"Would you kill someone you love because of love?" That's the main quote coming from the prequel to Ga-Rei which is Ga-Rei Zero. A story based on action, drama, and supernatural demons. (In some cases, slight humor and yuri-ish moments.)
Ga-Rei Zero story revolves around the characters Tsuchimiya, Kagura, and Isayama, Yomi. Yomi works for a supernatural disaster prevention team to exorcise (or kill,) demons. Not everyone can see a demon, so Yomi is special. She was also hired to protect Kagura ever since she was a little girl when Kagura's mother died. As for Kagura, She was born into a special family where they basically hold the most powerful demon in possession (basically demons can also be summoned and used if the exorcist is strong enough.) Kagura's father hold Byakuei, an Inugami who is so wild and strong that he needs to contain it within his own soul. He wants Kagura to be stronger, so Kagura joined the exorcists that Yomi was working for (as an after-school thing.) Yomi and Kagura eventually became great friends and so the story continued from there.
Like I said before, Ga-Rei Zero was the prequel to Ga-Rei. Unfortunately, the Ga-Rei manga was never adapted into an anime. If you compare Ga-Rei Zero to Ga-Rei there's not much difference in storyline since the manga starts off almost right where the anime leaves it off. The big difference in the manga is the manga's genre setting. There's more action, comedy, and ecchi-ness to it compared to Ga-Rei Zero. Zero was more a the drama thriller to push you to want to read the manga (which it did.) There's also a difference in main characters as well...
The new main character is a guy named Nimura, Kensuke. A person who has seen ghosts all his life. They also like to follow him too, when that happens he either runs, yells at them, or hits them (while the rest of the students think he's crazy.) He can't even maintain a stable relationship with a girlfriend like this. But one day by fate (or accident,) he ran into Kagura (a three yea older version of her from the anime, Zero.) At first she didn't know he could see ghosts, but when she did, she wanted to make use of his abilities and turn him into an exorcist. They both ran into a huge ghost/monster-like thing and eventually Kagura summoned Byakuei. When Kensuke saw this, he was bewildered. The defeated the ghost, and Kensukes adventures with Kagura started..
Compared to Kagura, Kensuke wasn't as strong as her, (just as normal for starters,) but even through the manga he really never became the "supreme ass-kicking hero." Both roles of Kagura and Kensuke were kind of equal throughout the manga. Eventually old friends appeared as well new ones. Also anything that was unexplained in Ga-Rei Zero was explained in the manga, which was a big plus in my opinion.
Overall, the entire Ga-Rei Zero and Ga-Rei story is a good one. There's plot twists, humor, and moments that may touch you. I personally think you should watch the prequel first so the ending of the manga truly feels like an ending. The only gripe about it is that in the manga, there's a final chapter and an epilogue chapter. I recommend skipping the epilogue, since to me it feels like it throws off that "mushy-sad-comfort zone" feeling you get when you try to complete a story. From what the manga creator said, the epilogue was only made to have closure of the manga and nothing else. But besides that, they're both awesome imo. I give Ga-Rei Zero a 4.6 out of 5 and Ga-Rei a 4.8 out of 5.
- Nathan Maruyama