Gate – 07-08

Gate 07

Well this is different…

Episodes 7 and 8 of Gate begin what is essentially the cultural exchange arc of the show.




Gate 0701


Last time I mentioned that I would like to see more of the non-human species in the Special Region explored. Episode 7 toys with that idea by introducing a cat girl, a bunny girl, and a medusa. All serve as maids at the Formar mansion in Italica, and we are led to believe that the cat people and bunny people “specialize” in combat as the two respective maids are sent to intercept intruders. Additionally, we are told that medusa drain energy from others with their hair. So there’s that. The thing to take away from the introduction of these maids though, is that the typical racial segregation that we’ve come to expect from fantasy worlds might indeed exist in the Gate universe. The previous count of Italica who hired all the non-human staff is described to have a liberal nature (and a thing for non-human maids), so the natural assumption is that the majority of humans instead try not to associate with non-humans for some reason or another. Recall when the Coda Village chief refused to take in Tuka back in episode 3, even though she had lost everything and had nowhere to go? From what we’ve seen, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is any outright animosity between different races. But it’s clear that integration is something that isn’t even considered.

Gate 0702

Payment of a certain kind.

Moving on, no real harm comes to Itami at the hands of the Rose Order as expected. Instead, the whole incident is used as a convenient (but admittedly comical) plot device to get Piña to visit Japan as a diplomatic envoy to prevent future hostilities. I really like this role she plays in brokering peace, since that will hopefully open the doors to more cultural exchange instead of military conflict. Because at the moment, the former is vastly more entertaining than the latter as any form of combat essentially boils down to the same one-sided massacre that we should expect when one party possesses such an overwhelming technological advantage. Additionally, just as much as I would like to see more of what daily life is like on the other side of the gate, I believe that Piña and the other Special Region natives stand to gain much from learning how we do things on our side of the gate. It would definitely be a boon for them to learn some of the technologies that we employ on a day-to-day basis after all. With that in mind, Episode 8 presents us with our first taste of how the Special Region natives react to our world. Piña and co. are immediately impressed by the “skyscrapers” of Tokyo, and their later reaction to the subway is of equivalent shock and awe.


Gate 0801

A historic moment?

Episode 8 unfortunately also marks the return of the political embroilments that I had once thought would be an interesting twist on the story. Rory, Tuka, and Lelei (along with Itami) are summoned to the Diet to serve as witnesses in a session meant to hold the JSDF accountable for its actions. The whole thing is a bunch of bullshit, and I’m glad that it ends with the opposing Diet member being ridiculed by Rory. But the implication that the major powers of the world (namely the U.S., Russia, and China) lie in wait to pounce upon the Special Region and lap up its resources should the JSDF be found incapable still looms overhead. And as much as I would like them to just disappear, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of these political games in episodes to come, what with “mysterious” factions trying to interfere with the Special Region VIPs under Itami’s supervision. While the Diet summons is taking place, we also see Piña engage in talks with the prime minister’s advisor and a foreign ministry representative. The gist of things is that an offer is made to return Special Region POWs. Piña is convinced that Japan’s ulterior motive is to gain a political foothold in the Special Region by returning POWs of noble birth to their homes, but that remains to be seen.

Exes and Sundry

Gate 0802

961, 165, 15.

Setting aside the political dealings for now, episode 8 also offers us much insight into the main characters of the show. During the Q&A session at the Diet, Lelei explains more about the Special Region and some of its species. Firstly, the Special Region is said to actually comprise mostly of humans. This is a bit surprising considering the wide variety of sentient, humanoid species we’ve seen on the other side of the gate. I would be more willing to believe that humans are a “minority majority,” meaning they are the single largest racial group, but that all the other races combined actually outnumber humans. Then, we are told that elves in the Special Region are exactly as we might expect from typical lore; they are immortal long-living and non-aging (after a certain age). We are also told that Tuka in particular belongs to a special fairy type of elves, but the significance of this is lost on me. Maybe she can sprout wings and fly or something? Finally, we learn that demigods like Rory begin as regular humans, and will eventually shed their physical bodies to become spirits and gods. How one becomes a demigod in the first place isn’t explained, and I doubt even Lelei knows the details. But I suspect it may be something as simple as a god selecting a devout follower to become his messenger.

Gate 0803

Somebody help her!

We also learn that Itami was never a stellar student while undergoing his officer training, a fact which surely surprises no one. This is the guy who proclaims that he prioritizes his hobbies over work, after all. But I must say, the special training that Itami’s CO put him through out of spite turned out to be a good thing. Because the guy as he is now is clearly a competent and effective leader. He may have a penchant for bending the rules here and there, but he gets things done and avoids needless conflict where possible. And while his laid-back attitude isn’t exactly inspiring, it does make him more approachable. Hopefully the revelations that Itami is a Ranger and a member of the Special Forces will get Kurebayashi (whom I have nicknamed “Disapproving-chan”) to be more respectful of the guy, though she seems to be in denial about it for now. Anyway, the show leaves off with a bit of a shocker as we learn the identity of the mysterious “Risa” who fills Itami’s mailbox. Turns out she is his ex-wife! And what a character she is. From the looks of things, she is a mangaka who hasn’t exactly made it drawing BL. I don’t think any of us (cast included) expected Itami to have an ex-wife, so what happens next week might be rather entertaining.


Show ▼

Now that the gang has mostly taken care of the political dealings on this side of the gate, I anticipate episode 9 to cover a more leisurely exploration of Tokyo for the Special Region natives. This is where the real cultural exchange takes place, and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble the gang gets into without having to worry about questionings and political espionage. Plus, it looks like we even have a visit to the hot springs in store for us! That’ll make for a steamy experience, I’m sure…

Gate 0804

Rory’s got Itami right where she wants him~



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27 Responses to “Gate – 07-08”

  1. Highway says:

    When they were going through Itami’s history, I was kind of reminded of Heinlein’s story “The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail.” Not that Itami and David Lamb were particularly similar, but that both employed the idea of doing pretty much the minimum necessary to achieve their aims, while never actually failing. And while Itami spends his time at the back of the class, while Lamb spent his time at the (almost) head of the class (because that was the easiest spot to be), they both ended up highly successful and well-regarded, and doing what they like.

  2. skylion says:

    RE: Extras ::facepalms:: But then, my extra’s are pretty worthy of that gesture most of the time.

    Welp, they must choose Diet Committee members by the same metric they use here in the States (converted to feet and inches of course). “Are you qualified about the subject in question?”,”Why, yes, I am.”,”Well, then, you’re not welcome on this commitee. We have dumbasses to fill these seats, and dumbasses only” Honestly, she could have veiled her questions a little bit. It would take Rory to call her out, as a five year old would have sufficed.

    Also, if no one wants the medusa, then I’ll lay claim…

    • Wanderer says:

      MINE! I saw Aurea first! I will not hand her over to anyone!

      • skylion says:

        Oh, myyyyyy….

        • Wanderer says:

          She’s an adorable little soul-sucking monstrosity who is incredibly cute and sweet. I’ve wanted to hug her and keep her ever since I first saw her in the manga.

          • skylion says:

            Well, I have Rory in my corner, so I suppose I can allow you the soul-sucking medusa girl…

            • Wanderer says:

              Given her holiness’ words about unwanted suitors this week, I’d advise against attempting for her without her permission.

              Minor point of interest: the deity Hardy who has been stalking Rory is, despite the gender-neutral pronoun which led Crunchyroll to make an incorrect assumption, actually female. A psychopathic stalker goddess of the underworld.

            • skylion says:

              …I have my own set of charms, thank you.

              So, Hardy is female? That kills some of the Hades/Pluto undertones, but who’s to say those have to be there?

    • BlackBriar says:

      Also, if no one wants the medusa, then I’ll lay claim…

      Ha! You’d have been on your own if she turned you into a stone statue. I wouldn’t even pity you.

  3. Highway says:

    Otherwise, Gate is almost inexorably becoming my favorite show this season. Partly because it’s got a lot of the things I like, for instance the good guys always win. But I really like the characterization they’ve been able to accomplish for Rory, Lelei, and Tuka. I’m hoping that they can get Pina a little more likeable, but I think that she’s played very well, “knowing” how things are supposed to work, and yet being stymied at almost every turn by the failure of the Japanese to be as vindictive as she expects.

    But every character in this show is enjoyable, and the show progresses very well. It’s a lot of fun to watch.

    • Painboy says:

      Just recently started watching this myself. I’ve enjoyed it for the most part as well. Reminds me of an old series of novels called the Janissaries. It was about a modern day mercenary group getting abducted by aliens to help gain control of a planet occupied by humans who were still at a medieval level of technology. Wasn’t that well written if I remember right, but I liked the idea.

      I don’t mind the couple of JSDF inflicted curbstomps. I mean it’s pretty rare the JSDF is ever in that position in other media. Normally they are the first ones to get blown up, melted, or squished, by whatever Kaiju, alien invader, or hell beast shows up in Japan. And if there happens to be any survivors left they get to watch as a bunch of teenagers in brightly colored suits or little girls with superpowers save the day. That can’t be good for one’s ego.

      I do get a little annoyed with the rather transparent politics of it though. It’s pretty obvious what the author’s beliefs are as anyone who doesn’t agree with them is shown to be a conniving douche bag. Of course this is pretty standard stuff for military sci-fi which Gate has a lot of similarities with. In military sci-fi the most implacable enemy is usually not the aliens or the people shooting at the hero but those “goddamn politicians/bureaucrats/generals” who won’t give the military enough resources, are always second guessing the hero, and only care about their short term political careers which prevent the hero in question from winning the war. While my own opinion of government is about as low as it gets there is often a lot more going in politics than people just being assholes. So I tend to roll my eyes when authors use these kinds of simplistic binaries. I hope this stuff is moves to the sideline as the political stuff is much less interesting than anything else in the show.

  4. Rathje says:

    The female Diet member was obviously meant to reinforce the Japanese stereotype that vocal women in power (who aren’t potential love interests) are all unreasonable bitches.

    Rory putting her down was supposed to be a stand-by-your-man moment like in Taming of the Shrew where the tamed Kate lectures the women on how they are supposed to obey and defer to their husbands.

    I didn’t care much for this moment in the movie, it reminded me of Tom Clancy’s bitchy female Vice President in Sum of All Fears.

    Rory is allowed to be strong because she looks sexy while doing it and is going to put-out for the male viewers.

    I get a bit tired of this “School Prison” misogyny crap sometimes.

    • skylion says:

      It’s interesting, I didn’t really focus on gender so much, as I couldn’t over how much straw they stuffed into the Diet Minister. The questions lacked any sort of structure, and they could have at least made them veiled enough in the writing to not be so bloody obvious. So it didn’t come of as a backhanded comment on women in power, it came off as shitty writing.

    • Sumairii says:

      You’re reading way too much into this. There was no obvious misogyny in my opinion. I think any Diet member, regardless of gender, would have behaved the same way.

  5. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Rory still looks like a dark version of Reimu no matter how I try not to look at it. Miko Miko Reimu…

    Kemomomimi…. meidos…
    Kemomomimi…. meidos…
    Kemomomimi…. meidos…

    Waga Kemonomimi no Paradise!!!

  6. zztop says:

    Episode 8 unfortunately also marks the return of the political embroilments that I had once thought would be an interesting twist on the story.

    IIRC, the opposing Diet politician was basically a straw man (or woman) written to justify Yanai Takumi’s beliefs on Japanese military expansion and nationalism, and against left-wing downsizing.
    In the manga, the jab is even more obvious since she is modeled on politician Murata Renho, of the left-wing Democratic Party of Japan.

    Despite how interesting the story is on its own merits, the author’s political axe is still very pervasive (despite the attempts to blunt it).

  7. Rathje says:

    I agree that this is obviously a nationalist pro-military political fantasy on the author’s part.

    Not that I mind too much. I enjoy a good political fantasy – as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of storytelling.

  8. Wanderer says:

    Then, we are told that elves in the Special Region are exactly as we might expect from typical lore; they are immortal and non-aging (after a certain age). We are also told that Tuka in particular belongs to a special fairy type of elves, but the significance of this is lost on me. Maybe she can sprout wings and fly or something?

    Not quite an accurate summary. Elves in the Special Region have long life and do not age. Tuka is essentially a High-Elf, meaning she is either nearly immortal or actually immortal: this is not the case for all subraces of Elves. We’ll meet some Dark Elves later, and despite the whole “do not age” thing there are some that actually look old.

    • Sumairii says:

      You’re right, the regular elves are only long-living and not immortal. Thanks for the correction.

  9. BlackBriar says:

    Boy, was the political BS strong in episode 8. I was very happy to see Rory put that fault finding female official in her place for trying to screw the JSDF. No one’s perfect and the best thing one can do is save as many as one can. Seriously, though. 961 years old… Wow, does she look good for her age.

    And of course, there’s a radical group trying to cause trouble for people who are alien to them. There’s one in every single show that has similarities. They barely got to present themselves and I’m sure their reason for pursuing this path is the initial invasion from the Special Region.

    Itami having a wife at all, let alone an ex-wife caught me thoroughly off guard. Now I don’t know what kind of assumptions to make of him. It was more than enough of a shock at the start of the series that he was actually a fiercely capable soldier. From the looks of it, his ex-wife is worse off in her occupations than he is.

  10. Alexandre Martins says:

    Just saw episode nine. Best show of the season (and of some past seasons as well) BY FAR, at least to my taste. And it’s far better thought-up than most, anyway. It has sensible characters in it! Sensible, I tell you! Not since EVA have I seen so many people making such sensible comments and decisions in an anime! Not saying anything else, as that would be spoilers.

  11. Alexandre Martins says:

    Ps.: laughing myself silly over it, as well.

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