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GATE Episode 5 Review: If You Like Pina Co Ladas
True to it’s name, the fifth episode of GATE has multiple battles taking place at the city of Italica. First there is the initial attack at the start of the episode, then of course a much bigger one by the end that doesn’t look like it will end well for Italica. Itami’s squad joins forces with the knights, but this alliance goes to waste at first due to Pina’s inexperience and shortsightedness.
If there was ever any example of indirect consequences that were a result of the SDF’s involvement in the Special Region, it would be this episode. The survivors of the allied troops sent to die by the Emperor decided somewhere along the way that a life of crime is the best way to go. Or at least that is what it seems like at first, but it is almost like there is more to the situation than what is obvious at first. As expressed by one of the knights, it is almost like the former soldiers are trying to get killed. There is something off about their faces, and I wonder if somehow they all went mad after seeing the carnage that resulted in them trying to take the gate back from the SDF.
There is one particular character that really took the spotlight for this episode, and that would be the Imperial Princess leading the order of knights that are protecting Italica. She has been seen briefly in other episodes, but now she is taking a much more active role in the story. Unfortunately, it can be a little hard to take her seriously given that she is named Pina Co Lada. No seriously, that is her actual name. I have to wonder if the writer for the story was aware that this character’s name sounds exactly like a drink (even though the position of letters is slightly different). I’d like to think this was intentional, similar to the vegetable and food puns that Akira Toriyama put into Dragon Ball Z with certain character names. Either way, it only makes the scene where one of Pina’s knights gets all indignant with the conscripted soldiers more funny than serious as she declares the name Pina Co Lada with a straight face.
As I had predicted, Itami and his squad finally met Pina and her knights. Pina’s first impression of Itami’s company aside, I wasn’t too surprised by Itami’s decision to stay and help with the defense of the city. Yet again he is determined to do what he thinks is the right thing even if his CO back at base doesn’t necessarily agree with him. With twelve well armed soldiers using advanced weapons and equipment unavailable in the Special Region, that will certainly make a difference when they enter the fight. As if that wasn’t enough they also have Rory whom appears to be itching for a chance to slice up some opponents. Add that all together and it doesn’t seem like the former soldiers turned bandits stand a chance. Or so you’d think, but unfortunately for Italica, the defense is being spear headed by Pina. Don’t get me wrong, Pina means well but she lacks experience and her sense of strategy leaves something to be desired. To make matters worse she can’t even bring herself to actually call for help from Itami’s squad when the invading bandits break through the city defenses. She basically has an “I Win” button sitting in the city she is defending, and she can’t bring herself to use it for some odd reason.
Questionable name choices aside, there really weren’t all that many issues in this episode. The pacing was good, the animation is staying consistent, and there wasn’t really anything bad about it. The next episode, Ride of the Valkyries, will continue the big battle this episode ended with. It looks like Rory is going to get to see some action along with the SDF calling in a helicopter to eliminate the bandits. I have no doubt that the next episode will have copious amounts of blood and death just like the first two episodes did.