There have certainly been a lot of fantasy RPG-style anime shows that have come out over the years, but none of them take this kind of approach too often. Sure, it’s been done before with shows like Log Horizon, but this one takes a slightly different method to merging the worlds of fantasy and reality. It’s medieval military meets modern military in GATE: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri from A-1 Pictures!
One day a portal opens up in Ginza, Tokyo and everything from knights to orcs to dragons come pouring out as they launch an all out attack on the modern world. The Japanese Self Defense Force responds with their military might and it’s pretty much the equivalent of fishing in a bucket using a tomahawk cruise missile.
Among those who helped quell the invasion was Youji Itami… an otaku who was visiting a doujinshi convention on the day of the attack. On that day he was also an off duty member of the JSDF and used his knowledge of the RPG world to help protect the people against the invasion. Once the invasion was over, the JSDF decided to venture beyond the gate into the other world in order to negotiate a truce. That is where our story begins.
This show’s story was executed pretty well, in my opinion. This had to be one of the best anime shows A-1 has produced in quite some time in terms of overall continuity. The cast of characters could seem cookie cutter at first, but they all held within them some unique quirks that caused them to stray away from the norm. Each character also had their own story to tell and helped the overall story in the process, too.
While the main story itself is very straight-forward… working towards peace and a possibility of making the alternate world an ally, the journey to achieve that goal is what is unique. From befriending the princess of the city of Italica, to protecting it, helping to rescue villagers, slaying dragons, and introduction a bit of Japanese modern culture to people living in the equivalent of the stone age all helped paint a wonderful picture of both worlds and helped sell the overall story.
Well done, A-1!
The characters here aren’t really fleshed out with deep back stories or multi-layered aspects, but they have enough information and innate qualities to make them unique and relatable. A lot of that has to be attributed to their personalities and overall roles within the show. Each character fits, doesn’t feel like a plot device, and has a unique purpose. It’s proof you don’t need 20 episodes of back story and every detail about them and their family’s history in order to feel attached to a character and get behind them.
But enough of the banter… let’s break them down!
Here is our main protagonist. He is a member of the JSDF and after his role in saving civilians from the invasion, he was promoted to second lieutenant. This is bothersome to him because all he wanted to do was work to support his hobby of being an otaku and now he has more responsibility than ever. He is put in charge of leading the expedition to the other world in order to establish peace. Once he gets there, he meets the rest of our cast of characters.
Itami is a great main character. He’s passive enough to show his laid back persona, but he takes charge when he needs to… even if he is reluctant to do so. Unlike most passive protagonists, he doesn’t seem afraid to step into battle.. he just believes that everything is bothersome.. kind of like Shikamaru from the Naruto series. Itami is also one of the best soldiers the JSDF has ever seen, completing even some of the toughest training the military has to offer, but Itami brushes it off as no big deal. He only did it because he had to. I really love this character!
Pina Co Lada
Greatest… Character… Name… EVER.
Aside from being a delicious alcoholic beverage, Pina Co Lada is the princess of the city of Italica and the one who is helping Itami and the JSDF establish a peaceful diplomatic relationship between the two worlds. Of course, Pina is doing it under the premise of a HUGE misunderstanding that has her on the verge of breaking down into a nervous wreck. After witnessing the might of the JSDF, she’s afraid that they will attack her city and destroy everything. She knows full well that not even magic could possibly stop them and that she wants to do everything in her power to make sure they don’t attack.
All of her worrying is for nothing because the JSDF has zero intentions of ever doing that. They simply showed up to offer help and establish a friendly relationship, but thanks to the language barrier between the two worlds, a lot of stuff gets lost in translation and it ends up in hilarity!
Pina is also a great character. She comes off as a noble woman with high prestige, but she also comes off as kind of a dunce who is lacking in the common sense department. I know seeing something like the JSDF’s military might can be very intimidating when all you’ve known your entire life is swords and boards, but when they show zero hostility towards you, offer you help, and even defend your city for you.. you should be able to put two and two together that they’re not here to flatten everything in sight. It makes her adorable, though!
Lelei La Lalena
Try saying her name five times fast.
Lelei is a magic user who was rescued by Itami after a fire dragon attacked their town. The JSDF couldn’t just leave them to fend for themselves so they invited the townspeople to stay with them at their makeshift base on Alnus Hill. Lelei becomes interested in the Japanese language and begins to study it. She then becomes a bridge between the two worlds, serving as an interpreter.
Lelei is also void of emotion as well. She speaks quietly, almost in whispers, but she is very knowledgeable for her age. Even though she doesn’t display emotions, she’s not uncaring. She is more curious than anything and is always looking to learn and grow. You may have seen this archetype before, but using her as the bridge between worlds fits and it just seems like the right thing to do in this situation. Not much more is needed when it comes to this character.
Tuka Luna Marceau
When the JSDF first discover the fire-breathing dragon, they stumbled across the remnants of a town that the dragon had just destroyed. At the bottom of a well in the middle of town was Tuka.. a member of the elf race. They rescued her and brought her back to the base where she was forever grateful, but there was something a bit off about Tuka. She doesn’t quite understand the fact that her father passed away in the dragon attack and she imagines that he is still with her in some form. In fact, she is often seen wandering around the camp looking for her father.
It’s actually pretty sad when you think about it. She’s either in really deep denial or she truly doesn’t know that he passed away. There’s even moments where the JSDF want to tell her that he’s gone, but with the way she acts, it could be something that could break her mentally so they leave her to her own devices for now. So far, it’s been pretty harmless and it doesn’t affect her in a way where it would be a distraction, but who knows what the future holds.
Her personality is kind of plain, though. There really isn’t much to her outside of the missing father syndrome. She is playing the role of the support character pretty well and at times, she’s made out to resemble a typical teenage girl character more than an elf. I felt like they could have done a bit more with her, but the whole missing father aspect has enough intrigue generated to make you believe that there will be more depth to her in the future, but so far in the first half of the series, we just don’t get that far.
Rory is a demigoddess and an apostle of Emroy the god. She also goes by the nickname Rory the Reaper.. a name that is well-known and feared throughout the land. Despite looking like a 13 year old girl, Rory is actually 961 years old.
Rory is… well… quite into killing her enemies.. to the point where she gets excited… in THAT way. She also seems to have an attraction towards Itami as well and spends portions of the show trying to seduce him.. and failing miserably. Her personality is very caustic and filled with confidence as it should be because she is highly skilled with a scythe, but at the same time, she seems kind of like a goof. In some episodes she acts like the child she is depicted as despite being as old as she is. It’s a nice little quirk to her overall character. Plus, she can’t die so I guess that’s always a plus, but there are some who would argue against being immortal. The debate is like Twix… pick a side!
Yao Haa Dushi
Here is a late addition to the series. She doesn’t appear until the second to last episode. She is a 300 year old dark elf whose village is on the brink of destruction from a wounded fire dragon. Her clan tells her to seek out the men in green and ask for their aid. So she sets out on a journey, but the language barrier prevents her from asking for any kind of help. She finds a way to overcome that barrier, but she is denied.
I can’t really go into her too much as there really isn’t much to tell. I can say that she is a gateway character in the fact that she is setting up the story for the second part of the season, which will being airing in January 2016. She seems like a copy of Pina in the sense that she is a revered member of her clan, but she comes off as a dunce. A bit upsetting that they remixed a character’s personality already, but I still haven’t seen enough of her to reserve that kind of judgment.
That pretty much rounds out the main cast of characters. Everyone else holds a minor support role and doesn’t really get fleshed out much.. if at all. The only one that gets any kind of recognition is Takeo Kurata… he’s Itami’s driver and a fellow otaku who is into girls with cat ears. He and Itami go off on otaku tangents throughout the show.
While the support characters are just that, the main cast has enough going for them where you don’t really need the support characters fleshed out. The main cast can hold their own and the supports can just be those bridges between scenes or used to connect points in the plot and story. It’s a good example of how not everyone needs to be in the spotlight, but yet, still feel important.
Art, Animation, and Sound
The animation is okay. It’s not the best when you take all of this season’s shows into consideration, but it seems like the opening to the show got the majority of the budget. CG was reserved for things such as the military vehicles and the dragons, but when it was used, it wasn’t GLARINGLY obvious like in some other shows (coughCHAOSDRAGONcough). It mixed it in well, but even still, this looked like a typical A-1 budget show that’s not named Sword Art Online. Not saying the art and animation was bad.. it just wasn’t stellar.
The sound is one of the anime’s strong points. From the cheesy military theme, to the light-hearted background music to some of the more driving music during the dramatic scenes, everything fits here perfectly. Also, the opening is performed by Kishida Kyoudan who is best known for her opening to Highschool of the Dead. With her newest song, titled the same as the anime, it seems as if we were listening to HOTD’s opening all over again. There are certain parts of the song that seem eerily familiar, but the vocals say otherwise. It’s a good song that’s catchy enough to listen to a few times and I give it my recommendation.
I was a bit confused at first because this was originally listed as 25 episodes. I thought I would be watching this throughout the autumn season, but apparently A-1 decided to split GATE in half and hold off on the second part of the series until the winter season. What I also like is that it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. The show actually puts forth the effort to make it a seamless transition for when the show begins airing again. The show ended in a typical “time to wait until next week” fashion, except next week is three months away. Mot a lot of shows will take that kind of risk. They will opt to end it on a huge cliffhanger to hook people into coming back to it when it begins airing again. It’s a risky move, but I think the show was enjoyable enough to the point where people will come back regardless.
Overall, I felt that this is a great show that I can’t wait to see more of. I recommend people to check it out if you want something different from a fantasy anime. On the outside it looks like a typical fantasy RPG show, but it gives you something different and in this case, that something different is pretty good!
The only awkward parts of the show happened when the JSDF fought anyone on the other side of the gate. I mean when you have fighter jets and Apache helicopters going against catapults and men armed with swords and shields, you can’t help but feel for the bad guys… even if they deserved it. It was completely overkill, but I guess that is part of the dark humor of the show… at least I laughed at those parts. Is it wrong of me to?
This seems completely fair!
Apache Helicopters vs Dragons? Sign Me Up For That!
A different spin on the fantasy genre with characters good enough to reel you in!
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