Episode 02 – “The Two Armies”
I never realized how much I needed to see a fantasy army of horseback and dragon mounts get blasted and annihilated by modern military technology until today. I almost felt bad while watching these hardened warriors, the best of their class, get effortlessly wiped out like insects, but I think it speaks a lot to what happened in our own world’s history during the age of colonization and imperial conquest. Wars are won simply based on who happens to have better developed weapons technology, and in this case the Japanese Self-Defense Force won handily.
The difference in arms strength almost makes the Japanese look like the bad guys, until suspicions are confirmed that the Emperor of the Empire is simply using this war as a way to cripple neighboring nations. He threw their armies at the Japanese while withholding his own, allowing for a stronger grip on the world’s population. It’s an incredibly genius and villainous plan, but it leads me to wonder what makes the Emperor think that his own forces can combat the clearly superior Japanese military. Surely this means he has some sort of diabolical ace up his sleeve that will be revealed soon enough.
What we do know is that he has a daughter that is willing to fight in the name of the Empire as well. While this makes her part of the antagonists, I have a strong hunch that there will be some development between her and the Japanese military, leading to a possible change in alliance. It just seems difficult to believe that a character that appears so righteous would knowingly align herself with a man who would attack and poison his own populous.
Speaking of new characters, we meet a bunch in this episode, namely the members of Itami’s new investigative squad. My favorite is already Shino Kurebayashi because of her no-nonsense personality, cute stature, and seiyuu, Maaya Uchida. Of course, this could change anywhere along the way because it looks like there are a ton of characters yet to be seen. I’m a pretty big fan of the Emperor’s daughter, Pinya Co Lada, too if only for her ridiculous name. I’ve also been looking for more roles with Haruka Tomatsu and her “gruff” voice.
In the last moments, we find a blonde elf in a well, who will surely have some strong significance to the plot. She’s featured prominently in the OP, after all. The first episode of GATE laid the groundwork for something with interesting potential, and this second really dug deep with the story, once again leaving all sorts of intriguing avenues for the narrative to take in the episodes to come.
“Do you think that dragon really has a habit of burning down forests for no reason?” ~ Youji Itami