What a way to end the fight against the fire dragon. With everything having been set up over the previous four episodes, we finally got to see Itami and his party take on the dragon in full. And what a blast it was. With the help of some dark elf meat shields, I mean warriors, Itami and his group leave their village and head out towards the mountain where the dragon nests.
Honestly, this is probably the most stereotypically fantasy part of the entire series so far. Even with all the politicking, bunny warriors and elves it’s this moment with the entire group forced to go on foot that really makes this look like something you would see in Lord of the Rings, or, more specifically, the Hobbit.
Actually, to be honest, this entire conflict with the fire dragon reminds me immensely of the Hobbit films and the action sequences involving Smaug. While the methods of dealing with the dragon are different, obviously due to the different technologies available in each series, the intensity and tension felt between both, even with the knowledge that all the important characters would survive, is immense.
With Itami briefly training all the dark elf warriors in the art of using a rocket launcher, they enter the dragon’s nest prepared to fight, and what a fight we received. Having set up C4 before the dragon returns, the entire battle becomes an attempt to get the explosives to go off as the warriors die one after another before the dragon.
It was visceral, and brutal, and a highlight for this series for sure. Not many fantasy series anymore actually go all the way in these sorts of conflicts. Whether it’s a film or TV series, these climactic sorts of battles are downplayed immensely to their detriment. However, GATE does none of that, and instead goes all out with its fight against the dragon.
It also manages to give some action sequences to a character that hasn’t really had much screentime over the past two seasons. Lelei, bless her, finally emotes as she unleashes a wave of magic propelled swords in her own attempt at revenge for the loss of life from her fellow villagers early in season one. It all leads up to a satisfying conclusion as the dragon is killed, and the JSDF arrives to retrieve Itami and his party.
The fact that we also receive some more world building, in the form of a new demi-god by the name of Giselle, doesn’t hurt either. Everything worked together so well for this episode, particularly in the pacing and animation, that I’m willing to totally forgive ERASED’s drop in quality this week as A-1 probably shifted everything they had over to this. A wonderful episode and just another reason that you should be watching GATE if you aren’t already.
Episode 17 Rating: 10/10
GATE streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Crunchyroll.