Well, this episode was a little hit or miss. After weeks of really strong episodes, GATE has hit the low point for the season.
It’s an understandable low point, any time that you split the cast and have the least interesting characters involved in half-hearted machinations, it’s tough to maintain a high level of quality (just check out Game of Thrones at those moments, and you’ll see what I mean). The fact that this episode opened on an extremely hackneyed speech from Prince Zorzal doesn’t help either.
Actually, this speech set the tone for a lot of this episode. In this case, it turned out to be a lot of ridiculous people making ridiculous decisions, and the sane ones reacting as best they could to said decisions.
From all of Zorzal’s new laws, obviously being created by Tyuule, whose machinations are reaching an all-time high since the emperor is now out of commission, to Lelei’s older sister Arpeggio’s jealousy, and rash reactions thereof, this episode seemed focused on the overreactions of people.
It is why, throughout the episode, Pina’s attempts at fighting for the sake of the empire stuck out the most. Her steadfast dedication to working towards a peace that will allow the empire to remain, mostly, as it is was a wonderful branching from the less than pleasant machinations of most of the other characters on the empire’s side.
The fact that both of her brothers have gone off the deep end, although one of them does have a much brighter idea than the other, and she’s left alone with the, supposedly, barely alive emperor leaves plenty of room for some interesting plotlines in the remaining episodes this season.
On the other hand, besides providing the best exchange this episode, pretty much everything centred on Itami and his group felt trite and played up plenty of fantasy, and harem, clichés to the detriment of the scenes themselves.
The fact that all of this came after the more interesting, albeit over the top, dealings and workings of the empires new plans now that Prince Zorzal’s in control was probably telling of how things would pan out.
Only the end of the episode really sets things up as Lelei comes under fire from imperial assassins, and the group is now on the run.
Despite the story content of this episode being pretty bland, the animation was gorgeous. While not used to the full extent in the early portion of the episode, excessively animated talking heads is a little more Shaft’s MO and not A1 Pictures, everything related to Arpeggio challenging Lelei, and subsequently facing off against her in a magic battle, was exceptional. When this series does fight scenes, they really like to go all out; a most appreciated fact.
Overall, this episode was just not very strong. It’s definitely the low point for GATE, but with a few new plotlines cropping up, it’ll be interesting to see where the remaining five-or-so episodes go.
Episode 19 Rating: 7/10
GATE streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Crunchyroll.