So after short break to complete University coursework I bring my latest review. I recently watched GATE, twice actually, and has officially become one of my favourite anime so with the anticipation of the second season next month I would like to spread the hype.
The world(s) GATE drops us in is perhaps the most attracting factor in its success. A magical gate opens up in the middle of a Tokyo shopping district on the day of a convention, suddenly an army of medieval soldiers and fantasy creatures begin to pour out and start killing everyone in sight. They remark at the similarity between there world and this new one, however feel uneasy about the details of their location. After a short while Japan’s Self Defence Force arrives and eliminates them with ease, due to the technological disparity between the two armies. One otaku, who was hoping to go to the convention, that works for the JSDF ends up leading the civilians to safety. After receiving honours the otaku and the JSDF are sent into the gate to secure the other side and establish relations with its inhabitants, and an adventure of modern soldiers in a fantasy world begins.
The story itself is rather straight forward, Japan sends its army into a fantasy world and attempts to learn more about the world on the other side. The Empire on the other side, which sent the attacking force in the initial assault on our world, sends its army to retake the Gate. However pooling resources from the armies of multiple lands they meet almost instant defeat, with no losses on the Japanese side, due to the destructive capacity of modern weapons. With no way to continue hostilities the Empire resorts to more political means, while Japan creates teams of people to head out and try to establish relations. Our otaku hero ends up heading one such team, and sets out into an unknown world. With political intrigue mounting in the newly discovered Special Region and Earth untold problems will need be overcome if everyone is to come out of the situation better off.
The world holds the greatest interest, and the short time means the characters aren’t as fleshed out as they deserve to be, however you will by no means have difficulty finding a favourite.
Itami-Proud otaku and the hero of the Special Region’s JSDF troops. Having been present from start to finish he finds himself the focal point of the greatest adventures, and while he seems a slacker he always manages to pull everything out of the bag.
Tuka-The first of the unique denizens of the Special Region to be encountered, she is a Fairy type Elf rescued by Itami. She doesn’t contribute much to the story despite being a main character though.
Lelei-Lelei la Lalena is a young human sorceress apprentice. She has a high intellectual capacity and acts as the linguistic and cultural bridge between the Special Region and Japan. Acknowledging Japan’s superiority she spends her time researching and understanding their advances so that she can use them to assist others.
Rory Mercury-Rory is a fan favourite, she’s a demigoddess apostle of the God of War. She ends up in league with the SDF after assisting Itami fend off a dragon to protect some refugees. She grows to respect the prowess yet benevolence of the SDF, and also shows understanding of the difficulty in the SDF’s political standing within Japan.
Princess Piña-After witnessing the inferiority of the entire might an army against just a few of the SDF she works tirelessly to create peace between the two entities out of fear that the Empire would be destroyed within days. She also becomes greatly influenced by the culture that she discovers during relations with the SDF.
The incomplete nature of the first season is frustrating, however with the plot able to take several turns (assuming you haven’t read the manga) it makes waiting that bit more interesting. The anime also has an RPG, Dungeons and Dragons type feel to it, with the way that they approach and deal with problems. If witnessing advanced technology decimate fantasy being is your thing then The Familiar of Zero is an anime that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Though, if I am honest this anime really reminds me of Stargate more than anything else.
I must warn you that this anime will grapple an otakus heart and keep a firm grip for a long time to come.
“The Empire stepped on the griffons tail.”