Directed By: Takahito Kyógoku
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episode Count: 24
Audio: Japanese, English
Number of discs: 5 x DVD, 3 x BluRay
Licensed By: MVM Entertainment
Release Date: 23rd April 2018
Proud Otaku Yoji Itami is making his way to Comiket, when monsters from another realm emerge from a magical portal in central Tokyo! When the fight is over and the damage tallied, Itami is tasked with commanding a group of trained soldiers to travel into a new world. This world is filled with monsters, a royal family, dragons, magic and cat girls!
Ever since Sword Art Online I have come across more shows which deal with normal, everyday characters being transported to another world. GATE is no exception. Although it doesn’t rely on technology to travel into a new dimension, it was only by sheer coincidence that it happened in the middle of Tokyo. This anime has a strong military focus, whilst also dealing with an Otaku getting to travel into a land filled with dragons and human/animal hybrids. The sole focus of the Japanese Military is to establish a strong base in the new land, make a connection with the ruling kingdom and establish a trade agreement. There is a lot of politics that goes on in this show, but it doesn’t take away from the hilarious interactions between the characters and the dragon slaying action.
Itami himself is just a normal looking guy. Throw in his Otaku lifestyle and the sudden surprise that he has some mad military training, and it’s no wonder the government honored him after the attack. His demeanor and personality suggest that he doesn’t like being in command, that he is just dragging his feet to get by. However, throughout the show, we learn much more about Itami; he turns out to be private, strong and a very lucky man. The majority of the female cast is from this new dimension, known as the ‘Special Region’ to the Japanese. A mix of races exist here, but overall, the humans rule the kingdom with Princess Piña Co Lada (as in the drink) being Itami’s most frequent line of contact to the Imperial family. Princess Piña and her Rose Knights were only given ceremonial orders up until the arrival of the JSDF. From here, Piña’s character grew as she took on more responsibility, as she engaged in talks with the Japanese officials, once she understood that her Empire would fall if they were to go to war with the Japanese. We also have other female characters, including a young magician named Lelei La Lelena who grows very attached to Itami. Next we have Rory Mercury, demigoddess and the apostle of the god Emroy. Armed with a large halberd, she takes the lives of enemies and can sense when there is death in the air. She also has a very interesting reaction to its scent. Lastly we have Tuca, a High Elf who was rescued from the bottom of a well by Itami. Tuca is the sole survivor of her clan and has suffered a lot of psychological damage. She is constantly searching for her deceased father and later starts to associate Itami with him.
The action scenes in this show are often based around the military, with the series being told from the viewpoint of the Japanese. It is not long after the GATE has emerged in Tokyo that the JSDF are put into action and sent beyond the GATE. Using their military tactics and superior weaponry to establish a base in the new world, they successfully fight back Imperial forces. Itami and his team even use their weapons to kill a Flame Dragon. With the military gaining ground, the Empire trying to retaliate and with eventual peace talks and trade agreements, there is no shortage of action in the show. There is even a war between the royal family, with Itami having to step in to save the Princess. GATE is certainly one of the most enjoyable shows I have watched in a long time.
GATE is produced by A-1 Pictures, a Japanese Animation studio which was formed back in 2005. It is best known for producing Black Butler, Fairy Tail, Blue Exorcist and Sword Art Online. GATE was directed by Takahiko Kyógoku, who also directed Love Live! School Idol Project and Land Of The Lustrous. The animation in GATE was much like that in Sword Art Online, but unlike its predecessor, the storyline in GATE never faltered nor did the characters personalities end up doing backflips. The action scenes are smooth, as are the comedic ones. I wouldn’t suggest showing this show to anyone under twelve, just for some of the violence and for when Rory gets her hands on Itami.
Bonus Features Include:
The Collector’s Edition comes with the series on both DVD and BluRay, as well as twelve artcards and a seventy-four page artbook, all housed in a rigid artbox. You also have the usual clean opening and closing as well.
GATE was first introduced as a Japanese fantasy light novel named Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri back in 2006, and was written by Takumi Yanai. After its initial ten volumes, it was later reprinted in twenty volumes. The light novel was later adapted into a manga in 2011, which has also been published in English by Sekai Project. After the success of the anime, a sequel novel series named Gate: Weigh Anchor began publication in 2017.
Once again I must say that GATE has been an absolutely must–watch anime. Full of action, magic and military politics, as well as Itami getting surrounded by magical girls, a Princess and a demigoddess.