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First Thoughts: GATE – Ask Me About My Hobbies

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They include watching Anime, reading Manga, playing Video Games, collection figurines and, oh yeah, I’m also a high-ranking military officer…but that’s more my job than it is my hobby so let’s not talk about that. In fact, please don’t bring it up ever again. If I ever had to choose between my job or my hobbies, of course my hobbies comes first! The only reason I work is so that I can fund my hobbies, and the work I just so happen to be a part of is…the freaking military.

Within four sentences, I’ve been able to accurately portray GATE’s odd and highly unrealistic protagonist; Youji Itami. He’s a young man with incredible combat skills who’s also an officer in Japan’s national military that, while on his way to a once-a-year sale, must perform his duties as a man of arms and save civilians from warriors coming through a portal from a world more or less unknown.

If you ask me, this dark army appearing seemingly from out of nowhere reminds me a lot of the fantasy worlds of many of the games our hero Youji Itami enjoys spending his off-time playing. Coincidence? Yes. Most likely. THIS is A-1 Pictures’ latest Anime “masterpiece“; one that combines the world of Sword Art Online with a poorly-written version of the life of a soldier in love with all things pop culture.

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On August 20XX, a gate suddenly appears in Tokyo’s Ginza district, unleashing a portal where monsters, medieval knights and other fantasy beings come from another world and wreak havoc on Tokyo. The Japanese Defense Force take action against these monsters and push them back into the “Gate”. Third Reconnaissance Team is dispatched to the “Special Region” lead by officer (and otaku) Youji Itami. On their travels, they are joined by a beautiful elf girl who is a survivor from the dragon’s rampage and guide the group across the dangerous new world. – Crunchyroll

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What can I say? I’m a sucker for good quality animation, and that is literally the only reason I spend twenty two of my precious minutes sitting through the very first episode of GATE. Funny thing is…I actually did sit and watch the entire episode despite the amount of times I sighed and scoffed at the silly nature of, well…the entire damn show!

It was hard to believe a man like Youji actually exists and that was more than enough to make me dislike his character so very much. Now I know what you’re thinking and, no, Anime doesn’t have to entirely line up to reality, I totally understand this BUT it does have to be believable in and of itself. GATE…was not. What it was though…was very well-animation. Awesomely animated. Fantastically animated! It looked damn good!

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What kept me watching the first episode of GATE was nothing more than the impeccable quality of the animation which had me glued to the screen from the opening scene all the way until the credits sequence which is strange for someone like me who never usually gives Anime like this a chance and who has been complaining about it up until this paragraph and will continue complaining until the end of the article.

Despite how much I didn’t like Youji’s character and, in fact, the entire premise of the show as a whole, I do have to give credit when credit is due and the animation team deserve all the credit in the world. It just goes to show what a studio can do when it pushes it’s animators to the absolute limits…understand that I’m being incredibly sarcastic. A-1 Pictures, I shouldn’t even be watching one of your productions seeing as how terribly your staff are treated, but I’ll grin and bare it for now.

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I’m actually giggling while I write this opinion piece because I’ve complained about it’s terrible story, which I still very much believe is terrible, and I’ve been making fun of it from the title of the article up until now…yet I still plan on watching episode two when it gets released and I really cannot say I have any idea why.

Essentially, GATE is utter garbage to me: It has an art style similar to Sword Art Online (an Anime I despise), it has a flimsy story that lacks research and imaginative believability, and in the synopsis there’s mention of an elf girl character who will surely get on my nerves…but I still want to watch it! I don’t know why! Maybe I enjoy being punished, or maybe I secretly wish I was a military-funded Otaku. I simply don’t know.

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