First, for those unfamiliar with the series: GATE revolves around Yoji Itami, a member of Japan’s Self Defense Force who is both a self-proclaimed Otaku and a highly-capable soldier. After a strange gate appeared in Tokyo, monsters and various enemy soldiers poured through it, wreaking havoc and destruction within the city. Itami’s calm action under pressure saved the lives of hundreds of people, and as a result he received a promotion and was tasked with exploring the other side of this newly-discovered “Gate”. The series follows Itami and his squad as they attempt to navigate the social, political and economic ramifications of their much more advanced society discovering a brand new world, as well as the dark forces that would attempt to throw everything into discord and chaos.
GATE was one of my favorite shows from this last year, but one of the major concerns for fans of the light novel series/manga was that it didn’t seem to breach the darker storylines. Season 2 doesn’t waste any time in dispelling that concern, and does a good job setting the foundation for a darker continuation of the series. There’s a lot more reference to the darker side of the Empire, including the introduction of Prince Zorzal, a depraved man who is introduced having his way with a captured enemy soldier. While we have yet to find out what he has planned, the fact that his character was introduced in such a manner paves the way for exploring more troubling story arcs, which lends a bit more realism to the medieval Empire that the JSDF has stumbled into.
The opening episode didn’t give us too much insight or development in terms of the regular cast of characters, but instead focuses on re-visiting some of the lesser-known or new characters, as well as alluding to some of the confusion and challenges that Japan faces as their forces scout out the new world. With the wealth of natural resources this largely untouched world has to offer, not to mention possibly undiscovered minerals and medicines, countries all over the world are plotting to gain access to the Empire. Additionally, we’re introduced to another facet of dealing with an occupied territory; Kurokawa utilizes her experience as a nurse to connect with the kingdom’s prostitutes. Offering condoms and other medical assistance, she ultimately finds herself forging a relationship with members of the red-light district. I expect that we’ll see more on this front as they are likely to provide some level of information to Kurokawa in the future, perhaps an underground spy-ring? Who knows.
I’m excited for this season because I feel like they’re really going to dig a bit deeper into what a relationship between an occupying power and an occupied power looks like. Another element I’m interested in seeing is how the King attempts to stave off the JSDF given their obvious military superiority. Does he have an ace up his sleeve? Time will only tell…
If you’re not watching it yet I would highly recommend catching up and enjoying this season as well. You can watch it on Crunchyroll.