Gate’s 24th’s episode, “Thus They Fought,” wraps up the second season. Yōji Itami and some old friends pay a visit to Zorzal El Caesar. Lelei La Lalena demonstrates why she felt confident enough to go for her masters. And it turns out there was a lot of romance going on off camera!
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
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Itami arrives in the capital and meets up with the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) who are stationed in the red light district. He learns that since the JSDF just finished a huge operation (see my review of the last episode), it would be hard for them to support a large-scale effort to rescue Princess Pina Co Lada. Itami’s way around this is to say that he’s personally accepted a request from Grey Co Aldo to rescue his princess, and that it has nothing officially to do with the JSDF. The commanding officer had anticipated this and had asked for volunteers. The entire Third Recon Team volunteered.
Shino Kuribayashi actually seemed hurt that there was fighting to be done and Itami hadn’t asked for her help.
Itami shares a simple and elegant plan to rescue not only Pina, but the emperor Molt Sol Augustus as well.
As part of this plan, Itami dresses as a servant and pulls a cart in which several team members ride. Lelei and Rory Mercury ride as well. Of course, Itami complains at the amount of work he has to do. They finally arrive at the imperial gate, where Lelei and Rory say they are responding to the emperor’s summons to discuss their role in killing the fire dragon. If the guards were somewhat impressed with Lelei, they were almost prostrate at the sight of Rory. The guards allowed them to pass with their servant.
Meanwhile, Zorzal has summoned Pina to appear before him, Tyuule, and the three Idiot Generals.* They intend to blame her for the JSDF’s actions. Of course, she was locked up at the time and had no idea what was going on. When she realizes this, she can’t contain herself — she bursts out laughing.
In the throne room, Zorzal brags that he will defeat the JSDF and become the “ultimate power.” He even has a giant ogre in his employ now!
Itami, Lelei, and Rory blow open the doors and enter. Itami, not wanting to mince words, asks if any of the imperial soldiers want to fight Rory. They don’t. Zorzal unleashes the ogre, and between Lelei and Rory, they dispatch it within seconds. Lelei in particular employs a new, advanced form of her ballistic magic. In a last attempt to save face, Zorzal demands to fight Itami mano e mano, but a sniper’s bullet that barely missed Zorzal made the point: Zorzal must not attempt to harm Pina, Lelei, or anyone else, or the JSDF will drop him.
While they easily won the psychological war against Zorzal, Itami and his team still have to get out of the capital. Itami, Pina, Lelei, and Rory jump into the Toyota High Mobility Vehicle driven by Tetsuya Nishina. They evade several imperial troops to pick up Kuribayashi and Tuka before retrieving the emperor and his entourage. They almost make it out before hostile forces nearly close a gate — just before Sergeant Major Sōichirō Kuwahara arrives in the Komatsu Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) and helps them clear the way. They’re able to get through the West Gate, which the JSDF still holds.
After they clear the gate and it’s obvious they are safe, Pina observes that Itami’s also rescued her father. Itami reassures her that she was his first priority; JSDF command ordered him to find the emperor, too, since he would already be going after Pina. Hamilton Uno Ror, rescued with the emperor and always loyal to Pina, is shocked at Itami’s priorities.
The emperor awakens. He says that he’ll agree to Japan’s peace plan, and he makes Pina the crown princess. He expresses complete confidence in her vision for the future.
Guarded by clearly reluctant imperial soldiers, Zorzal and his Idiot Generals* leave the capital. They plan to leave for the northeast and don’t care if the capital falls in the meantime. Every time Zorzal gets angry and yells at his Idiot Generals, he relives the sniper’s shot that he can’t be sure isn’t aimed at him every moment.
Tyuule and Zorzal’s household, including Hitoshi Furuta, a JSDF soldier who had been undercover as a cook, are also leaving. He reports that Zorzal is leaving the capital and that he’s going to evacuate since he no longer feels safe. He is worried for Tyuule, though, and seems to sympathize with her. For her part, looking on the fruition of her plans to bring the empire down, she wonders why she can’t stop crying. Zorzal vows vengeance.
Ten days later, in Italica, the emperor publicly proclaims Pina as the crown princess. Her knights are there to witness the event.
After the official public proclamation, we find out that romance was alive and well in the Special Region. Bozes Co Palesti and Akira Tomita have been dating since she visited Earth, and now she’s expecting their first child. Shunya Kengun just can’t seem to put Beefeater down and vows to overcome the language barrier. Sherry Tyueli proclaims that her love and Kōji Sugawara’s is eternal. He asks only that they obey all applicable laws.
Perhaps best of all, the question that I’ve been bringing up under “What I Liked Less” for several episodes gets answered. Because Delilah wounded Akira Yanagida, he insists that she take care of him until he gets better, and she seems delighted to agree. I’m not sure, but I think he may have inferred that he might need her care from that point forward.
Itami didn’t attend Pina’s event (perhaps sending Yao in his stead) because he was trying to go to the yearly Doujinshi sales event. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, Rory, Tuka, and Lelei arrange to visit Earth with him — under the condition that Itami look after them. The crowd notices Rory in particular, the the public disruption is so great that the police have to take Itami and his friends away.
As she passes the police car on the way to the event, Risa sees Itami in the back seat. He protests his innocence. The episode ends with the OP from the first season.
* Please forgive my editorializing. I tried to be objective, but dang, they’re just idiots!
What I Liked
Kuribayashi didn’t even try to hide her glee at the thought of getting to beat Zorzal into submission again. I really admire honest in a character, and she has no lack of that virtue!
Lelei showed that her magical abilities have increased greatly. When she fought the ogre, she was able to fire five or six attacks that were well beyond what sage Cato El Altestan had praised her for. She and Rory attacked in a unison that most military operations would covet. It’s been great seeing her grow through the series.
In the same fight, Rory seems to have an absolute blast as she slices the ogres arms off. Her unabashedly embracing her nature is touching in much the same way that Kuribayashi’s honesty is.
Rory had a completely plausible reason to sit in Itami’s lap after they left the palace. I kind of wish he would just embrace their relationship, but maybe he wouldn’t be Itami if he did.
Itami tried to warn the imperial soldiers to get out of the way of his vehicle. Throughout the whole show, he’s shown that while he’s willing to kill if he sees it as necessary, he’d prefer not to. I thought little touches like this one reinforced that belief.
At the end, I feel sorry for Tyuule. I have a hard time getting past her throwing Pina in the dungeon, but seeing Tyuule fall from Queen to sex slave and rebound to ruling the empire from the shadows, I have to admire her strength and focus. Seeing her work fulfilled, she’s unsatisfied, and I hope that Furuta is able to take her with him when he withdraws.
I think the artists did a great job with most of the cast, but in particular, I’d like to call out the work with Pina. Whether clad in her Rose-Order Knights garb or the slave’s attire, she remained regal. I know that her captivity and its harsh treatment nearly broke her in he last episode, but she recovered in this episode. I also like that kind of resiliency in a character.
When faced with the choice of attending Pina’s event or attending the annual Doujinshi Sales event, which would Itami choose? The Doujinshi event, of course! That’s good characterization. It’s just too bad he didn’t get to attend. Again.
Itami even tries to convince Rory, Lelei, and Tuka to go back to Alnus because he already has plans. Of course, that idea died aborning.
While Tuka and Lelei are at least a little worried about the crowds, Rory revels in the admiration that she gets wherever she goes. It’s rare that I get to meet a character that deserves to have that perspective!
What I Liked Less
Almost everyone got a happy or deserved ending, but where was Yao? She suffered as much as most, yet in the end where even secondary characters like Beefeater E Caty ended up with a JSDF officer, Yao wasn’t even mentioned. I thought that was sad.
I think that Rory’s halberd, in the back of the police cruiser, should have made it sag more.
After the powerful emotional and dramatic build-up of the entire second season, I think anything would feel a little less than satisfying. That’s not because the episode wasn’t dramatically executed. The major plots came to fruition and the major characters enjoyed their victories or defeats. The JSDF established a positive relationship with the empire (at least the part governed from Italica). Perhaps best of all, the Rose-Order of Knights, despite their unconventional members, proved that they were as worthy as any other force.
So why do I still feel unsatisfied?
I think it’s because after 24 episodes, I’ve come to know a world I didn’t know before. I became acquainted with characters who captured my imagination. I saw some institutions behaving well and some behaving badly — and the characters recognized which were which! I’m not ready for this series to end. I want to see them track down the Pied Piper; I want to see how Pina reassembles the empire. I want to see Itami finally settle down and embrace his relationship with Rory, and I want to see how Lelei and Tuka deal with that.
In other words, I want to see this series continue.
That’s about the highest praise I can give a show and the talent associated with it!
Reviews of Other Season 2 Episodes
- Episode 13: The Banquet Begins
- Episode 14: The Imperial Capital Quake
- Episode 15: Tuka Luna Marceau
- Episode 16: The Dragon, Once More
- Episode 17: The Dragon’s Nest
- Episode 18: The Magic City of Rondel
- Episode 19: Dangerous Sisters
- Episode 20: Lover
- Episode 21: Deadline
- Episode 22: The Empress in Slave’s Clothing
- Episode 23: Paradrop
- Episode 24: Thus They Fought