The plot has finally started going somewhere. Divine Gate has stopped spinning its wheels and has gathered all of its pieces together for the sake of actually putting together a plot. It’s a wonderful feeling that’s only marred by the relatively blasé transition episode that we’ve been presented with.
Episode six does a lot right by the earlier events of the series, although the Aoto look-alike robot is still conspicuously absent (and will bother me until it reappears), and actually makes progress towards something far less angst ridden than we started with.
With Arthur officially announcing his quest for the Divine Gate, all of the machinations and behind the scenes work that had gone on over the past five episodes has finally started to come to a head. It has also allowed for Loki and Oz, two of the more underutilized characters, to get in on the game as well. As Oz prepares some sort of hurdle for Arthur’s party, and Loki is obviously up to something befitting his namesake, plenty of groundwork has been laid to decently carry the rest of the series.
However, that does not mean that this episode presented these pieces well. A disjointed collection of flashbacks, starting with one of Arthur meeting “Santa Claus” as well as his first meeting with Loki, and a boring collection of talking head sequences make up far too much of this episode. While exposition and world building can both serve a purpose, the way it was handled here was not good at all.
The fact that the animation couldn’t seem to keep up with this slower paced episode also harms it. Characters aside from Arthur, Loki, and Oz were frequently off model and ugly to look at. Actually, for the first time in this series, the entire episode just looked ugly. It’s almost as if Studio Pierrot just didn’t care about putting any effort into this episode.
For a transition episode, the content presented was not bad, but the presentation was horrible. Studio Pierrot didn’t really seem to care about putting any effort into this one and it shows through the episode’s horrible pace and awful animation. It’s great to know that Divine Gate is determined to provide a decent storyline to follow, but it would have been nice if more care was placed on making this transition interesting.
Episode 6 Rating: 4/10
Divine Gate Streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Funimation.
Special Dub Update:
Funimation’s broadcast dub for Divine Gate has started, and it’s actually pretty good. Other than the opening poem being poorly read, even for an attempt at an emotionless reading, the voices fit and actually sound good. If you enjoy dubs, this one would not be a bad one to check out.