Episode 1: The Self-Defense Force Goes to Another World
After a season of not blogging, I come back to my regular blogging posts with the anime adaptation of Takumi Yanai’s Light Novel series Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri. And since I’ve written the full title out already, I’m gonna follow the internet and just call it Gate. Because holy crap it’s long. Also, this is my 200th Blog Post, way to celebrate it eh?
Full Disclosure: I’ve not read any translated versions of the Light Novels, nor have I read the manga that this series has. I’ll be totally blind until I actually do.
The episode starts off with flares burst open over an unfamiliar field. Beastmen and orcs stare down the barrels of numerous Howa Type 64 rifles and the waiting cannons of Type 74 Main Battle Tanks of the JGSDF.
Yoji Itami is a 33-year-old otaku whose only goal in life is his hobby. He states that he only works to support his hobby, and if he were to choose, he’d choose his hobby over working. Ginza is abuzz with activity as Yoji rides a tramcar. Playing a mobile game, he imagines himself as the main character, only to be stopped when he realizes he’s run out of funds in the pay to win game.
Meanwhile, a little girl stares at a glimmering transparent gate at the middle of downtown Tokyo. Yoji only looks forward to the upcoming doujinshi sale and festival. Running into a support beam, he imagines an elf, a sorcerer, and a gothic loli with a battle axe.
As Yoji realizes who was in attendance and seems to recover from his faceplant with the pole, the gate fully materializes and a conquering army with tower shields, battle dragons, and demihumans appear. Horns blowing, they attack. Yoji notices this and gets over the initial shock, heading to the source of the trouble. His only fear if the events continue to escalate, that the doujinshi event will be cancelled. After telling someone to run, he comes into the defense of a Japan National Police officer, who had managed to down a dragon rider with his .38 caliber revolver. The rider is unhurt, no doubt protected by his armor, but is restrained and killed by Yoji.
The populace head their way to the Imperial Palace, where he argues with the JNP inspector in charge, urging them barricade the civilians inside. As orcs and other otherworldly forces rampage Tokyo streets, the gates of the palace opens and the populace flees inside. Busses full of the JNP’s riot forces (and no doubt, the Special Assault Team) arrive to make a stand to defend the populace.
The leader of the enemy raid reminisces that the sight of brick and mortar meant that the new world they’ve come in is at least familiar. Back at the police defense line, Yoji asks the officers in charge where their reinforcements are coming from. The riot police commander notes that five helicopters from Ichigaya were en route (no doubt from the JGSDF garrison, I’m unsure where they came from) and the First Infantry Regiment from Nerima were en route.
In the skies above Tokyo, the aforementioned helicopters, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force AH-1S Cobras, engage the dragons, tearing them apart with their 20mm Gatling cannons. Meanwhile, in Tokyo streets, JGSDF personnel shows how effective modern small arms are against swords and shields, while the police disperses the enemy before them with tear gas.
After the battle, Yoji helps the little girl who had first seen the gate find her parents. Days later, Yoji is commended for his actions in helping coordinate the evacuation and defense of the citizens, even though he is heartbroken at the end of the doujinshi sale.
In the intervening months, Itami is coping with his new-found fame. He though finds a kindred soul in Kurata, a fellow JGSDF soldier from Camp Nayoro who had been at the doujinshi sale/exhibit the day of the attack, but unlike Yoji, couldn’t do anything about it. Yoji though freaks him out by acting in a way that makes it seem to Kurata that he was into Yaoi.
Other members of Yoji’s squad (as indicated from the opening) appear here, and they are issued new uniforms in concurrence with the type of terrain scouts have reported back on the other side of the Gate. When asking about it, we are shown that the Prime Minister of Japan, with the support of the United States, rams a bill through the Diet (Japan’s Parliament) that allows the next PM to send troops to the Gate.
The day of the sendoff, it seems that Yoji still had doubts, having told Kurata that he only works to support his hobby, but upon seeing the same little girl he had helped on that day, he seems to steel his resolve. In the tunnel between the worlds, Kurata asks, if to lighten the mood, if there would be any catgirls on the other side. Well, why wouldn’t there be was Yoji’s response to that.
As the Type 74 MBTs cross and fan out on the other side, they are greeted with the glows of campfires in the distance, and the JGSDF encounters an enemy army before them.
I honestly don’t know what to think about this series. I’ve had people dismiss it as ‘chuuni trash’ in which the Japan and the JSDF is treated as superior over other nations and military forces. I’ve seen it (rightfully in my eyes) compared as the ‘Japanese Stargate’. To me, it harkens to the web original novel ‘Armageddon’ and its spinoff ‘Parthenocide’. The basic gist of Armageddon was that the endtimes have arrived, and Heaven had already closed its doors on humanity. Jahweh and Satan have finished playing their games and awarded the mortal domain to Satan.
The people of the world react to towering demonic heralds bringing them their enslavement to Lucifer appropriately. With a flight of USN F-16s shooting down fliers, Russian tanks introducing giants to APFSDS rounds (and bureaucratic speeches, the most cruel and unusual punishment known to mankind), and it goes on from there. Spoiler: Lucifer bites the dust in the end.
It’s what most reminds me of Gate.
With the series billed for a two cour run of 24 episodes, it can provide what I imagine a good run, which depending on how well it’s paced, can mean they have enough time to devote to either the background, or to the characters. I originally looked forward to the actual, military hardware being utilized. And already I’m amused at the fact most of the members of the deployed personnel are using the Howa Type 64 rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. Last of my understanding, the 7.62x51mm NATO produced by Japan for use in the Howa Type 64 rifle utilizes a reduced powder charge to help mitigate recoil (although the rifle itself has an adjustable regulator to be capable of using the standard charge rounds). Especially useful no doubt for the generally shorter statured Japanese. No doubt the choice for the rifle is explained in the source material, something I intend to start reading at my earliest convenience.
But the larger caliber seems well suited for the enemy forces. No doubt the Howa Type 89 rifles (utilizing the same 5.56x45mm NATO round used by the Americans) would’ve done well as well, but seeing that the enemy is wearing plate armor and uses tower shields, this is just a case of bigger is better then.
Another thing that was brought up with others I’ve talked to, while the weapons selection is befitting the author’s own experience in the JGSDF, among other things, is how the hell did such an authorization bill went through. No doubt it’s properly explained in the Light Novels, or at least in the manga, but from what I’ve been told, the LNs are a bit over-patriotic and ‘Japan is best nation’. With the anime following the manga where this kind of really ramrodded political thinking was toned down (as far as I’m told, I’ll see if what people have told me is correct when I get to reading the LN and Manga), I’m hoping actually there is less of the real world politics that goes on here and more on the characters that will appear.
Also seems like the anime is being supported by the JGSDF, or used as a recruitment slogan at least. Though I’ve also been told on Facebook that it’s also the JASDF. My knowledge of Kanji is rather bad, though both he and I recognize the kanji for the JSDF and its branches. I was just a bit more focused on getting a clean screenshot.
Anyways, it’s starting to look like a good series, or at least one I would enjoy, we’ll see. A Three Episode Rule might be good to gauge a show, but it can go to shit in the middle of the season. We’ll never know until we try.