And so we come to the end of the show’s first cour offering. The second cour of Gate is slated for a Winter 2016 release, and it promises to be a good season, particularly because of the material left. It would be an alright break, I intend to blog some other shows this upcoming seasons, though not in the same excitement and anticipation as I’ve had for Gate.
In the aftermath of the Dragon attack on the Dark Elves village that left 220 dead, the elders of the Dark Elves discuss their situation. A full lunar month has passed since the Dragon had come, hunting down those who hid and those who fought equally. They task Yao, who is one of their best fighters and skilled in magic. While she may have lost friends and her fiancée to bad luck, she’s not wavered since then. They entrust her with the task, noting fully her resolve, and the fact she may have to use the fact she is a woman (selling herself) to gain the help of the Green People.
In the present day, Yao runs up to the Alnus living community, trying to talk to the guards there, though is unable to penetrate the language barrier that divides them. She did remember about the man from the night before, and how he was able to speak the language. Said man though is now on a JGSDF Chinook helicopter, escorting the Foreign Affairs office agent and their bartering supplies. Itami notes that the JASDF is having their fun, in a sky all to themselves without civilian or American planes.
Back at the refugee ‘town’ of Alnus, Yao fends off a bunch of thugs who merely look at her as a prostitute. Finding a multi-ink pen on the street, it leads her to the Alnus PX where she encounters the catgirl, Meia, from the bar the night before.
Noting her ability to speak to the ‘Green People’, she explains that all employees and language students are given a red translation book. She can’t sell it to Yao, but at that moment, two MPs show up, asking if she was having some trouble, to which she responds in the negative. They notice Yao, and since she fit the description of the ‘mugger’, asks if they could talk to her for a bit. She is excited for this chance, though completely misunderstanding the intent.
At a nearby wooded space, Lelei practices some magic which causes a massive explosion of water. She drenches her teacher in a torrent of water (intentionally or not), while noting that the real world’s knowledge fundamentals is quite ahead of theirs and in a depth and width surpassing theirs. She has been studying it in order to increase her knowledge. Her teacher complements her on this, utilizing the other world’s research to enhance her usage of magic, and is worthy of a doctorate.
They are interrupted by an MP, who asks for her interpretation skills to help in their investigation. Sitting down and talking with Yao, outside, the Harpy MP, Myutie, obtains a confession from the accuser. This is related to Lelei and Yao that he had been arrested for attempting to assault Yao, and would be sent to Italica for punishment. Upon hearing this Yao also jumps at the chance to explain that her clan is being attacked by a wounded fire dragon, and needs to talk to the Green People.
Meeting General Hazama though, proves a disappointment for Yao. They are unable, and unwilling, to help. Her home lies in the lands of the Elbe Kingdom, and to cross it would mean a declaration of war. Even if it meant sending a dozen men to defeat it, General Hazama cannot consciously send those people to their deaths. Yangada takes both back to Alnus Town, and does say ‘Itami might do it, if it meant saving those he cares about’.
Back to Itami, they land pretty deep in the mountains, so that no Imperial spies might see them. They take carriages the rest of the way to their destination, where they meet up with Piña and Hamilton along with two other knights. While the Foreign Affairs officer greets Hamilton, Piña bullies Itami for her Japanese ‘art’ book (having come in person to ‘meet’ the new diplomat as the cover).
Back at Alnus, it seems Bozes and her knights spend their time translating ‘art’ books. They are also treated to amazing delicacies, surprised that even such small dishes are elevated into ‘art’. This though leads the butler, secretly an intelligence officer, unable to report exactly what kind of material the Imperial knights wanted.
AT another part of the table, the four main commanders of the JSDF contingent in the Special Region watch Lelei and Yao dine from afar. Lelei treats her to Saint John’s Wort herbal tea, meant to cure depression and anxiety. Yao though, after two cups, says it’s like she was in a nightmare. She asks Lelei if there isn’t anything she could do, if she mistranslated or anything, though the ever so stoic Lelei says there was no such thing. Just pushing Yao further into depression.
The head server, Delilah, of the restaurant overhears this, and discusses it with the cook. Noting that the head commanders are there as well, the cook reminds her that he won’t complain about her secret part-time job, but is not willing to lose his and that if anything happens, he’ll report her. Back upstairs, the commanders of the JSDF discuss on ways to destroy the fire dragon as they watch Yao break down.
They are unable to do anything particularly because of the political situation at home, and crossing a border in force to defeat the dragon would only give more ammunition to both the Imperial Hawks and the domestic opposition. They ask what Itami would do. He was able to go through the Diet because he was Itami and the three girls.
They discuss to defeat it, they’d have the ASDF’s F-4 Phantoms to force it to a low altitude, before having artillery ground it with HE shells. Then, a combined tank and Cobra attack would blast it with AP rounds and TOW Missiles, before a confirmation of death by infantry, possibly using plastic explosives. Not exactly a minimum of force.
Lelei needing to do something, she directs Yao to stay at the Co-op office. She thinks, that if the army is unable to act because of the bigger picture, she can convince one of them to be on her side, though unsure if with money or seduction. Heading inside the Co-op office, Tuka fills out paperwork for her to stay at the dorms, while Yao remembers what everyone has been saying. That Itami might do it, leading her to utter his name with some resolve (and confusing Tuka).
Back at the forest meeting point, Itami and Piña part ways. After a little bit of embarrassment when Itami reminds the princess there were other reasons for his trip than to be a doujinshi delivery boy, they both understand their main goal of peace between the Empire and Japan. As the caravan heads out to their main base in Akushou (red light district), Hamilton asks why she personally came out to the meeting point.
She shows off the ‘art’ book much to Hamilton’s expression of ‘not this shit again’, only for Piña to also show the back pages where Itami’s exploits have also been recorded and translated. It details his exploits from the time of the Empire’s invasion at Ginza, to the counterattack at Alnus, the saving of Coda Village, and Italica, leading Hamilton to bawk and for Piña to wonder just who Itami was.
Back at the caravan, Kurata is excited for the positioning at the Capital with the human-animal hybrids, though Itami though he only liked cat ears. Annoyed at the two otaku, Shino silences them only for both to respond back that it was important to them. The medic, Mari, did recount on how the orphaned kids of Coda, living in the Alnus Refugee Town, thanked them for bringing them there, in Japanese.
Hitting Kurata, he stares out of the wagon hoping that peace comes soon.
A voice over by Lelei states that it is the 687th year of the Imperial Calendar. The year that brought disaster and war to the Empire, was only half over.
That was one nice mid-season ending for the series. It further introduces us to Yao and finally, the whole lynchpin of the series. Itami.
Itami is what makes the whole series survives, a slacker who is the hero of a world completely written to make everything fall into place. He is always at the right places, at the right time. A sort of Forrest Gump character who is helped by a cast of subordinates, scheming politicals, and of course, the core group of Rory, Tuka, Lelei, and Yao (later).
Gate is fiction, fiction written by a strongly pro-Japnese, anti-American, retired JSDF soldier who wants to show how amazing Japan is and how shitty America is. Yet when in the Special Region, the qualities which he hates America for, the Japanese does to the technologically inferior and morally backward Empire.
Gate is fiction, in which a slacker of a person, an otaku of the highest order, embodies the Otaku trope because he is a slacker and a massive anime fan. He, as TvTropes pointed out, is not anywhere near it apart from those two. He has a stable and well-paying job. He is physically fit (being a Ranger and SF), and has once been married.
There should’ve been reasons for me to drop Gate. But I didn’t. I enjoyed Gate, even if many are panning it right now. Even if many point out the hypocrisies or what have you. And I repeat what everyone told Yao.
Because of Itami. Itami manages to keep the story together, to allow the other characters to shine. He got thrust into situations with the writer’s pen and has built up to be a likable character for me. Unlike say, Arpeggio of Blue Steel, where it takes a bunch of characters to ensure the survival of the story, Gate is one of those where the survival of the story rests on Itami.
That’s why I liked the very title of the episode, ‘What Would Itami Do’. I guess I’ve waxed long enough on this. And I can’t wait to see the show move past the rather annoying Japan arc and move to a point where we can really see where the story shines. Because Rory, Lelei, and Tuka really grow as characters when in the Special Region, and stagnated a bit in the past few episodes.
Someone has done the calculations, that the first season only covered 3 volumes of the light novel. As it stands right now, just keeping in mind the main series, there is a possible 60 episodes total for Gate, and 100 if the side stories are included.
I doubt they’ll do that, not unless there is enough of a return in the investment between now and January to justify a lengthening of the story to fit a third season. But we’ll see, and I look forward to returning to the Special Region in January.