Feb 25, 2016
fMegrez (All reviews)
As a player of the original game "Divine Gate" who has at least some knowledge on the original story, I had some hope on this series before. Unfortunately, cramming such a convoluted story (involving dozens and dozens of characters, five different worlds, and having probably storylines that couldn't be counted by one hand) that would be otherwise more fitting for a multiple-storyline novel into a 12-episode anime proved to be an absolute disaster.

Story: 1/10

In a nutshell, the story is a kudzu plot full of irregular jumps. Allow me to briefly outline what happened in the first 7 episodes.

1: Introduction and Aoto's flashback
2: Aoto accepting the call and Akane's flashback
3: Aoto in school and Midori's flashback
4: Blue Christmas
5: The Seconds
6: Divine Gate chores
7: Evil Arthur

The three flashbacks in EP 1-3, albeit occupying most of the episodes, are unresolved and disconnected to each other. The jump from Blue Christmas to the Seconds to Divine Gate in EP 4-6 is even more of an eyesore, almost like they are merely poorly-placed information dump.

Art: 7/10

Quite good. The fighting scene between Aoto and Samidare in EP4 is particularly well done. I deducted some points for the designs of various characters like the Nordic Gods, though (just google their original versions in the game and the anime version, and you will immediately know the graphic decay).

Sound: 9/10

It's probably one of the few redeeming features of the adaptation. The OP, one-Me two-Hearts, is a catchy song, and numerous OSTs, like the one playing on Aoto's reflection in EP1 and Midori's one in EP3, also enhanced the otherwise bland scene (which, in my opinion, falls into wangst for the lack of character development as will be described below).

Characters: 2/10

Another direct result of squeezing dozens of characters into a 12-episode anime. The first 3 episodes zigzag between Aoto, Akane and Midori's background without even giving us some time to develop sympathy towards them. The various threads are left unwound for the next 4 episodes. Hikari, Yukari and Ginzi are not even properly introduced until EP5 (and then, they are merely shoved away with a "tell, don't show" description that will not make any sense to anyone who hasn't know them in the game before).

And there are serious problems of "What happened to the mouse?" (laconic: characters disappear all a sudden without any apparent addressing) for many characters, like Ifrit, Undine and Sylph, the Seirei-ō 精霊王 that should be guiding the protagonists; Samidare, the machine that should be in Aoto's possession; so on and so forth.

Oh, and for the part where Aoto finally addresses Undine by her first name in EP6? I don't even know why that happened all a sudden. Poorly enforced character development.

But the greatest victims so far are the Knights of Round Table. Amond the 12 members, only probably half of them actually showed up in front of the protagonists, and only Breunor and Bedivere are properly named. Then there comes Episode 7, and we are expected to show some shock and sympathy over their fates...

Enjoyment: 3/10

The random mumbling of K and the ubiquitous poem recitations ruin the scene. End of story.

Overall: 3/10

I have dropped this anime, feeling the adaptation will go to nowhere. If the whole thing doesn't even ring a bell to a fan of the original game like me, then its meaning to the general audience is self-explanatory. I can only hope that the game developer will spend more effort back to the original game (irrelevant to the anime, but the rate of update of the game has slowed down considerably after the plan for the adaptation), and that Gungho will learn a lesson for the next adaptation of PADZ.