WARNING: SPOILERS, DUH. Also, semi-gorey image.
Ga Rei Zero is a pretty interesting tale with complex characters, cool powers and great battles. It also has a completely shocking and downright trolling first episode.
The first episode, by all means, seems really formulaic. There’s a team of soldiers each with their own particular character traits tackling the various supernatural disturbances across Japan. Standard fare, yawn, move on.
They have a great battle, a fairly successful mission, a successful rescue, hooray! Looks like everything’s fine and dandy for the rest of this series.
Oh wait, they all got viciously slaughtered right before the end credits and we find out that there’s a completely different set of main characters, the person who did the slaughtering being one of them.
I mean….what the hell!? Elfen Lied level gore and sudden deaths that just hit you like a brick made of knives to the face to all of the characters we’ve gotten to know thusfar. It’s incredibly effective. In fact I’d say it’s one of the best ‘pilot’ episodes of a show I’ve ever seen because it really latches onto you and makes you ask what exactly happened to get this point? Who is that girl? Was she an ally? Why is she an enemy now? What is going on? It is definitely right the hell out of left field and it is just blunt, awesome and incredibly shocking.
Honorable Mentions: Krillin’s death at the hands of Frieza in DBZ. Zazie the Beast’s death in Trigun.