The first season was surprisingly good.
I picked up this show and dropped it after the first episode while it was first airing. I labeled it as a promotional video for pedophilia just like Black Bullet, but I was mistaken. Gate showed in the first season that it was an exciting action packed military anime series.
One day a gate to another world appears in Ginza, Tokyo. As monsters, and troops rush in and start attacking, otaku and military officer Youji Itami is caught in the cross fire. As he saves many lives, he gets an honorary award for this bravery.
Not long after he and his troops are being send into the gate to explore the other, primitive medieval world. Discovering this world has abundant resources, China and America want to join in to get a piece of the resource rich pie. This leads to a show with a diverse setting where politics, may it be very shallow, military and fantasy come together.
The politics and heavy focus on military gives a nice extra layer of depth to Gate. It reminds me a bit of Code Geass, where many parties struggle to stronghold the other, with a supernatural twist to the overall plot. But don’t be fooled by this dynamic, as it won’t go that deep into detail of true politics and heavy philosophy. The main focus of the show remains around Itami and his crew, and of course his tantalizing encounters with gothic Lolita demigoddess Rory, which will probably spike most male viewers’ fantasy.
Just like Call of Duty is the manifestation of the American power fantasy where it engages in extreme, high tech warfare, so is Gate for Japan. May it be in a less bombastic graphical fanfare. It reveals that Japan would/want/is capable of overwhelming an enemy with mighty firepower.
I grinned at scenes where the overwhelming firepower of modern technology destroyed medieval weaponry, showing the overpowered modern day military. Yes, warfare is bad etc. But Gate really played with most primal of instincts of humans.
Of course, modern military isn’t about civilian casualties, so Gate tries to mend its dark power hungry fantasy with helping the local population. As Itami and his crew move about in the other world, they meet many people, safe lives and learn about the cultural differences. Although I really enjoyed the other side of the spectrum where the medieval people learn about modern society. This story element results in pretty hilarious scenes and encounters.
Gate looked pretty decent, but it as with many shows with this art direction it misses something special. There is no real depth of field and I really find the lack of detail of the main character a missed opportunity.
The lines of the face are straight and shallow. Movements aren’t always as smooth or well drawn. Environment aren’t as creative or colorful when in the alternate world. The setting really suits itself for creative excellence, but the show decides not to use this to its full potential.
Gate proved it could deliver an action packed war themed series combined with a fantasy setting. The politics are shallow, but give the viewer some sense of depth to the story. The overall design may be a tad lacking, but it delivers nonetheless. I rate Gate an 8 out of 10.