We go all out the second time around.
I’ve said in the first season review, that I misjudged Gate by its first episode. It didn’t really grip me, but after giving it a second chance I got hooked on Gate, so consequently the expectations for the second season were high.
Japan is still operational within the otherworld beyond the gate, now more entangled within the political framework of the alternate reality. The supremacy of Japan as a modern superpower still dominates the show, but Youji is more involved than ever to bring back stability to the region they’ve invaded.
The first half, interestingly enough, focuses heavily on the defeat of the red flaming dragon we’ve seen early in the first season. They’ve played a bit too long with this arc, since the real power of the show is the inner workings of the alternate medieval world and the dominance of modern Japan, which invokes the most primitive of instincts within the viewer.
What really dominated the second season of Gate, were the diverse set of Arcs. Lelei wanted to become a master Magician, Tuka needed to cure her trauma of her dead father and the Red Dragon had to be defeated. Plus, Japan was trying to remain in peace with the empire that was supposed to be ruled by Pina co Lada(haha, alcoholic beverage reference right there).
This gave the second season of Gate a little haphazard feel . Sometimes it went all over the place to rush its arcs and continue the main plot. I’m not really sure what the main plot was supposed to be, but I’m pretty confident it was the involvement of Japan and the Empire to rob them of their precious resources. This element didn’t really come along that often, which can be a good thing. I’m confident not many viewers would be interested to watch a political drama series. It’s about the action after all.
Nonetheless did I miss some consistency. The only reason I can think of why the studio choose this approach was the limited amount of episodes left to complete the story. Arcs had to be closed off as soon as possible to give the series a fulfilling ending. If they were able to squeeze in one or two more episodes to make more fluent transitions, I’m sure it would benefit the story greatly.
The overall look and feel of Gate is pretty steady, although I can’t ignore the fact that the animation was sloppy at times. Some characters had weird proportions and side characters often lacked some detail.
Lacking a sense of detail can break down the overall experience of the series, especially when they are almost in plain view. The soundtrack isn’t that spectacular and not overly present. Perhaps they can invite the Guitly Crown sound crew, since they’ve shown to be one of the best in the industry.
Despite the shortcomings within the storytelling, Gate itself was a great watch. The characters really took me into their world and I’m very intrigued by the contrast between two worlds that are so vastly different on so many levels. This is something that the studio has done very well and kept that consistency far into the second season as well. I was critical because Gate really gripped me and there I rate Gate a 9 out of 10 for its stellar performance.