Episode 1 Impressions: GATE

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At first glance, GATE screams tropes from one end to the other. An otaku harem fantasy clone that may offer little new. However the first episode brings a bit of hope for this series and possibly a refreshing protagonist with it.  Leaving preconceived notions a bit shattered.

e1gate10Synopsis
Itami Youji is an unabashed and self-proclaimed otaku who works to fuel his hobby. He claims that if he had to choose between work and his hobby, his hobby takes the cake. A fact that may be put to the test as he takes a trip to Nijuubashi for a doujinshi sale.

After getting off of the train, he notices that warriors riding dragons are swooping down upon civilians and attacking them. Orcs, soldiers, and all other manner of beasts are spewing out onto the streets from a gate that has appeared.

Quickly jumping into action, Youji rushes to the aid of some civilians, even taking out a few attackers along the way. Then, after talking some guards into allowing the civilians into a fortified complex, the military rolls in to save the day.

Thanks to Youji’s efforts, many lives are saved and he’s awarded for his efforts. Although, his mind is of course on the fact that his long-awaited sale was canceled. But the bigger issue is what is in store for him as his military platoon is drafted into a mission to enter the gate and put an end to further attacks.

Thoughts
The synopsis definitely sheds a grim light for this series as it outlines a typical setup that includes an otaku being brought into a fantasy world. Expecting a harem, dates back in the real world, explaining anime to cute elves; the list just goes on. However thankfully the series kicked off in a promising way.

e1gate08Opening things up with an explanation that Itami Youji is some crazy otaku that puts his hobby before everything had me a bit terrified, and as things started hitting the fan I was expecting the worst. Except, after passing a thought on what was going to happen to his event, he quickly discarded his tropes and took action. Which was very surprising. Almost as if he was a real person and not completely sick in the head. Making him much more relatable.

Which brings up the main conflict of the show in the invasion of Japan by the other world. At first, it kept cutting away the shots that left question as to how dark it would actually get. But soon after Youji took his first life (wow, didn’t see that coming), the show began to show quite a bit of willingness to shed some blood. I mean.. we have an invasion here, we don’t need it sugar-coated.

e1gate09This married well with the aspect of loss towards the end that was much more deep than I originally gave the show credit. The shot of the girl who had lost her family made for an unexpected drama. As to if it will actually effect Youji, or if it will ever come up again remains to be seen. The opening song really gives a feeling of overcoming, rescue, and selflessness that I’m hoping becomes an ongoing theme. Triumph over differences and acts of heroism is something that would take this show from a typical Otaku/Harem/Fantasy show and branch it out as its own.

Case in point? It’s a good start to something I thought would be typical with a lot of signs of something promising and original. Let’s just hope that doesn’t go down the drain once he’s grouped with his often highlighted harem party. Face it, this can still go south.  Which is not to say a fun harem is a bad thing, but I also like seeing shows become something new and refreshing.

This show is streaming on Crunchyroll.com!

Episode 1: The Self-Defense Force Goes to Another World

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Good

Pros:

  • Surprisingly good MC
  • Bit more serious than expected
  • Good animation

Cons:

  • Fears of drowning in tropes
  • Harem quickly outlined
  • Otaku fact seems out-of-place

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.