Summer (2015) Anime Previews: GATE

8:25 PM

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Just like I did with Gakkou Gurashi, here's a break down of a series, and what could make or break it. Spoilers ahead, so read at your own caution.

Title: GATE(ゲート) 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり (Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri), Thus the JSDF fought there.
Production: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Fantasy, Action
Airs: July 3rd (03/07/15)

A fantasy-action series, with a generous helping of political bickering, GATE might be this summer's Hollywood-esque block buster of a series. You've got a goth-loli. You've got your elf. You've got cat girls, bunny girls, armies being decimated, dragons roasting people and much much more. It's a packed series that has a lot going for it, though that might be it's major problems. 

Starting with the big one - censorship. Gate can be a brutal series. The fantasy world that Itami and his crew find themselves in resembles the medieval and earlier ages of Earth proper. There's significant objectionable content - through the treatment of people captured into slavery, to the sheer amount of death and mutilation that is depicted in the often one sided battles. In this sense, it faces the same problems as Berserk would - it's just too graphic for TV. They're either going to have decide to either tone it down, and potentially trivialize it, or "tastefully" censor it - that is, to not mutilate scenes with black bars, smoke or curious beams of light. I'm sure there's a way to do it, but I'm not sure. It's much more light hearted than Berserk ever can be, so there's leeway for adaptation, but it would seriously detract from the impact of scenes. One scene I'm certain needs to remain in tact is the early campaign against the Empire, depicting the JSDF  leading their assault against the Imperial forces. The Empire is essentially the Roman Empire with generally the same technology and equipment, meaning that the modern military that the JSDF brings in tears them apart. It's this horrendous massacre that sets the stage. The Japanese could easily raze the Empire, leaving the Empire struggling to stay on Japan's good side. 

Speaking of Japan, that brings us to the next major problem, and it's political. Gate is wonderfully Japan-centric. Just like the good old Hollywood flicks that has America saving the day, Gate has Japan's Self Defense Force entering new, uncharted frontier where they make friends with the locals, establish a safe haven for the peasants and save the day. Meanwhile, perhaps...problematically, China and America vie for control of the gate, seeing it as an opportunity for expansion and resources. The other countries sort of act stereotypically - the way you'd joke about. Japan decides on something, America supports it as an 'ally', China's aways going against everything, and so on. Japan doesn't have as clean a war history as they'd like to think, and this series sort of glorifies the Japan's military, which is a bit concerning considering Prime Minister Abe's stance on the military. Gate's a series that comes up in a time where military activity is beginning to become more acceptable in the general Japanese populace, which seems a bit convenient, but maybe I'm just reading too much into it. This is a series that probably will be banned in places like China or Korea, where Japan isn't viewed nicely.

Pacing, as always, is an issue. They could emphasize the action, but the things around it - the JSDF helping the peasants, the inner workings of the various political bodies at work, for example. The early episodes will be chock full of some great action, but if the pacing's off, we might see a top heavy series. The first half might be action packed with the last half being more political. 

Lastly, because Itami's rag tag team is a bit rough around the edges, my worry is the over emphasis on the moe-fanservicey things. Itami and his crew fawn over elves, cat girls, Rory, amongst others. I'm only familiar with the manga, but from that the fan service is generally tasteful, meaning that it's never in your face with the moe stuff. 

Overall, I'm really looking forward to this one. Itami's squad is full of fun characters, from a helicopter fleet that blasts Wagner's Ride of the Valkyrie (a la Apocalypse Now), to the otaku-y characters who find themselves in what they might call paradise. This could be one hell of a summer block buster style series. 

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