By Operation Rainfall Contributor / September 24th, 2015
REVIEW DISCLAIMER: This review contains spoilers for GATE.
|Title||GATE: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place|
|Original Run||July 4, 2015 – ongoing|
Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place tells the story of a Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) soldier, Yoji Itami, who is an out spoken otaku. His character is revealed through out the season as you find out he is a ranger and also special forces with the JSDF. In the first few episodes, a gate opens in Japan that allows travel to another world. This world is seen as an otaku’s dream, being home to elfs, magicians, warriors, and dragons.
After the initial attack on Japan from the special region, it is shown that these other world dwellers are still in a Roman age, using horses, swords and arrows. The Japanese control the situation using helicopters, guns and explosives. As the war continues, the Japanese take over the gate and set up camp in the other world. They are met with some resistance, but the special region armies never stand a chance up against the Japanese soldiers. They are mowed down and quickly defeated. The JSDF are rarely met with any type of confrontation that they can’t solve without the use of their firepower which makes it hard to believe that anything can hurt them. This is addressed later on in the series where other military from Earth’s nations try to kill the main group of special region residents during their trip to Japan.
The political side of GATE is constantly teased, but it never seems to go anywhere. The Presidents from different countries all seem to be planning something, yet, they never make a move outside of the raid of the bath house which ended up with a brilliant fight between a horde of military members versus Rory. Rory is definitely a character that I didn’t understand at first. It’s confusing why she even joined the main group. I later just assumed that she was interested in their movement and knows that if she follows them she’ll be closer to war which seems to please her in more way than one. The reasons for the involvement of other Earth nations is to acquire the natural resources that the special region might hold. There are a few good surprises that GATE offers, one of those was an homage paid to Apocalypse Now where the helicopters are flying in and a soldier sits on his helmet so his privates don’t get shot off.
My problem with the main protagonist, Itami, is that he never does anything that special outside of making the choice to help people. His overall strength is never shown, but every girl in series seems to respect him and idolize his actions. I do like him though and maybe that’s because he is so true to his own personality. His strength is in his open mind to help those around him without bias, well, maybe he is a bit biased towards the Elf race. GATE doesn’t seem to rely on a musical soundtrack, instead, it sticks with generic tavern themes and other expected tunes. What GATE does right with it’s sound is found in the background. nature, towns people, and battle scenes are done so well that they truly make you feel that you are in this world.
GATE‘s 12 episode run ends with multiple cliff hangers.There were a few story arcs that didn’t find a true ending like, Tuka hasn’t found closure for her dead father that she is always searching for, Princess Pina is still trying to get peace between her region and the JSDF, Yao has yet to meet Itami in order get his help to defeat the fire dragon, and Earth’s other nations have not made their move on attempting to take over the gate. These arcs will definitely be brought to a close when the series continues in January, but for now we have to wait.
GATE has an amazing set of characters that are brought together by a very well written story. Each scene was engaging as I never felt lost while watching, even in the more story heavy parts. Some might be turned off by the over powered military making it hard to believe that there could be anything that anything really threatens the JSDF or the lack of reasons why Itami is so well liked, but I feel like it all plays well with the story that the anime is trying to deliver. This is an anime that fans of fantasy, action and drama will enjoy and my score reflects just that.
GATEgate: the self defence force