The current anime season has kicked off and like any season other, there are dozens of new shows. However, time is a precious commodity and not everyone can watch everything. The current big contenders of the season are two fantasy based tales with vastly different takes.
The first entry is the anime Gate. Like many anime, Gate is based on a light novel series and starts off in modern day Japan. We follow the protagonist Itami, a 33 year old self proclaimed otaku (Japanese mega nerd) on his way to a convention when a mysterious giant gate appears. The gate is looked on by confused citizens, when invading forces emerge riding armored horses and flying on dragons with armies of orcs and monsters accompanying them . The scene quickly turns bloody when the invading force begins to attack the unprepared citizens. This is where the reluctant hero jumps into action and secures the safety of civilians as the JSDF (Japanese Self Defense Force) quickly and brutally eradicates the fantasy based invaders using modern technology. It then is revealed that the hero of the day was actually an off duty JSDF member with severe otaku tendencies. A party is formed and the JSDF ventures beyond the gate to explore the other wold and set up a base. So far the premise seems pretty interesting. Not entirely original , but interesting nonetheless.
"However, the first three episodes have a few notable problems"
However, the first three episodes have a few notable problems. The first being that a lot of things happen, yet we seemingly get nowhere with the development of the main character. A lot of world building and internal politics gets covered in its place. The other problem is the tone. The scenes seem brutal, but the music and frequent jokes destroy any sense of real drama. Then you assume that the show is going for a really lighthearted tone and then we get serious moments that clash with the levity on the screen. I'd be remiss to not mention that the show appears to almost be advertising for the JSDF. Why not? It's Japanese and it's ok to portray your own country as competent and compassionate. It's just that a large chunk of the audience will also be American and we get a scene with a morally corrupt US President mocking and nearly betraying the hard working and plucky Japanese government. A small gripe since so much anime seems to make a point of telling people who already like Japan how great Japan is compared to the United States. The main character seems a tad bland, but competent and compassionate. So far, the premise is what is carrying the show and I will continue to watch it to see if things get better.
Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers
"we get an 18 year male protagonist Adlet Mayer seeking to be selected to become one of the six Braves"
The other show to keep an eye on is Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers-. Again, based on a light novel series. I'm starting to see a pattern here. This time around we get an 18 year male protagonist Adlet Mayer seeking to be selected to become one of the six Braves.. Braves are warriors selected through divine power to band together to defeat the demon god and bring peace to the land. The animation is very pleasant and the character designs are anime sleek, but commonplace. Unlike the common practice of using main characters who are dumb as brick. Adlet Mayer uses every weapon at his disposal and seeks every advantage possible in order to secure victory. He is kind hearted and your typical anime nice guy, but it doesn't mean that he is super naive or trusting of others. There is a scene in particular dealing with a gun toting character that exemplifies this. The other characters have their own issues and seem to show promising future developments. The fact that all of the Braves selected through divine doesn't mean that everyone will get along. There is initial conflict and there's also an uncertainty looming through the the gathering members with news of potential candidates having been hunted down and killed. So far, the show has been very competent, but it lacks that special edge. It seems a bit too bland in its execution. It's still early and it could improve.
Both of these shows will be perfectly enjoyable to watch, but I highly doubt that they will stand the test of time and be talked about in ten years. Remember to check back when the season is over and we will have a full review of the shows. Hopefully, I wont regret wasting precious sleeping hours on them. You can follow week to week on Crunchyroll like me. Make sure to keep on eye on articles taking a closer look at these shows.