OP2: 「GATE Ⅱ ～世界を超えて～」(GATE II: Sekai wo Koete) by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets
“The Banquet Begins”
A Crude Return:
GATE returns like it’s never been gone, with a set-up episode for the Flaming Dragon Arc and its battles to come. It was voted the most anticipated anime by RandomC readers, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s broad appeal to GATE that manages to catch a lot of people in its net. I mentioned in my impressions post for the first cour that I felt it was ‘undeniably anime’, meaning that I can’t imagine this existing in any other medium. Of course, it comes from a web novel, has a light novel, and a manga adaptation – but those all come under the same group, I suppose. While the politics can be prevalent and the war scenes aplenty, there’s enough silliness and typical anime tropes that stops me from taking this entirely seriously. Which I’d consider a good thing.
Since I know how popular this is, I’ll try to be as positive as possible (which is easy enough because the episode was rather good overall), but there is one part to this episode that I didn’t like. In fact, I hated it. And that would be the rape scene between Pina’s brother, Zolzal, and his bunny sextoy, Tyuule. Within the first 3 minutes we’re subjected to rather a violent sex scene (at least it’s behind the curtains) as we listen to Tyuule’s screams and bear witness to Zolzal’s arrogance. I get that this scene exists to make us hate Zolzal off the bat, but that doesn’t mean I liked it being there in the first place. I see enough sexual violence in Game of Thrones to do me a lifetime, so seeing it in GATE, while not entirely surprising, wasn’t the best way to start off this second cour. It left a sour aftertaste, even as a write this. Thankfully, there was enough good parts to even the episode out in the end.
Well-Paced, Effective Set-up:
While we’re jumping back into the world beyond the gate, we’re not jumping back into the action just yet – and I appreciate that. I like that this was pretty much all set-up for what’s to come. We know this cour will cover the ‘Flaming Dragon Arc’, which sounds self-explanatory, but without a dragon in this episode (unless I missed it) it’s hard to predict what’s coming next (other than the obvious). What we did get, however, was an opportunity to see plenty of the cast either in their element or taking one for the team. We learned more about the inhabitants of this world, and have an idea of who we should be rooting for, and who we should be hating.
The scenes involving the natives to this land were the best parts of the episode for me. Whether it was just conversations between side characters (who will be important this cour, going by the new OP), or getting some more insight into the world they inhabit; like us being shown the dirtier parts of the capital. The conversation between Misery, the self-confessed whore, and Kurokawa, the new examiner, was perhaps my favourite. It was fanservicey, for sure, but the little details like the STD prevention and then bringing the group of girls at the end made it more impactful than I would have otherwise believed. And while it’s good to get these side characters fleshing out this world and preparing for what’s to come (no doubt involving a flaming dragon), it’s a shame that we never got to see much of the three main girls. I’m sure Rory fans won’t be too thrilled about that – thankfully I don’t consider myself a Rory fan, so it didn’t bother me that much.
Overview – What’s Next?:
You can imagine this working as a continuous 24 episode show, as this return doesn’t feel much like a return – just another episode. While it got off to a sour start, I found myself enjoying the spotlight with the lesser characters and getting to know more about the inhabitants of this world. I don’t care much for the human side of things, but I was content with what we got this time around. I don’t know how things are going to turn out after this earthquake, but hopefully there isn’t another Zolzal bedroom scene. I don’t think we need to see anymore of that.
ED2: 「TBA」 by Tuka (Kanemoto Hisako), Lelei (Touyama Nao), Rory (Taneda Risa)