Divine Gate – 01 (First Impressions)

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Many years ago, Noriyuki Abe wasted no time drawing me into a world where a youth named after a berry, who looked like a delinquent to many around him, actually had a very kind and generous heart. He could also see and talk to ghosts, which is how he met his first shinigami; a very cute one who sucked at drawing.

I’m talking, of course, about Bleach, my first extended foray into serialized anime. There’s a lot of that same welcoming, beckoning quality coming off his latest work Divine Gateas well as its exploration of spirituality and mythology. It’s a hard feeling to put into words, but Active Raid didn’t have it; not for me at least. Divine Gate, like Bleach, did.

In DG the normal human world is just the normal human world, but there are two other worlds: a world of fairies and a world of demons. A few of those humans have elemental powers, and work under Arthur of the World Council either as full-fledged members or academy students like Akane and Midori.

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Then there’s Aoto, who’s clearly a powerful water-user, even without a power-enhancing driver, but wants nothing to do with the Council, despite Arthur’s believe his powers will help maintain peace between the three worlds. Instead of attending a school that will help him hone his powers, he’s at regular old school, where his peers shun him as the infamous “parent-killer.”

Even though most of Aoto’s early dialogue is internal (and quite flowery), the fact I can hear what he’s thinking is an effective way of drawing me into his world and his plight. He’s mopey and morose, but there are very good reasons for it.

Meanwhile, since this is a show about elements and colors, his moroseness is balanced by his would-be academy mates. Akane outwardly mocks Midori for actually believing in the titular “Divine Gate” that will grant any wish once opened with the power of all the elements, but somewhere in the heart of every student and Council member is a desire to encounter that gate, their individual wishes ready to go.

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Midori and Akane meet Aoto twice, but neither encounter goes particularly well. He’s got a wall up, one they don’t—and can’t—quite understand, anymore than they understand right now how a kid could really kill his parents—which Aoto freely admits when the subject comes up (though I’m not sure he’s being truthful).

But the flashback makes it clear: Aoto was the family pariah; his parents doting on the younger son while he was exiled to a shed in the backyard eating cold food. His brother knew of his plight, but also knew Aoto had the power to do something about it, so he did nothing, instead doing whatever he wanted.

So Aoto endured a thoroughly cold and loveless upbringing. Why exactly, we don’t know. The “rain” (his tears) continues to fall unendingly inside him. He doesn’t believe power can do anything, because he’s always had it and it’s never done him any good. But perhaps, with more interaction with other perspectives and elements, those inner clouds could break one day, and he’ll find that wish to be used at the Gate.

DG effortlessly drew me into its world; it’s a place I wouldn’t mind coming back to next week. Not sure about the show’s logo, though. Tilted Impact? Really?

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Divine Gate – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. I never got into Bleach despite once trying to do so, perhaps because my own entry point shows were older than that (Saint Seiya, DBZ, etc). Even so, I can see some of the similarities to Bleach in Divine Gate would appeal to you. It’s a fair comparison, in the end.

    The way Aoto expressed his emotions might be realistic for a youth but made it difficult for me to empathize with him. So I can only wish you luck in continuing to watch this show.

  2. I was surprised at how good this was. Better than you would expect, given it’s mobile game or something like that IIRC

  3. I was very impressed by this first episode which certainly surprised me as I was half expecting something derivative of “Gate”. This is now definitely on this season’s watch list from now on.

    1. I was also initially kept away due to something as simple as the word “Gate” in the title. And maybe it’s Zane rubbing off on me, but a show’s title logo goes a surprisingly long way to enticing me into watching a series. DG’s logo is…not great.

  4. Gracious! The methodical pace, harsh blacks, and soft jazz towards the middle of the ep all grated my nerves. Cheese grater on the eyes, ears and mind. OUCH! (Oji adjusted 5.5-6)

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