Review: GATE: And So, the Defense Force Fought (Anime Version)

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Worlds collide in the Anime adaptation of GATE: And So, The Defense Force Fought (GATE for short). Originally a Manga, Gate was made into an anime last year. The series’ second season wrapped up earlier this year on Crunchyroll. Yours truly binge-watched all of both seasons in about a week’s time. After watching the first episode, I knew I wanted to see the rest of the series. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t a 13-episode series like so many other Anime on Crunchyroll with the potential to be a longer series. From what I’ve heard from others, a Season 3 may be in the works (!).

Have you ever wondered what would happen if say, The Roman Empire’s Military fought the United States’ Military? PFFT! Of course not! The praetorians would get wiped out before they could get a good look at our infantry! Obviously, the Roman Empire would have no chance against 21st-century warfare. They’d be so laughably outclassed in EVERY way you couldn’t call it a “battle”, let alone a “war”. That’s just main plot of Gate in a nutshell. Yet it surprisingly works.

In the year 20XX (clearly present-day), a Gate connecting to another world suddenly opens in Ginza in Tokyo, Japan. A medieval army with knights, monsters and wyverns emerges from the gate and starts killing people. The JSDF (Japanese Special Defense Force) mobilizes and repels the mysterious invaders. In a bid to learn about the enemy force that emerged from the Gate, the Japanese Government sends the JSDF through the gate to the world of Falmart, which is prettymuch a Fantasy version of the 7th century–with Magic, Monsters, Dragons, Elves and so on–and thr home of the Empire, the enemy army that invaded Japan.

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The JSDF establishes a base at Alnus Hill where the Gate appeared on Falmart. The Empire sends its armies to Alnus Hill but as you can probably guess, they’re wiped out before they can even reach the JSDF’s defenses. LOL. Much of the story focuses on Second Lieutenant Youji Itami, who happened to be present during the attack on Ginza. Put in Charge of Recon Team 3, Itami’s Unit ventures deep into enemy territory with a 3-car convoy. He meets the Mage Lelei, the Demigo Rory and the Forest Elf Tuka on his travels and even encounters a Fire Dragon, which his unit describes as “A Flying Tank”.

Itami is forced to fight the Fire Dragon head-on in the second season to help Tuka accept the death of her father, who died protecting her when the Fire Dragon attacked their village. In the first season, a mutual interest brings the JSDF and the Empire’s Princess Pina Co Lada (pun clearly intended, LOL!) to the town of Italica. The two armies put their differences aside to defend the town from an army of bandit soldiers. The JSDF sends air support that easily lays waste to the bandit army.

After bearing witness to the overwhelming power of 21st century warfare up close and later visiting Japan, Pina realizes the futility in fighting the JSDF and works with the Imperial Senate to seek peace with Japan. The Emperor reluctantly agrees to allow peace talks with Japan but then things get complicated when the crown prince, Zorzal seizes control of the Empire and consolidates power. The JSDF is pulled into the power struggle when the pro-peace faction turns to them for help.

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The second season ends with the JSDF successsfully pulling off a daring rescue mission to save Pina from Zorzal along with the Emperor, who’d been poisoned. The Emperor then names Pina his successor and Empress. The first order of business: Taking care of Zorzal and uniting the Empire, which shouldn’t be too hard with the JSDF on her side!

It goes without saying the JSDF could have easily wiped out the Empire from the beginning but our view of politics and the 7th century’s view of politics are different. Sure, the JSDF understand their point of view and way of life but there was more to be gained by not repeating certain mistakes from human history (aka just wiping out the Empire, which they could’ve done a few times over without trying.

Plus. the concept in and of itself is pretty facinating. The idea has been done before but not to this extent. I feel like GATE is more groundbreaking than most even realize yet. It is for that reason I give GATE: And So, the Defense Force Fought a 10/10. There are certainly more than enough lose ends to warrant a Season 3 of the Anime. The Civil War’s the big one. In addition to that there’s also the unfinished business with Roroy’s sister. There’s also more of Falmart we’ve yet to even see.

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…Like I did with Attack on Titan, I plan to read the Manga where the Anime left off. If you wanna watch the Anime, it’s on Crunchyroll.

I also plan to write some Fan Fiction based on it. That goes without saying ^_^

Shortly after I posted this, I stumbled upon some websites that were talking about the political subtext and the overt pro-JSDF propaganda embedded in this series. In short, GATE is a controversal Anime in Japan and by extension (South) Korea. I’ll speak more to this and a few other Anime controversial in Japan in a separate post.

 

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