Friday, February 12, 2016

Gate: jieitai kanochi nite, kaku tatakaeri review

Gate: jieitai kanochi nite kaku tatakaeri or also known as Gate is personally one of my favourite anime this season. It is what you would've imagine when the modern world meet an older, fantasy world setting. It is like when you play Sid Meier's Civilization, only in anime form. Fantasy enters reality and reality enters fantasy. Both worlds are separated by a gate and at the center of it, there’s a man named Youji Itami.

In August of 20XX, a portal to a parallel world, known as the "Gate," suddenly appeared in Ginza, Tokyo. Monsters and troops poured out of the portal, turning the shopping district into a bloody inferno. The Japan Ground-Self Defence Force immediately took action and pushed the fantasy creatures back to the "Gate." To facilitate negotiations and prepare for future fights, the JGSDF dispatched the Third Reconnaissance Team to the "Special Region" at the other side of the Gate. Youji Itami, a JSDF officer as well as a 33-year-old otaku, was appointed as the leader of the Team. Amid attacks from enemy troops the team visited a variety of places and learnt a lot about the local culture and geography. Thanks to their efforts in humanitarian relief, although with some difficulties they were gradually able to reach out to the locals. They even had a cute elf, a sorceress and a demigoddess in their circle of new friends. On the other hand, the major powers outside the Gate such as the United States, China, and Russia were extremely interested in the abundant resources available in the Special Region. They began to exert diplomatic pressure over Japan. A suddenly appearing portal to an unknown world—to the major powers it may be no more than a mere asset for toppling the international order. But to our protagonists it is an invaluable opportunity to broaden knowledge, friendship, and ultimately their perspective towards the world. (Source: Baka-Tsuki)

The story does not shy itself from starting with a bang. The Ginza massacre gives the audience the feeling that this would not be your usual fantasy themed anime but instead more serious fantasy anime. This incident lead to the opening of a gate to the new world, and a clash between the modern and fantasy world. While it is not an all out war, mostly ended up with one side get massacred effortlessly, the main focus of the anime is in the small militia band lead by Itami himself. He and his platoon are the bridge between these two world, eventually the story changed it courses from a war-like start to an effort for peace between the two nations. The technical aspects of the show are really good. Though Gate never loses its character focus, the idea of spending a lot of time exploring political, economics, philosophical and a wide variety of subjects about the fantasy world can be very boring but important for us to understand the motivations of certain characters. As well it is necessary to understand the series better. In terms, the series try it’s best to describe the best path for humanity against this fictional world. It has its merits and its flaws, but above all it is not simple. This issue is rather complex to be discussing or used in most anime series and yet Gate does a nicely job showing the themes. While the overall story feels short and incomplete, it serves as a great foundation for the upcoming second cour of the anime.

GATE’s characters are highly diverse not just because in term of personalities but also by races; as in non-human races. Itami is an older male (as opposed to the high school teenagers you’d commonly see these days and also an avid otaku. While at first he may look like your usual main character, he's actually really refreshing to watch. It s more than meets the eye despite his easygoing and lazy personalities. He can be really calm and collected, and his leadership skills in his platoon are something to admire for. Overall, he is a casual guy who is kind at heart and easily able to make friends with others. The three main heroines who joined Itami consists of three girls – Tuka Luna Mareau which is a 165 year old elf, Lelei La Rellena who is a 15 year old human from the fantasy world, and Rory Mercury, a demi-goddess don in gothic lolita outfit who is apparently over 900 years old. These characters have different personalities but also creates fascination as they enter the real world. What we witness throughout the story is how they adapt with real world concepts such as modern life technology and politics. As for now, the story have not advanced far enough to actually dwelve deeper into the past and to further develop their character, but perhaps later on in the series we will get deeper understanding on their motvation for joining Itami's cause.

The art and animation are amazing. The attention to detail from the entire scenery of the world down to military equipment are perfect. The character design keeps the story tone balanced from being too dark and grim, while maintaining a casual style. The military design reveals a strong degree of realism with its arsenal of weapons throughout the show, perfect for huge military geeks; from tanks, to airplanes, to individual equipments. The animation are smooth and consistent for the rest of the show. The high-end action is carefully placed and definitely top notch. Soundtrack is powerful but not the type of mind-blowing you may expect. The OP and ED theme song has a catchy tone to it with a modest style of storytelling. On most parts, the OST works well enough to match the intense atmosphere of the action and lighthearted moments. One great example is the usage of Flight of  theValkyries which makes one of the scene to be really epic.

Overall I would reinforce my statement that gate is one of my top pick this season. It is a show that opens a gate with wealth of interests. It blurs between the lines of fiction and reality, and does quite well on most parts with its creativity. Certain audiences such as those interested in political or military affairs may find this more enjoyable than others. For those who loves action, Gate can be appealing although it’s not a main focus of the story. A definite watch for this season. And after you watch this, make sure you watch the second season afterwards.

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