GATE is an adventure anime based on the light novel bearing the same name written by Takumi Yanai. The story revolves around a 33 year old otaku, and Japan Special Defense Force soldier, named Youji Itami, who is one day going to an anime event in Tokyo, and then is forced into stopping an invasion of monsters and soldiers coming out of a mysterious portal that appeared inside of the same shopping center he was walking through. He then gets promoted for assisting in dispelling the invasion, and is put in charge of the JSDF squad in charge of going inside of the gate which the invaders came from, in order to investigate the world beyond.
The rest of this review, will unfortunately be riddled with spoilers, so please do not read beyond this point if you have not seen it.
I can’t really compare this show to anything, because I haven’t seen anything like it before, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wonderful. Bear with me though, because there are redeemable parts to it.
The story isn’t too difficult to wrap your head around. It starts out like how I mentioned above, however, the JSDF team assigned to going in and gathering intelligence about the area beyond the gate are met with enemy forces as soon as they step in, which results in a huge battle where the enemy army is completely annihilated by the JSDF due to their superior weapons, causing stories to spread all throughout the region that there are extremely powerful invaders from another world who are unable to be defeated. The JSDF ends up meeting a sorceress (and only human), who ends up as the translator between the humans and the citizens of the unknown region, named Lelei, an elf, Tuka, and a demigoddess who is also an apostle of death, Rory. The JSDF convinces them to come back to Japan with them to act as ambassadors of the world beyond, as well as to help the JSDF explain to the Japanese media and government what had happened during their interactions in the unknown region, as well as what transpired during the battle between one of the kingdoms beyond the gate, and the JSDF.
The animation is one of this show’s saving graces. The studio behind it, A-1 Pictures, the studio who also animates Fairy Tail, Sword Art Online, Magi, and iDOLM@STER, had no shortage of money or talent. Everything looks gorgeous, and all of the battle scenes were smoothly animated. Although the characters looked straight out of Sword Art Online as a stylization choice (I know, the Light Novel illustrations look different), the world in which they are exploring, looks just so beautiful.
The sound director of this show, Yukio Nagasaki, the sound director of notable shows such as Beck, Akatsuki no Yona, and the film, Asura, managed to make the soundtrack of this show very memorable and fitting, especially during the battle scenes. However, I feel as though his talents could have been used much more had there been more battle scenes in this first season, but, if he stays on the team, then there will be much more room for his abilities to shine through, rather than most of his talents being used on directing slice of life scenes.
Thoughts and Opinions
GATE, to me, was a well animated, average show with a good soundtrack, and good character designs. None of the story makes too much sense. Part of the conflict was that other countries were pressuring Japan to get natural resources from the area beyond the gate, but, if that were the case, why didn’t Japan join in and ask the SDF to do so as well? It seems way too much like Japan is being painted as the good guys, when in a normal situation, they would probably investigate into the resources that the unknown region had as well. Also, why were all of the SDF so willing to just go inside of the gate, and didn’t want anything for themselves? I feel as though there would be at least one or two disgruntled soldiers that would want to get rich off of the kingdom that they defeated in battle. There’s more I could nitpick on, but, I’m just upset because I feel as though there was a lot of potential with the premise, but, none of it was capitalized on in order to make a feel good show, with flashy exposition with no real conflict. I will watch the next season, if there is one, so I won’t drop it completely, but, I wasn’t too impressed with this first season at all.
6/10 Tacos. Consider adding it to your backlog if you want a feel good show with some nice visuals.
Review By: Himecatherine