Saturday, March 26, 2016

GATE! Review

GATE: The JSDF Fought There is by far one of the best anime series this season. It's a two coir anime with 24 episodes, and the plot suffers none of the degradation that often comes with having more episodes than it can handle. I can honestly say that I loved this anime.

When 33 year old Itami Yōji, an otaku who works as a member of the JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Force), travels to the biggest con of the year, he never imagined how his life could change. A giant gate appears during the convention, and strange people wearing fantasy armor come out and start attacking others. Fortunately, Itami is a member of the JSDF, and even if he's a lazy otaku who works only to support his hobbies, he's still a soldier and well-versed in combat. During the chaotic battle, he directs the police and various forces, saving many lives in the process. Unfortunately, this causes him problems later on down the road, when he and several other soldiers get sent on a mission to travel beyond the gate. Perhaps he would have been better off not acting at all.

This anime is what I imagine it would be like if you were to combine Game of Thrones with Call of Duty. It blends fantasy and modern warefare in an intriguing way that I haven't actually seen before. It also takes the "travel to another world" storyline in a unique direction. I thought it was interesting to see how they combined our world with a fantasy world that reminded me a lot of medieval Europe. Ah, but of course, I don't think medieval Europe had goth lolis wielding big-ass scythes, so there are some differences.

One of the things that I really liked about the series was its blend of humor and serious moments. There were times when the anime would become really intense. There's a lot of political intrigue, the battles are gory as hell, and many of the themes are more adult-oriented and not necessarily for children. However, for as many dark themes as this anime possessed, it had just as many light-hearted themes. There's a bit of romance, a dose of comedy, and watching Itami and his gang get into trouble was positively hilarious.

Something else that I really loved about this anime were the characters. There are a lot of really awesome characters in here. Going off just the main ones, we have Rory, an immortal demigoddess dressed in gothic lolita fashion who wields a giant scythe; Lelei, a 15 year old mage training to become a master magician; Tuka, an elf whose village was burned down when a fire dragon attacked; and Itami, a 33 year old otaku who works in the JSDF for the sole purpose of supporting his otaku hobbies. However, while these are the main characters, they aren't the only characters. There are a lot of supporting cast members who get some serious time in the spotlight - a badass female soldier with a streak of violence, a female officer who works mainly as a nurse, another otaku who looks up to Itami as his senpai, kickass female warriors and Princess Pina of the Empire. There are so many characters that look like they'd be a joy to watch.

I also feel like all of these characters give the anime more depth. Yes, Itami is the main character, and yes, he sort of gets three girls to fall in love with him, thus ensuring that the "Harem Effect" is in place. However, many of the supporting cast members get time in the spotlight, and there are a lot of relationships that develop outside of Itami's relationship with Lelei, Rory, and Tuka.

I mentioned the action before, but it deserves to be mentioned again. This anime is violent. There are a lot of battles that take place, and unlike standard shounen anime, which feature stupidly long 4 to 5 episode battles that are half monologue and half explanation of techniques, this series takes a more realistic approach to combat. Battles are fought using a combination of modern tactics and fantasy warfare. Of course, you've got Rory, who is unconventional simply because the idea of a loli tearing people apart like they're made of wet paper is unusual. However, this only adds more spice to an otherwise awesome anime.

Overall, this has been one of my favorite series to come out recently. And since it's based on a light novel series, I can proudly go up to anime snobs who claim "LN adaptations are trash" and shove this in their faces.

Artwork: 9/10
Animation: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Story: 9/10
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10
Total: 9/10