So I guess I was a little off in my predictions from last week. Regardless, it seems now that GATE is moving in two separate plots as in the manga. That of the Empire and Japan and that of Itami’s travels.
After landing back at Alnus base, Itami is reprimanded by his direct superior. Losing his command and given a two-week suspension, General Hazama then congratulates him for his actions, passing along commendations not only from Japan, but from the Kingdom of Elbe and Yao’s tribe. Mostly titles of nobility, a large uncut diamond, and ownership of Yao. This Gen. Hazama reminds Itami not to break any laws.
He is then also given another task, which is to be given a free hand to find and catalog the Special Region’s resources. He can also ‘hire’ the girls who always hangs around him so much. This new command takes effect immediately after his suspension. Itami is grateful but less than pleased, having wanted to relax after all his troubles.
Later, presumably after two weeks, Itami and the girls are back in their Kokidosha (High-Mobility Car/Vehicle, the Toyota Mega Cruiser in use by the JGSDF) with Lelei at the wheel. Lelei asks for Itami not to talk to her, as she’s concentrating on the task of driving, to which Itami responds she’s the best there is in the group, hinting that others, like Rory and Tuka, would be enough to cause people to get a heart attack.
Camping for the night, they discuss their future plans. With Lelei needing to go to the magic city of Rondel, Rory and Yao has expressed an interest in going to Vernago, where a shrine to Haardy is located. Tuka merely responds she’ll go wherever she’s dragged off to by her dad.
Arriving at the Academy City of Rondel (founded before the Empire by gods of education when they were demigods), Itami takes in all the history and arrives at an Inn. The Innkeeper treats Rory and the girls right, believing them to be followers and gives them preferential treatment, while considering Itami as nothing more than a manservant and leaving him in a storeroom.
After prepping, Itami heads to the girls’ room, where he enters after gaining their permission, finding Lelei in some rather ornate robes. It seems for those wishing to become a Master in the magical arts, they must wear the robes at all times in Rondel. If her thesis is not accepted by other Masters, they throw ink and oils at her beautiful robe, and she’s not allowed to remove it while she’s still in the city. Itami merely reassured her, telling her of her dutifulness as a student.
After surprising the Innkeeper, Lelei leads them all to the R&D District, where she explains that all the Masters are isolated from each other. Mainly for good measure, as a few explosions seem to have erased some decades worth of research.
Arriving at the office of Grand Master Mimoza, the aloof old woman deliberately forces a nickname on her old student, and is amazed at her accomplishments as related to her by Kato. Asking where a person by the name of Arpeggio was, she says she didn’t know, only to trip and tumble over some books while trying to get some chairs for their guests.
It’s at this point that a younger woman bursts in, annoyed at the clumsy Grand Master, complaining about having to clean up after her. After being told of Lelei’s presence, the younger woman doesn’t hide her contempt for Lelei, asking the Grand Master to meet her at the usual restaurant. She notes that Lelei is already aiming for the rank of Master while she’s still working on her doctorate; and has landed a guy (Itami); is hanging out with a bunch of rich people while she’s poor; and even friends with an elf (technically two).
And thus, we’re greeted to Arpeggio, Lelei’s older sister, much to Lelei’s chargin.
Back at the Imperial Capital, a JGSDF Chinook carries with it the head of the Fire Dragon towards the capital.
Later, Sugiwara and Piña can’t believe how far they’ve come to starting the peace talks. Once the talks officially begin, there would be nothing else for Piña to do but study her ‘art’. Spying someone, Piña teases him about Sherry (to which he replies that Japan doesn’t consider 12 year olds to be women).
Sherry hounds Sugiwara relentlessly, only to be rebuked kindly. This though leads her to remind him that if the Empire and Japan doesn’t come to some sort of understanding, there can never be any proper talks. Sugiwara introduces the precocious and wise-beyond-her-years little girl to the lead delegate, Vice Minister Shirayuki Reiko, who questions Sugiwara’s intentions due to some misunderstanding and cultural differences between the junior ambassador and the young noble girl. This has the effect on breaking the ice, something Sherry was attempting to do in the first place, leading Sugiwara to question if she’s really 12.
Elsewhere, Zorzal is pissed that the little ploy didn’t work, and that now he is unable to stop the peace talks. They now have to change their plans. Though he si the crown prince, he doesn’t know what else he could do and walks out of his chambers. Tyuule merely comments off-hand that he doesn’t know he’s being controlled, while the pig-man is told to wait by Tyuule, while also fetching something for her.
Later, at the gala, Zorzal and Piña walk amidst applause with their father, Emperor Molt. Zorzal breaks off, greeting some nobles who had been returned in exchange for peace talks. As Molt and Piña carry on with the gala with introducing the ambassadors, Zorzal hears what he wants to hear from the embarrassed and ashamed nobles.
They’re not pleased that they were used to bring the Empire to a disadvantageous position. He also says he played the part of the fool during the earthquake to avoid a purge, but those days are long over. This goes unnoticed by Sugiwara, who notes that Zorzal is glaring at the Emperor.
Later, Bozes and a newcomer, Shandy Graff comments on Piña’s exhaustion. She merely says she’s earned her rest due to the fact the peace talks can’t be stopped now.
Later, soldiers carry the severed head of the Fire Dragon to the party. Unsure who had placed the head of the dragon on the walls of the city, Piña brings someone who does. Shandy explains that it was Itami, Rory, Lelei, Tuka, and Yao. She explains that while Rory had followed, it was Itami that led the party, who Piña reminds was the one who started the fight with Zorzal in his presence.
Annoyed that their enemy was involved, he isn’t pleased to learn that Yao and Tuka were as well. This was washed over by the fact that Lelei, one of his own ‘citizens’ was involved in the slaying of the Fire Dragon. Latching on to this, Emperor Molt intends to lavish the young mage with praise (and ignoring the others). Sugiwara and Shirayuki though note that any nation would do the same, even Japan.
Zorzal doesn’t take too kindly to this, believing him to be the only one worthy of praise, even dismissing the action of killing the dragon to be inconsequential. However, at a toast, Molt suddenly collapses, either dead or comatose due to Tyuule and Booru’s poison. Zorzal can only smile as he understands what this means for him as Piña and the others assembled recoil in horror.
Well, that was certainly a surprise. I’m now just catching up on the manga, something I should’ve done before the new season opened. So my observations of an anime-only mark didn’t come true, but rather fell short. Zorzal’s rise to power is for all intents and purposes, going to stay the same when done by the manga, while we’re treated to a nice introduction of Itami’s new duties as the head of the Special Region Resource Investigation Team. This is further expanded in the manga, and Itami is not the only one being sent out there. Several dark elves have been learning how to drive and will be the local advisors to the JSDF as they go about their prospecting.
This is what makes the series a little bit contentious for some. It becomes a ‘why is it only okay for the JSDF and not the rest of humanity’. A little of the sticking points done by the author, but at this point, I think I’ve made it clear that I’m watching (and reading) the show for the interactions Itami has with the girls, and of Piña being caught up in powerplays by her brothers, etc etc. And the fact we don’t have this silliness where medieval era bows and arrows can utterly wreck modern technology as is prevalent in other series.
Something did irk me about the episode. A scene that should’ve been explained, but isn’t: How no one was able to notice the big ass Chinook just nonchalantly transporting the severed head of terror that has been plaguing the countryside. The manga at least explains that the JGSDF did it while at night, during a rain storm, and aided by the subtle magics of some elves masking the downdraft of the chopper’s rotors.
Here’s the scene in the Anime:
Compared to the scene in the Manga:
When A-1 Pictures decides to omit some things for sake of time or what other nonesuch, they tend to omit stuff that only makes sense when you’ve got some folks explaining it. Stuff like the JSDF/3 Recon’s hideout in Akusho and now this are rather important points for the setting, and can’t be handwaved away. Akusho at least got an explanation.
A Chinook transporting the Fire Dragon’s head? No explanation on how no one knew who was the one that deposited that rather amazing wall mount into the Imperial city when it was done in the friggin early dawn, clear as day, with no magic to mask the Chinook’s approach.
Get with the program A-1, kinda breaking the suspension of disbelief here.
Other than that, while we aren’t introduced into the Zombies this arc, we get to see Lelei and Arpeggio’s sibling rivalry. I think it’s because Zorzal’s ascension to power is more or less played out and can be animated and told more or less in line with the manga, but Itami and the others need to be fully introduced to this new and crazy world that’s only beginning to come alive in the manga.
And I can’t blame Grand Master Kato for preferring Arpeggio over Lelei. If we compare them to two boatgirls, Lelei is Ryuujou while Arpeggio is Atago.