialogue sounds like it was read from a poorly translated script with a bunch of lines jumbled around.

But, as I mentioned, this is actually what makes Garzey’s Wing such a good watch. Some of the great one-liners you’ll hear from this series are, “my sword is unbelievably dull,” “humans are just human,” “well you certainly got sexy,” and my personal favorite, “damn you, Yamato Takeru no Mikoto!”

But, terrible dubs aside, what’s the plot of this series anyway? Well, it’s kind of hard to say considering there’s very little actual plot. Our protagonist is transported to another world (yes, it’s an isekai), and finds himself in the middle of a tribal rebellion where he’s regarded as a legendary hero.

After that, he basically just fights in this war he knows nothing about, and in the end he somehow returns to his own world. Or maybe he doesn’t. It’s actually not clear at all and the story just kind of ends.

And, along with both the terrible dub and the terrible, almost non-existent plot, the art looks extremely dated and the animation is pretty sub-par. But, before anyone tries to tell me in the comments that the animation is like that because the series is from 1996, no, old anime doesn’t mean bad animation.

Characters

I’ll come back around to what I think of the plot in the next section, but before I do that I think we should get to know some of the characters I’ll be mentioning. Let’s start off with our protagonist, Christopher Chiaki, the roughly 20-year-old who was sent to the alternate world.

Unlike most modern isekai, Chris wasn’t actually entirely transported to the alternate world of Byston Well. Instead, his mind was split, with half of it being sent to Byston Well, and the other half remaining in his body in our own world. These two halves can then communicate telepathically across worlds.

We don’t really know all that much about Chris before he was sent to Byston Well, but we can assume his age due to the fact that he was heading to a high school reunion when his mind was split, and it’s said he failed the college entrance exam twice. So, we know he’s roughly college-aged.

The fact that he failed his college entrance exam twice also may point to the fact that Chris isn’t the smartest guy around. And, the dialogue certainly doesn’t help his case, such as when he wakes up and immediately says, “I felt like I was having a dream.”

Finally, when summoned to Byston Well, Chris is assumed to be a legendary warrior because he was gifted with a power known as Garzey’s Wing. Garzey’s Wing physically manifests as wings of light which come out of his feet, much like how we might imagine the winged feet of the Greek god Hermes.

Christopher Chiaki and a Metomeus tribe warrior from the anime OVA Tales of Byston Well: Garzey's Wing
Chris Chiaki and a Metomeus tribe warrior

Next up we have Falan Fa, a Ferario, which is essentially Byston Well’s version of a fairy. Falan Fa, like all Ferarios, comes from a place known as Kastunga Hill. As far as I can tell, Kastunga Hill serves as the gateway into Byston Well from other worlds.

As Chris was transported into Byston Well, Falan Fa got tangled in his haunted necklace as he passed through Kastunga Hill. So, just as Chris was sent to Byston Well against his will, so was Falan Fa, and she laments over how she could be back home with her friends if it weren’t for him.

Falan Fa serves as Chris’ guide and companion throughout his travels in Byston Well, but the rest of the inhabitants are racist against her. They claim that Ferarios are trickster spirits who will take any opportunity to make fools out of humans, though it’s unclear exactly where this bias came from.

Of all the English dub voice performances, I think Falan Fa’s was the best. The voice of Falan Fa was Roxanne Beck, and for those of you who grew up watching the English dub of Pokémon in the 90s, her voice may be familiar, especially if you’ve seen Pokémon: The Movie 2000 a million times like I have.

Hassan is the priestess of the Metomeus tribe, and possibly the one who summoned Chris to Byston Well. However, Chris continues to believe it was actually the spirit of the aforementioned Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, who I should mention is never actually shown or explained, who summoned him.

With the help of her two children, Aishe and Trance, Hassan is able to summon Garzey’s Wing to aid Chris in his battles against the Ashigaba kingdom. As far as we know, Hassan is single and it’s implied through a third party that Chris may have romantic feelings for her, although we never actually see this to be the case.

That third party’s name is Leelince, a female warrior and leader of the Metomeus tribe’s slave revolt. For a majority of the series we simply know Leelince as a strong warrior who seems to hate Chris because he doesn’t act like the legendary warrior he’s supposed to be.

However, during the final episode of the series it’s revealed that Leelince has actually just been a tsundere the entire time. The reason she was mean to Chris was because she secretly likes him, and she’s jealous of his relationship with Hassan, which she perceives to be romantic in nature.

About 30 seconds after Leelince’s true nature is revealed, she gets over it and returns to simply being a powerful warrior of the Metomeus tribe, so I’m not really sure what the point of it was.

There were a number of other fairly “important” characters in the anime, such as Ketta Keras, Undo N’gau, and Giant Tawrad, but if I’m being honest, the only characters who matter are those I’ve already gone over. And, as far as entertainment value is concerned, only Chris and Falan Fa matter.

Hidden Potential

Anyone who goes and watches the English dub of Garzey’s Wing can see for themselves why this series is so bad. However, I’d like to dedicate this section of the review to what I like to call the hidden potential of the anime, and use it to discuss the ways in which it was actually good.

The first thing to take into consideration is that Garzey’s Wing isn’t actually a full cour TV anime series, it’s a three episode OVA. But, despite the short length of the series, it attempted to build a world that would take multiple cours to fully explore.

It’s kind of like taking all 64 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and trying to tell the same story in 3 episodes, it just clearly wasn’t going to work out. That said, I truly believe that a modern remake of Garzey’s Wing could be a successful anime if it was two cours (24 episodes) long.

And, it should go without saying, but this modern remake would also need to be of an acceptable quality as far as art, animation, dialogue, and voice acting are concerned.

So why do I think Garzey’s Wing could be a good anime if it was done right and was a proper length? Simply because the base plot of the series wasn’t actually that bad. It’s an isekai, which is an extremely popular genre right now, but it’s not your typical isekai plot.

Yes, Chris is summoned into Byston Well as a hero, but he’s not there to defeat a demon lord or save the world as we’ve come to expect of isekai protagonists. Instead, he’s there to lead a slave revolt and save the Metomeus tribe from their rulers, the Ashigaba kingdom.

But, what I think makes Garzey’s Wing so unique is that the world of Byston Well truly feels like a fantasy world. This is partially due to the break from standard high fantasy races (e.g. Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, etc.), but also partially due to the lack of explanation about the world itself.

Chris, and us as the viewers, are suddenly thrown into the middle of a battle in a world we’re not familiar with. First of all, I’m a fan of the use of in media res, but more than that is the fact that we no nothing about this new world.

For example, if we watch any other generic fantasy isekai, the protagonist, and the viewers, already sort of know how the world is going to work. If we see a dwarf, we know they probably live inside a mountain and are skilled craftsmen who use axes in battle. These tropes are ingrained into us, and actually take away from the fantasy as far as I’m concerned.

However, in Byston Well there are no familiar creatures, and this is exemplified through Chris trying to explain to his other half in our world what he’s seeing. He sees people riding on giant monsters, and he calls them dinosaurs at first simply because he has no idea what they are and that’s the closest association he can make based on their appearance.

There are also mentions of far off lands such as Kastunga Hill, or other peoples such as the Garode tribe in the North, and these passing mentions help build up the world of Byston Well as a real place. We know there’s a much larger world out there than what we’re seeing by following Chris, and that’s important for a fantasy series.

Take The Lord of the Rings for example. In that series there are many places which are mentioned maybe once or twice, or not at all and simply pictured on a map and never visited. However, just knowing that all these places, such as the Iron Hills or Sea of Rhûn, are out there makes the world feel much bigger than what we actually see.

Unfortunately, this is something I don’t think many modern fantasy, which isekai is a sub-genre of, series do very well. It seems to me like creators these days simply don’t add in little details like this because they feel the need to explore everything they choose to add into their series to the fullest.

It’s as if they’re thinking, “why would I mention some far off land that my series will never actually explore?” And, by thinking this way, they’re actually limiting the scope of the world they’re creating.

But, with all this discussion on world building and how to make a fantasy world feel real, you may be thinking that the reason I would want a 24 episode remake of Garzey’s Wing is so the world can be flushed out more, but that isn’t the case. I think the world was built just fine.

The 24 episodes would instead be used to fully explore the various characters who are introduced in the series as well as the inclusion of an actual plot and conclusion.

As for character exploration, I don’t need to know the full history of the Garode tribe which Giant Tawrad is said to be a member of, but I’d like for him to actually be relevant in some way. Maybe give him some actual dialogue, personality, or screen time that isn’t just him standing on a hilltop.

For the plot, maybe just give us some flashbacks to put the slave revolt in context, or a bit more of an explanation of the legendary power that is Garzey’s Wing. And, finally, a real conclusion. I’m pretty sure they were heading to something called the Barju Tree the entire time, but we never actually saw them get there.

As the series stands, it’s unclear if the two versions of Chris were ever reunited or if the one half is just permanently stuck in Byston Well, and, no, I don’t think it was supposed to be ambiguous.

Conclusion

Okay, so I think a well-made Garzey’s Wing remake has potential, but how bad was the original OVA? Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Garzey’s Wing is the first anime I’ve completed which I would give a 1/10.

The animation is of low quality, the story is rushed to the point where the plot is almost non-existent, and the dialogue and voice acting are so bad that they make people think this series is a comedy, which it isn’t.

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