With this, the Fire Dragon Arc has officially gotten underway. After three weeks of building up to this moment, we are finally delving into a new and quite action packed arc for GATE.
While Itami and his party have headed out to hunt down the dragon, things continue to build up back at the JSDF base as well. With the young rabbit woman, Delilah, accepting a mission to kill Noriko, the Japanese woman who was rescued from Prince Zorzal in episode 14, and the JSDF’s Combat Team-1 mobilizing to assist in taking down the dragon, things really started heating up this episode.
And what an action packed collection of events it was. Delilah’s attempt on Noriko’s life puts her directly into conflict with Lieutenant Yanagida, who both suffer serious injuries from their clash, and the aerial branch of the JSDF has a brief, yet informative, encounter with the dragon for themselves.
At the same time, Itami’s group makes their way to Yao’s village, where they have their own encounter with the dragon. As the longest action sequence in the episode, it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t as impressive as the one between Yanagida and Delilah. However, it was still really cool to see Itami, the dark elves, Rory and Leilei facing the creature down.
The best little bit was Tuka’s emotional reluctance to attack the dragon. All of her emotion was animated flawlessly, and both Hisako Kanemoto, her voice actress, and Junichi Suwabe, Itami’s voice actor, made the scene the single most important piece of the episode.
It wasn’t just all action, though, as the politicking continued throughout the episode, setting up future plot threads naturally for whatever events will occur after the dragon is dealt with. It’s exciting to see a series that, even more than most light novel adaptations, is so confident in the groundwork laid by its events that the viewer is able to slowly piece together where things are going just based upon the information presented. It reminds me of watching Game of Thrones at its best.
The best thing about this is that it is building up both Prince Zorzal and Tyuule as the main antagonists of the season; and at the same time, they’re providing plenty of characterization to make them engaging characters and formidable foes for our characters.
The only major downside was that there was still extremely limited screen time for Leilei and Rory, who are starting to chew scenery the same way that Tuka had in the first season.
Overall, this was another great episode for GATE. With the plot threads coming together, as well as new ones popping up, this show is living up to a lot of its promise, and has me quite excited for next week. If you haven’t been watching, it’s worth getting into.
Episode 16 Rating: 9/10
GATE streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Crunchyroll.