I’m pleased to say that this was actually a good episode of Divine Gate. While still really close to mediocre, it actually managed to be more than just another batch of over the top melodrama; a nice change of pace after the previous four episodes.
Focusing primarily on Akane this episode, we received some more characterization from him, which reinforced his “nice guy” persona, but shook up his perspective on life, as well as got some actual plot progression for the first time since Arthur received the key to the Divine Gate.
Sending each of the teens on a special training mission, overseen by Bedivere of the Knights of Round, as well as Arthur back at base, the episode was tightly focused and managed to avoid being a mess of poetry and attempts at being edgy.
Actually, once the episode did move back towards the melodrama, it felt far more earned than previous episodes. The choice of having Akane deal with the differences between those living in the city, and those who were banished due to their actions against the World Council, a new faction known as the Defiers, was a pretty interesting path to take. It really makes me wish they didn’t spend the past few episodes working so hard on attempting to make Aoto a super sympathetic or pitiable character and focused their efforts on shaking Akane’s worldview as the hunt for the Divine Gate went on around him.
And with that mentioned, we do get to see Arthur’s decision to finally, after five episodes, start the full on hunt for the Divine Gate. The plot of the series progresses ever so slightly with this episode, and it’s a good thing, albeit it feels a little late in arriving.
By the way, what the heck happened to the robot from last episode? After introducing it, and hinting at some sort of connection between it and Aoto, that entire plot line was dropped completely for episode five and doesn’t seem to be coming back. If that’s the case, why even introduce it to start with? It feels lazy on the part of the writers.
Overall, Divine Gate’s fifth episode was the sort of enjoyable action episode I was hoping for from this series all along. Nicely paced, with a definite dialing back on the melodrama, and some decent characterization for Akane went a long way to making this one far more enjoyable to watch. It’s still not the best series this season, and is most definitely on the lower end, but it was enjoyable and that’s the most important thing.
Episode 5 Rating: 6.5/10
Divine Gate streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Funimation.