No, this is not a joke, not an imaginary story. If you haven't seen it yet, Garuda, the movie, came out on DVD in North America last month.
I saw the Thai version last year, and actually, it's pretty bad, but the Garuda is in it and he's the star.
It seems that there used to be an entire race of Garudas (at Kazatega! We knew that!) but there was one Garuda who was big, bad and mean. The other Garudas all got together and sealed him away for all time. Ironically, this imprisonment actually preserved him when all the other Garuda became extinct.
So a million years later, we stupid humans let him out. Now, either he wasn't that big, bad and mean or he was weakened by all the other Garudas being dead. After all, he lost 10 STR and 10 MHP for every one that died. In the end, the humans kick his butt and they didn't even need to use a Death scroll!
So next time you land on a card shop, look for this movie. If someone released it for more magical power, maybe you can pick it up cheap.