Three Episode Rule – Gate (Episode Two: The Two Armies)

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And so we see a little of what other nations in the primary world are thinking, and what the empire in the other world is thinking.

Episode Summary:

Back at the Imperial Capital, the Senate discusses what had just happened to them. The Emperor doesn’t blame anybody for the debacle, but makes a pointed remark with such a crisis on their hands, none of the Senators would spend their time in the court. Another Senator lays down the failures of the Imperial Army to drive off the ‘enemies’ from the sacred hill. Having witnessed modern firepower, he is unsure what to do. Another hotblooded Senator wants another battle, using forces from tributary states, and the Senate erupts into a rather heated discussion.

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The Emperor (Emperor Molt), declares that they should fight, and sends dignitaries to request forces from tributary states, while the combined army will drive the ‘invaders’ from Arnus Hill. The original Senator (Marquess Casel) who had addressed the Senate and the Emperor announces that it will be a bloodbath, to which the Emperor merely smiles.

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Back in the field, Lord Duran leads his army to camp, meeting the various other kings. In the conference, it seems that the Imperial Army’s commander would not be meeting them, though it seems the IA is facing down the enemy at Arnus Hill. The Lords discuss their plans, as the Imperial Army messenger asks them to attack at dawn the next day. Duran holds reservations, even as he says, they outnumber the enemy forces. Another Lord merely laughs off his reservations as the coming of old age.

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The next day, the first thrust of 10,000 leaves for the hill, while a messenger informs Lord Duran that no Imperial Army soldier is seen near the hill. The first thrust is annihilated the moment they enter the effective range of the JGSDF’s artillery, while dragons are shot down by Anti-Air Artillery vehicles.

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Lord Duran sees the slaughter inflicted on them by the enemy, with two combined offensives ending in defeats which sees their combined forces cut down to less than half of their men that they had set out with. With the surviving lords panicking, they suggest a retreat. He says they could not run now, not until he repaid them with an arrow. Lord Duran orders a night offensive, since it would be pitch black with the new moon.

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Leading his men quietly towards the base, they are lit up with flares. Realizing that his men are in a death trap, he narrowly escapes the initial bombardment but is thrown from his horse by concertina wire. His forces defend the lord, who wakes up to realize their predicament and orders his men to run and attack, only to see them cut down by the prepared machine gun emplacements. Surrounded by the dead and dying, he shoots a solitary arrow which falls short of the enemy, before he too is blown away by artillery while laughing, realizing how completely outmatched he was.

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The next day, Yoji and his squad patrol the battlefield while buzzards start their feast. Kurata and Yoji discuss the battle, Kurata noting they had killed an estimated 60,000, with Yoji aslo saying that they had sent 60,000 to Itami, thus totaling 120,000. He isn’t worrying about the enemy, more wondering what kind of nation they’re fighting.

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Back at the Imperial Capital, the Prime Minister reports to the Emperor, noting that none of the allied forces have any leadership and are going home. The Emperor orders a scorched earth policy to deprive of any future threats to the Empire, while the PM notes that there those in the Senate asking for his recall, originating with marquess Casel. The Emperor merely rebuffs this, thinking it’d be opportune to have the Senate removed soon. The Emperor’s daughter arrives just in time, to talk about the situation at the front. Asking him what he is doing at a time like this, the Emperor asks his daughter and her Order to scout their position. She accepts, only knowing it would be a chance to prove that it isn’t just her plaything,

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Back in the United States, the president is not pleased that the JSDF is merely turtling up at the hill, rather than pushing. Though an advisor informs him that the JSDF is working to understand the politics and terrain of the new world. The president is merely looking to exploit the new world for resources, though his advisor merely asks him to wait. A lot of nations are looking for the JSDF to fail, and from there, they would swoop in. It wouldn’t make sense for the United States to be involved any more than they are so they too could take advantage of a failure.

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Back at the JGSDF base, Deep Recon Teams are being formed for the purpose of finding out more of the new world. Yoji is tasked in leading one of them much to his dismay. His squad consists of himself, SFC Kurata, Privates Tozu, Katsumoto, Azuma, SFC Kuribayashi, MSgt Nishina, Pvt Sasakawa, Furuta, SFC Kurokawa, and SarMaj Kuwabara. Each Deep Recon Team were given three vehicles a Mitsubishi Type 73 Light Truck (Shin) (analogous, I think, to the United Kingdom’s Snatch Land Rovers); the Toyota High Mobility Vehicle in Infantry Carrier configuration; and the Komatsu Light Armored Vehicle with the locally produced SumimotoM2 12.7mm HMG.

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Yoji is less than pleased at all of this, leading Kuribayashi to wonder what kind of leader Yoji is. Establishing relations with a nearby village called Coda, they head towards a forest. On the way there, Kurata and Yoji talk about shattered expectations, with both expecting to see more ‘magical’ people other than humans; they also seem to embarrass themselves on open squad comms by singing the opening to an in-universe anime.

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Later in the day, SarMaj Kuwabara asks why they weren’t given any newer issue equipment, even though they have the newest vehicles. Mostly due to budget constraints, they were given the weapons, as well as being able to leave behind the weapons in a hurry if they need to. Another thing is even though they have the latest gear, none would work in a world without GPS satellites.

Nearing the forest, they would camp before it. Yoji’s reasoning would be that they would end up meeting a foe when the sun has set. After a rib at Yoji’s attempts at language, they stumble upon the forest in flames. They see a dragon attacking the forest, and remembering they were heading to meet a settlement, they rush to it only to find it had been burnt down.

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By their estimation, that the most optimistic estimate with three people per building in the 37 building settlement meant at least 100 people had died. Kuribayashi notes that the .50 BMG Armor Piercing rounds they had used in the previous battles could barely pierce the smaller blue dragons, Yoji noting this newer one would be very tanky.

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Tossing a bucket down the well for water, Yoji and Kuribayashi would discover an elven girl passed out at the bottom of the well, the only survivor of the burnt settlement.

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Episode Thoughts:

I want to get something out of the way before my little rant. I should’ve noted in my last post that the author of the original Light Novels, Takumi Yanai, was a former member of the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces, which should explain my thoughts in the next few paragraphs.

It felt a little weird to be honest.

After the episodes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which I consider one of the best in terms of actual politics in an anime, to episodes from Madan no Ou to Vanadis, the short, seemingly five minute bit with the United States seemed…lacking.

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There were indicators of what the other nations of the world was doing. But even if they would’ve gone full on, ‘let’s show how evil and greedy the other nations were’, putting a bit of filler into the paper mache world leaders, I doubt Gate would go that far. That would’ve added a bit more to a setting that can be taken and run with.

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First off, there is Yoji and his squad as they try to find out more about the world. Then there is Emperor Mort, whose forces had been defeated in battle by the JGSDF, takes out the tribute states’ military might by having them waste their own limited forces against the JGSDF’s base of operations at Arnus Hill to prevent any notions of casting off the Imperial Capital. A third aspect could be the political machinations and powerplays back in the human world, but something I imagine Gate to be overly simplifying.

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I imagine even with the Abe government, ramming such a defense bill through the Diet and without much significant international pressure would’ve been impossible. A lot of spadework for such a bill was handwaved away in nearly the same amount of time as it took to show the United States (and the rest of the world) as greedy sons of b-[edited], and I highly doubt we’ll get even anywhere near the already simplified politics of Madan no Ou to Vanadis from Gate.

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Gate is focused on presenting the JSDF, particularly the JGSDF, as the good guys. No doubt this is due to the author’s bias. It’s a far cry from what we see in Patlabor 2: The Movie, in which an influential group of JSDF personnel are willing to bring the country to the brink of civil war and/or American Forces Japan intervention to further a cause. So we’ll see if the anime will at least expand on that. It’s set in an indeterminable time in the very near future, so nothing about this depleted resources setting (which is starting to crop up with some regularity in anime and manga) which made sense in Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio (the manga plot).

So I guess I can hope for the best, prep for the worse when it comes down to it. I did intend to watch this primarily for the firearms and military hardware, and I guess it showed. The three vehicles are light, dependable, with enough armoring and weaponry to match any force they can’t outrun short of being entrapped by something huge. They’re also built-in sufficient quantity and are just plain basic enough. The most advanced of the three vehicles, the Komatsu LAV, number 1673 units in the whole of the jGSDF according to the Wikipedia article, while the other two are standard military vehicles. Kinda like the General Motors CUCVs were merely Chevy trucks or SUVs.

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Their weapons though, I don’t really buy the ‘drop and run’ explanation. Assuming they had used the M2 AP round, being able to inadequately pierce the flank of a dragon with Ma Deuce would mean going for a smaller caliber round might not be in their best interest. Who knows, really, I’d just prefer the heavier bullet, even if it is the reduced charge 7.62x51mm NATO issued to JGSDF units with the Type 64 Battle Rifle, when going up against unknowns. Might be a little bit of the thinking from Armaggedon. Granted, the Sumimoto Minimi (license built FN Minimi, known to the US as the M249) was adequate, though it might be because of volume of fire.

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Anyways, it seems the squad is slowly hammering itself together. The amount of references, from the ‘too dangerous to go alone’ to mentioning King Gidohrah adds a little bit of familiarity, and remembering what otakus who have been deployed have said, if they haven’t turned the rest of the platoon into otakus, they’re quite open with what they like.

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It’s shaping up to be a watchable series. The premise has been done before; the politics very childish and/or nonexistent; the use of an otaku is a nice touch. I’m hoping that A1 Pictures will focus a bit more on the characters (and guns). That way I won’t want to tear my hair out in going ‘no diplomat or politician in their right mind would do something like this’. But as far as that is concerned, someone who is a bit more knowledgeable did tell me this Japan is #1 kind of jingoism is much more prevalent in the LN and Web versions of the story than it is in the manga and anime.

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Episode Gallery:

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About Jusuchin (Military Otaku)

Conservative, Patriotic and an Otaku. Recent grad of George Mason University. I am interested in firearms, politics, Japanese Anime, and military tech.
This entry was posted in Anime, Gate: The JSDF Fought Like This in That Place, Three Episode Rule. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Three Episode Rule – Gate (Episode Two: The Two Armies)

  1. The second episode bothered me a bit also. The politics were oversimplistic, and the incredible massacres rather sickened me. But, the latter seems to have been Emperor Molt’s plan to prevent the provinces from having the manpower to rebel against him. I’m curious to see whether the soldiers of the fantasy world will be able to pose any difficulty to the JGSDF in the coming episodes.

    • I’ve read and caught up to the manga. Without spoiling anything, it’s similar to the Baldricks depicted in The Salvation War. Modern weapons are awe inspiring things, treated as magic by the vast majority of the fantasy world.

      But there are those looking to harness that power. The manga treats the politics similarly to the anime, which, as noted, is very simplistic. Which is a far cry from the overly right-wing Japanese outlook from the Light Novel and Web Original version of the story.

      • cdrking says:

        The novels and web novel are the ones that are “right-wing” not the light novel. The anime is adapted from the LN version of the story.

        And the bill was passed because the Ginza incident was their 9/11. A lot of people died, thousands.

      • Thanks for the clarification! I thought I was really being harsh on something I actually enjoyed (Kuribayashi~) and I guess I was. I’ll tone done some of my comments in later episodes in light of this.

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