GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (A-1 Pictures) – Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Military
Episode 01 – The Self-Defense Force Goes to Another World”
With every new season of anime, there always seems to be that one series about an otaku that stumbles into a fantasy alternate reality world, whether it’s Sword Art Online, Outbreak Company, or No Game, No Life. This season, we have GATE, which has hints of many tropes like a lazy protagonist who is actually secretly badass, as well as a cast of beautiful ladies, but after the first episode, I want to believe that this series can be different from the rest.
I know this is kind of the mentality I had when going into DanMachi, and while that didn’t entirely pan out all that well, I wholeheartedly believe that at its most basic core, GATE is already building up to be a pretty unique story. First of all, the protagonist is a 33 year-old guy in the Japanese military, much older than most heroes we’re used to, though admittedly his personality isn’t too different than some protagonist in high school. Secondly, rather than getting trapped in a fantasy realm, his world becomes connected by the titular gate that suddenly appears one day in the heart of Tokyo. In GATE, it’s not about adapting or exploring some new land, it’s about managing this new bridge between the two worlds, whether that means defending against incoming attacks or waging an operation of attack.
I’m not entirely sure if I liked the pacing of the first episode, but it’s likely a necessary evil needed to push series into the meat of the story. Five minutes in and we already see people getting brutalized by monsters. Then there’s a slower, expository section about Itami’s ascension to the rank of Second Lieutenant. We barely get to know about him or his comrades in arms before we’re shoved off again into battle. I take it on faith that we’ll learn more about his platoon, as well as all of the other characters, especially given that this is a 24 episode series. I just can’t shake that there could have been a better way to order these events in the narrative.
To summarize, I’m excited for what GATE has to offer. The cast of characters seems really interesting, spanning across the Japanese military and the fantasy world, and we have a less conventional male protagonist to look forward to. From what we can tell, he works solely to fund his otaku hobbies, but he isn’t afraid to kill and has some sense of duty, shown when he sees that little girl looking at her dead parents. The animation style features brush lines in some scenes similar to another A-1 Pictures military work, Valkyria Chronicles, and it looks great here as well.
“So if you asked me which I’d choose, my job or my hobby, my hobby takes priority.” ~ Youji Itami