The earth shakes in many more than one sense. As the aftershocks of the geological event rocks the capital, Itami and 3rd Recon create their own in the capital.
As the denizens of the Special Region cower in the midst of the earthquake, Piña watches at Itami, Sugawara, and the other Japanese calmly stroll through. Asking how he can stay so calm, Itami explains that earthquakes happen all the time in Japan (he was previously talking to Sugawara on the strength of the quake). After telling her the quake will stop in no time, and it being fulfilled.
Back at Alnus, everyone is safe, though the others notice Tuka acting weirdly, looking for her father. Back at Piña’s compound, Itami explains that there would be aftershocks. Piña gets dressed to head to the Imperial Palace to ensure her father is safe. She manages to convince Itami to come along, even though he points out they aren’t exactly good guests to be had.
As they pass by soldiers still shocked at what had happened, Piña sees that her father is safe, and after he gets dressed, starts issuing orders to gather the ministers and generals, to beef up security, as well as prepare some guestrooms for their guests. The Emperor commends her, before asking who their guests were. Introducing Ambassador Sugiwara to her father, saying she had brought them to advise the Emperor during the earthquakes. The two exchange pleasantries, with the Emperor expressing some condolences that a proper banquet cannot be held for them. Sugiwara merely says the notion of such a banquet is alright, and would look forward to one.
At this point Zorzal appears, and tells his father they need to escape, having been informed by Noriko that there would be more. This familiar word sets Itami, Tomita, Sugiwara, and Kuribayashi on guard. As brother and sister exchange words, Zorzal reveals his source of information, a captured Japanese citizen which he proceeds to abuse in front of 3rd Recon and Sugiwara. Itami has none of this and strikes Zorzal, while Kuribayashi breaks Noriko’s binds and reassures her.
Sugiwara demands to know what is going on, where Piña tries to sort it out diplomatically, Zorzal doesn’t care how they got into the throne room, but orders his men the guards assembled to kill them, for the offense of hurting him. Itami meanwhile just loads a round into the chamber of his pistol, and tells the other two soldiers to fire at will.
The slaughter is one-sided, as Kuribayashi, being told not to destroy the rifle again by Tomita, rushes in with bayonet and takes out Zorzal’s men, before opening fire into the phalanx of guards. As the survivors cower, she orders them to drop their weapons if they want to live.
Itami asks Zorzal again, having called Noriko a survivor, he demands to know where the others they captured in the Ginza incident are. Zorzal still refuses to talk, and orders Kuribayashi to get it out of him. Zorzal underestimates Kuribayashi, who dodges his attack, before delivering a tooth destroying uppercut, and then wailing on him as he is down, effortlessly taking him apart in front of his father, his remaining men, and the Japanese.
His pleas of mercy goes unheeded, as Kuribayashi delivers a final blow. Itami asks again, pistol pointed at the arrogant prince. He is only stopped by Tyuule putting herself between the Prince and Itami. Unable to speak, Noriko does for him, asking where her friend Hiroki was. Zorzal says he sold him off to slavers before passing out.
Sugiwara turns to face the Emperor and Piña, telling both that their banquet will have to wait until the safe return of their kidnapped citizens, and to contact the Princess on the whereabouts of the survivors. As they turn to leave, the Emperor speaks, stating that while the Japanese soldiers are strong, they have a weakness. They love their people too much, and tells them that many nations before them have gotten drunk on that power, and have been defeated before. Sugiwara counters that their weakness is their national policy, and the purpose of the Self Defense Forces. He asks if they’re willing to test that power again.
Knowing the futility of such actions, he approves the peace talks, to which Sugiwara coolly replies that peace talks are merely preparation for the next war, and that Japan and the world Japan is in, has had a longer, much bloodier time of war than they’ve ever experienced.
Later, two ASDF F-4 Phantoms drop smart bombs onto the Imperial Senate building, guided in by an infiltration team with a laser designator. The show of force serves as a reminder of the power of the other worlders. Back in Japan, the Prime Minister wonders if this is alright, while the Defense Minister, Itami’s senpai, tells him it’s too late considering the circumstances, with the Prime Minister hoping they get the message.
The next day, at the destroyed Senate Building, the senators gather to hear Marquis Casel impassioned speech, talking about why the Senate was destroyed and the humiliation suffered by Zorzal. AT this point, Piña addresses those present, explaining that the Japanese treat their citizens well, and do not practice the same sort of customs regarding prisoners, all the while halting and stuttering. She explains that what they see before them was what happens when they see their people enslaved and mistreated.
Zorzal wonders though, why she supports them so much. Back at his own palace, Tyuule cares for him, but he is visited by his brother, who talk about how foolish he’s been. Zorzal calls out Diabo, telling him he’s been playing the fool, knowing if he made any overt lunges at the throne, he’d be killed like their stepbrother, the son of the previous Emperor. Zorzal knows he’ll be crowned emperor, their father abdicating to save face, but in reality managing from the shadows.
Zorzal allows this, as it was his goal all along, and brushes away Diablo’s doom saying that he played the part of the fool, but isn’t stupid to let the Empire to fall. At this point he asks Tyuule of the status of the other Japanese, who states that the man had died. He wishes he treated Noriko better had he known this were to happen, though Tyuule points out he was benevolent that he saved her from being gang raped and made her his plaything. Getting it on with Tyuule, Zorzal asks his brother who he would side with, him, or their father. It already seems their sister had already turned traitor.
Back with 3 Recon, Noriko is taken back to Alnus, and is given a medical checkup. Itami is greeted by the rather smug Lieutenant Yanagida tells Itami that his actions, shooting in the Imperial throne room as well as rescuing a POW, constitutes a messy situation where they can’t punish him too severely. Not especially since they’re planning to release the news of the rescue to boots PR. He is constantly a troublemaker, especially to Lt. General Hazama, who doesn’t know what to do in this situation.
Changing the subject though, they speak about Noriko’s family. Back at the medical ward, Noriko is being given a clean bill of health. Asking for a phone, Itami stops Shino from handing her cell, stating they’ve not established civilian comms just yet. Explaining to Shino and Mari why they can’t let her contact her family, he states that her family was seen in Ginza during the incident, passing out fliers for Noriko, who had seemingly went missing before the true brunt of the Empire’s forces attacked Ginza.
After telling them, Noriko comes out, and thanks the three of them for saving her. Later and elsewhere, back in the town of Alnus, it seems Tuka is wandering about, looking for her father. Back at the barracks, Yanagida has more news for Itami, who tries to brush him off, but is told he’ll regret it if he doesn’t listen.
That was a bit of a rushed episode, but to be fair, they did fit a good three or four chapters into thirty minutes. Much of the skipped parts are small lines of dialogue between Itami and Sugiwara (noting how they utterly fucked up the peace talks and wondering how they’ll be able to report causing a diplomatic incident).
Another would be the Squadron Leader of the ASDF contingent explaining the mission parameters to his men, noting it was their time to shine, as well as the approach to the Imperial Capital, where he orders his wingman to drop down to Angels Three (3k feet) with his rear-seater wanting to take no responsibility on the rather crude wakeup call prior to bombing the Imperial Senate.
I can also see why they’re rushing this. The major driving force after the Japan arc is Tuka’s PTSD and Yao’s goal. It’s only now, after some long-awaited buildup, does the manga turn fully back to the Empire. So depending on how they pace this cour, they can probably justify enough plot left over for the Empire, if BD sales are good.
I mean, they better be good, they moefied a kick ass character (who is still utterly badass) to help drive up BD sales. Shino Kuribayashi was always my favorite character in the manga, she had the looks of a bruiser, the strength of one, and the bull headedness that makes mil-otaku like me instantly go gaga.
Her scene in this episode at the Imperial palace wasn’t as one-sided, and her beat down of Zorzal was a bit more technical and destructive in the manga. The anime did do her justice, able to fend off Zorzal’s buddies before unleashing burst after burst of fire from her rifle.
One thing I didn’t like was the Senate scene. The differences between adaptations is kind of telling. Manga!Piña had much conviction and knowledge of Japan was determined to not let hostilities take place again, compared to the Anime!Piña. Anime!Piña stuttered and seemed unconvincing to me as she explained Japan to those assembled. It may be a sign on that she’s still a little girl pretending to be a knight, but in the manga, she tried her hardest to be taken seriously, and when the opportunity presented itself, while she became a yaoi fangirl/otaku, she is the best chance the Empire has in actually normalizing relations with Japan. In the anime, she’s a bit of a ditz.
Also, Haru, Hamilton is contested. You and I will have to settle this outside.
Overall, it was a fun episode. One thing about the GATE anime, it’s not lacking in action. It has its moments of quiet and plot, but it’s an action-fantasy series. And it provides it. I know some people aren’t too fond of the overwhelming disparity in firepower between the JSDF and the Empire, even if the majority of the SDF’s weaponry are second-line (justified that if they have to abandon it, it won’t be the top of the line items currently in use by the more modern SDF units), they’re still very effective against what humans can muster, and can give magical beasts and magic a run for their money.
The pace will start to speed up, as new players come to the front, particularly Tyuule, the former queen of the warrior-bunnies.