GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There!) Review

 

Gate was a show that I totally ignored when it first came out because of one simple, but very stupid and very judgmental reason: There’s one guy and a bunch of girls in the poster…

gate-jieitai-kanochi-nite-kaku-tatakaeri

Yes, yes I know. Never judge a book by it’s cover, don’t be a dick and always learn to look both ways before crossing the road. But in my defense other shows that have the same male to female ratio in their cover tend to… you know? Not be good.

 

 

So I figured why waste my time with Gate? Surely it was going to be yet another moe moe ecchi harem type show like those other time wast-, err… I mean those other shows that were made to sell body pillows and figmas.

But something happened…

I finished watching Man in The High Castle (great show by the way) and was now out of shows to watch, anime or otherwise. And seeing as Gate is going to have a second season this week, I figured “why not? If it sucks at least I could review it and warn others about it.”

Thankfully it didn’t suck. Now it’s definitely not a MUST WATCH type show, at least for me, but it was definitely worthwhile and I’m actually interested in seeing the second season. In fact, even though I wasn’t too enthralled with the show, others might actually love it.

 

PLOT

NoPlotRory

Nothing to see here.

 

STORY

The story of Gate is simple. A portal opens up in the middle of a Japanese city and out from it comes a bunch of fantasy monsters and men in knightly armor. They kill people, police show up, the fantasy invaders get killed and the government sends the Jieitai (Japan’s Self-Defense Force) through the portal into a world simply known as the “Special Region”. While on the other side, the Jieitai is to set up a base of operations, investigate the Special Region and make contact with the local populace.

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What follows is one big circle jerk, stroking the ego of Japa-er, I mean what follows is an entertaining show about Japan’s finest being heroes and doing a lot of good and ass kicking. In all seriousness I didn’t actually mind the show’s patriotism. I found it endearing. And I thought that it was nice to see America as a villainous force for once, because though there’s fantasy monsters and what not to worry about, the show doesn’t forget the possible political maelstrom that would stir at the sudden discovery of a new world with yet to be discovered (and claimed) resources and powers. My only problem with that is that all the non-Japanese countries (America, China and Russia) are portrayed as being greedy villains with little to no depth… which just makes the patriotism a tad bit disturbing. Similar to how brown people tend are typically made into evil sand devils lacking in personality in some American media.

The show displays an attempt at fleshing out the kingdoms of the Special Region, so why not make non-Japanese countries just as complex? It’s almost as bad as a Transformers movie in that part (and only in that part, because the show’s actually pretty good).

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Ugh… Greedy Americans.

But I guess that’s not really the focus of the show. The focus is, after all, the Special Region, its people and how they interact with the Jieitai; which we see through the eyes of Gate’s protagonist: Youji Itami.

 

Characters

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Youji Itami. Protagonist and 33 year old otaku. Loser. But cool loser.

When we first meet Youji he’s portrayed as being an otaku that prioritizes his nerdy hobbies over work and adult responsibilities, but as soon as the action kicks in we see our 33-year-old protagonist acting in a very non-otaku like manner. He’s putting himself in danger to save people, he’s giving orders to police officers and he’s fighting against the fantasy invaders. Right now I don’t really have any complaints about this sequence since the show does explain why he’s very skilled and can just give orders around like that later on. But watching it at first I was a little bothered by how the show doesn’t tell us more about his character. And I know, I know, show don’t tell. But it did feel like the show was forgetting to tell me stuff about Youji rather than purposefully keeping secrets from me. A minor complaint, but it was there and it probably won’t bother most other people, because Youji Itami is a likable dude anyway.

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Youji goes Solid Snake on this guy.

Besides him there’s the other Jieitai members that become a part of his squad. We don’t really get to know all of them all too well, but the show does make an effort in providing at least half of them personalities. Outside of Youji’s squad there were a handful of other Japanese characters (Jieitai, government official and civilian) that either help to progress the plot along and flesh out characters without becoming plot devices with absolutely zero personality. And that’s part of what I appreciate about Gate, minor side characters might have been minor, but at least they weren’t completely boring and lacking of personality. For the most part at least. Were they good and depthful characters? Naw.  Not really. But they didn’t really take up too much of our time so it’s okay.

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Kawaii-chan. She has a real name, but I don’t remember it.

The characters that did get a lot of screen time besides Youji were the three main ladies on the poster (plus Princess Pina Colada… it’s okay to laugh). The three main girls of Gate are Tuka, Lelei and Rory. Tuka is an elf girl whose village was razed by a fire dragon, she’s suffering from PTSD because her father was killed. Lelei is a mage in training and is eager to learn about the world beyond the gate and about Japan. Rory, despite looking like the youngest of the three, is actually a 900 year old demigod who serves as a priestess of sorts for the God of death, or war… I don’t actually remember but when people die around her, their souls pass through her body and she gets very aroused… which leads to a number of scenes teeming with sexual tension…  Yeah.

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I really want to say that there’s more to these girl’s characters other than being your typical harem ladies, but though they do have pretty entertaining personalities they just don’t have anything else going for them. Tuka doesn’t do much except for be an elf. Lelei serves as a translator between the Jieitai and the people of the Special Region but other than that she and Tuka don’t really do much except use a few helpful spells, but even that felt lacking. Rory had some pretty cool moments but other than her cool fights and sexual tension with Youji there’s not a lot to her character. But if you’re a fan of cool fight scenes you might like her and you might even think that she’s a great character… You might not notice how uninteresting she really is, but your brain will.

 

And as funny as her name is, I actually find Princess Pina’s character to be the best out of all the female ones because she’s actually a character with fears and goals. Tuka’s suffering from PTSD sure, and that’s probably going to play in later on in the series but as of right now it’s just there to be there. She, and the other two girls, just don’t have any real goals other than to be cute and try to get in bed with Youji Itami.

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Princess Pina Colada.

Pina has real goals. She wants peace between her people and the Jieitai. She’s the daughter of the emperor but born to a concubine and has plenty to prove to the world and herself. Really, she has the most depth out of every character except for Youji and I’m glad that she didn’t ended up as just another loli harem character because you know that she could have easily been one. And if she does end up being infatuated with Youji, I wouldn’t mind it so long as she doesn’t lose her personality.

Basically what I’m complaining about here is that I wanted more from the three girls, not just screen-time but also something from them that’ll actually draw me in and make me care about them. Only reason I care about Tuka is because she’s worried about her dad, but even then that still felt like it was lacking. I want more damn it!

 

Oh well, at least the show does have plenty of epic moments like this one:

 

 

VERDICT

I’m sure, or at least I’m hoping, that the second season is going to be better. I still want the action and I still want to see more conflict between the Jieitai/Japan, the kingdoms of the Special Region and the world governments. But most of all I’m hoping that the next season gives us some interesting character moments because that could have really improved this show a lot. Not saying that it’s bad because I am going to recommend it to people.

For which people? Well, I think this is a pretty good anime for the typical anime fan who likes good action, decent story and cute ladies. And if you like fantasy and military stuff then this is definitely a show for you. Obviously a purely shoujo anime type then this show might not be for you. And if you’re looking for overt sexual stuff, go watch porn instead you fuck. The show might be a harem with a good amount of sexual overtones and tension, but it doesn’t ever go To-Love Ru levels of lewdness.

Thank God.

I would be disappointed if the next season didn’t have more Youji and Pina though.

YoujixPina

… I’m stupid.

Rokka no Yuusha (Rokka: Brave of the Six Flowers) Episode 12 Review

“Only Five Hundred Thousand~”

Finale

Oh just five hundred thousand? Well okay then.

Oh just five hundred thousand? Well okay then.

There are two ways you can do a finale—end with a bang, or leave your audience craving for more. Rokka no Yuusha clearly went for the latter in this one. And I don’t mind it at all. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, I’m assuming that you’re already accustomed to the penultimate episode being the BIG ONE.

For the none fans out there, in Game of Thrones, the second to last episode is often the one episode where a lot of things go down: epic battles, grand revelations, major character deaths, stuff like that. The very final episode would often have the previously mentioned elements, but often, the BANG in the penultimate episode is still where it’s. In GoT, the finale is mostly reserved for cliffhangers that would want viewers speculating for months and months until the new season comes out.

Rokka does something very similar to this. The penultimate episode was when Adlet and Fremy had to work together as they attempt to fight off Goldof, Nashetania and Maura all at the same time, and it’s the big episode that helped clear Adlet as not being the Fake Brave. The finale on the other hand wrapped up the season’s main story and teased at what’s yet to come.

Katsura Kotaro--I mean this talking fiend guy's still coming guys.

Katsura Kotaro–I mean this talking fiend guy’s still coming guys.

Was it satisfying? Yes, I’d like to think so. If not, then please read on ahead and let me try and convince you otherwise.

The Culprit Is You!

Yeah you!

Yeah you!

It was Nashetania. I thought that maybe it was Mora, but she’s still very much a contender for Fake Brave in my eyes seeing as now we’re back to square one with Rolonia’s sudden appearance. But before we move on to the new Brave, let’s talk about our murderous bunny princess.

When I first saw Rokka no Yuusha, the male part of me went like, “DAMN!” I thought to myself, that if this show didn’t have any special about it, I at least hope that the next time I go to a con, I’d run into a Nashetania cosplayer (a female one of course). And it’s not just looks that made me like Nashetania. In the first few episodes I enjoyed her playful, albeit naïve behavior—but looking back (and yes I actually did), there was one part in episode two where Nashetania tells Adlet about how when she was a child, her father tried to have her be killed.

I buy it. She was betrayed by her people, the same way the fiends betrayed Fremy.

I buy it. She was betrayed by her people, the same way the fiends betrayed Fremy.

In episode two, Nashetania tells Adlet about the Civil War in her home country of Piena. During this conversation, Nashetania tells Adlet about how her father blamed her for the Civil War and had ordered her execution. Nashetania spent quite some time away from home until she became the Saint of Swords—it’d be stupid for anyone to think that a person betrayed by her own family (kind of like Fremy in a way), would just easily forgive them and forget the fact that they tried to kill her.

It makes sense that Nashetania is the Fake Brave. I mean she does have a logical motivation as to why she would want peace (and also one of the fiend leaders probably came to her when she was on the run and corrupted her).

“All I dreamed of was of a night when I could sleep without fear of death. If I could give that to the entire world, it wouldn’t bother me how often I sleep on the hard ground!

“All I dreamed of was of a night when I could sleep without fear of death. If I could give that to the entire world, it wouldn’t bother me how often I sleep on the hard ground!”

So if you didn’t buy Nashetania being the Fake Brave, there’s my (and the show’s) reasoning. Moving on.

Adlet x Fremy

Fremy, you're so cute.

Fremy, you’re so cute.

They kissed!

I don’t really have much to say about this, because I’ve talked about it before. Like Nashetania being the Fake Brave, I buy this shipping (not wholly), but regardless I support it. They have chemistry and some bantering exchanges, and based on the scenes where both of them would jump in to shield the other’s life, I buy that they really love each other.

There’s a progression to it and it doesn’t feel forced.

Jelly with a side of salt.

Jelly with a side of salt.

The Saint of Bloods

Now… I want to talk about Rolonia…

Are you a cow or an elephant?

Are you a cow or an elephant?

She’s been quite possibly the most hated character in the show and she hasn’t even been in it for a good fifteen minutes!

What are the things people don’t like about her?

  • People don’t like her design.
  • People think that she’s a new love interest.
  • People think that it’s dumb that they’re back to the 7th Brave thing.

Design 

Seriously are you a cow or an elephant?!

Seriously are you a cow or an elephant?!

A lot of people didn’t like Rolonia’s looks because of her armor and costume and second, they don’t like her because she’s fat.

First off, who cares? Second, didn’t we just spend a season with a cute little bunny girl waifu with a nice ass… who turned out to be a psychotic murderer? Why judge Rolonia so harshly because of how she looked? I’m not gonna lie, her armor was kind of weird and unappealing to me (and so is Hans’ raggedy appearance), but while I loved Nashetania’s look she was the character I ended up hating the most and Hans became the Brave I loved the most besides Adlet.

Give Rolonia a chance and don’t judge her solely by how she looks—She’s the SAINT OF BLOOD. Who knows what she’s capable of!

Love Interest 

She’s not. End of discussion.

Rolonia's not getting in the way of Adlet x Fremy guys!

Rolonia’s not getting in the way of Adlet x Fremy guys!

But no, really, people seem to be all upset that she’s going to get in the way of Adlet and Fremy. Look, I love Adlet and Fremy together, but I don’t think that Adlet’s going to start having a harem anytime soon. Why? Because first off, we’ve already realized that this show isn’t as dumb and generic as we all probably thought. And second, she knows Adlet.

If you join a new group of people and you see your friend there—and you see that he’s injured, wouldn’t you want to stick with your friend first then later start talking with the other people in the group? And also, what’s wrong with trying to help someone and being nice to them especially if your power lets you heal others? I’ve been to numerous boards seeing this paranoia that maybe Rolonia will get in the way of Adlet x Fremy, but my question is why? She wanted to talk to someone she hasn’t seen in a while and she was trying to be nice.

What? Are the people thinking that Rolonia is a new love interest also the type of people who think that when a girl is talking to them or being nice to them that means that they want to be more than just friends? I don’t know.

What I do know is that Fremy is not very trusting of people and it’s no surprise that she’s acting the way she did in the closing minutes of the finale, and really, that was obviously done in a comedic fashion. A little light-heartedness is good for a show that was pretty much all about paranoia and killing each other.

The New 7th Brave! 

Well they were six just a while ago...

Well they were six just a while ago…

Okay I’m not going to defend this one that much, because I agree, it might be a bit of the same shtick all over again. But I would like to remind anyone reading this to think about the fact that so far, Rokka no Yuusha has done a great job at breaking story clichés—first there was the mystery and second making the first girl we meet be the villainous one.

I don’t know if we’re going to have a second season, I hope we do, but I’m not going to judge the show, because the last time I did that, I was proven wrong. And my God… I am so happy that I was dead wrong about Rokka, because this show is without a doubt my favorite of the season.

LOL look at Goldof.

LOL look at Goldof.

VERDICT 

Seriously, don’t be upset about the new Brave, have faith. The show has wowed us all before by not being what we initially thought it was going to be and it ended with a cliffhanger. For the people who didn’t like the rather action-light finale, then I’m sorry—books, movies and anime do these kinds of things all the time. Unless the show is about to end, then there’s not going to be a grand and epic finale. When a show is still going to continue, it’ll leave you with a cliffhanger, hoping that it’d entice you to tune in for the next season.

Score: 9/10 Excellent!

  • PROS
    • Adlet x Fremy
    • The Reveal
    • Rolonia
    • Overall strong finale.
  • CONS
    • Rolonia (I know that I defended her, but I can’t quite give this episode a perfect score because her appearance did bum me out a bit).
Hey Mora, I still got my eye on you.

Hey Mora, I still got my eye on you.