|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Gate is a twist on the "another world" premise popularized with a number of recent anime titles in that a portal crossing over into another world is investigated by the Japanese military, who try to establish diplomatic relations with the medieval-like kingdoms of this world. While our lead of focus, Youji Itami, is an otaku, the anime is wise not to heavily focus on this aspect of his character as other titles would as the series mostly focuses on him leading Japanese military officers in engaging residents of the parallel world they travel into, having peaceful or hostile interactions with them depending on their intentions. The politics between the two factions are also explored as Japan establishes relations with several of the kingdoms in the other world, and also find themselves facing hostilities from some who view the country as a threat to their influence. A number of characters in the other world also get focused on with the show exploring their back stories and some gradual developments they undergo, most notable being Tuka Luna learning to cope with the loss of her father. The series is also quite believable in depicting how battles between medieval and modern era weapons would realistically play out as despite the greater numbers and influence of the kingdoms at play, the modern tactics and weaponry of the JSDF are able to handle most situations without much difficulty.
In spite of these highlights though, GATE does come with a good deal of major issues for me. The series seems to glorify the JSDF a bit heavily here as the soldiers are depicted to have pure intentions in all their actions and never seem to come under fire from the residents of the parallel world. Itami gradually finds himself developing a sort of harem with the three girls of the parallel world he encounters as the three have varying degrees of affection for him that they demonstrate at points in the show. A number of characters fall under character types you would come across in some form in other anime titles and get limited to no depth as a result. Also not helping matters is that the series does end inconclusively as the JSDF still find themselves at odds with The Empire.
Overall, I suppose my perception of GATE is a bit mixed. While the series creates some new storytelling elements with its "another world" premise with exploring diplomatic relations between Japan and a fantasy world, it seems to get a wee bit too nationalistic with its exploration with the JSDF being glorified and the series still doesn't totally shy away from more conventional tropes of anime with its character types and Itami drawing multiple girls to take interest in him. I suppose your mileage may vary on how well you warm up to GATE.
Last updated Thursday, January 11 2018. Created Thursday, January 11 2018.
(Two and a half episodes watched):|
The modern-day Japanese army takes on Middle Earth-like sword & sorcery opponents? There's nothing like something that is patently impossible happening to create an interesting situation. If, that is, a serious effort is made to give the premise at least a semblance of plausibility. And that did not seem to me to be the case here. There are few things I hate more than when something that is totally incredible happens in an anime, and the characters just seem to shrug it off. Here it's as if the people of Japan, while tactically taken by surprise by the appearance of this gateway, expected something like this to happen sooner or later. If such a thing really happened, it would shake the collective understanding of the human race of just what reality itself is; but in this anime the shock wears off overnight and the characters don't seem to be all that startled. And why weren't the 'invaders' particularly amazed by what had happened to them? There was nothing but a comment about how bricks and marble were about the only things one of their leaders recognized. So, I cannot be particularly optimistic about how intriguing this story will be. And the 'otaku army officer' bit seems kind of absurd as well, and the cute magical girl characters that appear in the OP sequence don't seem likely to be part of a original tale of adventure and discovery in an unknown world. So, I can only scratch my head and wonder what the idea was here. But I will be watching some more episodes, even if my hopes are not high, because such a freaky premise as this demands an explanation.
Holy crap--the sword and spear wielding army of this alternate world attacked the JSDF and was cut to pieces--the figures are for tens of thousands killed. It was a massacre, not a battle, like a 19th century colonial affair involving Zulus or Dervishes. Apparently the Japanese didn't lose a man. Only a small part of this slaughter is shown to us. What's revealing about the quality of this show is that nobody among the Japanese seems to feel the slightest shock about this carnage--it's as if their opponents had been insects, not human beings. Was any effort made to dissuade the warriors from hurling themselves to certain death? Itami's unit makes some small gestures of friendship to local villagers; other than that, the JSDF seems intend on just killing everybody who might pose a threat to Japan if they got through the gate. The idea seems to be to justify the slaughter to the viewer by making the king of this land an evil, conniving person. This story is so damn simplistic; a strange premise demands a little quality and novelty to flesh it out, but that doesn't seem to be forthcoming. As is often the case with anime nowadays, I bet I could've written a better story. I guess I will watch one more episode to see if any explanation or justification is offered for what the expedition is trying to do, but my bet is that it won't.
This all reminds me of a war movie that was made while a major war--like WWII--was underway. We are the good guys, and good guys can only get killed (once in a while) if they die heroic and painless deaths. Otherwise morale might suffer. The enemy is to blame for everything, and our actions are completely justified. Don't try anything ambitious or daring, just crank out simple stories which drive home these messages. Those rules are enough of a handicap for even a good team of writers and filmmakers, and Gate clearly cannot claim to have one of those. It just feels corny; the characters are shallow and uninteresting, the JSDF people don't seem to be in any real danger, and the jokes are painfully unfunny (like the misunderstanding between a wizard and his assistant in episode three). I fast-forwarded through most of episode three and decided to abandon the series as a whole when the new characters turned out to be tired and predictable. This is another of the sort of anime which frustrate me because, while I am a complete amateur who would have a hard time coming up with a good basic premise, I could surely have greatly improved this show if I had been given a chance to edit the plot. It would be more fun for me to rewrite this show than to watch it as it is.
Last updated Tuesday, July 28 2015. Created Sunday, July 05 2015.