Plot: Tokyo is rocked when a strange portal opens and an army of monsters and warriors pours out, looking to conquer those in their path. While the attack did cause some damage, the invaders were no match for the well armed soldiers of Japan’s Self Defense Force. The invasion was stopped and peace was restored, but the danger of future attacks still looms. The world on the other side of the portal is an unknown one, but to prevent subsequent invasions, the plan is to dispatch some soldiers through the portal to stand watch. Once a base is established, they can manage any potential issues before trouble travels through the portal. On the other side, the soldiers discover a world of fantasy come to life, with dragons, elves, ogres, and exotic animals, the kind of things talked about in fairy tales. But an oppressive force exists within this realm of fantasy, one that threatens not only the peaceful inhabitants of this world, but those on the other side of the portal as well.

Entertainment Value: Gate ran for two seasons with a total of twenty-two episodes, so it has ample time to weave the narrative. I had a great time with Gate, as it has some fun concepts and makes the most of its interesting story elements. The plot involves a portal, with Tokyo on one side and a mystical world on the other, home to all kinds of races and animals from the fantasy tales. I love this premise, as it takes us inside the world of these magical beings and shows the conflicts as their world interacts with ours. The initial invasion is handled in an interesting way, as the fantasy world is quickly routed and that allows for some interesting narrative developments. While a fun, brisk series on the surface, Gate also deals with some more serious topics, such as the horrors of war and the exploitation of oppressed people. These issues are never forced at all however, just there if the viewer picks up on those elements. The clash of cultures is prominent and watching how the differences are handled is a lot of what drives Gate, giving us a lot of remarkable moments.

The battle scenes in Gate are fun and quite epic, especially with the conflict between modern day soldiers against fantasy warriors. The weapons and techniques are so varied, which leads to some wild moments and plenty of unexpected action, just a lot of fun. I think the action driven scenes alone are enough reason to watch Gate, as they’re so well crafted and visually polished. The characters are well developed and as I said, the interactions between the two sides can be quite interesting. But even within each faction, there are divides and that helps forge unexpected bonds and add new ripples into the story, creating even more memorable moments. The show is also able to blend the more serious moments in without halting the tone of the series, so it walks the line well and keeps things in balance. Gate has some beautiful visuals as well, with vivid colors and a rich, remarkable attention to detail. The fantasy world is filled with little touches to pick up on, as well as just terrific character designs. The animation is fluid and a pleasure to watch, especially in HD. I think Gate is one the better anime series I’ve seen in recent years, with a solid premise, beautiful visuals, and some epic battles. If you’re into fantasy or sci/fi driven anime, give it a look.

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