GATE is a story about the pursuit of peace, a brave tale about setting our differences aside and to work for the common good. That common good is the Japanese military and cute girls, which are the greatest pillars of holiness that humanity has to offer. By pitting modern day Japan against a medieval fantasy-setting, GATE manages to contrast two incredibly different worlds with each other, showing how peace can be achieved by ignoring all complex questions. Just relax, turn off your brain, and worship the power of cute girls.
Let’s compare how religion works in the two worlds. The god(s) that we know are usually silent, leaving us with highly complex spiritual lives, inner lives that require us to think about our morals and to question our faith at times. In the fantasy world we have a goth-lolita, a demigod who is immortal and blessed with regeneration that won’t allow her to die. Worshipping war and darkness has given her literal super-powers. If our gods took such physical manifestations, how would our society look today? If these demigods came to our world and saw how our religions impact our lives, how would they react? All of these questions are skillfully evaded by the fact that the goth-lolita is very old yet looks like a child, making her excellent fap-material devoid of any deeper meaning.
Let’s also examine how GATE teaches us to deal with culture-shocks, and how to deal with such a multifaceted subject. Our main character is an otaku, which usually carries a bit of a social stigma. Otakus can however also be considered nerds, people who love to immerse themselves in certain subjects, be it science, history, or fiction. No doubt an otaku who loves fantasy would be ideal to send to a fantasy-world. Their genuine interest in the land’s complex history and customs would be valuable for the sake of embracing our differences. The protagonist however quickly finds his true calling, in the form of a big cast of beautiful girls that he must protect. Truly, when it comes to appreciating other cultures and countries, what else is more important than looking at how beautiful the women are?
Never fear, the other side also encounters culture shocks. A female knight visits Japan, and we learn that she wishes to completely embrace Japanese culture. You might wonder what made it possible for a medieval knight to love our world so much, and the answer is yaoi. When she sees some gay porn, she realizes what true art is. In fact, when she has to go to an ordinary library and see classic Greek sculptures and pieces of our history, she comes back exhausted and bored with life. This illustrates that learning about history and different customs is not the true path to understanding, all we ever needed to find true peace was porn. GATE is in many ways ahead of its time, showing how someone from a medieval European-inspired culture can immediately accept yaoi manga. By never even mentioning how homosexuality is looked upon in her world, we also see how insignificant discussions about sexuality is in this show about contrasting worlds.
The most masterful moment of avoiding conflict is when several of the otherworldly cute girls are about to exit Japan. The story reminds the viewer of the memorial dedicated to everyone who died during the first attack when the portal was opened. Naturally, since the ambassadors of the people that slaughtered so many are cute girls, everyone just cheers for them. Why would anyone be upset over the death of their loved ones? Clearly terrorist-organizations of today could have gained fan-clubs if they simply were more attractive.
In all honesty though, GATE is a harmless show with good animation and sound, but it’s also a series that gets more irritating the more one actually thinks back on it. It likes to meander, stopping to pander to the otakus and prolong things with needless misunderstandings, which is most apparent in the last two episodes when there’s a dragon just around the corner, yet nothing is done to get to the point. If one can see past the tired tropes and slow pacing in the latter half, this show can count as mindless entertainment. A second season is coming, and I can only hope it improves.