by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 24 of
GATE (TV 2) ?
The finale (for now?) of GATE does nearly everything that it should in wrapping up the series. So why does it still feel like a slight disappointment?
My reaction is perplexing for me because the episode has a lot of elements that should be quite satisfying. Upon his return, Itami learns of the actions already taken by the JSDF but declares that he is going in anyway after Pina, even if he doesn't have back-up. His old squad is more than happy to help out, but rather than charge in blindly, he lets his military training guide him in making a detailed plan involving a multi-pronged operation. While he, Lelei, and Rory go after Pina, others rescue the Emperor, and still others run interference and guard their exit. Once they make their way in under cover of answering the Emperor's summons for Lelei, they don't actually have much trouble finding Pina since she has been brought before Zorzal and told, in no uncertain terms, that her life isn't in danger until they have lured the JSDF into returning for her – and Zorzal is sure that they will be defeated in the process. He's even got an ogre ready and waiting! Too bad for him, Itami has a demigod and a promising young sorceress on his side, in addition to sniper back-up and sleep spells. They successfully leave with Pina and the Emperor while putting enough of a fear into Zorzal that he leaves the capital.
That just leaves a lot of loose ends to wrap up. The Emperor wakes up, fully recognizes and appreciates the situation, and from Italica does the most sensible thing he's done yet: make Pina the Crown Princess and hand the Empire over to her. Several suggested couples are also affirmed (which female character is already pregnant?), the most surprising of which is Delilah and Yanagida; her cheeriness in nursing him back to health (he's still in a wheelchair at this point) and his acceptance of the situation is more than a little creepy. As for Itami, he's fulfilled the promise to himself from way back in episode 1 and made it back to Japan for the next big Comiket, only to find himself joined by Rory, Tuka, and Lelei. Will he ever get to relish in his beloved doujinshi?
Maybe some of my misgivings come from how fast this all moves along or a couple of major points that are never resolved: the whole Pied Piper business seems to have been dropped as soon as that angle was inconvenient, and the second prince and that reporter from a few episodes back never did come back into play. We see nothing more about the politics back in Japan, either. The cook does finally show up again though, and Tyuule's reaction is interesting: though she more or less got what she wanted, she still finds the result depressing. This could have been a meaningful bit of character development had it been set up better. Some characters who have committed grievous wrongs also get off much too easily, and how Hamilton came out of this seemingly unscathed, given what happened to her mistress, is perplexing. On the plus side, Pina apparently found the backbone that she lost last episode, and seeing her take power is what I have most wanted for the last several episodes. They even gave her a (mostly) sensible outfit for a change. We do get to see more of Lelei in combat action too; she's definitely no one to be trifled with in a fight. Itami, contrarily, doesn't do anything except pull a wagon of supposed tribute as part of his guise for getting into the Imperial Palace. He otherwise just directs things and makes stern statements.
So yeah, the episode does cover most of its bases – heck, it even finds a way for Itami's ex-wife to make a cameo – but it never much captures a feeling of tension or energy; in other words, it doesn't have enough meat to be completely filling. Even if the season as a whole gets a good score from me, this final episode is one of its weakest moments.
GATE is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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