Posted on 27 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

 

It’s a good thing a second season of Gate was announced as it ending on this episode would be a poor round up to the series indeed. The biggest hanging thread is the Dark elf and her dilemma of returning to the village to tell them that help is not coming or resorting to dirty tactics in order to get Itami to lend a hand. One thing that has trouble translating well is the language barrier between the Japanese and the other worlders. The first half of the episode mainly deals with her difficulty to get the Army to listen to her without knowing Japanese but the series has a confusing way of presenting it. They show both parties speaking clear Japanese and never really clarify which they are talking in. Leading to a scene where we have a Dark Elf looking to be speaking clear Japanese yet the army doesn’t understand her. There should be a clear difference between the two tongues or at least a transition to show which is being spoken. Of course eventually she found out that the Japanese military can’t exactly march in an attack force into the country and kill a dragon. One particular thing I liked was the army soliders estimate of just how much firepower it would take to kill a dragon, even with heavy firepower a medieval Dragon isn’t something that goes down easy.

Other than that we have the princess finding out about Itami’s achievements, Lelei experimenting with applying scientific principles to magic and the princesses soldiers eating desserts and talking about translating BL doujinshi. The last one had me rolling my eyes as it had the girls praising how Japan could make even desserts an art form. This may be ignorance speaking but I was always under the impression that France was the place to go for fine cuisine. Further cemented that the pastry the girls were eating was indeed French and I was really waiting for that butler to point out that the girls praises would be better directed at France and not Japan. Japan didn’t invent Mille Feuille Glace and no matter how well it’s prepared by a Japanese chef that fact isn’t change. You don’t see us praising America for the Super Nintendo, now do you? Come on mister author, at least give some other countries a little bit of credit.

My feelings on Gate at this halfway point would be that it’s a pretty solid show that’s missing something to make it great. I cannot discern what that something may be however, as looking over the series there not really a way of doing it differently. I liked watching Gate but something prevents me from being as invested in it as I am with Gakkou. I guess the primary offender could possibly be the slow pace of the story which seems like a slow buildup to something that couldn’t possibly be resolved in this season or the next. I felt the same about the manga, its a slow burn of a show. There’s also the issue of the weak comedy which winds down to making jokes about Itami being a Otaku or just dull slapstick. Can the characters be better? Is there a better way to frame this story to make it more impressive? I am honestly not sure but perhaps the second season might have some remedies for that.

Posted on 15 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

If it’s one thing this episode has taught us it’s that you should never cockblock a Goth-loita demi-gods plans for the night. Anime truly is the greatest teacher one could have, even more so than a yellow squid creature that moves at mach speed but not quite on the level of a gangster leader with a tendency of destroying Cresta cars. But all things considered, I highly doubt Rory even needs a plan to seduce Itami. Just grab him, throw him into a bedroom, lock the door and he’s yours. He wasn’t completely unwilling the last time you tussled so all you need to do is give him a push. Still Rory’s purposeful sabotage of the dark elf’s request for the green men to help her is unknowingly cruel on her part. That, and quite frankly I want to see the JSDF take on that fire dragon she wants them to kill. This dark elf however is quite naive for her age, as anyone with common sense would know that it’s a bad idea to show that you have something immensely valuable on you. If that piece of adamantite isn’t stolen from her in the next few episodes then I consider this shows representation of humanity to be completely unrealistic.

In other parts of the world we have Pina in a bath planning out negotiations for increasing the number of nobles in favor of a peace treaty. Admittedly I scoff at the idea of the military not using threats or a monopoly of goods to gain an advantage in negotiations and only play it non violently. That may be another of the authors nationalistic tendencies coming through. We also have Tuka and her delusion of her father being still alive. I find it funny the way that anime seasons can randomly land on similar topics sometimes as Tuka isn’t the only delusional girl this season. It’s pretty clear with the reemergence of the fire dragon threat that Tuka is going to be involved somehow. Itami has a point with helping Taku, one cannot just half heartedly do the job. It has to be something to commit to no matter what but with how this show is going it likely Itami who will take that position. He’s already got Rory and Lelei charmed, Tuka looks to be next on the list.

Animation had a bit of a hiccup here as Rory crying was shown with two frames of jittery animation that was just odd. The CGI animation though I must admit has gotten better. There’s potential for this style of adding drawn lines to CGI models. The Harrier jets at the end of the episode had points where you could have been fooled into thinking they were actual 2D animation. The dragon still looked off putting when flying, but when breathing fire and roaring it worked well. Ultimately it comes down to how much movement frames the models are allowed, as it can make or break the illusion. But any attempt to blend 3D more naturally into 2D is certainly applauded. Next episode looks like our dark elf isn’t going to get exactly what she was expecting.

Posted on 10 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Naturally Rory’s seduction is cut short before this series can get a M rating. The interrupter being a well timed phone message. For future reference for those who might not be quite as familiar with this, in anime when a character is about to get laid, it will be interrupted 95% of the time. Its 100% if he’s the one getting seduced. Rory does proceed to slaughter the approaching special forces teams in a prime moment of pure chaos. The action scene was probably one of the best in the series so far though it does highlight the toning down of gore with the anime adaption. The Manga could be especially brutal with its depictions. But I consider it a plus that the gore and sexual themes were toned down as they were mainly there for shock value. With that I believe it’s time to address the elephant in the room. For those who don’t know, the author of Gate is apparently a right wing nationalist.

I say apparently as I have avoided the novel to not tarnish my view of the series. The Manga and Anime seem to tone this down a bit but you can’t see parts of it still remain in the story. The complete can do no wrong idealistic view of the military and Japanese government and the general nature of portraying other world nation leaders with the moral complexity of Captain Planet villains. The novel is apparently so sickeningly nationalistic that it turns a lot of people off but from my viewing of the anime the only real thing that’s changed for me is that instead of “America, Hell Yeah!”, its ” Japan, Hell Yeah!” Considering that neither of these countries is the actual best country in the world, Ireland, this means very little to me…put down your pitchforks. I am clearly joking. I mean have you seen our government? It’s pure trash, they keep stealing more of my paycheck and tell me it’s to fix the economy they screwed up in the first place. And it’s so hard to find good anime around here…sorry. Got sidetracked. What I mean really is that I have long come to accept that wherever a film or anime is made then that place is the center of the universe.

Itami and his ex-wife have some great chemistry together which is a shame seeing as she is remaining in Japan. The two work well together on screen and you can tell there’s a real history between them. Yet they must return to the other world and his Ex-wife future appearance looks far off indeed. The CGI crowd at the end of the episode was surely fooling no one. If you are going to to animate a crowd of people using CGI then at least give them more movement frames otherwise you end up with crowd of animatronic robots.As for the gifts the girls brought back, I wonder just what a mage will do with a laptop as her disposal.

Posted on 2 September 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

So the reason Itami got married was because a girl pretty much said take care of me and I will marry you. And the reason why she divorced him was because Itami believed she saw him as a meal ticket when she had developed feelings for him. Those are oddest reasons for a marriage and breakup I have seen and even afterwards they are on good, if not better terms with each other. Can’t say I like the princess and her guard becoming fujoshis. I like the idea of old cultures experiencing modern media and suggesting the potential possibility that if this media existed back then the likes of renaissance painters and Roman emperors could easily become Anime Otakus or fanboys of any kind.

But the Fujoshi girl has become so common in anime that it has practically become a trope. It’s tiresome, namely because the joke of a Fujoshi girl is that she is a Fujoshi and all the punchline really is, is just reminding us that she’s a Fujoshi. Comedy is the weakest link of this show and proof of that is the princesses running joke of saying that she didn’t believe such things existed in this world and her subordinate reminding her that it’s another world. It wasn’t funny the first time and it certainly wasn’t funny the third or fourth time either. At most the girls going to the library to search for “Art” (AKA, BL manga) was mildly amusing at best. The best joke so far was regarding the girls saying there age during the courtroom drama but other than that most of the otaku and other jokes just fall flat.

Oh Gate, giving the soldiers codenames based on Fate/stay night servants. Just bravo sir, the nasufan within me let out a small “yay!” This episode does bring out a particular nationalist trait of the source material which turns off a lot of people off the story but I think I will save that conversation till next episode. Itami knowing the defense minister is another one of those aspects which calls to question whether he is a secret genius or a lucky idiot. The end of the episode was a major cliffhanger for some as Rory seduces Itami and most likely will get interrupted first thing next episode. All things considered, at least Itami has some very good reasons to be hesitant about this approach as regardless of her actual age, Rory still looks like a minor. But if her doesn’t help her blow off steam she’s going to go kill crazy and start chopping up soldiers while disregarding sides.

Posted on 25 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Itami continues to be a mystery as he is shown not only to be a ranger but also a member of special forces. Its not really confirmed whether he is a genius in hiding or a slacker who was tossed into high profile positions and got through it with minimum effort. The big part of this episode was the court case where a young female politician tried to put the army at fault for a number of other world civilians dying in a dragon attack. This is another design change that I find has made the character far too young as the politician I remember from the manga was a much older woman. I don’t know how the novel/LN did it but I feel that having her be a much more mature woman made more sense. Call me jaded but I don’t think a woman that young and good looking would be anywhere near politics. But admittedly I don’t know jack about politics.

However her dialogue where she attempts to make use of her age to demand respect is made all the stranger. In general I always felt that older woman would use their age to demand respect but woman in the 20 to 30 range don’t really like to draw attention to their age. Though when Rory was calling her little girl this could have be a weak attempt to try and gain some kind of moral superiority. Though it doesn’t really matter too much as this character’s sole purpose is to be an idiot while making Rory look good.So no surprise that the highlight of the episode was Rory shutting her up by telling her off on live TV. As well as letting the bomb drop that she is over 900 years old and Tuka is 165 years old. This is really the first time the otherworld has caught modern society off guard as the concept of someone being that old as well as someone becoming a literal God once they reach 1000 is unthinkable. Something tells me that this fact would bring up some problems with christianity that might lead to some misguided crusade to rid the world of the “fake” gods.

Otherwise there was just small things like Rory being terrified of the subway due to the God Hardy who is interested in taking Rory as their wife. Its also interesting to note that unless I am mistaken, Hardy is female. So Rory happens to have a lesbian earth god after her. This girl never ceases to amuse. The episode ends with a rather shocking reveal of Itami’s ex-wife. A main character with an ex-wife, I haven’t seen that since…um…ever actually. I am sure if I dig up some anime I haven’t seen in a while I might find a couple with characters with ex-wives but main characters who were married doesn’t happen very often. Mostly because they are too young to be. When Itami’s wife seems to be the kind of person he would meet, seeing as she’s a mangaka. And for a separated couple they sure are on good terms. Chances are these two didn’t get married normally.

Posted on 18 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

I understand that for an anime adaption some character designs need to be simplified in order for an easier time to keep them in proportion in animation. But while the characters who suffer in this episode because of this are indeed minor characters, its really a shame to see them become something unrecognisable. The two characters in question are Perisa the Catgirl and Delilah the warrior bunny. Now despite how the job is treated with no humor whatsoever, I am fully aware that the words warrior bunny is about as easy to take seriously as a shark tax accountant. It’s even harder to try to accept when the girls look as young as they do in the anime series. In the manga designs the girls had a level of maturity which really lent to their characters but from the looks of things they went with the Light novel designs which make them look far too young and Persia with pink hair just throws me off completely.

This episode goes to show that even with the best laid plans nothing will really go as expected. Because someone is bound to mess things up no matter how hard you try. In this case a blond Drill haired girl who first dragged Itami back to the city beaten and bloody without thinking and her assaulting him again when she went to his room on orders to sleep with him in order to get the JSDF to forget about the incident and was promptly unintentionally ignored when she entered his crowded room. The pain the princess felt when that came to light is one I am all too familiar with. You give someone one simple job and yet somehow they find a way to bugger it up. It’s quite amazing we humans can get anything done together at all.

The joy of the episode is seeing just how desperate the princess gets as the episode goes on. She the first of the major players if the empire to realize just what they are facing and there’s even a point where her composure momentarily breaks while misunderstanding Itami’s position in the army. By the time she makes it to the base to apologise for the incident, she’s like a scolded child. Next episode looks to have the otherworlders visit Japan which should at least give them a taste of information age culture.

Posted on 13 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” is a fairly iconic piece of music in pop culture. So much so that after Apocalypse Now (1979) whenever there is a helicopter assault in any piece of media, it’s practically obligatory to play Ride of the Valkyries. Even just today when finishing Far Cry 3 and had a helicopter turret sequence near the end of the game, what was playing in the background? Ride of the Valkyries. Gate however went above and beyond just referencing Apocalypse Now with the song. The straight up quoted and referenced it throughout the sequence, some scenes of animation being recreations of the the films scene itself. It’s glorious to behold. Though Rory’s fan service moment before the battle was certainly on the gratuitous side, while it is true that I have no idea what the effect of dozens of human souls flowing through you is like, it being like an aphrodisiac isn’t the first thing to come to mind.

It is a matter that bothered me before but I am not fond of the princesses character design in the anime. In the Light novel and manga her design had a much more mature look, where as her anime design just looks far too young. Animation for Gate remains to be inconsistent as at times it can be quite fluid but can drop to levels of still frames. Admittedly it’s not easy to animate army battles but it would be good to remain consistent in animation as opposed to dropping between low and high. Though even at its best I have found A1s animation to be rather rough. In particular with Rory’s battle while good there were times the animation seemed off. The princess finally knows who she’s dealing with and it was rather amusing to see them shocked at them accepting what would be losers terms when by all rights they could have had her at their mercy. It’s a pity her soldiers are not quite as informed and may have made the greatest mistake of their lives by episodes end.

Posted on 7 August 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

This episode focused on the third princess and her past efforts to make an order of female knights a respected force in the king’s army. Naturally being an all female group in a medieval society doesn’t exactly get them a lot of respect. The king looks to be treating them as a glorified ornament. But she’s pulled into siege warfare as the town she is visiting is being assaulted by remnants of their own forces and the town leader is too young to take charge of the defense. There’s an ongoing war and everyone’s too busy fighting each other to fight the enemy. Humanity at its finest. The fact that they need to accept aid from their otherworldly enemy just to fight off bandits from their own world is testament to how ludicrous the situation is. Out of the female leads so far, the princess seems the most level headed. Her leadership skills are good and looks to be decent strategist though their was some ditzyness on her part by accidentally knocking Itami to the ground while enthusiastically throwing open the doors. But she still has the same level of ignorance as the rest of the other world regarding the JSDF as she uses them as a suicidal front line in order to fortify the town. Thats a bit like using a rocket launcher as a makeshift baseball bat.

Rory looks to be getting fairly attached to Itami as she questions him here and Itami puts clear what he intends. Its the right idea to show off just what they are capable off as the biggest issues is in how the medieval world has no idea of their level of power. Itami intends it as a message to get along with them instead of fighting but Rory is right in that they will be effectively terrifying the princess with a display of power. A moment that I truly am looking forward too. There’s just something satisfying about seeing these people in blank awe of military might. It’s reminiscent of soldiers reaction to Berserks Guts cutting down people with his sword. The moment when the person finds out they are utterly outmatched in every way. The end of the episode gives a big decision to our princess as she can choose to call over the JSDF after sending them on a suicide mission or attempt to fight to the end with her remaining forces. In any case it’s doubtful Itami will just stand by as bandits raid the town.

Posted on 30 July 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

Not much to talk about this episode as it was mainly set up to the next. The army’s reputation looks to have risen after driving off a dragon and looks to have caught the attention of our new female character. I was about to sigh when I saw the old anime staple of a bath scene but honestly from a fanservice standpoint it was barren. Alright, there was one shot of the elf girl but frankly it was only a second long and not too gratuitous. It’s nice to seen a anime take the higher road and not just shove in fanservice disregarding the tone of the show for the sake of pandering to otaku. (Looking at you, Ranpo Kitan) the main bulk of the episode was about our three heroines integrating into the army camp. Rory looks to be going with the flow, while mage girl is taking steps to better communicate and understand them. Though elf girl is reserved and avoiding the army. Partly because of her trauma involving the dragon attack on her village and partly from getting thrown into a world so different from her home.

Admittedly when the show shifts to show countries other than Japan discussing the gate its a little one dimensional. Though truth be told if a gate to another world did open then its true that every country would be itching to get their greedy hands on it. Thing is that Japan wouldn’t be the exception in this case, they would be just as greedy. An interesting point did come up in this episode that if the gate is a paradise of bountiful resources then it could lead to Japan taking on the world to hold a monopoly on it. Though I question this as the gate only has a single point of entry not making it the best way to farm resources considering that all resources would need to pass through this one small gateway. That’s going to be one big traffic jam in the making. I know it’s not exactly new for me to say this but the weakest part of the show happens to be the comedy. Itami’s otaku nature is often used for jokes but it’s ultimately the same punchline, that Itami is a massive otaku. The other jokes unrelated to that can have rare moments, such as a general calling a dragon a one headed Ghidorah. The next episode looks to be when the princess of the kingdom and Itami’s squad encounter each other. Sparks are inbound.

Posted on 24 July 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There

This episode introduces what looks to be the main trio of girls for the cast. A elf girl, a mage girl and a Goth lolita girl with a giant axe. The Goth lolita, otherwise know as the Apostle of a death god, Rory is so far the most interesting of the bunch. Though mainly because the elf girl was unconscious for the majority of the episode and the mage girl is a bit too bland. Rory is one man killing machine with a halberd who is most certainly the type that looks younger than her age. She looks to be having fun with the army as they are oblivious to her true destructive power, she’s rather mischievous in that manner. But there’s a flaw with this episode in how Rory helped to defeat the dragon. When a rocket was shot at the dragon they seen that it would miss and in the span of time it took for the rocket to reach the dragon, Rory jumped out of the back, landed on the roof and threw her halberd faster than a rocket to hit the ground and cause the dragon to stumble. All in about three seconds at most. No matter how incredible this girl may be, that seems downright unfeasible.

Thus the army managed to defeat and drive off the giant monster. When I thought that, I took a moment to ponder just when was the last time I seen that happen. As the army man said, the JSDF has a (Fictional) history of fighting giant monsters. They do not however have a history of winning against giant monsters. Any time the army is brought out to fight some supernatural threat they have always proved to be ineffective and often obliterated. In fiction armies are often brought in to show the depth of the threat by getting destroyed so that the heroes victory is all the more impressive. The most recent example of this I have seen happened to be in the Aquaman DC animated movie when the army are brought in only to be completely useless and are saved by the heroes. So even if they got a little help from Rory. It’s nice to see the army have a win for once. The dragon used a style of CGI which was rather different, were they tried to fuse hand drawn texture with a CGI animation model. Alright, it didn’t quite work as the dragon still looked awkward but well it’s nice to see some experimentation.

What I really liked about this episode was the situation the army was in. They have the resources to easily take down a dragon but due to the delicate nature of bringing excess force too much into enemy territory it leaves them in the position of guiding refugees away from their village. They could only help out in small ways and even with that a lot of people still died. The funeral scene was really well done and from the looks of things they not have a group of people to care for. The next episode looks to be seeing how they integrate with the armies base.

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