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GATE Anime review
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The Other-Worldly ROSSMAN

You know when you and your buddies get drunk and start conversations like, "Who would win in a fight? Like, what if you got a modern military force — tanks, guns, helicopters and all that shit — and put them up against Richard III's armored army? Oh, and what if Dick III's forces had some basic magic and stuff? Who'd win?" The answer is obviously "the modern military force," no matter how much your idiotic-faced friend keep trying to up Richard III's forces with horses, catapults, and eventually dragons. And that's basically the plot of this 24 episode series. Watching medieval knights and elves and dragons get fucked up by the modern Japanese Self Defense Force and limitless ammo.

Well, that's not really the plot, that's just the set-up. See, things start off in modern Tokyo, in the Ginza District, when all of a sudden a magical Gateway appears in the middle of the city, and out of it pours thousands of knights in armor, some monsters with weapons, and some all-around freaky shit that most people haven't seen outside of a Tolkien-ripped-off fantasy novel.

The Japanese SDF is called in quickly though, and they turn the tide against the invaders from the soon to be called "Special Region" with terrible ease. Then soon, with the United States' aid, Japan sends its troops to the other side of the Gate, where a world of magic, monsters, dungeons & dragons awaits them! Then the JSDF literally BLOWS THE FUCK out of anybody and anything that opposes them.

The rest of the show pretty much deals with Yoji Itami (an anime and manga otaku, as well as a bad ass Special Forces soldier within the JSDF) as he and his Recon Unit are ordered to venture forth into the great wide Special Region, gain intel, and help those natives in need. They soon come across a blonde Elf girl with daddy issues, a 15 year-old sorceress who becomes the group's interpreter, and a 961 year-old demi-goddess who dresses like a loli-goth and swings a LARGE halberd around like it were a frilly umbrella. These three Special Region girls of course become infatuated with Itami, and hilariousness ensues as they all learn each others' cultures. Message!

Gate anime reviewBUT, Gate is also about all the politics and behind-the-scenes dealings that come with two vastly different worlds meeting for the first time. And let me tell you, for the first 12 episodes of this show, I was really intrigued with how they balanced the fun "stranger in a strange land" backdrop with the "heavy poli-sci" aspects of the real-world back-room states-crafting that made up most of the episodes. I even forgave the writers for naming the main Special Region's princess "Piña Co Lada" for no reason but to make people laugh... Even though this show is about 91% serious, and not Ranma 1/2, where a character named after a foofy alcoholic drink would blend right in.

I was really into the whole production (all sides and all characters of the conflict brought about by the magical Gate, and all the back-patting and back-stabbing that ensued), but then things came to a grinding halt in the second half of the series. It was like all new writers were hired because the first group of show coordinators did a beautiful job setting things up, but they were too expensive to use for season two. So the bean-counters brought in Retard Tsukitami to finish up the second half since he undercut the competition by offering to write the final 12 episodes for a bowl of ramen and an hour in a Soapland room.

The momentum of the story slams into a heavily fortified stone fortress wall with the second season. The initial political intrigue of season one becomes ridiculous with how slow, painful, and sometimes outright stupid it all becomes. For example, half the Special Regions royals don't believe that the JSDF can annihilate them all with just one platoon and 12,000 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition... Even though they've done just that something like four times already. And the maddest, craziest royal (Princess Piña's INSAAAAAAANE brother) somehow convinces the rest of the higher-ups in the Empire to keep agitating the Japanese until the JSDF loses all patience and just knocks them aside again because they can... Oh, and Prince Mad Bro is being manipulated himself by a sex-slave bunny girl who wants the Empire (that tortured and literally fucked her people) to die horrifically in penance for those atrocities perpetrated upon her bunnykind. And even though the bunny girl is just as outwardly crazy as Prince Mad Bro, NOBODY seems to be able to see any of the psycho-shit going on.

Itami's plotline becomes just as dumb too, as it takes him at first to hunt down a massive fire-breathing dragon (that destroyed entire magical civilizations in the past) with only the Special Regions super-gals in tow (which was a fun little adventure, if not a bit retarded), but then his tale just drags on and on and seems to go nowhere and do nothing except to pad out the runtime as the small group then goes to the sorceress girl's home town in order for her to pass her Hogwarts Wizarding World test and become a Super Mage (or whatever). This "plot" went nowhere and took up half the season.

The 12 episodes of the second season could have easily fit into 6-7 installments and then actually given us a legitimate finale instead of the open-ended blah ending that we got. I am at the point where I don't think I'll watch a third season even if they make one... which after seeing how dumb and boring things got by the end of season two though, I doubt we'll even have to worry about it.

The characters are for the most part all likable. Especially Itami, Rory, the demigoddess, and Leilei, the sorceress. The shell-shocked elf-girl though... Ugh, kind of grating after a while. You see, Tuka — the elf in question — witnessed the previously mentioned uber-dragon burn her whole village to ashes (elves included), and then she spends 3/4s of the entire show walking around, acting like a toddler with the Downs since she's traumatized, and that's how all traumatized people act, right? Like they'd stick a fork in an electrical socket if you didn't watch them like a fucking hawk. Anyway, the rest of the characters are fine. And hell, for once I think I didn't even mind it when the main antagonist went all balls-out crazy-laughing evil on everybody. The over-the-topness of his malevolence didn't ruin the story for me, as I figured he was probably an inbred royal who got everything handed to him on a silver platter before the JSDF showed up, and that's what rich douchebags that are the product of incest do... I mean, look at Joffrey Baratheon.

The music was nothing that made any sort of impression on me, but I did enjoy the first opening song quite a bit. The animation quality though... It was nothing exceptional. Every once in a while you'd notice when the "Studio A" was up at bat, but all too often you'd notice that it was the "B" and "C" animation studios doing the heavy lifting, and it just makes you sad.

This is a tough one to rate... I reeeeeally enjoyed Gate season 1, but was very much let down by season 2... But there are moments of season 2 that shine, so I can't write it off entirely. I guess I'd recommend season 1 outright, and depending on how into it you are I would then let you decide if you want to continue or not. I give it One Thumb Up, and One Thumb Down on the whole. Done.


The MEGAPLAYBOY

I once totally fell into another world through some magic D&D-like gate, bitches. It was amaze-balls! Dolph Lundgren was there in a loincloth, some hot redhead in bikini armor was traipsing around, there were a ton of midgets, Chewbacca, William Wallace, a tank, a Japanese schoolgirl, and some retarded-looking panda too.

We all went around blowin' villages and shit up, and us guys were all talkin' about which of the chicks we'd bang, and then a dragon showed up, and I totally slayed the beast! I became greater than Dio in that moment! Hell, I became greater than Rage Kage and J.B.! I became Wonderboy! I was the Tribute! Why are the walls melting again?

I guess it's time to wrap shit up, seeing as the Rossman's dog is telling me she has to go and wrestle with a Hellhound now, and I have GOTS to see this shit!

(Notes From the Rossman: Yeah, that LSD experiment with the Megaplayboy as the non-placebo didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. Wait, I got that backward. It worked out GREATER than I could have hoped!)

I liked the start, and mothafuckin' disliked the end like a bitch with a pus-filled whoodilly. Should have just stopped after 12 eps, man. So, watch it if you love the D&D and World War II documentaries, but then stop after the first season, and pretend that's it. Got it?


MALCOLM Z

I must be the only one here who didn't like this garbage from the start. Everyone is braggin' that it's the coolest shit ever, but only for the first half, then it turns bad. But no, I'm here to tell you that this stank was stanky from the very stanky start.

So, Japan and an ancient army go to war... How did Japan not just destroy them and set up a puppet state that was super friendly to them right off the bat? What was the point of dealing with ancient, stupid politics in order to make friends with those speciesist asshole dictators in the Special Region? Every inch Japan gave those suckas caused Japan to lose a mile. If I were in charge of that shit, I'd first throw all my fat, unemployed, annoying NEETs at the hoards of Special Region forces in order to confuse them and make them question their own existence, then I'd tactically take the front lines all out with some war choppers, and finally I'd send in my American-borrowed Rangers or Navy SEALs to assassinate all the honky bigwigs that ruled this shitty little land, and make it look like the slain leaders' most trusted followers did the deed.

Chaos. Utter chaos would rule. Then I'd step in with some cool Special Regioners who were down for living in peace and Japanese titties, and we'd then import magic and dragon meat, and sell the Special Region primitives plastic beads in return. Oh, and teach them about love hotels and tentacle pr0n and shit. That's a fair trade, and by making sure that they know nothing of how to construct our guns and missiles and all that shit, we'd never have any problems again.

I hate it, I loathe it, I want it to just disappear from this universe and never bother me again. Case closed.