Now that we’ve gotten the dragon out of the way, it was always going to be an interesting experience to find out what direction GATE would take. Thankfully, it looks like it is going to be continuing on its strengths, and moving things forwards in both the character based and political arenas.
However, this episode blazes through the aftermath of the hunt for the fire dragon far too quickly. We open with Itami being suspended from duty for his actions, as well as receiving commendations from multiple groups, and then jump past his suspension to a new set of actions. It’s a ridiculously fast transition, and one that could have taken an episode or two, rather than throwing us from the aftermath right back into the thick of things.
If things had been taken slower, rather than what we received, it would have provided an opportunity for some character moments in the wake of all that was discovered and experienced in the wake of the fire dragon. For example, Itami’s reactions to “owning” Yao would have been nice to see; especially after the sequence in episode 14 over Noriko being in Prince Zorzal’s possession.
That said, what we do receive is pretty cool. Having finished with one major fantasy world cliché, we now move onto the next set as the political machinations come to a head, and Itami’s group finds themselves in an academy city for mages. It’s all very basic stuff, but due to GATE’s high quality storytelling and writing, it comes off as a nice change of pace from the frenetic series of events that the last couple of episodes put us through.
It was pleasant to get to see some more of the work being put towards peace talks between the Empire and Japan, particularly Sugawara receiving help from Sherry, the 12-year-old girl who has been crushing on him, and the expansion upon Lelei’s character as she goes towards becoming a master mage. The downtime really allows for some character moments to shine through and less explosive events to take center stage.
Yet, this episode refuses to end without a bang as we’re presented with the poisoning of Emperor Mort in front of his court, children, and the Japanese ambassadors. It’s going to be a big turning point, especially as Prince Zorzal made it clear that he is the crown prince in this episode. Tyuule’s machinations are coming to a head, and it’ll be really interesting to see where this goes.
While not as overly gorgeous in its animation this week, GATE continues to impress on that aspect. With only a few niggling issues, this episode maintains the level of quality that is coming to be expected from this series. We’ve been given a little bit of downtime, but next episode it’ll be time to see how everyone’s journeys continue to form.
Episode 18 Rating: 8.5/10
GATE streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Crunchyroll.