It is always nice to discover original scripts in the anime world, and “Gate” provided an excellent “what if?” story, and managed to follow it to the end.
A portal from another world appears inexplicably in Ginza, Tokyo, and a legion of Roman-style soldiers spread havoc and death in the area. The Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) eventually repel them, while Itami, an officer who happened to be in the area shopping for manga, becomes an unlikely hero in the process.
Soon after, the Japanese government decides to send the SDF to the unknown world, in order to negotiate a treaty with the Empire that rules there. After a series of fights, where the modern weaponry of the Japanese army causes devastating losses to the Empire’s army, its leaders decide to negotiate. However, the intrigues and politics between both sides do not seem to stop.
Furthermore, Itami is tasked with exploring the new world, in an effort that brings him against dragons, magic, assassins, as he makes new friends that include a girl magician, an elf and a dark elf, a demigod, and many members of the royalty.
Exploring the concept of modern warfare against the medieval one.
“Gate” eloquently shows what would happen in case modern weaponry clashed with shields, bows and swords, and through that aspect manages to communicate a number of messages. The anti-war one is the most eloquent, but, at the same time, the presence of an army is deemed necessary, even if only to face evil.
Additionally, there is a message of how a military power should treat weaker countries, and ones regarding the politics and intrigues involved. In both these aspects, the title takes an evident stance in favor of the Japanese military, which is presented as overwhelmingly strong and benevolent at the same time.
The script has its faults, since it becomes a bit incoherent at times, although it does not ruin the general sense of the title, in any way.
Respect to the Otaku.
Of course, the anime is not just politics and messages, but also features some great battles, with the ones against the dragon and one during a siege standing apart. The ones between the two armies are overwhelmingly unfair, depicting, in that fashion, the cruelness of war.
Additionally, Itami’s band is mainly comprised of sexed up females, with each one responding to a favorite otaku category. In that fashion, Rory Mercury is a gothic lolita, Tuka Luna Marceau a sexy blond elf and Yao Haa Dushia a sultry dark elf willing to give herself to anyone who helps her with her mission.
Of course, almost every female character seems to be in love with Itami, in distinct “harem” fashion.
Lastly, Itami is a hardcore Otaku himself, despite the fact that he is also a kind of an ultimate soldier.
Toned down comedy.
If the names of the characters had you laughing already, I am sure that you will burst when you hear that there is one called Pina Co Lada, in a distinct specimen of Japanese humor (probably). However, the names are some of the few comedic elements in the title, since “Gate” takes a rather serious approach to its absurd theme. In my opinion, that is for the best and helps retain a certain depth in the story and the characters.
Technically, the title is magnificent, with great animation, particularly in the various battles and splendid drawing, despite the many different characters. Particularly the amount of detail in the SDF is astonishing. The backgrounds are realistic in Japan and in J-rpg style in the other world, where they are most impressive.
“Gate” is a great anime that manages to combine, artfully, meaning and entertainment.