Wishing he was buying some of his favourite doujins.

Undeniably Anime:

This may seem like an odd thing to say, but GATE is undoubtedly anime. From the moment we were introduced to a 33 year old self-insert otaku attending a doujinshi event, saying things you’d expect to hear from the intended target audience, I knew what kind of series this was going to be. Like many, I’d heard plenty about the series and what to expect from it, resulting in some rather negative preconceptions. However, I was still surprised by how typical and tropey GATE ended up being. Although I understand there are several versions of the source material, I can’t imagine this series without the blatant anime/light novel appeal. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – since understanding your target audience can result in a more popular final product, case in point – but I did find myself ticking off a mental list of anime cliches with every passing episode. And the list just kept on going… and going.

Whether it be the massively popular gothloli in Rory Mercury (who grinds my gears, personally), your typical fantasy elf in Tuka, or the masses of cute animal girls around every corner (that would be perfect for dakimakura), it felt like GATE was adamant in putting in as many of these typical anime tropes into the story as possible. But it’s important to note that fiction never exists in a vacuum. Stories are born from the minds of their creators, and so their intentions and interests shine through. Yanai Takumi obviously knew what type of story he wanted to write, and it’s no doubt why it’s as popular as it is; five years ago I probably would have loved what GATE had to offer, but my tastes have changed over the years after being exposed to too many of the same series time and time again.

There were a few of those typical moments that I got some enjoyment out of, like Pina ca Lada (which is a terribly unfortunate name – the names in this series are bizarre, and not in a good way) and her love for BL “art”, as well as the obsessive nature of Itami’s fujoshi ex wife; I did get a few laughs from those characters, who, despite being walking caricatures, were probably my favourites (and least offensive) of the cast. However, instances like Rory encouraging Itami to get intimate with a woman who is technically in a child’s body, or Yao Ha almost being raped in a back alley 3 times over, only for to be played for laughs, were examples that irritated and disappointed me.

GATE & Right-Wing Politics:

I’m sure there are bound to be groans when you mention the right wing agenda that exists in GATE. You may say: ” just let it go” or “let me enjoy it without bringing politics into it”, but when the creator so obviously puts across his ideologies and brings real life politics into the equation, what can you expect? You simply can’t ignore the author’s views, and you shouldn’t. Denying the link between the two is lying to yourself; I wish I could be more ignorant to it all, but I can’t.

That being said, it’s probably a good thing that I’m the one writing this post and not some other bloggers, because although I’d class my political views are far-left and very different from what’s put across here, I wasn’t nearly as aggravated as I thought I would have been. I went into GATE prepared to be furious, but that never really happened. The closest to it was the general tone of the Itami’s questioning and Rory biting back – it felt very contrived and gave a taste of what could come. Thankfully, there weren’t many scenes like that, though I imagine if there were more, I might have felt exhausted with them. But as a whole I was never overtly offended with what I saw.

I can narrow that down to two main reasons: (1) Due to the original source material changing various times over through different mediums, resulting in a less obvious right-ring bias, the anime has likely been drained of the more controversial elements of the story. Or (2) because there was so much focus on the cliches that I couldn’t entirely take it that seriously. If it were more dedicated to tackling the real-life politics side of the story, things could have been very messy, but perhaps it would have made for a more memorable experience. However, looking over what we’ve been given, I still do think it’s for the best that the anime adaptation filtered out the most outrageously conservative segments from the original. If it hadn’t, I most certainly would have immense dislike for the series, reaching a similar level of hate that I have for Mahouka for similar reasons.

Looking Ahead:

In the end, I didn’t hate GATE. That may not sound like a glowing recommendation, but I went into this with incredibly low expectations, and actually quite enjoyed the ride. Of course, there were bumps, which I’ve covered above, but I’m grateful that this version of the story doesn’t appear to be as detestable as some claim the original novel is. Still, there are moments that worry me, especially if we get more real-life politics. I’ve been spoiled for a few events that are set to occur in the next arc (starting in the winter season) and if they turn out to be true, I may not have the same decently positive opinion as I have right now. But from what I’ve seen so far, GATE has been tolerable because of the balance between controversial politics and anime cliches – it’s certainly not a combination that’s going to make my favourites list by the end of the year, but it somehow managed to be an enjoyable watch. We’ll see how if that continues in the second cour.


  1. Well said. GATE is one of those SUPER ANIME anime that just can’t be taken seriously due to how over the top it is. I mean GOTHLOLI BANZAI (Rory is seriously great hahaha). The right wing politics are FULL STUPID, but due to how stupid it is, I can’t get mad. It’s a blatant caricature that doesn’t even remotely resemble real life.

    The political views in a more serious anime like Mahouka would be much more rage inducing. Though I personally was completely unaffected by it, I know a few people who hated the CHINESE BADMEN enemies they kept using.

    Basically I enjoy the hell out of GATE by ignoring the stupid and just taking in the fun parts. But I understand it doesn’t work for everyone.

    1. Pretty much did the same with this show as well; there were some points along the anime that were annoying or too odd to take seriously, but I did enjoy the anime when I pushed aside those points.

    2. Tottaly agree with you there, the whole nationalistic/jingoistic thing is silly, and the silly plots, like really the President of the U.S. would try to send special ops teams to take the other world people? What? Why not just offer to give them a tour of their country as well etc etc, give them gifts and stuff? What would forcibly taking them to another country really do besides piss them off and the rest of the world. The U.S. would just send some scientists, or just requests tons of samples of whatever is there and then try to replicate it. China as well

      The Chinese parts were just silly. The Chinese wouldn’t even be able to GET troops in another country much less have them be “special elite forces” was eye-rolling to where it was hilarious.

      1. Yes the USA would send a team of spec-ops to try and kidnap some of the other-world people, it’s not like they are above this or never did similar things in real life … read a bit about Extraordinary_rendition and search online for USA black-ops operations in foreign countries to kidnap individuals of value to them and take them elsewhere –> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition

        Obviously Japan has a momentous advantage here with the only gate being on Japanese soil, and they have no reason whatsoever to share info or anything with anyone from other countries, that gives them huge leverage, other countries like USA or China and Russia have very little to offer if they wanted to barging with Japan who is in the stronger position and can freely exploit all the resources of the new world, to even the odds and get a bargaining chip it makes perfect sense that they would use underhanded tactics and try to kidnap some of the visitors to use them for bargaining and start negotiations regarding the new world on equal terms.

        And the whole “why didn’t they ask them to take a tour in USA” thing shows you really have no idea about real life politics at all, Japan can use a hundred different excuses to refuse that offer and nobody can force them to accept it in any way shape or form, they can say the safety of the guests won’t be guaranteed outside of Japan (and they would be no lying about this), they can say they don’t have time and have to go back to the gate soon, they can say they will ask the guests for their opinion then arrange it with them so that they say the refuse to go outside Japan, there is just no way that is going to happen.

      2. Actually Japan is in one of the worst possible countries to try to control the Gate. In the first place in anything like the real world the US would end up guarding the Gate within the first day. And the US army would be going through the Gate and Japan would never lay claim to a whole planet. So everything would be a joint US-Japan operation.

        But even with an act of God that would allow Japan to control the Gate and claim an entire planet at the start of this it would never last. Japan is a small island nation that is hated by all it’s neighboring countries and depends on trade for it lifeblood. Trade sanctions could bring it to it’s knees in weeks. And there is no county in the world that would benefit from Japan controlling another planet except for Japan so trade sanctions would be the least that they would have to worry about.

      3. @Hunterwolf

        Yes the USA would send a team of spec-ops to try and kidnap some of the other-world people, it’s not like they are above this or never did similar things in real life

        It’s not a matter of whether they could, it’s a matter of risk/reward benefit. Kidnapping a few offworlders offers little gain that can’t be otherwise obtained at much lower risk/visibility. There’s a big difference when you’re kidnapping suspects that are frankly nobodies versus the most visible people on the planet, they might as well have been trying to kidnap Miley Cyrus during the MTV award.

        Obviously Japan has a momentous advantage here with the only gate being on Japanese soil, and they have no reason whatsoever to share info or anything with anyone from other countries, that gives them huge leverage, other countries like USA or China and Russia have very little to offer if they wanted to barging with Japan who is in the stronger position and can freely exploit all the resources of the new world, to even the odds and get a bargaining chip it makes perfect sense that they would use underhanded tactics and try to kidnap some of the visitors to use them for bargaining and start negotiations regarding the new world on equal terms.

        Perhaps you should start by asking yourself who provides the support to the JSDF. Stronger position? have you taken a look at Japan’s geopolitical status in the last 70 years, or perhaps why they invaded China/entered WW2? They HAVE no natural resources, outside trade is their bloodline. The US/China/Russia doesn’t even have to invade Japan – all they’d have to do is blockade the islands and Japan would capitulate faster than you can blink.

        Oh, and good luck trying to sustain a nation of a 127 million through a foreign world with zero infrastructure and a passage the size of a 2 lane highway.

        And the whole “why didn’t they ask them to take a tour in USA” thing shows you really have no idea about real life politics at all, Japan can use a hundred different excuses to refuse that offer and nobody can force them to accept it in any way shape or form

        And you want to accuse others about having no idea about real life politics? You think Japan really wanted to reinterpret their Article 9? those massive demonstrations certainly suggests otherwise, but guess what, China and US made it necessary, force comes in all shapes and forms, not just rounds downrange.

    3. What GATE saves here, the ONLY Entry to this Alternative World is this GATE in Nippon. Columbus New Way to India found as later known America. And everyone could Sail there and play the High and Might “White Gods”. aka Pirates, Spanish Conquistadors, France, England and more. But GATE here has this Bottleneck of only 1 Entrance, so controlled Entry is granted. Only if “Money” begin to Talk big and oil the Dark ways of Trade here…

      The Genie in the Bottle is still under control

      1. Perhaps an Hidden Cold War could break out to Control of this GATE. A Country that do not care about killing innocents Peoples around this Gate….(But i begin to show you the Deep dark Side i do not want)

      2. ..or, if i can not use this GATE for my Troops. then NOBODY should use it either. Destroy it with a Nuke!!

        (But then like in Independence Day Movie. It even withstand an Direct Nuke hit)

        Aww.. i should seal my Dark Side imagination spring of Ideas. I dislike this part of me

  2. The author of the novel should have never gone into politics in the real world. Both Japanese and US government in this story were shown as way too stupid and way too incompetent ones.
    Things happened in the OTHER world, however, were quite enjoyable.
    This show is supposedly a separated two-cour one, so they will come back.

  3. You know, i think i saw something…

    Exchange the JSDF with US Army Boys. Exchange the Alternative World with Japan in the Shogun Time. And voila…

    Well it is a mix of their own History so far. the Army patriotism like in USA is here strong, too. So you could really exchange the JSDF with US or other Countries with strong patriotism. It is no wonder, because this Manga-ka was part of the JSDF in RL

    I had my Problems in the beginning with this “Huzzay! Huzzay! We are the Army!! Huzzay!” scenes. But looks like they successful tune it down. At the beginning it felled like an Army recruiting Anime. But then the Microcosm kicks in and Rory show us that even this Weak Land has his Claws that can bite back. I bet she can cut an Tank easy in two, if she is in the Mood. The Peoples from the Alternative Land need to show more of their Skills to counterbalance the Weapons of Nippon. Right now, it is one sided, except with Rory. Her actions alone hold the balance, but is it not a bit to much on her Shoulders? What are the special Powers of our High-elf? Putting someone to sleep? Our Leilei? Translator wonder child? Yes, they need some background

    But then when the Italica Arc kicked in, all became good, the start was to much One sided. Alone the Slaughtering with the Tanks and such. Lucky they do not to conquer this Land with force. That make its enjoyable for normal peoples and not only for Military otakus or Hawk factions ones

    1. People keep trying to say that this is just like what the US does. It’s really not though. I’m not going to get into another one of those arguments because they go nowhere, but one of the most important thing about politics is that details matter. You can’t just swap names and say ‘look how similar they are?’ Where they came from, what their history is, what their goal is, what the public discourse is, these all matter when it comes to politics.

      EVEN IF a story coming from Japan and a story coming from the US appear the same (which these don’t) they’re still not the same politically because the background is different. That’s just politics.

      1. …I hope you realize that your above statement is saying, at the very base of it, that an American or a Chinese or Russian or Brit or Arab or African kicking a cat is somehow less offensive than a Japanese kicking a cat, because ‘that’s politics’. Because that’s the logical extension of your statement.

        Would you be probably right in saying that a video on Facebook of a Japanese kicking a cat might stir more online outrage than an American or Brit kicking a cat? Quite possibly yes. Would that be ignorant hatred and bias? Also yes.

        Food for thought.

      2. …well, it’s nice to know you’re quite unwilling to reflect on your own statements. But for the sake of anyone else, let me clarify – the point you appear to be implying is that Japan supposedly doing what it does in GATE is different (read: worse, by your implications and posts in the First Impressions threads) from what the US and just about every other country does in their own nationalistic works because of what you term ‘politics’ – as examples, you said, ‘what their history is’, ‘what their goal is’, ‘what the public discourse is’. But at the end of it, if you can in fact interchange names and have the situations look remarkably similar, the only difference there can be lies in two places, which line up pretty well with those same examples you raised – either you’re talking about it being ‘worse’ because of how other people will react to it (‘history’ and ‘public discourse’), or you’re implying it’s worse because the Japanese are somehow just worse people – that their ‘goal’ is somehow just more nefarious.

        So which is it?

      3. Ugh… I’m not going too far with this, because again this is dumb. Politics are not the same because culture is not the same. This is simple fact.

        You use the example of kicking a cat. I can’t think of a country where that’s ok, so let’s use another, similar example: eating a dog. During the 2012 presidential election, it became big news that Obama had eaten dog while living in Indonesia. BIG news. It seriously was used in the election as a smear tactic. Now in Indonesia, or Korea for example, no one would care. Because the culture surrounding the eating of dog is different.

        This is true of nearly anything between two countries except for specific cases where they have similar culture, such as most british colonial nations like the US, Australia, and Canada and even then there are huge differences. The military and its role in public life are not the same between the US and Japan, not in the slightest. And Japanese people know that. This is the same reason that something like the captain of the Macross Quarter sexually harassing one of his bridge crew is played for humor on an episode of Macross Frontier while it would have made him the villain of the episode on an American show (and CERTAINLY wouldn’t have happened on a children’s/adolescent’s show).

        Messages are shaped, and must be judged, according to the culture that produces them. This doesn’t mean one gets a pass and one gets blasted. It means that just going ‘durr, look they’re the same thing.’ is idiotic. And the military of all things is not some completely innocent, message free quantity in Japanese media. It is quite possibly the most loaded concept in the whole culture.

  4. Summary already? Could’ve sworn this was two cours back to back. Oh well, guess it’s something to look forward to after fall exams 😛

    Joking aside, I did enjoy Gate, but it suffered immensely from a combination of naivety and stereotyping. It was clear from the beginning the author drew from standard fantasy, every trope post-Tolkien was featured in one form or another and thoroughly indicates his lack of experience in storytelling. Is it an issue? No, because Gate is one of the few written “travel juxtaposition” series to see adaptation to TV (I would seriously give an arm and a leg for the Emberverse, Island in the Sea of Time, or the 1632 series to see a TV adaptation like Zipang); the plot device alone is enough for a thumbs up.

    The issues with Gate rather lies in the author’s background. Simply put, Gate’s universe is an ignorant and forced structure drawing on nationalist biases and simplistic representations of international relations. For starters the JGSDF Rangers are roughly equivalent to US Rangers or Green Berets; they are not true special forces as Gate has been content to make us believe. The Japanese have special forces in the form of the Kutei (airborne) and Special Forces Group (anti-terrorism), both of which could wipe the floor with any Ranger group. Episode 9 probably best showcases the limitations here when Japanese forces effortlessly beat off not one, but two different foreign groups (likely American and Chinese). To call the buildup to this and the subsequent climax ridiculous is an understatement, engagements never go that perfectly, let alone with forces untrained in actual combat (FYI the majority of Japanese units have never been involved in live combat).

    International relations shows further problems. Japan and the US share a defense treaty, a treaty basically giving the US control over strategic operations threatening Japanese sovereignty. If such a gate ever emerged the Americans would be in there faster than the Japanese could close off the area. The author sees the military and its relations through an absolute lens, for him the Japanese military is fully independent, can only do good, does not instigate offensive actions, suffer from friendly fire, or unduly harm innocents; that’s the thing foreigners (i.e. Americans, Chinese, Russians) do. Whenever threatened the JGSDF beats off the enemy without any loss and comes out looking better than before (see the Diet debates). And that doesn’t even get into how Japan’s actions throughout the series have been portrayed as defensive and reasonable whereas everyone else has always been involved in unjustified and offensive in nature.

    Even with all these issues though Gate was enjoyable as long as you’re not looking for a well thought out war story or grim representation of the battlefield. This is a series to turn your brain off to and enjoy the pretty explosions; avoid critical thinking and there’s lots to enjoy. As I mentioned at the start there are not many series out there dealing with time juxtapositions like Gate that have seen TV adaptations, so seeing one here is enough to keep me watching and interested. Gate may fail in terms of depth, but it can certainly satisfy in regards to entertainment. As long as the second cour can match the first for that entertainment it will certainly have met my (limited) expectations overall.

      1. Well, the good thing here is for the Studio have the Deadline Pressure lifted. Perhaps they continue to create the Episodes and it wanders then into the Archive, or they put on Hold to give other work priority until it is time again to wake the Sleeping Beauty. But if i would be the Chief in charge, i would continue to produce the Episodes and give t to the Archives. Because you already have the Budget, and Man power assumed. Use them. The Deadline is still there, but not so painfully as Airing deadlines

    1. I wouldn’t say you have to ‘turn your brain off’. Embrace the show as idealism rather than realism and there’s a lot to debate and mess around with – if this is how a ‘Japan yeah!’ military would want itself to be, is their dream useful, plausible, perfect? The battle scenes have a way of inviting the audience to judge if the carnage they’re seeing is entirely commendable. I’ve rarely found it to be so. I feel it says some things (regardless if intended or not) about the imperfection of nationalistic ideals.

      1. Idealism? IMO Gate is at best power trip fantasy written by an inexperienced author looking to “live” his imagined universe. I would argue you’re seeing what you want to see here because for me the combat scenes were poorly thought out and rely heavily upon misconceptions and generalizations oft witnessed in Hollywood B-grade series or popcorn blockbusters.

        Although an argument certainly can be gleamed concerning the legitimacy of violence employed by the JGSDF, the show is not trying to propel the uninitiated viewer in this direction; rather it is a release of explosions and death to leave one awestruck and excited rather than inquisitive. There is no struggle, no moral conflict the JGSDF must face, their actions since inception have been defensive; the Empire attacked them, the Empire is looking to remove them, foreign powers want to take advantage of Japan’s discovery, and only the Empire sees its citizens as expendable tools. If Gate was to be a critical analysis of war and its effects, the absolutist view would never have been present and Japan would be as overtly flawed as its enemies.

        I’m not taking away from your opinion here, but I firmly believe there are better series out there which offer a better source of thought concerning the impact of war and the moral wrangling it evokes. See Thucydides’ Melian debate for example.

      2. @Pancakes – I will substantively agree with you insofar as that GATE really isn’t anything deep, or even trying to be deep; and that it most certainly is largely pushing an idealized image of the JSDF, plots by individuals like Yanagida notwithstanding. I will, however, opine that said idealized image of the JSDF – one concerned with helping the common people and protecting their own citizenry, rightfully reluctant to engage in active invasion, and not prone to demonizing entire populations – is a remarkably more admirable ‘idealized image’ than that which shows up in many other shows of this stripe. I truly wish I could forget the blatant idiocy of The Interview – where the toilet humour and lowest denominator antics actually managed to not be the worst things about the show.

      3. You’ve just summed up my reasons as to why it’s idealism. It’s not a ‘critical analysis’ of anything because an ideal soldier fighting for his country isn’t one to be thinking ‘war, huh, yeah, what is it good for?’. GATE aims to be an in-your-face fantasy of what the JSDF are seen as being in some eyes. That doesn’t mean, however, that it can’t be criticised, and that it never criticises itself.

        When some people on here get turned off by the over-the-top carnage, I wonder why they don’t look into those scenes to see ways that the show is supporting the interpretation that the JSDF might be overdoing it in some cases. Rory’s fetishization of warfare, and how she mirrors one of the female soldiers at one point in the fray, is a prime example of this. I’ve had a lot of fun enjoying the explosions while also giving myself room to think ‘but is this the best way?’. The ideal JSDF soldier may see Japan’s military as perfect, but how much integrity does their image have?

        It’s not uncommon for the dreamer’s dream to reveal weaknesses as well as strengths in what they believe in.

  5. First thing; I really enjoyed this anime, for a variety of reasons. However, there are a bunch of factors that may turn others off.

    For those annoyed by “special snowflake self-inserts,” Itami kinda fits the profile. His squad seems like the only ones actively forming peaceful relations with the native populace beyond the immediate vicinity of the JSDF base. Being an otaku allowed him to personally know the man who became the Defense Minister. There are a couple scenes about Itami where Kuribayashi, one of his subordinates, has the reaction I think many would have, due to the implausibility of what is revealed. (Not gonna spoil the scenes, since I thought they were funny, but you’ll know what I mean). No one factor really makes him unique, but the combination of everything does.

    Personally, I rarely find myself annoyed by the political slant in fictional shows. I can separate the show’s depiction of circumstances to back a certain viewpoint from real-life circumstances, which are more complicated than “one side is good and anyone who opposes is clearly incompetent/idiotic/evil.” What I do find aggravating is when people use these simplified/slanted depictions to make a real-life argument, which can be persuasive when the target audience is not well-informed. Given the reluctance/outright denial of some Japanese when it comes to past events involving their military, I can see why some people may find this kind of thing worrisome.

    To end on a brighter(?) note, I’ll just leave this nice shoutout to Apocalypse Now.

    1. Seems like an overwhelming majority of manga readers had an issue with the show? I was planning to read it after the show ended, but I had assumed the 2 cours would be back-to-back, not split. I’m really curious about what happens, but I also don’t want to dampen my enjoyment of the anime. Any suggestions from manga readers as to whether I should read it now? Maybe read up to where this season ended? (BTW, how far is that relative to how much is translated?)

  6. The politics never really bothered me. If I had to count the amount where an anime has a really skewed political environment, it would be a pretty long list. The Japanese are not really the best people to talk politics especially with their loads and loads of preconceptions about other nationalities, and the lingering imperial pride(it still exists) whether it be good or bad. Best take it as a different universe (which it is!).

    Issues aside, Gate is pretty enjoyable actually.

    1. ‘Different universe’ is a great way of putting it. Relax when it comes to the politics, don’t take it ‘personally’, and it becomes a mindset that you can just walk into and mess around with – the mindset of a group, more than the mindset of an author. Militaristic idealism.

      By having that approach, I’ve actually been able to poke holes in this great ideal of the JSDF – I haven’t always seen the anime as portraying them as ‘perfect’. The use of Rory has particularly offered a few windows of criticism for their actions and approach.

  7. IMO, there are lots of feel-good war stories where the military goes in and beats the bad guys and saves the oppressed people. Where the protagonist faces off against the machinations of one or more of the 3 global superpowers with the worst reputation (deserved or undeserved)–leaving out the country the movie was made in, if it’s among those 3 superpowers. Woos the ladies. And of course, outclasses top enemy soldiers because he’s just so awesome. And the politics aren’t totally realistic either. So I’m don’t feel that Gate is special compared to those stories. I see it as more of a “Wow, I really wish a gate would open up near me” sort of anime.

    Every literary work has a cultural background, and I don’t sense anything especially weird about the author’s, besides the fact it’s not typical to see such detailed political events in anime. None of the things Samu pointed as offensive seem like a big deal to the target audience. Historically or politically intense action stories seem like they offend people more easily than others, though. Zipang, Sanctuary, Akumetsu.

  8. “but when the creator so obviously puts across his ideologies and brings real life politics into the equation, what can you expect? ……….. It’s for that reason that I won’t read Ender’s Game, because I simply cannot push myself to read the words of a bigot.”

    Those are 2 very different points of view. In the first one you say the creator carries his ideology into his work, but Ender’s Game is definitely not an example of that. Sure, OSC is horrible for his views, but I don’t recall getting any kind of anti-gay sentiment from my many many read throughs (it is my favorite novel of all time). If you choose not to read his works because of who he is, that’s completely fine, but don’t say Ender’s Game is a bad book because of OSC’s views.

    1. I’ll trust your words that there’s no obvious anti-gay sentiments in his works, but I wasn’t sure; I was just referring to a well-known conservative author that might be equivalent to Yanai Takumi (though perhaps they’re more different like you say). I just know that because I’m aware of OSC’s views, that prevents me from reading his work. I never said it was a bad book either – I can’t judge it on its own merit, after all.

      1. Yeah, I’m with Seltzer on this. I actually didn’t know about OSC’s views on gay people when I read Ender’s Game, and was surprised to learn of those views after having read the book. It wasn’t my favorite or anything, I read it out of curiosity, but I didn’t note anything that struck me as hitting you in the head with conservative viewpoints (like this or Battlefield Earth).

      2. > I just know that because I’m aware of OSC’s views, that prevents me from reading his work.

        That would make you a poor critic of art. Awareness of something is one thing; acceptance is another; choosing to consider it while reading is yet another.

        Take responsibility for your approach to art. You’re not a passenger who’s forced to think and feel this way and that because of things you know. It’s fine to say that you’d rather not read the work of a ‘bigoted’ author, but don’t pretend that it’s the knowledge that’s preventing you from reading it. The one preventing you is you.

      3. @JekoJeko – well said. Even the worst bigot in the world is never always wrong. A priest being corrupt and venal does not necessarily invalidate the value of his message; a scandal does not necessarily void the contributions and the viewpoints of a politician. To assume so is not being critical – it is being judgmental.

      4. I’m pretty sure I made it obvious it was my own personal choice not to read his works? Because I’m aware of his anti-gay opinions, I, as a gay man, have made the decision not to endorse or involve myself with whatever he does. It just so happens I learned about all this before I accidentally picked up Ender’s Game (for example), which is why I’ve come to that decision. If it makes me a ‘poor critic’ of art, then so be it. I would never subject myself to those sort of standards just to appease people who aren’t offended or affected by his actions. I simple can’t apologise for being informed of an author’s bigoted point of view and rethinking my opinion because of that. There are so many authors out there who I’d much rather read, so I can happily live my life without ever touching an OSC book.

      5. Sure. There’s no need to apologise for that. But you can’t claim it as a strength, or as a standard. If you can’t make yourself ignorant to something while watching, you’re not taking enough control of how you view art. The mind is a muscle that, with proper exercise, can be trained to not do things as well as do them. That includes taking focus away from ideologies.

        Besides, the ideology can be assessed with the art after all is said and done – you can form a full analysis of what the show does for you and assess that against what the author apparently believes. So I don’t personally see any need for linking the two while you’re watching – how can knowing the author’s views get you more into the hearts and minds of characters? It would only take you away from them and into his. That’s cool if you’re watching anime to get in the mind of the writer. But it’s wrong to say that everyone is or should be doing that.

        Fail to fully delve into characters because you’re fixated on the character of the writer, and you may miss the true nature of the delivery of his ideologies altogether.

      6. @Samu
        Gotta agree with the others here, man. There’s literally nothing I can think of in Ender’s Game that ties in with anti-gay sentiment, so if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice in not reading one of the best SF novels of all time. For me as well, it was a surprise to find out about OSC’s views, because there’s no hint of any of that in the Ender book and its sequel (which I personally liked even more). If you’re not reading him on the grounds of not wanting to give such a man a single penny of your hard-earned money, that’s one thing, but doing it because of an apparent misconception about the content is entirely unwarranted in this case.

        As for Gate, I agree with you that thankfully the political propaganda aspect was far overshadowed by the comedy, anime/manga tropes and fan service, which gave the viewer more than enough leeway to not take the politics very seriously. I don’t think anyone wants to see another Mahouka.

        Although, I really don’t see why it’s very much OK for there to be total rah-rah in almost every movie about the U.S. military, but when Japan does it, it’s oh so terrible. Bringing up all the pre/during-WWII stuff is pointless, the country is very different these days. And, curiously enough, it’s the U.S. who’s pushing Japan to take a more active military stance, so let’s not have double standards here.

      7. It kind of baffles me that this work is labeled as right-wing in any way. There is really nothing in it that I can notice that has anything to do with that. I can see far more left oriented views in it then right. To me it seems like people put labels on people based on their own nations political parties, which has little to do with the rest of the world or other with individuals.

        Being for or against an army has little to do with left or right. It’s not like someone in old USSR promoting increasing the Red Army was a right wing person or same in the Peoples Republic of China. You can in fact be for an increased army and be totally apolitical.

  9. I have been reading this blog for the past seven years. And I have never been so disappointed by a post as much as this time.

    When Stilts reviewed Mahouka, he made it a point to explain why he didn’t like the show based on storytelling and characters, not on political grounds. I am sorry Samu, but to me the summary of your post is: “I only watched this show expecting to be enraged due to my far-left political faith. Luckily for the viewers, the right-wing ideology of the original authors didn’t come through so badly”. So you basically watched this show not for entertainment, but to produce a political commentary on it?

    To me, anime is still an art form, and like all forms of art, every show should be evaluated on its own merits, not on the underlying ideology of the author. For example, I personally downright loathe Brecht’s political ideas; but I still consider him one of the greatest dramaturges of the 20th century. I feel sorry that, on the other hand, you cannot appreciate a Nebula and Hugo award-winning novel simply because you don’t agree with its author.

    1. First off, I’m sorry you feel so disappointed by the post.

      I watched GATE because I was interested to see what I was getting into. I’d heard a lot of negative criticism re: the original source material and lots of people online were discussing how it would be adapted. I was intrigued, so I watched it, didn’t find it that controversial, and stuck around until now. I stated in my post that I wasn’t that offended by the politics of it, only by what it could mean if it continued to focus on it – which it didn’t.

      I didn’t make this post to claim that my views are correct and Yanai Takumi’s are wrong. I merely stated that they’re very different and not something I personally agree with, yet I was surprised that it didn’t offend me as much as I expected it to. We all have expectations going into something, and mine’s were negative due to the online discussions that I was following.

      As for evaluating a show for its own merits, I feel that’s what I did in this post. For the majority of it I discussed how my main gripe with the series was how tropey and typical it was. My criticism came from me citing examples of scenes that irked me, with the two I mentioned having nothing related to the politics of the series. I thought it was fairly obvious that Yao Ha’s back alley “jokes” annoyed me a lot more than the right-wing nature of the author, because, for the record, they did.

      Simply put, I didn’t expect to like GATE at all, and I actually didn’t mind it in the end. I’m merely noting that I’m surprised I didn’t hate it, because that’s what I was prepared for. If I did hate it, I would have dropped it early on and not bothered discussing it here. However, I feel it’s entirely fair to highlight the creator behind the work and understand what their influences (political or not) and intentions are if it helps give a better understanding of what he’s putting across in his work, which is very much the case with GATE.

    2. This is silly, art’s ideology is a very important and much discussed part of any art. Plenty of artist use art VERY SPECIFICALLY as a way of presenting a political viewpoint. Case in point, this author, but there are hundreds, even thousands of others. Art is a hugely important way of conveying ideology. People have every right to judge art based on its ideology. That makes no sense.

      1. No I don’t agree. Art is judged by its art. Not by its ideology. You can, of course, judge how this ideology is conveyed, but art is art and ceases to be art as soon as you take it as only the surface of ideology. For example: Hitler’s speeches could be rhetorically brilliant, this doesn’t change the fact that the content was awful, of course. But nonetheless, the rhetoric devices and the construction can still be good.
        I don’t want to say the content can be neglected – it CANT, because it’s exactly the relation between content and form that makes art into art. But it’s exactly that: it’s the relation between both sides. So you can’t judge art by only its underlying ideology, because that turns it just into a political discussion, nothing more.

      2. In particular it’s important to look at HOW an ideology is being presented through art. Does it do so in good faith or via the straw man? Does it explore all the implications of its message or does it handwave a lot? How contrived is it, and can it justify its contrivances?

        If a work of art is a sloppily contrived, handwavey straw man then I think it should be called on that. If it’s a thoughtful, earnest and credible work then I think it should be praised for that.

      3. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not, you’re just wrong. You can tell me that water is red if you want, it doesn’t make you right and I’m not going to sit and humor it. Art is, and has always been, an INCREDIBLY important way of conveying culture, ideas, and politics. The act of interpreting the message of art and what the author is trying to say is literally one of the most important cornerstones of the study of art, this is not a debate. It is a fact. This is even MORE obvious when the art in question is something with a plot, morals, and so on (literature, film, music, etc).

        Art has a message (unless you’re talking about something like DADA, which explicitly has no message, but that’s really just another kind of message). You can ignore it if you want but it doesn’t go away and saying that other people should ignore the messages that creators put into their art because you do is ridiculous.

      4. Meh, hit submit accidentally, meant to modify the above when I took a second look at the above comment.

        Still mostly agree with what I said, but I’ll add a bit:

        1. You’re splitting massive hairs. Art is an ideological medium. It always has been. This is one of its primary purposes. Whether it’s MORE art or MORE ideology is some sort of strange impossible difference that isn’t worth trying to discuss.

        2. As for done well vs straw man. That’s a secondary concern after ‘do you agree with the message in the first place.’ But sure, let’s look at that. That is NOT a comment you want to be using regarding GATE. GATE has perhaps the WORST use of straw-man posturing I’ve ever seen in an anime. It turned every political figure outside of Japan (and some in Japan that are even meant to be good) into a gibbering maniac that only wants to use violent force to get what they want from the innocent, heroic, and sympathetic Japanese. I mean, wow.

      5. Kale, the separation of art from its ideologies encompasses a number of worthwhile and well-invested critical fields and lenses that many enjoy partaking in. They’ve been doing so since the early days of structuralism through to the great many critical approaches today that isolate certain aspects of ideology (as one would limit variables in a scientific study) or ignore the presence of beliefs altogether to focus on other things.

        It may not be your way of looking at art, but each person has his own, and the effective critic can use multiple means of dissecting a show for analysis. The importance of something going into a work does not intrinsically lead to it having importance in the output – the subtext of sexuality in The Great Gatsby, for instance, is not noticed by every reader. We look into art for what we value and care about. A critic looks into it for what matters for the study they’re trying to perform. We might start by looking at purely feminist issues and then the next day isolate the political connotations of the characters, and maybe afterwards link the two. But anyone who’s ever taken art criticism seriously would know that you don’t try to analyse everything at once. That’s why we have lenses of criticism.

        Splitting hairs is the love and profession of many critics of storytelling, just like splitting atoms is the love of many scientists. The informed and invested critic goes into the minutest detail they can about these things. Conversations that explore such microscopic levels of art can be incredibly fulfilling and are why books on simple concepts in art often go on for hundreds of pages.

        You should acknowledge the fact that this kind of conversation is simply not something worth discussing with you, and leave it to other people who care more about the specifics of art. The importance of ideology is very much a debate – arguably the most important debate of 20th century art criticism. To argue otherwise would imply having lived under a rock.

  10. To the chase- I was very disappointed to learn that there was no coverage of this show on RC.

    Ignorant of the source material and any controversy around it, all I saw was a cool-yet-familiar concept; the meeting of worlds and the following attempts to co-exist, learn, and synthesize.

    Having watched it, some of the authors’ views do come to light, and I can definitely see how it can be patronising and rub people the wrong way- but thankfully it averts this for the most part, leaving us with what I found to be a very enjoyable watch.

    Regarding the “self-inert” aspect- aren’t most protagonists in any medium supposed to be this to some degree? To relate and care about the protagonist, you need to get the audience to invest themslves into them somehow. “Relatable” and “Self-Insert” are really just varying degrees along the same spectrum, really. How open the author leaves the characters and how involved readers/viewers get are the determining factors.

    I for one find Itami to be quite a refreshing MC- an overt Otaku who isn’t a total loser/NEET? That’s something we could use more of.

  11. Calling someone a bigot because they hold different political views than you is a load of BS. Of course seeing you try to rationalize that you aren’t capable of enjoying a work without agreeing with the author’s political sentiment seems to say a lot about your own intolerance.

    1. Calling someone a bigot because they hold views that are bigoted is not BS. People try way too hard to act like all ideas are equal. They’re not. Some are wrong. Some are evil. We have the right to identify them as such. And there is no universal authority that will tell us what those are, so we have to decide for ourselves. Sad fact.

      I’m not gonna ask everyone to agree, because that basically requires force, but I’m not going to pretend that I respect the ideas of everyone just because they’re different. I respect ideas that aren’t bad.

      1. Yep, some are wrong, some are evil. Now, which ones? It is very easy to swallow apolitical or same view media, specially when the media stablishment goes with you. But, what if you don’t agree? You shut up to not offend the current definitions of PC?

        I am a brazilian right-winger. My opinion on Gate, considering the things that were cut off from the anime is that it is a pretty naive anime. It presents an idealistic version of the military (it is okay if you inspire the military to be like that, not if you think the military are like that by default). Also, it shows a foreign population being receptive to a strange culture while just their rulers are backwards, dumb and evil. There is also the “save the women” (shared by both left and right) AND “strong army women” (which is a thing from the left).

      2. Basically I share this opinion – I too think we can differentiate between positions. Imo, our western values are the better ones, and I just can’t agree with the oppression of women etc. in the middle-east. But as soon as you come with expression like “good” and “evil”, this all turns into a childrens discussion. There’s no way a higher moral instance is seperating us into the good and the bad ones. The only one who can tell me I’m right is me myself => Noone holds values because they think they are “evil”. Even the Nazis were fighting against the “evil jews”, that held all the money. Now, people seem to appy this to modern society – the rich and conservative ones are always the bad ones, but this time they are truly evil – for sure, it must be so – …….
        And I also would be very careful to call someone a bigot, there’s a high probability that this only shows your own narrow and naive worldview instead of your readiness to stand in for your own values.

      3. I said in my own post, no one decides for you, because no one can. It’s just cultural. But that doesn’t mean you shove your head in the sand and pretend all ideas are equal because God or the government didn’t tell you which weren’t. You stand on your own two feet and make your own choices (which are generally modified by your parents, surroundings, and background).

        Is that a messy, unsatisfying answer? Yes, of course it is. Morality is a messy, unsatisfying thing. And while the obvious answer is that we should all just respect each other’s beliefs and get along, that only works until someone’s beliefs involve NOT respecting someone else. Which is really common.

      4. Ah yes, because disrespecting a disrespectful person is really going to help them change. An eye for an eye, eh?

        I give my respect to disrespectful people. Not because they tend to be braver, or more passionate, but because it’s a better way of actually reaching and understanding them. Of course, that does’t stop me from being blunt about how I might disagree with them. But that forms its own kind of respect.

  12. Maybe this is just me, but I never look for accurate political representation in stories that involve magic. It feels like a waste of time when this is a world that clearly popped out of someone’s head, only slightly based in reality. I can’t even say for sure that I believe this is all about the author’s views. To me it just feels like the thought of “wouldn’t THAT be an interesting setup” kinda grew legs and ran away on its own. No, the politics aren’t compelling and yes they are a bit ridiculous, but they’ve also yet to really matter outside of making going back to Japan a bit too dangerous for everyone to be doing on their days off. I honestly never cared about them and it hasn’t effected how I feel about the story. I’m here for the characters, and I honestly wish people would stop reading between lines that might not even exist just so they can poke.

    Otherwise, while not a great adaptation(I read the manga, not the novel), it’s good enough. The basic ideas more than get across, the premise is fun, the characters are interesting, the relationships are realistic (a harem that isn’t constantly hanging onto the guy?! you mean you can have feelings for someone and not stalk them?!) and I look forward to seeing where this goes whenever new content comes out. I look forward to January.

  13. GATE is sort of a Hareem show masking itself as a show about a earthling that visits a fantasy world. I really dug the concept though and tried to ignore the abundant cliches (such as a goth-loli, elf, etc all seem to be in love with the main character). The story is still pretty good. The art isn’t the best but it was an interesting show to watch

    Rick Anime
  14. Hmm… Maybe I should say something here…

    Now, having read and still continuing to read the on-going manga, I would like to say that the anime’s version of GATE strikes manga readers as tremendously toned down and jarring. Jarring in the sense that not only are ALL the female character designs needlessly ‘moe-fied’ due to *Buhhoawk*Love Live’s*Buhhoawk* director being in charge, but also due to the lack of ‘physics’ (read: gore) being applied on the characters. Notwithstanding those PG-rating changes, they also had to remove chunks of the plot that not only were essential, but also made the series possess a good degree of humor in the first place. Heck, the anime version seems so much drier and blander than the manga adaptation.

    To put this into perspective, the politics on the other side was portrayed to be incredibly nasty and outright Machiavellian, but at the same time, there exists a few individuals on the Japanese side who could be identified as your ‘hawks’. And while yes, even though those additions were not enough to mask the “HIP-HIP HURRAY!” patriotism of the original creator, at least those feel good ‘patriotic’ sentiments were utilized for over-the-top humor and just downright entertainment. Yeah, the manga wasn’t intended to be taken seriously at all.

    On another note, WHY A-1? They could’ve easily went with Madhouse but I guess Madhouse just has too many projects planned for the year…

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. I actually found the moeified character designs to be a great boon for the GATE anime. The manga was indeed “darker” but it still had the moe moments in it. The result was a weird world that was blood and gore one moment, then lol nekomimi fun the next. With the anime’s “toned down” style the focus was more on the moe, which in my opinion greatly improved my enjoyment of the show. It felt like GATE had more focus and knew what kind of show it wanted to be.

      1. Hmm… So you like dat ‘moe-focus’ eh? Don’t really know how to feel bout that though… There might’ve been some parts that could’ve came off as ‘tonal dissonance’ but I never really paid attention to those… It’s been quite the while since I read the last chapter, plus I marathoned the manga in like, 1-2 days anyway, so there was no way in heck that I could possibly remember most of it to begin with…

        I dunno, I guess this is one of those moments where it’s “to each his own” I guess… In any case, not feelin’ it for le animu edicion~

        Nishizawa Mihashi
      2. @FlameStrike: Have to disagree. I agree with Nishizawa Mihashi, and if there’s one complaint I’ve consistently read by manga readers, it’s that the anime over sanitized and over “moe-ed” things. I can think of one instance where the manga has ill-fitting comedy with “serious” (start of Battle of Alnus), but that’s by far the exception IMO than the norm.

        I also disagree about “better focus”. Story flows better in the manga IMO. I find the anime presentation jarring at times (and also just not good as I noted below). If anything I would say the attempt to tone down the presentation and add “moe” resulted in nothing short of bland mediocrity.

        I mentioned in my post below that I’d like the anime better if I hadn’t read the manga, but to be clear, that does NOT mean I’d think the anime was be great, and “better” would not be that much better.

      3. In all respect, most anime adaptations are about getting the huge number of audience for $$$. By going moe, they can target a larger fan base and moe just plain sells. I would say 95% of the Bluray buyers are the moe type of fans and the violence/gore/realistic are the ones that watch the air or download the video.

      4. it is as @Sadamitsu said. The Anime can only Life if they reach a Big Border of Viewers to keep the Money flow alive they need. With all respect with their Manga Hardcore Fans. Are these enough to keep the Budget they have alive? Or you expect only an Oneshoot Anime?

        So this Moe-ish Style transformation, is an conclusion to keep the Anime and Studio alive

        I do not have an Problem with that. Okay, if they took them and make an Super Ecchi Anime, it would be Betraying the Source.

      5. And they really wanted this one to sell. It was plastered all over the buildings in Akiba with signs 10 stories tall. This was not intended to some random art-house production. This was clearly meant to be a mainstream big-deal sort of thing.

  15. What I really liked Gate was the timing of the series. My squad mates and I would watch it together during BOLC1 and it was gratifying to see what we learned and experienced are used by militaries across the world. It’s also nice to see a war anime from the POV of a legit officer.

    I’m not a huge fan of the whole Americans being douchebags thing, but if you ignore that and just think of Japan being America’s ally, it makes it a whole lot easier to digest.

    1. First thing, assuming I read that correctly, thank you for your service.

      However, you say this as if the US has never been up to shady stuff before. Even fairly recently, the NSA was wiretapping Merkel. I’d bet if there was some useful intel obtained and the tap hadn’t been revealed, America would use that to its advantage if necessary. I would understand complaints about the depicted incompetence of everyone besides Japan, but no country is above using blackmail or kidnapping if they need some way to gain leverage. In this situation, Japan has no real incentive to let anyone else have anything to do with the Gate or the people on the other side. Aren’t these the kinds of situations black ops exist for?

  16. I disapprove of the politics and general ethnocentrism in this anime immensely. That said, that’s not why I didn’t like the anime.

    It was bland, boring, and very little happened. It simply wasn’t that good. It could have cut out every political sentiment and what you’d be left with was an anime filled with walking cliches and mediocre action. I tried to like this because I enjoy alternate world stories, they’re some of my favorite. But things have to occur and characters have to be more than stereotypes, or at least be stereotypes that do cool things (like most shounen/mecha leads). This had little to none of that with the possible exception of Rory, who I disliked because she didn’t fit the setting and was only there to fill the anime stereotype quota yet was clearly supposed to be the ‘main’ female and the only one who gets to be cool.

  17. Hmm… whether to wade into this again or not. Oh, guess I’ll start with I’m fully aware that the anime is an adaptation of the LN (which is an adaptation of the source novel) and thus not based upon the manga adaptation. Still, I think it’s fair to compare one adaptation to another.

    From a manga readers perspective, the politics are toned down somewhat (China gets a little break) whiled amped up a bit in others (US hit a bit harder – not sure if one thing is anime only or in LN, but not manga). Still a lot remains – including one thing I mentioned before about how other countries special forces are completely inept and in awe of Japanese special forces. Some may are argue “but Tom Clancy…” or whatnot, but while I’m not a huge Tom Clancy fan, I don’t recall the other forces being looked down upon to such an degree. If so, well, shame on Tom. Regardless, if the politics are an issue, be forewarned. It ain’t going away entirely (there are stretches without it – we’re in one), and unless the anime changes something (which it may though I doubt it), I stand by my previous comments including jingoism. So up to viewers (and readers) as to whether to just deal with it or move on. Personally, the manga has pushed my limits a couple times, but not to the breaking point. Plus there’s a bunch of other stuff I like in the manga which offsets that.

    So the politics are in the anime – maybe a bit less in some parts, a bit more in others, but leaving politics aside, my view on the anime is simply this. It’s not good. Bad? No, but not good either. It’s very much just there, mediocre, meh. I’d probably like, no I’m sure I’d like the anime more if I hadn’t read the manga, and the primary reason comes down to execution/presentation for a number of aspects. Some of this may be “per LN”, but if I had to bet, I suspect quite a lot is simply due to adaptation changes/choices made. For one, I’ve found several characters noticeably (and detrimentally) different. I mentioned previously that the anime played up Itami the OTAKU!!! for “comedy” a lot early on – too much IMO. OK, he’s back to more “manga Itami” – for the most part, but it also makes him a bit character inconsistent at times. This last episode played up “Itami the HERO!!!” with Pina’s “secret intel report”. I hope I’m wrong, but I have a bad feeling they are going to “shounenize” him in the worst sense of the term. Itami is competent, but he’s not “Rambo” either. Pina does NOT fare well in the anime IMO. Much less confident/competent vs. the manga IMO.

    Those are not the only two, and I have yet to find one instance where I thought the anime’s version wasn’t for the worse. I simply can not see any reason for the changes in terms of plot or whatever the anime is going for here (not comedy IMO – see below). And yeah, both Kuribayashi (particularly) and Kurokawa are over “moeified” to the point it stands out vs. other characters. I don’t mind if you make them more attractive compared to the manga, but there are limits. The LN designs are fine, but the anime didn’t stick to those in all cases. I’m also not a fan of Rory’s design in general, and WTF was up with her picking some white and pick dress when clothes shopping? That is NOT the Rory I know from the manga. :<

    Wow, this adaptation is killing the humor and I do not mean that in a good way. I have LOL’d a couple times, but it wasn’t at stuff I was supposed to. The manga does a MUCH better job of presentation/execution of comedy moments – including transition and integration of comedy and serious parts. How the hell did they manage to screw up the joke when the Panzerfaust 3 was fired? TL issue? They screwed up the “Hardy is also here!” joke when they met Itami’s ex-wife (that I don’t think can be blamed on TL). Granted comedy is subjective, but the anime’s “comedy” is simply failing for me which sucks. It’s not just the comedy though. If this was live action, I’d call the “acting” wooden or flat.

    One more thing – in terms of this being a military anime for the “military otaku” crowd, it fails compared to the manga. There’s a LOT of military “jargon” (and acts) which helps to set the tone for battles and such but got cut. Such things make me feel like I’m watching (or reading) about real soldiers rather than say actors playing soldiers. It gives the battles more realism as well IMO. Two examples are the battle of Alnus and the defense of Italica. And finally, yeah, toning down all the gore and other stuff doesn’t help either in terms of setting the proper tone/atmosphere. It’s kind of odd when an old-school classic shounen like Ushio to Tora is more graphic that a seinen series like GATE. I get that they have to tone some things down, but they over sanitized the presentation.

    TL:DR = Politics or not, it’s the presentation on a number of levels that I find lacking, and given the myriad of advantages anime has over manga, to me, that’s screwed up. That’s poor execution. Again, the show isn’t bad, but it ain’t great either, and when I compare it to the manga… I’ve stuck with the anime so far, but it’s been a week to week, maybe drop it type of deal. I know another manga fan who has dropped it. I’ll check out the 2nd cour, but I do not hold out any hope for significant improvement.

    1. Dude bruh, you pretty much summed up my thoughts on the whole thing yo~ Especially on dem character designs and humor… It’s like Kuribayashi was such a badass mofo in the manga she made me squeal… Like seriously 😛

      Nishizawa Mihashi
    2. Can’t really compare this to Tom Clancy novels. He tends to show a lot of respect towards the opposing force (unless they’re drug dealers). I heard the Soviets actually liked his work because of that.

      1. @theirs: Thanks for the clarification. Been a long time since I read a Tom Clancy novel. I brought it up because I recalled that comparison made during the GATE Ep. 01 discussion. Based upon what you wrote, then my recollection of Tom Clancy novels was right – opposing “RL” forces are not looked down upon like they are in the GATE “onsen battle”.

    3. I’d like to add my “yeah, sums up what I’m thinking” here. Also it is seriously terrible that the manga somehow comes out as the best of the those two and from what I’ve heard from a few LN fans, the best out of all 3.

      Now, I’m not saying character designs, but it just seems like the manga has a better job of giving the best bang for buck if you will than compared to the anime.

  18. I personally thought GATE is just another goofy, feel good about the good guys military show.

    Maybe its because Im brazilian, so the goofiness of most American military movies and series is a bit more apparent to me, but having sat through a lot of these, GATE just feels like more of the same, down to the political nonsense, but this time with a different flag.

    But the fact that the show knows its goofiness and rolls along with it is what makes it for me.

    Thats for the ideology issue. For everything else it seemed to me GATE did a competent job. Thrilling action sequences (That Ride of the valkyries), decent characters (a self-insert typical otaku thats actually not really self-insert and also not really a typical otaku!?), great setting, everything was very fun even if a lot tropey.
    The core concept is nothing new but the fantasy spin REALLY adds to this history.

    But then again I went in expecting nonsense and goofiness. So maybe thats why.

    Lastly, the aspects you mentioned that bothered you, Samu, didnt really strike me as anything
    that weird at all. Rory is more than 900 years old, so I think by that point she is responsible enough and if Itami is also OK with it then thats fine for me. You said child, but Rory doesnt look that young, definitely not legal-age, but not so young to the point that I would consider Itami having consensual sex with her (and she is old enough to give consent) inherently gross.

    And Im not going into that rape topic! Suffice to say it simply didnt bother me. I couldnt perceive any second intentions behind it.

    Instead of Red Dawn, I would say this one is more along the lines of Inglorious Basterds.

    TL;DR Gate is like a hentai with a good story.

    1. The ride of the Valkyries was actually what finally turned me off the action completely. A bunch of helicopters just matter-of-factly mowing down a bunch of guys with swords is not a fight. It’s just curb-stomping, and after the battle in the second episode where the JSDF killed ‘300,000’ or whatever it was, I just decided I had no interest in watching them massacre enemies that don’t present any amount of challenge.

      The only fight I thought was okay at all was Itami’s squad vs the dragon because their numbers were small and it was strong so there was a bit of a fight. I really would like the show better if it were just a recon squad sent through the gate that gets pulled into crazy stargate-style. Which is what I thought it was originally, then it became apparent that it was not as it neared release and the first few episodes came out.

      1. I kind of thought that the other world would use magic to combat against the JSDF’s fighting force, but so far its just been one-sided slaughter (And Rory as unkillable is so unfair to the other side).

        I was also turned off by the ride of the Valkyries not by the music, but it felt like it was insulting the barbarians and mercenaries, especially when they were annihilated by the helicopters; I like action as much as the next person, but I love action/battles when both sides are challenged physically and mentally in battle, otherwise the battles are just there for the sake of getting the job done.

        I still love the fantasy aspect of the show (And that ED is so catchy), so in some sense it was still enjoyable, but the action and politics were sort off-putting in general.

      2. This Helicopter scene was there, like in it Original Movie, but here to have a different Background

        First to help fast, to prevent the City get overrun of these Raiders, of plundering and raping and such. And they try to not harm innocents
        But then it also show their “alleys” it is not a good Idea to fight them. So to show them their Military force.

        In short, it was there for the Military Otakus (and with this you hit deep into US Patriotism) and to show them their Difference of Power, so a War is not a good idea

        With this Action Pina co Lada, understood the message

      3. And the killing the 300,000 soldiers in the first battle didn’t get that point across?

        For an author that supposedly ‘gets’ the military, the battles in this haven’t been remotely realistic. They’ve made the JSDF LOOK GOOD. That’s not the same as some kind of good use of strategy. If an enemy army showed up on your doorstep and killed 300,000 people in a day or two with no casualties to speak of and you weren’t even able to put up a minimal defense you would surrender. IMMEDIATELY.

        The freaking nuke didn’t kill 300,000 people in a go.

        And military strategy aside, this isn’t a war. It’s an anime. I don’t care if the JSDF destroying the fantasy army all day long is the most realistic way to show it. I want fights that are fun to watch.

  19. > You simply can’t ignore the author’s views, and you shouldn’t. Denying the link between the two is lying to yourself; I wish I could be more ignorant to it all, but I can’t.

    The issue, really, is whether you care about the fact that they’re the author’s views, or whether you see them as just views. Are you thinking, as you’re watching, about the person behind what’s being expressed, or are you just thinking about the expression? You can accept that an author is behind it, but that doesn’t mean you have to place emphasis on it as you watch.

    It may not seem like much of a difference at first, but it’s very, very important. Responding to the views like they’re coming from a person is very different to simply responding to them as coming from an abstract piece of art – for the latter, the views can be attributed to characters in the show itself, and the whole thing becomes more self-contained. ‘Death of the Author’ might be repeated too frequently among fans (including those who think it has something to do with the author’s physical well-being), but it’s the main reason I tend to enjoy art with extreme views. I can be very entertained by a display I disagree with if I don’t care about judging the person behind it; I tend to end up watching more of the show than other people do.

    But we have a natural fixation with associating anything opinionated with the one giving the opinion. It’s not something I encourage, because it often gets in the way of good intellectual discussion – when you start feeling like you have to defend yourself rather than your opinions. Discussions on Gate are a good example of why I find a lot of conversation on the internet unfulfilling.

    Focusing on the show itself, the anime certainly directs the audience towards nationalistic opinions being expressed. But that doesn’t mean we have to think about and criticise someone expressing them behind the art. It’s not inherently wrong to do so, but I wish more people on the internet would say that it’s not something we have to do as viewers. Then they might enjoy the idealistic portrayal of the JSDF more, instead of just denouncing it as indulgent propaganda.

    1. I sort of disagree with the sentiment. An author’s views are important, especially when they inform their creations. Media is generally, but not always, designed to present a point. Gundam is anti-war, Legend of Korra is liberally progressive, GATE is pro-JSDF, etc. You can disagree, or you can choose not to focus, but that doesn’t change that the media itself has a message it is attempting to convey. Acting like we should ignore the message as a society is strange. If you, as an individual, wish to ignore the message that is on you, but that doesn’t remove the message.

      What’s more, generally the author wants you to respond to the message. Not necessarily in a way that makes you go out and vote differently or anything, but in a way that makes you think about the issues that they brought up. This is generally presented as one of the most amazing things about mass media, is that it allows to look at ideas through different lenses. These arguments to ‘ignore the message’ always seem to pop up when stories/authors with really controversial messages/beliefs such as this anime or OSC (as Samu mentioned a few posts up) come into play. But no, the message is still important even if you don’t like it. And yes, that message should effect how you see the media, at least on a societal level. Individuals are individuals and can of course do what they want.

      1. You’re not responding to my sentiment; I always take the message on board. What I’m talking about is not focusing on the ‘messenger’ – doing so, even, to better focus on the message. I get the impression that your reply is just a stock comment you use whenever someone starts questioning the use of authorial intent; it actually has nothing to do with what I said. I’ve already completely agreed with what you say, so I don’t know how you ‘sort of disagree’ with me.

        This is an exact example of how people can’t differentiate the message and the messenger – the moment someone says to ignore the latter, we somehow lose the former. It discredits art’s ability to speak for itself. Art can be completely anonymous and still get its message across, so why is there this ‘requirement’ to keep talking about the person who made it? How does it actually inform us about the art any more than the art itself would and should already inform us?

        The views are always important – but why does it matter that they’re the author’s?

      2. Hmm… I guess I have two response to that.

        1. Maybe I don’t really get your point. Generally when people say things such as ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ (implying one should separate the message and the messenger) the point is that you shouldn’t hate the person, but I haven’t really noticed anyone saying anything bad about the author (beyond some random ‘he’s a bad writer,’ but that’s a critique) so I’m not sure why it matters to separate them here since no one is really attacking the messenger.

        2. This could be off because your point, as I said above, seems kind of vague, but I’d say the reason it matters the that the views belong to the author as opposed to a character within the story is that the author’s views are the STORY’S views. Whereas a villain, or even a hero, can be sexist or racist or whatever and you just kind of go ‘I disagree’ either because it’s a villain belief that we’re meant to disagree with or because it’s simply a character flaw to round a character out, when the view belongs to the author and is the actual plot of the story (GATE is about the politics, there are subplots and characters, but the overarching story at least so far is the political stuff) then you disagreeing with those views means you are disagreeing with the story itself and by extension the author.

        Again, I don’t really get your focus on ignoring the author since I haven’t seen anyone really focus on the author, but… sure? People aren’t angry because these are the author’s views, they’re angry because they’re the story’s views. So I don’t get what difference your sentiment makes.

      3. Most discussions I’ve read have majored on the author being nationalistic himself, and that’s led to an increased emphasis on the story being a product of his own nationalism.

        It’s not attacks on the author – it’s the sheer inability to distance him from the issue. Mindset. Discernment of value and importance to what you’re viewing. There’s a precedent, as Samu followed above, that we ‘have’ to talk about the author. That because we know stuff about him and that matches with his art, we ‘have’ to include him in our discussions.

        It does more to limit interpretation than open it up. I could make all the same judgements people make using the author using only the show itself as self-referential material. That being said, I could then go on to make more. Alternatives that bring up effects of the show outside of consideration of whatever the creator may have intended to create or avoid.

        As for the ‘story’s views’, I would very much argue that the nationalism in Gate is tied to character – the character of this idealistic version of Japan. So I don’t see why people, as you say, can’t simply enjoyably disagree with the sense of it all. Or are we limiting character to just individuals with thoughts and feelings?

        Talking about the ‘story’s views’ as a means of people being inevitably drawn to the author is an act of withdrawal from the story itself. A story doesn’t have a mind, or opinions. It speaks them, but does so through connectible interfaces of human experience and expression – characters. Gate’s idealism is very clearly the vision of the idealising bodies within it; a fantasy of modern warfare fighting a fantasy of fantastical warfare. A supercomputer calculating for a thousand years could not calculate the number of shits I do not have to give about the author in order to appreciate the views and opinions in this story – they’re all in the characters.

        Perhaps one of the main issues with people’s experience of Gate is that, because they can’t get the authorial impact out of their heads, they think we’re supposed to take Gate’s JSDF as some kind of realism. That’s the opposite of what the story, particularly with its over-the-top action and unnaturally talented hero, directs us to. The show is far more like an act of mythology than people give it credit for – that or they just denounce it for acting like mythology in the first place.

      4. Yeah, having read your clarification, I’m going back to my original point. I just disagree.

        Story’s very much have ‘views’ though a better word would be ‘themes.’ My mistake on the vocabulary above. The author chooses the themes. GATE’s themes are nationalism to the nth degree.

        I continue to not really get your focus on the author. No one is particularly upset about the author. Go look through all the responses on this page and see how often the author is even mentioned. The story is nationalistic. Very obviously so. We could know nothing about the author being nationalistic and the extremely strong and somewhat offensive (as I’ve said in other places my main problem with GATE is it’s bland, the politics are secondary) nationalistic characteristics of the plot itself would still be readily apparent.

        The insulting depiction of foreign leaders, the overly heroic/almost mary sue-ish depiction of the JSDF, these are inherent in the plot themselves. People aren’t judging the story by the author, they’re judging the story by the story, the fact that they’re RIGHT, and they know they’re right, because the author is known to be nationalistic, is simply gravy.

      5. > No one is particularly upset about the author.

        I don’t know what your experience of the internet is like, but I’ve frequented here, reddit, and all sorts of other opinionated communities, and I can safely say that the author’s nationalistic nature is sufficiently discussed to justify my feeling. Perhaps you should get around more.

        Let me revise what I’ve said – in terms of ‘judging a story by the story’, that in this case has embodied a criticism of the position of the cinematic narrative, a treatment of it as though it believes itself to be correct. Many believe the ‘story’ (the cinematic narrator) is pushing nationalistic views upon them; from what I’ve seen, I believe the story is doing so in order to also open the concept up for criticism.

        Of course the theme is nationalism, but the reception of that theme should differ from viewer to viewer. It’s cool if someone thinks GATE offers no windows for debate for them – but it’s silly if they then believe it, by extension, offers no windows at all. Neither side has a monopoly on what the ‘story’s views’ are – they are not objectively definable through the author or the art itself. Yes, the bad guy countries are almost mocked. Yes, the good guy JSDF is over-heroized. But is this perfection in the cinematic narrative’s eyes, or imperfection? That debate should not be brushed aside, as you are trying to do.

        I think the story is told from the cinematic ‘free indirect style’ perspective primarily centred on the ideology of a JSDF idealist (and hey, the author bases this from his own experiences of serving in the JSDF), but the portrayal leaves cracks in the hyperbolized, almost mythological dream whether intended or not.

        I also find it strange that so many comments about what the ‘plot’ is doing with elements of heroism and mockery rarely include mentions and serious analysis of the protagonist – probably because, if they did, their arguments would become far more complicated to stand on.

      6. Well, I would say any focus on the author is due to the fact that it makes certain things true and obvious. The story is nationalistic as all hell. You’re trying to argue that it’s ‘asking us whether that’s right’ or some random over-philosophized nonsense, to which people respond ‘no, the author’s a nationalistic nut, so the fact that the story is ALSO nationalistic nonsense is likely just him trying to preach’

        The problem with your premise is you’re (many times over up and down this page) basically insulting people for being offended by things that are offensive because they should just ‘look at it on a higher level’ or something. Whether it’s the OSC stuff above or this story here. And that’s silly. Stories are not magic, they are real concrete things that exist in and are a part of our world and we don’t have some responsibility to give them the ideological benefit of the doubt.

        If I know that OSC is a homophobic nutjob and don’t want to read his stuff, that is a PERFECTLY REASONABLE response. It doesn’t make me ‘less wise’ than you or something. Same with this. It has VERY strong nationalistic themes, bordering on jingoistic, and that offends some people. They are not wrong to be offended by that. I live in Japan and am married to a Korean, I live both sides of this debate every single day. And while Japan deserves forgiveness, and I encourage my family-in-law to forgive them, Japan also needs to understand that there are VERY GOOD REASONS that people get a little weirded out when they start using militaristic messages or doing militaristic things.

        No one says he doesn’t have the right to write or produce this sort of story (it’s far from the first such thing in Japan, just maybe the one with the most public awareness), but at the same time people have the right to be concerned/offended by it.

      7. Sure, people can get offended by it. But that usually gets in the way of good, fair criticism of everything that the offensive content is surrounded by and surrounds, if the person is using their taking of offence as a means of judgement on the quality of the work. And, incidentally, a better understanding of what surrounds the offensive material can help a lot with defusing the offensiveness of it.

        Use of the author, in this case, helps with finding what’s easier to hold as ‘true and obvious’ – of course, anyone with half a brain cell knows that those words have no objective value in criticism of the views and values of a body of fiction. But it’s basic psychology that the mind is drawn to what’s easiest to think about, so it’s to be expected that fewer people bother to play around with the stories themes and views to get to the bottom of how they feel about them.

        But that’s why I encourage searching for a less obvious ‘truth’. I don’t actually criticise on the internet to spread my opinion – I do it to try to make other people work more on theirs, and to further complicate mine. The promotion of the study of depth is always a boon to art and people’s experience of it. People who don’t want to take a step further in that can ignore me, and that’s fine – I wasn’t writing for them. They’re boring. I write for those who are invested in using their imagination as they watch anime, not just finding the easiest conclusion and sticking to it and brushing away all alternatives like it’s going out of style.

        Those people tend to appreciate better the enormous complexity that hides behind even the simplest piece of art. And so they care more when they get offended, not about trying to denounce what offends them, but about investigating exactly how and why the art has offended them, and whether it even should upon closer inspection.

  20. At the beginning I was apprehensive about starting this show and I’m haven’t finished it yet so I can’t fully judge it, but so far I’m enjoying it quite a bit.
    I have to admit that I do prefer it when they focus on the other worlds politics than ours, but still…

    If in the end it will prove to be a stinker, I think it will still be worth watching if only for the Rorygasm and the Wagner scenes in ep. 6 😀

  21. The parlament questioning and Rori ‘biting back’ was the funniest moment for me; together with another one when (Spoiler) Itami and company kill the fire dragon. Itami is fined with a month of pay, just before the general enter and give a lot of condecorations, rewards and gratitude letters for the near towns (This one is for the dwarves. Are dwarves near? I didn’t know.) ROFLMAO. (End Spoiler).

  22. Perhaps I should interject once again… This time on the idea of ‘authorial intent’.

    Case in point, Noragami was a show that I derived a good deal of enjoyment from. But the undertones and sub-text? I loathed it. Despite the great production and emotional story-telling, the highly conservative messages found within the show are downright insulting and just plain insensitive. Especially to those who’re possibly suicidal or going through existential crises, the show’s messages basically invalidate their legitimate experiences. And that’s something I cannot condone, both as someone who’s been through all that and as someone with vested interests in the field of psychology.

    Luckily the show has its ‘merciful’ side but boy oh boy, you’re too little too late Hiyori

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. I had just noticed this, but the fact that Wagner’s music was used is ironically also another similar such case… Though, it is a lot harder to make connections between message/intent and final product, because music is basically just arranged sound/noise, and sound alone is unable to transmit enough information to form opinions; the best it can do is to stimulate your imagination, physiological responses and emotions.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  23. I found Gate (anime version) to be exactly what I’d expect from Japan. Too conservative to the point that it cripples the potential of what could have been an unforgetable piece of anime.

    I dont mind the self insert coz every Protagonist is a sort-of self insert of the author of the story.

    I dont mind the presentation of every goverment except japan as bad guys, coz lets face it, opportunistic people like that exists everywhere.

    I do have some minor (and mostly personal) problems with both the anime and the LN.

    Fist, the lolification of the girl in Itami’s squad (cant recall her name). In the manga, she was a full blown woman with the height and build which you’d expect of a person in the military. In the anime, she’s way too short and way too cute! As much as my inner lolicon loves tough military lolis, I cant help but face palm at the sight of her. Im no military nut, but I believe that there is a minimum height limit for all military personel.

    Second, the night raid of american, chinesse and russian in the onsen was just…. I cant even find the words to describe its utter idiocity. Mind you, I have no problems seeing Uncle Sam, Mr Ivan and a bunch of yellow monkeys die, but I like to see how the author justify how these 3 nations with pockets deeper than the mariana’s trench was not able to equip it’s squad with a single night vision goggles!

    Last and not the least, the anime was too damn conservative! Medievil warfare is about decapitation, blood, and brutality to your fellow human being! The manga may have done well to present it, but the anime was too afair to shed blood despite the fact that Gate’s storyline revolves on war!

    Seriously, Gate still has a lot of potential if they could just work around a few minor details

    1. “Second, the night raid of american, chinesse and russian in the onsen was just…. I cant even find the words to describe its utter idiocity. Mind you, I have no problems seeing Uncle Sam, Mr Ivan and a bunch of yellow monkeys die, but I like to see how the author justify how these 3 nations with pockets deeper than the mariana’s trench was not able to equip it’s squad with a single night vision goggles!”

      You know what bugs me more about that scene? The foreign SF teams weren’t using their own standard-issue firearms.

      – The Chinese Ministry of State Security operatives were using Czech-made Skorpion machine pistols (AFAIK, while the Chinese have been making copies of Soviet weapons for the most part, they eventually developed their own submachine guns–the 5.8mm QCW-05 and the 9mm JS variant come to mind.);
      – The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) agents were using German H&K MP7s (How did they get access to those? Did they buy them from Vladimir Makarov or something?);
      – And one American agent (most likely CIA) using a Russian Makarov PM (I assume taken as a spoil from a mission in Russia–or China, which makes their own copy of that pistol, the Type 59).

      While it’s possible that all those foreign SF operatives were deliberately using weapons not from their own countries so that they won’t be identified so easily by the Japanese SF operators, for storytelling purposes I would rather see them armed with their default standard-issue firearms (the Russians and the Chinese, at least) so that the audience can know who they are. (Of course, all that is rendered moot by Rory’s eventual rampage, but still, it just bugs me…)

      1. It’s fairly standard for SF to use different weapons then the standard army. In fact one of the weapons listed in the manga (and assume LN) is one used by US operatives during the Vietnam war era. It’s also not like the operatives could just check in through the customs carrying an M16 or AK-47. They would obviously have to use whatever weapons that they could have cached in the area or gotten from smugglers.

        Nightvision googles were not standard issue for SF during this time. I have seen a documentary of a SAS mission during this time and they did not have googles despite operating from the main army HQ of Desert Storm and heading into Iraq. For that matter so do they have serious downsides to them as well as they do not work very well during fire fights.

    2. One minor(heh) detail that I think I oughta mention is your usage of “Loli”. While they did make Kuribayashi younger-looking, she is by no means loli. Loli refers to prepubescent girls. No developed nation in the world allows children in their military.

      1. @Stranger

        Here is a question for you.

        Is Rory Mercury consider a Loli? (hahaha!)

        If your answer is YES: Kuribayashi stands almost at the same height as Rory who looks like a 12-13 year old girl, the range of what is often considered as prepubescent (10-13 years old). Kuribayashi may have an impressive set of breasts, but the existence of Oppai Lolis negates the argument that Lolis must have small breasts

        If your answer is NO: I guess neither Rory orKuribayashi is a loli.

      2. Rory is pretty borderline. 13 is pretty much the upper limit for what can be colloquially called loli. 14-17 is simply underage.

        But as far as design goes, neither really look loli to me. They don’t have child-like proportions- and no, I’m not talking breasts- I mean the head to height ratio. Neither of them could be mistaken for a child. Rori’s design in the manga could pass- but her anime design plants her more into the mid-to-late teen range.

        This is- of course- subjective. You think they look like kids, whereas I don’t.

    3. Is it really that bad that the nation puts some Nationalism into their movies or shows? I am sure every country has them and i don’t think any are 100% true because that would be boring for the general audience.

      1. There’s always a fine line between nationalism and jingoism. GATE tows that line. Some of what it does is nationalism, some of what it does is jingoism. Nationalism is generally fine, though can be off-putting to foreigners. Jingoism is usually agreed to be bad. Where GATE falls on that line is obviously a matter of personal belief, but the simple fact that it causes such debate tells you that it definitely crosses the line at least somewhere, it’s not just ‘everyone else is crazy for getting so offended.’

  24. For me Gate doesn’t have the bests characters, or the best plot and plot twist, overall is not the greatest series ever, but you know what, every week i sat down to watch it and each episode made me think “What? is over already?”.
    I would say that, at least in my opinion, from a enjoyment and entertainment point of view, Gate is a great sucess.

  25. I’m glad I can go into an anime without researching it beforehand and simply…enjoy it for what it is. Wasting energy to purposely read too much into the politics within an ANIME, to me, is wasteful and silly. Who. Cares! I’m here for story and entertainment and GATE delivered. If I want to worry about politics, I’ll go turn on CNN/FOX/whatever and amuse myself there.

    1. I think some people enjoy having opinions about shows more than they enjoy actually watching them. GATE isn’t a show for them.

      The political edge wasn’t even that present from the start (even less so if you consider how much was pinned on our hero), but what were RandomC’s first thoughts about the show? Almost all about the politics. It’s a dull way to approach a madcap fantasy show – like if someone watched Family Guy to comment on trends of feminism.

      1. True, it wasn’t present in episode 1, which was mostly just boring and jumpy. They waited all the way for episode 2. Politics is part of the show. What’s more, it’s the main plot. Pretending it’s not is silly. The story has no other plot. It’s ABOUT ‘Japan meeting another world and then having to deal with the political fallout, military and otherwise.’ That’s the story, at least so far. Pretty much every episode furthers this plot.

        This is the exact opposite of something like Outbreak Company where the political fallout of the situation was just background while the actual plot was the MC starting a school/slice of life stuff.

      2. And Family Guy made jokes about feminism. And some feminists got mad. And I’m sure enough people laughed at them for getting mad at a show that makes jokes about literally everything.

        Likewise, GATE has hyperbolized literally everything. It’s the feeling of a soldier’s mind who sees black as black and white as white, bullets fast and explosions loud, sex incredible and carnage tremendous. Name one element of the show that isn’t exaggerated beyond its normal parameters – as Samu said, this is incredibly ‘anime’. There are also extremes of values of honour and glory on different sides of the conflict, in addition to the extremes of foreign villainy and JSDF heroism. To ignore what’s being hyperbolized, yes, is silly. But to ignore that it’s been hyperbolized is much, much sillier. It’s a failure to register the characterisation of the cinematic perspective, which is one of the most basic aspects of filmmaking of any kind.

      3. This is why I hate internet arguments.

        GATE is not Family Guy. Family Guy is a show that’s ENTIRE PREMISE is to satirize EVERYTHING in the MOST OFFENSIVE WAY POSSIBLE. GATE is a war story/action-adventure. The heroes are heroes, the villains are villains. The fact that it’s insanely over the top is bad writing (it’s not like this guy is some skilled, experienced author, he’s a fanboy who wrote a web novel) not some high minded philosophical crap.

        Dear God, why would you even attempt that comparison? What’s next, Simpsons and Evangelion?

        I’m out.

      4. > The fact that it’s insanely over the top is bad writing

        Thank you for demonstrating how little you know about the art of hyperbole. Funny story, I’m out too.

        This is incredibly low-minded ‘philosophical crap’. That you can’t even access that speaks volumes for your education in politics.

  26. I’m a manga reader, so my indifference with the politics and gripes with character designs are obvious. So I won’t go into them.

    The anime did some good things (Hamilton trying to look for small prints for example) and the VAs did put a lot of life into the characters. They certainly managed to use the medium to display some scenes nicely. The real disappointment for me was the battles. They were just lacking (can’t find a better word). It wasn’t the gore or sophistication, as you don’t need those to make okay battles. After each battle, I thought “That’s it?” and felt disappointment. Maybe the opening just set my hopes too high, maybe they got the rhythm wrong. What I can say about the battles is that it’s better than Madan no Ou to Vanadis.

    I would’ve enjoyed this anime if they got the battles right. They did an okay job on the rest of it. Wished it extended to the battles, after all isn’t that one of the strengths of the animated medium?

  27. It is a war series, in “reality collides with fantasy” setting…
    And it doesnt come off as an attempt to describe horrors of war, but rather “war adventures” genre
    not Platoon or Apocalypse Now, but Kelly’s Heroes or Expendables.
    Keep that in mind and you can enjoy the ride, if you like that kind of story.

  28. The anime gutted the manga, which I found really detrimental. I understand the need to tone down material due to the different medium, but one theme in GATE is the conflict of values.

    The Empire values humans as barely more than resources, be they slaves or soldiers; at the other side of the conflict you have the industrial slaughterhouse that are modern wars, the JSDF effortlessly (and emotionlessly) butchering everything that even looks at them funny. The Empire knows no value in being humane, the JSDF knows no value in glory, and it’s often impossible for them to see eye-to-eye.

    Point in case: Pina co Lada only stared being an envoy because the nonchalant way the JSDF murders everything had completely freaked her out. This doesn’t come across in the anime. Combat is clean and kid-friendly, a startling contrast against the gritty scene in manga. I can only see Pina co Lada being awed by the sheer firepower of the JSDF in the anime… but that’s really pale against her shock when she witnessed thousands being gutted in a emotionless, mechanical manner. It’s not the same war as she had known, and that’s what initially unhinged her.

    1. You get killed from an Enemy that you can not see. Just Wait if Military Long Range Snipers come into Picture… Magic? Why is he dead with a hole in his Head? That must be Black Magic! RUN!!!

      Or… the Iron Birds that rain Rain of Fire from the Sky

      btw, the Sky in this New World is not so free as Itami said in this Episode. They just have Dragons in the Sky, and perhaps other Creatures that can Fly. but i bet not so fast

    2. @Ravenlord: “The Empire knows no value in being humane, the JSDF knows no value in glory, and it’s often impossible for them to see eye-to-eye.:

      We have a different take on this. The JSDF does value “glory”. In the Italica scene the different JSDF unit commanders all want the “glory” of going to save Italica. The Empire is a mix of Roman Empire and Medieval eras (personally, I’d say more Roman Empire) with “demi-humans” at the bottom. There is slavery (as there was in the Roman Empire), but it’s very clear in the manga that demi-humans are at the bottom in the Empire’s view. House Formal is quite the exception on that. As for humans, again, it’s like the Roman Empire (which had patricians, equestrians, plebeians, slaves, etc.) = some humans are valued a lot more than others. If they didn’t value humans, the “negotiate in exchange for hostages” ploy by the JSDF wouldn’t work (Pina also expects to pay ransom for hostages).

      It’s not that “…Pina co Lada only stared being an envoy because the nonchalant way the JSDF murders everything had completely freaked her out.” What “freaked her out” is that difference in firepower/military might. For, IDK, 200? 300? years the Empire has always been victorious. The Empire expects to win, and losing battles (getting completely slaughtered really) is a huge shock. Pina’s internal dialog [manga] on entering Alnus: “Their way of fighting is fundamentally different. Our fighting and even our polished formations are futile when faced with guns” [emphasis added]. Lelie then adds “This is how the Empire’s army lost and the United Kingdom Army eliminated”. After visiting Tokyo, in both the anime and manga, Pina realizes that the Empire can NOT win against Japan. Japan is far too technologically advanced. Guns beat swords. It’s that simple.

      I’ve been critical of the anime, but I do think the anime conveyed that point adequately. There’s nothing in the manga that gave me the impression that Pina’s “shock” came from the “emotionless” style of JSDF fighting. Rather, the “shock” is how easily the JSDF wins battles which is completely as expected given the differences between the two worlds.

  29. Right-ideas?


    Like Itami trying to help people from other races just because he wants to help. Or Itami trying to make peace instead of war. Or the military being every careful not to invade the foreign land for no good reason. Or the government trying to push for a invasion, but then the military and Itami saying “nope, we wanna love and peace”.

    Are those right-wing positions?

    Really, what the heck was right-wing in this anime? I couldn’t see it.

    1. The visit to Japan was the clearest factor for me. The woman interrogating Itami was clearly bent on blaming the JSDF for failing to save everyone, trying to paint them in as negative a light as possible. The JSDF is complaining about how they needed better equipment then what they had. It came across to me as “If you people would actually support us, then we could do our jobs more effectively. Instead, you guys actively hinder us and then blame us when things go wrong.” There are other instances throughout, but this one stood out to me.

    2. One of the biggest issues in Japan is how the current government is trying change parts of the intentionally passivist Constitution so they can send their army overseas in certain circumstances. For most people this isn’t a unusual idea but this would be the first time Japan has considered a change like this in 70 years. A more cynical person than me could suggest that this anime could be considered propaganda for this.

      1. I wouldn’t say “according to a more cynical person”, but “according to someone who didn’t like the show, can’t really write a good negative review, so invents some BS argument to criticize it for no good reason”.

        Because the show actually demonstrates the exact of opposite of what Japanese propaganda would be at this point. All the JSDF personel in the anime clearly don’t want to be doing what they are doing. On other hand we got the Japanese government being shown as a bunch of assholes who are forcing the JSDF to do something they don’t wanna do. Nobody is the JSDF is like: “yeah, we’re gonna kill all these ignorante people and protect our country because AMERICA”, like you see in pretty much all American war movies. They more like: “What? Go to the other side? Why? What a pain the ass. Why de we have to do that? Why can we be at home reading manga instead? Just destroy the damn GATE and everything is over”.

        They even had scenes with Japanese politicians betraying Itami and his group because the US told them to (which is exactly what the government is doing now by ignoring the Japenese population will and following the US orders). Hell, they even show the Japanese people going to the streets to support the people who came from the other side and basically saying: “hey, government, F**** YOU and leave those people alone”.

        If the objective what make the Japanese people be in favor of the JSDF invading other countries, why did they show the entire Japanese population being against that in the anime? That doesn’t make any sense. The blog’s says it “right-wing view”…

        How in the word supporting “the enemy” is a right-wing view?

        I really don’t see how an anime that shows the entire Japanese population being against the government, against an invasion in a foreign land, as being propaganda for the government.

        I didn’t read the novel or the manga, but I’m pretty sure that in the next season the government is gonna force the JSDF to start a war/invasion using some BS excuse and that EVERYONE in the JSDF is not gonna enjoy that decision (and I’m pretty sure they’re gonna show the unfavorable reaction of the Japanese population to that as well)… For that reason the JSDF gonna let Itami and his crew to do something about it in secret, so can achieve peace istead of the war the Japanese government wants.

      2. Character and plot are not always the same. The themes of the story and the ideas of the characters can be different. Itami seems like a lazy, nice guy who doesn’t really want to be a gung-ho soldier. That doesn’t somehow mean that the story itself is anti-military. In fact, presenting all the soldiers as anti-war/anti-killing, but still really good at war when push comes to shove could easily make the whole thing pro-military.

        And as for how the ‘anti-government’ stances can in fact be pro-government propaganda, you need look no further than America (which you seem to really like bashing). Attacking the idea of the government and establishing the people and the military as independent heroes fighting a corrupt establishment is a tried and true and EXTREMELY popular and common tactic of the right-wing/republican side of the political spectrum. I’m not trying to say it’s wrong or right here because I really don’t want a political liberal/conservative debate, I’m just pointing out that anti-government media can very much be a political statement, depending on what you believe about the government.

      3. > The themes of the story and the ideas of the characters can be different.

        The themes of the story are composed of the ideas of characters, Kale – be it main characters, secondary characters, group characters, characterized settings, or even (sometimes especially) the character of the narrator. How else could themes be communicated?

        And stating that the protagonist’s views are not the central basis for the show’s overall themes is a pretty daft starting point. As I’ve said above, it’s like everyone downplays Itami’s character just because everything around him is easier to point the finger at for being nationalistic. Why aren’t we focusing on the focal point of the cinematic narrative?

        You’re just ignoring parts of the show because it suits your soapbox. As are many people who have taken umbrage with the show’s political themes.

  30. If you watch enough anime you will be reminded from time to time that the politics of the writer gets worked into the story sometimes. That’s fine. The moment I saw them depict POTUS in the first couple episodes I knew he would be up to some sort of “dastardly” plot. I am an avid enough consumer of entertainment that someone else’s politics won’t bother me that much. I personally feel that it cheapens the story but that’s me. That said this writer played into Japanese jingoism a little too much.

    Early on it makes perfect sense that a well armed and prepared modern army would annihilate a medieval one. This isn’t controversial. The idea that people from that medieval culture would be shocked and amazed at the advanced modern nation of Japan is also reasonable. However, in every single interaction between the SDF and someone from beyond the Gate always makes the SDF look good. The SDF is essentially an occupying army and none of the locals have a problem with them? All of the soldiers act like perfect gentlemen? And the SDF special forces completely schooling the elites from several other nations simultaneously? Oh c’mon.

      1. @Sadamitsu: Some civilians don’t support him, and as for “mad emperor” – see below on that. The GATE Empire is a lot like RL Roman Empire. There are factions. Some support the emperor, some don’t, and there are varying degrees to both sides, but a LOT (most) of it revolves around the Empire losing badly to the JSDF rather than his rule in general. That’s not to suggest that everyone in the Empire is happy and has an idyllic life. Like the Roman Empire, great to be a patrician, not so much if you’re a plebeian, or worse. Certainly some conquered countries (particularly demi-humans) would like to see the Empire (not just one particular emperor) fall and regain independence (again see Roman Empire).

        To put it another way, if the gate didn’t appear, or if miraculously the Empire won the battle of Alnus (let alone the invasion of Tokyo succeeded), then the emperor wouldn’t have any problems to worry about in terms of his rule. Victory helps a lot, losing causes problems – nothing new here. Even at this point, his rule is pretty secure.

        Personally, I think the anime amped up the whole “mad emperor” thing some vs. the manga – especially with the emperor’s evil grin in the anime after Casel says Alnus “will be a blood bath”. That was not in the manga, and frankly like a lot of things, I think the manga does a better job with that particular senate discussion as a whole. Sorry to beat the proverbial dead horse on that, but for me this is quite the frustrating adaptation. To me, the Emperor comes across as more politically adept (and less comic book evil) in the manga than what the anime portrays. The guy’s not a saint, but he’s not Nero or Caligula either. Now whether anime’s presentation was “per LN” or anime-only – don’t know though my guess is the latter. Maybe the anime is going a different direction and/or wants to make things even more “black and white”/”good vs. evil” simplistic.

    1. They don’t really want to. But don’t let yourself be fooled by that too much. Japan doesn’t need to build nukes. And not because America will protect them or whatever. Political/Military analysts (it’s kind of what I do) have known forever that Japan has the tech to build nukes in about a month if they suddenly decided they wanted them.

      The current situation is basically win-win for them. They don’t technically have nukes so they can be peaceful on the surface (and culturally they DON’T like nukes for obvious, understandable reasons) but they’re not REALLY defenseless from nukes because they have the equipment, know-how, and nuclear material to build them in no time flat.

  31. Knowing that Gate had right-wing views compared to Outbreak Company, I expected the anime to touch on subjects/topics that wouldn’t be out of place at a gathering of uyoku dantai. But so far, I haven’t seen such views discussed or shown. If it did, it was most likely watered down or glossed over. A-1 most likely wanted to remain apolitical when they made the anime (not to mention that it was going to be shown abroad, after all).

    The adaptational attractiveness of some of the characters (Rory in particular) didn’t bother me that much, as it made the anime more visually pleasing to watch. The gun/military porn was also satisfactory (Hakone shoot-out aside–see my reply above).

    The action was fun to watch (especially those shout-outs to Apocalypse Now, the Fate franchise and Modern Warfare 2‘s “Ramirez! Do everything!” meme), but comedy-wise, Outbreak Company still beats Gate by a mile.

    That being said, Gate was still enjoyable despite the (toned-down) right-wing mindset, and I was a bit disappointed that it’s also taking the split-cour route (like The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls) instead of carrying over to the next season. But on the other hand, if going the split-cour route means a better production and pacing, then sure. In the meantime, it’s “wait-and-see” mode on whether the Blu-Rays will include some adaptations of plot-important scenes cut from the regular broadcast and uncensored(?) gore the LN/manga fans were expecting out of the anime.

  32. OMG. So you blogger didn’t hat this that much cause they finally toned down all of the right wing extremism? Well, I’m so happy you didn’t blog this weekly, given the fuss over such irrelevant matters like you, the blogger and most of the audience posted here. It’s silly to compare a story like this to real life. It’s always silly, expecially for animation wich is know not to never be that realistic anyway. It’s Japanese product and you can expect to boast it the same way an American movie boast its own military like hell. If we find it normal with Hollywood, why would be ashamed by the same thing in a Japanese movie?
    Simply take this as a better version of that dreadful Outbreak Company show of some times ago and be happy.

  33. Gate was amazing and I dont get why people keep complaining about the removal of gore and stuff. They dont add anything to the experience. The anime adaptation was perfect the way it is and I enjoyed it very much. This is coming from someone who did indeed read the manga up to the latest scans.

  34. yeah there’s a lot of nationalism.

    I agree a lot with Pancakes. I did go in thinking this would be a more serious take on politics and human behavior like GITS but then it just became blah…entertainment. After seeing it that way I enjoyed it.

    obviously nothing the author wrote about is realistic. japan as the good guys? wasn’t that long ago really when japan did some real terrible things. and it’s hard for the actions of usa, russia, china to be so singular as it was shown in the anime.

    usa-japan have strong relations, usa definitely would’ve been involved. knowing how aggressive america is, it wouldn’t have sat back and let japan do all the work. none of this seemed at all realistic.

    but american shows/media have their own nationalistic bents like transformers. so i can’t criticize japan for making their own gung ho shows.

    but the calmness, and aloofness of the characters to the massacres they commit (and it is massacres, so one-sided) and violence (in reality, lot more gore), seemed so unreal. you also would never find troops acting like the main characters ever in a military. and there’s no ptsd from the jsdf either? in gits 2nd season, they had soldiers going through ptsd b/c it was so one sided. gits is much better in politics than gate.

    and why didn’t they ask imperials or bandits to surrender like in episode 6. just so we could see some explosions and fighting and japan being strong? does japan have to fight medieval era warriors to look strong? americans would definitely have asked for their surrender. heck anyone western, modern country and even japan would’ve.

    none of this is realistic and shouldn’t be taken as such.

    though this series reminds me so much of Stargate. literal ripoff with gothic lolis, dumb blonds, magical girls, fan service added.

    1. “wasn’t that long ago really when japan did some real terrible things.”
      And the USA is doing terrible things every year. What terrorist organization will they create next to protect Israel? When will they be ordered by Israel to topple Assad and turn the region into another Libya?

  35. This turned out to be one of those animes I looked forward to watching every week. I had watched one episode after the initial review, and sort of didn’t think much of it, then promptly forgot about it till someone mentioned it on here. I ended up really enjoying it, and found the cultural exchanges to be the most interesting aspect of it. I sort of ignored the politics, since it wasn’t as invasive as I had initially thought. Def glad it got a second season.

    Frog? No. Hippo!

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