After last week’s extremely weak episode, GATE’s looking to refuse to go down with a whimper as it races towards the finale. This week’s episode almost seemed to pretend that the stupidity of last episode’s assassination attempts didn’t exist and that everything has been pinpointed on the attack on the capital by the JSDF.
Well, it’s less of an attack and more of a rescue mission. With the JSDF finally given the go ahead to rescue their people, and the sympathetic nobles, from Zorzal’s clutches, we’re presented with a half hour of pure military action. And honestly, it works exceptionally well.
Unlike other episodes, which were carried more by their storytelling chops than their animation (despite being a pretty good looking series overall), this one pushes the animation to the forefront as we’re presented with a continuous collection of action sequences.
From the wonderfully animated hand signals that the soldiers use, to the attacks liberating the Jade Palace and giving Bozes and Beefeater a chance to escape, to the awesome paratrooper sequence, everything just looked good this episode. It makes the action sequences far more engaging than just a collection of still images meant to present what was going on, much like many other series end up doing during situations like these.
It was also nice to see Itami’s squad again. You don’t realize how much you enjoy characters like Kuribayashi until you don’t get to see them for seven or eight episodes. Though their screen time was still quite small, it was great to have them show back up for even a little bit.
It’s also really cool to see that Tyuule is a totally effective villain. Over this season, she’s been working hard to spark an all-encompassing war between the JSDF and the empire, all to see the empire’s destruction, and for her to have that goal within her grasp actually makes the series, and her scenes this episode, all the better.
The finale next episode is going to be something to see now that Itami’s group is almost at the capital, and Zorzal has been convinced that war is necessary.
Overall, this episode of GATE was a huge step up from the previous one, and just a great episode on its own. As the penultimate episode of the series, it sets things up for the finale nicely, and provides a thrilling experience on its own.
Episode 23 Rating: 9/10
GATE streams new episodes Fridays exclusively on Crunchyroll.