by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
So far GATE has largely restrained its otaku side, but it has always been lurking in the background. With episode 7 that aspect comes to the forefront, at least for a while. Sure, the writing offers a convenient explanation for how Itami winds up being attended by a catgirl maid and a warrior bunny maid (as well as a medusa maid!), but there's no denying that, despite how beaten up Itami got in being taken captive by Princess Pina's wayward knights, the scenario is practically an otaku wet dream. Thankfully for Pina and her underlings, Itami clearly sees it that way, too, and when his subordinates and the fantasy girls come to rescue him, they get in on the fun as well, much to the dismay of one of Pina's underlings. Hence for the second time in as many episodes, Itami gets himself slapped.
The potential consequences of the whole scenario completely terrify Pina, who fears that the Empire's own tactics – i.e., using minor treaty violations as thin justifications to invade – will now be used against them. When she hears that Itami is being recalled to report before Japan's equivalent of a Senate, she is mortified by what he might say and so insists on going with him to make a formal apology. That gives the series the justification to get her exposed directly to the JSDF's camp, and both the sight of tanks and the way soldiers are trained only shake her up further. When she doesn't get a chance to properly explain/apologize to Itami in camp, she manages to get herself assigned to join his group (which winds up including all of the fantasy girl trio); after all, since she has become the de facto go-between for the JSDF and the Empire, keeping lines of communication open through her is considered valuable by Itami's superiors. But how much to the JSDF officers fully appreciate the impact that their mere day-to-day activities is having on her?
That disconnect is the one flaw that the JSDF has been allowed so far, and what consequences (if any) will come of that should be interesting to see. The military drills that she and her subordinate witness on their return are done to overkill, so much so that while there is no specific suggestion that they were staged deliberately to make an impact on her, such a move cannot be ruled out. (Of course, it could also just be A-1 Pictures' production team showing off, as they did last episode with the helicopter gunships.) The vast cultural differences are on display here, too, as apparently noble women of the Empire are trained about giving up their bodies as an act of restitution if called upon to do so. Whatever else the Empire might be a little backwards about, though, their lingerie lacks for nothing, which gives the episode some small additional doses of fan service.
Aside from the taste of otakudom it offers, the main purpose of this episode is really just to set things up for the journey into Japan next episode. That should give a spark to a series which otherwise stays so resolutely on an even keel that it works to the series' detriment.
GATE is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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