Gate Episode 19: Sister on Sister Combat and Tyuule Springs Her Trap

February 20, 2016

In “Dangerous Sisters,” the nineteenth episode of Gate, Lelei La Lalena faces off against Arpeggio El Lalena, her jealous older sister — with almost catastrophic results. But that pales in comparison to what Tyuule has unleashed.

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What Happened

Zorzal El Caesar uses his father’s collapse in the last episode to seize control of the empire. He gives a militant speech promising to reclaim the empire’s pride in spite of the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF)‘s overwhelming might. His rhetorical tricks turn the people against the Senate and anyone sympathetic to peace. Princess Pina Co Lada, seeing her work ruined, is not pleased. Tyuule, on the other hand, is ecstatic.

Pina is beside herself over her brother and his generals' plans to harm their own people. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Pina is beside herself over her brother and his generals’ plans to harm their own people. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Zorzal even went so far as to imprison the senators who had supported peace. As if that were not bad enough, he appointed some of his henchmen as generals, and they began planning an asymmetrical campaign against the Japanese, to the point of dressing as the JSDF and destroying their own villages. Pina is aghast.

The princess tries to consult with her other brother, Diabo, but he understands the political landscape and is leaving to find allies among the other kingdoms. Pina understands this will likely mean the disintegration of the empire; but she cannot see any way to prevent catastrophe.

Back in Rondel, we find out that Mimoza, Arpeggio’s clumsy professor, was a student of Rory Mercury. Mimoza’s assignment, which took her years to complete, was to find out why there were so many races in their world. Her studies revealed that over the years, the Gate has opened to another world, allowed traffic between the two worlds, and closed again. All of the legends pointed to the Gate being at Alnus Hill — exactly where the Gate is now. Sometimes the Gate remained closed for a few hundred years; sometimes for thousands of years.

Rory confirms the story, saying that the gods willed this, and it’s the job of demigods like her to maintain balance in the world.

When Arpeggio learns that Lelei’s thesis combines knowledge from Earth, she is about to give up on her studies. She decides to become a housewife and asks if Yōji Itami’s single. Rory answers that he is, and then Lelei drops a bombshell: she says she’s married to Itami! According to her people, if she sleeps beside her intended for three nights, they’re considered married.

Both Tuka Luna Marceau and Rory are indignant and demand answers. Lelei describes the Ceremony of Three Nights, and they all do the math: Itami slept beside Lelei in the lodging house in Alnus after she was exhausted from translating; in Risa’s room; and at the Hakone Inn. Rory’s about to injure Itami when Arpeggio snaps. Not only is her younger sister a genius who has traveled to other worlds, she found a man first! So, Arpeggio dumps a bowl of soup on Lelei’s head.

Shortly thereafter, Rory announces the thirteenth battle between the sisters, officiated by Rory herself. They’re not allow to kill one another or disfigure each other’s faces. Otherwise, it’s okay to destroy buildings, cities, or indeed the whole planet. As clumsy as Arpeggio seemed, she is no weakling. Her mineral magic relentlessly pounds at Lelei’s defenses. Lelei, as we’ve seen, is likewise dangerous. Together, the two of them destroy many of the buildings in their vicinity. In the end, they both manage to destroy each other’s defensive magic.

An assassin tries to take advantage of the result of Lelei's battle with Arpeggio. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

An assassin tries to take advantage of the result of Lelei’s battle with Arpeggio. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Just in time for an assassin to walk up to Lelei and fire his crossbow.

Grey Co Aldo, one of Pina’s knights Pina had dispatched to find Lelei, kills the assassin just as he fired. The poisoned arrow misses Lelei by centimeters. In the ensuing discussion, Grey says he’s not willing to tell them who he thinks hired the assassins until he has more evidence, but it’s clear (to me, at least) that he suspects Zorzal. Arpeggio is confused. Why would anyone want to kill Lelei? Grey explains that the one he suspects was very unhappy that Lelei was involved with killing a fire dragon, thus upstaging the suspect.

Arpeggio finds she has another reason to be jealous of her sister.

Apparently, the assassin Pied Piper is after Lelei, and Grey thinks he’s no match for the assassin. He suggests he and Itami team up to protect Lelei. Instead, Itami makes an Itami-like suggestion. They should run!

What I Liked

I got to see Misery again! She was listening with the JSDF medical staff to Zorzal’s speech.

Pina’s reaction to the speech, as well her as failed efforts to affect the empire’s slide back into war, was almost traumatizing. She’d worked so hard for so long, and now she not only had to witness the destruction of her careful work, she had to stand helplessly by as her brother brings the empire close to destruction. Even Diabo deserted her. I’m sure she won’t buckle, but I still feel bad for her.

So Arpeggio’s professor’s name is Mimoza. I think Gate’s author must have an affection for Terran alcoholic drinks (first a Pina Co Lada, now a mimoza!). I wonder what’s next: a character named Shirley Temple? Rum and Coke?

When Mimoza asked Rory what she remembered about Japanese cities beyond the Gate, what did Rory say? Did the number of people impress her? The size of the buildings? The military might? No: she marveled at how clean the cities were.

Arpeggio objected strongly to the idea of inexpensive books. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Arpeggio objected strongly to the idea of inexpensive books. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Lelei, on the other hand, went on and on about how many books were available to the masses, and at such affordable prices! Arpeggio’s furious: she makes money on the side by hand-copying books, and she’s afraid the availability of cheap books will destroy her income. She seems like she tries really hard. I almost feel sorry for her having to labor in the shadow of her genius younger sister.

When Lelei tries to pat Arpeggio on the shoulders as she’s panicking at the possibility of book prices tumbling. Lelei’s gesture is so awkward yet earnest that it brought a smile to my face.

In that same scene, when Mimoza suggests that Arpeggio accompany Itami and his team on their resource expedition, Arpeggio is happy at the chance for a new paying job. Lelei’s less than thrilled at what appears to be an expansion of Itami’s harem.

Poor Itami seemed in fear of his life when Rory and Tuka protested Lelei’s claim as a result of the Ceremony of Three Nights! It must be hard — so awfully, amazingly hard — to travel with such powerful and beautiful women. Though to be honest, I can’t find it in my heart to feel sympathy for him!

Nope. No sympathy at all.

I loved Tuka’s complaint that she’d slept beside Itami more often than Lelei. Even better was Lelei’s reply: she said, “At the time, you were insane, and thought he was your father. So it doesn’t count.” Lelei seemed really fired as she made her case for being Itami’s wife. Mimoza seemed delighted at the possibility of bigamy!

During the battle of the sisters, Arpeggio called her special attack “Big Sister’s Authority.” She must seriously resent her younger sister…

After the battle, some poor Rondel family came home to find their house in ruins. I don’t think the fruit basket with an apology note made up for it. Though, it seems that such battles are common in Rondel.

When Grey says that he and Itami should team up to protect Lelei, Itami said he’d protect Lelei regardless. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I really like the dynamic within Itami’s group.

Saying Rory was displeased at Lelei's claim on Itami would be an understatement. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Saying Rory was displeased at Lelei’s claim on Itami would be an understatement. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

What I Liked Less

I’m glad I consider myself more a fan and less a critic. This show would really challenge me if I was looking for things to dislike! Granted, I’m biased, but when I like a show, I like it. So there we are.

Thoughts

Why didn’t Itami ask the next logical question after learning that all of the other races arrived via the Gate: how long does it remain open? How much time does he and the JSDF have before the Gate closes?

Are they about to be stranded?

If the JSDF lost their logistical supply chain, how long could they maintain their military superiority? They have no mines to produce the raw materials for munitions. They have no oil wells to refine fuel. I’m sure they could improvise, but if the Gate closes quickly and unexpectedly, the balance of power would be thrown completely out of whack.

Which god control the Gate? Is it a consortium? What’s their end-game? Does that question even matter, from the perspective of humans, when applied to gods?

In general, Gate’s intelligent handling of politics, it’s more mature perspective on relationships, and its unapologetic presentation of unsavory aspects of imperial society continue to impress me. I’ve seen a lot of anime series, and some of them are very dear to me. This one, though, seems special.

As usual, I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode.

Reviews of Other Season 2 Episodes

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