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GATE First Impressions: When Two Armies Clash

I won’t lie, there have been times when I wondered what would happen if an army with medieval level technology fought another army that used modern, military grade weapons. A new anime series called GATE answers that question: a one sided blood bath is what would happen. But don’t let my musings put you off, because GATE is actually a really interesting anime on a conceptual level.

In short, a strange gate appears in the middle of a busy district in Tokyo and a bunch of dragons, monsters, and a medieval army come bursting through killing anyone that they can find. Naturally the military comes in and utterly annihilates the attackers, given that medieval weaponry and armor can’t so much as hold a candle to modern warfare. Once the attack has been driven off, Japan plans to send its military beyond the portal in an attempt to either capture the world on the other side or form an alliance with the leaders on the other side. Unfortunately, the big power in this new world is a cliché evil emperor that thinks he can actually win against an army that can kill hundreds of soldiers in the blink of an eye.

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It seems like the main focus of this story will be the efforts of Lieutenant Itami Youji as he leads his squad further into unknown terrain in an attempt to find friendlier individuals to form good relations with. Itami is also a total Otaku that is only working to support his hobby, so in a way he is perfect for the job given his eventual encounter with some classic fantasy anime ladies like an elf and gothic Lolita. Although don’t let Itami’s obsessions fool you, he is a very capable solider even when he is off duty and trying to go to a dojinshi convention when all hell breaks loose. Apparently this series will consist of twenty four episodes, so it will be interesting to see how this anime progresses. My only concern at the moment is that the three female characters depicted in the opening will inevitably turn this into a harem anime, and there are enough of those as it is.

Visually, GATE is a very impressive and well drawn anime. The animation is great quality and there are some great visual effects from time to time. But when it comes to large scale battles it feels like things are either being rushed or intentionally downsized to save time. Seeing more of the battles that have taken place would have been interesting, even though it would have just been more of Japan’s modern military wholesale slaughtering an army straight out of a medieval fantasy novel. Aside from that the character designs are great and the backgrounds have lots of detail put into them.

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Over the past two episodes I think that GATE has a great deal of potential. The concept is great and the anime starts off strong with only a few flaws here and there. If GATE can maintain this, then it will certainly be on my list of top anime for 2015. I’ll be reviewing episodes as they come out, so keep an eye out to see how GATE progresses over the remaining twenty two episodes.



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