GATE Episode 4 Review: Back to Base
Taking a break from one blood bath after another, the fourth episode of GATE focuses more on how the gate opening between the two worlds is affecting both the Special Region and our world. There is plenty of time for battle and violence, but this is a good opportunity to advance the story through character interaction and further development of back story, which is exactly what the fourth episode does and does well. Itami brings his group of refugees to the base, and the two groups begin to learn each other’s language. Evidence of political turmoil and scheming are depicted on the other side of the gate, and Itami is informed of how delicate the situation is with the opening of the gate to the Special Region.
One of the big things about this particular episode that I like is how it addresses the global implications the gate to the Special Region has for Japan. A magical portal opening up to a world filled with resources and only one of these portals existing in the entire world is the kind of dream that I’m sure most nations would love to wake up to if they happened to be the ones that had the portal open in their terrain. How both Japan, and the world, react to this sudden and unexpected event is actually pretty realistic to what would probably happen in the real world save for conspiracies being hatched by the United States and China. There is even protests in opposition to having any resources go into the Special Region at all, which certainly would happen if a portal (unlikely as it may be) were to ever open up in our world.
If there has ever been a classic and funny example in anime of how we as as society are so dependent on the internet, it would be one particular scene with Itami when cell service is brought to the base. The first thing Itami does is catch up on all of his Otaku fixes, and even later in the episode he is still glued to his phone. In that first moment, Itami forgets all about the outside world as he obssesses over some web light novel that he has his eyes on. This results in some comedic moments where Itami’s subordinates just give him confused and annoyed looks.
Over the course of this episode there were a few things that seemed rather odd to me. The first was how quickly the SDF had managed to put together at least some basic lexicon about the language of the people on the other side. While the inhabitants of the Special Region may look human in both appearance and culture, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their language would have any remote similarities to languages from our world. It seems like the kind of thing that would take more time and study, and it doesn’t seem like the SDF has been in the Special Region for all that long. The second oddity may be more of a nitpick, but it still bothered me a little. Why would the SDF allow Rory to carry her weapon around in the base? I mean she seems relatively trustworthy in terms of knowing who friend and foe is, but it just doesn’t seem realistic that the military would allow a civillian to run around their base with any kind of weaponry. Of course, the main counter to this is the simple fact that they probably couldn’t have taken it from Rory even if they had tried.
Overall, the fourth episode of GATE continues to deliver the engaging story and intriguing concept that the first episode had introduced. So far, GATE shows no sign of harming or slowing that momentum in any way. Where the first three episodes focused on setting the scene quickly and jumping right in a t dangerously fast pace, the fourth episode took it’s time to explain the situation, and advance the story. The next episode is called “The Battle of Italica”, and it looks like it is going to be a fairly interesting one with a possible encounter between that group of Knights and Itami’s squad. But it seems likely that the action is going to pick up again soon.