GATE – 04

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In this necessary and functional—if not particularly flashy or exciting—episode, many things come into focus as the various pieces are arranged on the board. It is clear now that Lt. Itami is a man who has always been in the right place at the right time: first Ginza, where his heroic actions gained him this new command, then his battle with the fire dragon, his decision to take on refugees.

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As his fellow lieutenant (a go-getter if I ever saw one) remarks, Itami’s circumstances make him a very valuable man who will likely have a lot more freedom to decide what is to be done about this Special Region. The Japanese government suddenly finds itself with a potential windfall of natural resources within its borders, which could be a game changer in geopolitical affairs.

Meanwhile, Itami’s unit is tasked with taking care of the refugees, which include the sorceress Lelei, the demigoddess Rory, and the grieving she-elf Tuka (or Blue, Red, and Yellow, if you like).

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Not surprisingly, the SDF’s technology awes the natives, and even the spartan military accommodations are treated as the height of luxury, and that’s a big part about what technological advancement is all about: making what was formerly luxurious available to all, everyday. I try to never forget that when I take a shower or switch on a light…or write an anime review on the information superhighway.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Gate, after getting a brief and somewhat unfortunate glimpse of America’s government salivating over the Special Region the Japanese found, we see that the Chinese are also interested (and yes, the Geely GE has an optional throne).

So interested, they want to ship half their population across the Gate. Of course, that would mean taking the Gate—and the territory around it—from Japan, which would mean war. Somehow the animators resisted giving the Chinese Premier a mustache so he could twirl it – and a fluffy white lap cat to pet as he discussed his plans. I must say, these quick peeks at the highest echelons of Japan’s rivals are the least interesting part of the show, so far.

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More interesting is the fact King Duran, who led his army to ruin but survived a couple limbs poorer, immediately knows what the Empire did and why, and won’t talk to the Emperor’s daughter Pina about what’s going on on Arnus Hill. Or that Tuka isn’t ready to accept her father is dead along with the rest of her village, and is worried that she and the others will have to repay the soldiers’ kindness with the only currency they have: their bodies.

Lelei tries to set her mind at ease about money, not just because the SDF lets them harvest valuable dragon scales from the battlefield, but because the “men in green” (and women too) aren’t going to charge them at all. Helping Tuka and the others is Itami’s best way to engender trust, win hearts and minds in the Special Region.

So he gives them a lift to Italica to peddle their wares. And Pina and her men are headed to the same place on their way to Arnus. When she encounters the SDF and their refugees, how will she play things?

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “GATE – 04”

  1. This show is so frustrating.

    The actual main characters, both fantasy and real, are pretty fun and when the show focuses on them it’s fairly enjoyable, but every time they start to spout anything even remotely political the whole show goes insane and starts sounding like propaganda.

    Here we get the Chinese president as a crazy evil person to go along with the gibbering nutcase US president from a few episodes ago, and on the flipside we get a (supposedly heroic) Japanese Lieutenant spouting off about how Japan should basically ignore/battle the WHOLE WORLD so that they can unilaterally conquer this already inhabited free world and take its resources. So who exactly are the heroes again?

    Also, it’d be nice if the writer would stop kissing modern Japanese ass long enough to show that the JSDF soldiers would probably be just as shocked and amazed at this new world as the fantasy people are at our technology. But no, they describe A FREAKING DRAGON as a natural disaster in much the same way leaders describe freak storms. Because hey, it’s been a couple of months, people would be over the existence of dragons, elves, magic, and ALTERNATE WORLDS, right?

    1. “But no, they describe A FREAKING DRAGON as a natural disaster in much the same way leaders describe freak storms.”

      Considering that his job is PR, why shouldn’t he appear calm and collected at describing a dragon attack as a “natural disaster” (which it actually is technically, much like how a shark attacking someone is in a similar vein)? It’s not in his place to appear shocked or amazed at the implications of a dragon.

      1. It is entirely his place to appear shocked and amazed at a dragon. PR isn’t always about downplaying things. If you’re army just fought and defeated a dragon, THAT would be your PR spin, not this ‘nothing to see here’ crap. The idea that ANY of this would have become routine a few months later is ridiculous and simply poor writing. Again, the point here is not to show how amazing a fantasy world would be, it’s to show how amazing Japan is.

        Other than a couple of very minor lines, we pretty much never see the Japanese react with anything other than competent cynicism whereas we get an entire episode devoted to showing how amazed the fantasy people are by the Japanese. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t be amazed, it’s a nice change of pace to show how amazing our everyday items would be to medieval people, but it should go both ways. The idea that we don’t care about dragon scales, and that no one is trying to get a better handle on the freaking magic users is insane.

        But as this show likes to constantly reinforce, it’s not about the fantasy world.

      2. Considering another Summer show (Charlotte)’s whole premise is that scientists and governments would chomp at the bit to snatch up “magic users” (people with superhuman abilities), dissect them, and see what makes them tick, it is a bit glaring that so far the three magical girls under Itami’s protection are treated like ordinary refugees. I figure that could change in the future as world powers stop talking about fighting over the gate and start taking actions to make it happen, and taking stock of the Special Region’s unique “resources.”

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