It’s not unusual to have a stone ornament in the front garden, but in the case of the Yoshinaga family, theirs is a little different- it can actually come alive! Known as Gargoyle, this intelligent gatekeeper was created by alchemy, and his duty is to keep the Yoshinaga family safe from all the other weird and wonderful characters that infest the local neighbourhood.
It can be nice to have a change from the norm, and way back when the series began, Gargoyle seemed to be just that- a charming little series that offered something different from the usual range of anime settings. With an appealing blend of action and fantasy, not mention a whole range of colourful characters led by the calmly indomitable Gargoyle, each episode seemed like a breath of fresh air. After all, where else could you see a phantom thief who uses playing cards, or a helmet that lets the wearer talk to flowers?
Unfortunately, some concepts simply do not have much in the way of longevity, and as it turns out, Gargoyle is one of them. It may have run to nine volumes in novel form, but even a mere thirteen episodes seems too much for the series to cope with, and as it moves into its second half, you may begin to realise that you’ve had more than enough. Without any real main plot to tie things together, the series quickly becomes formulaic, and what begins as a feeling of tediousness each time the seventeen minute mark is reached and you realise that it’s time for the obligatory fight between the heroes and the villain of the week soon evolves into an unbroken monotony that encompasses the entire episode- until finally, the whole thing culminates in a lacklustre finale that makes the average anime ending actually look good.
As with the story (or lack of it), Gargoyle also suffers from problems with its characters- problems that become ever more apparent as the series progresses. What initially seems like a varied and interesting cast gradually loses it lustre, with the worthy characters- such as Gargoyle himself or the quiet and effeminate Kazumi- gradually becoming overshadowed by the more irritating ones. Even the lead, Futaba, who initially seems bearable, has a short temper and aggressive streak that quickly ensures she becomes a one joke personality, whilst others, such as the Engrish speaking Indian alchemist Hisham or the over-the-top members of the local shopping district, never deserved to be given any screen time whatsoever.
If there is one area in which Gargoyle can be said to consistently shine, it is in the visual department. With its bright colours, clean animation and cute character designs, Gargoyle at least always looks good, even when the content being animated is not particularly appealing. Action scenes are also reasonably well done, although the range of attacks used be each character is somewhat limited. As far as audio goes, the background music ranges from the catchy to the forgettable, whilst the OP and ED will be a little too saccharine for most, and are only saved by their energetic video sequences.
Like a bottle of fizzy drink, Gargoyle may taste good at first, but after a time it inevitably goes flat, leaving you with little desire to finish it off. The early episodes are good fun, but even watching this relatively short series over the course of an entire year cannot disguise the fact that it gets tiresome far too quickly.