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Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1 Review

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Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Gate Thus the JSDF Fought There episode 1, “The Self-Defense Force Goes to Another World,” Youji Itami wanted nothing more than to buy his favorite Doujinshi. On the train ride to Ginza, the listings on his cell phone took up so much of his attention that he missed two key details. First, he didn’t see concrete pillar until after his forehead smacked into it. Second, he didn’t see the man dressed in what looked like medieval armor riding a dragon — apparently performance air-born reconnaissance. Eventually, though, the screams of dying civilians captured his attention. How will Itami react? Can he accept that a fantasy army just invaded Japan? And even if he can, what can he as one man do about it?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1

Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1: Takeo Kurata wanted to find catgirls

This solider either covered his anxiety well, or he had his priorities straight. Or both. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

As you can imagine, mounting a military expedition into an unknown world would be a bit taxing on the nerves. Never mind the historical first contact implications: Would there be a force on the other side who could do damage to the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF)? Would there be a political structure they could recognize and negotiate with? Will they be able to fulfill their mission?

There was actually another more pressing question, at least in the mind of Takeo Kurata. He sat across from Itami in the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). He looked like he was terribly worried and was trying to hide it. Maybe to take his mind off the more momentous questions, he asked Itami (20:49), “Think there are any catgirls on this side?”

Or maybe that was just a more important question in general.

Best in Show Moment for Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1

Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1: Itami's more competent than he had appeared to be

Not exactly the look you’d expect from someone out to buy otaku stuff. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Itami Takes His Doujinshi Seriously

Just to avoid any misunderstandings, I want to make this perfectly clear: I love this series. It was actually the first seasonal anime that I reviewed here on Crow’s World of Anime. I started with episode 8, and I never went back to finish the first season. So, starting with this review, I’m going to write Best in Show reviews of the complete first season. That’ll give me full coverage of both seasons, since I already have a complete set of season 2 reviews.

I hate to leave anything unfinished!

When we first met Itami in this episode, the narrative made one thing utterly clear: Itami relished being an otaku. At the time, we didn’t know what job he held. We do know that he works to support his hobbies. In fact, he boasted that if he had to choose which took priority, his job or his hobby, he would choose his hobby.

Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1: Itami, prototypical otaku -- almost

Well. Doesn’t he look like he’s on the ball? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

On his way to buy doujinshi, he was so engrossed looking at the offerings on his phone that he not only ran into a concrete pillar, he didn’t see the mounted dragon doing reconnaissance. Eventually, though, he noticed that an army had invaded. In fact, an army with knight-mounted cavalry, monsters as infantry, and knight-mounted dragons providing aerial support.

Keep in mind, we don’t know what job Itami holds. We only know that he’s an otaku bent on buying doujinshi. So, the moment of decision carried considerable drama for being so early in the episode.

What would Itami do?

Delivery: Itami Knows When Not to Indulge His Hobbies

The first clue was that Itami ran towards the commotion, not away from it. I had to wonder if this guy a police officer. We saw him play a fantasy video game on the train. Was he deluded enough to think he could take on a fantasy army in real life?

He urged a woman who had fallen to run. Almost as if his determined demeanor confused her, she asked who he was. I was seriously curious by this point, too! But before he could answer, a police officer’s pistol shot hit one of the dragon-mounted knights. The force of the impact knocked him out of the saddle and onto the ground. The police officer, clearly struggling to get his mind around what was happened, reacted with dismay when the knight rose, drew his dagger, and charged.

Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1: Turns out Itami is a soldier -- a good one, too

That’s a different look for Itami! The police officer doesn’t know what to think. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

He ran into Itami who had flung himself between the two. Even though his “armor” only consisted of a tee-shirt and cargo shorts, Itami dropped the knight to ground, put him in a head-lock, retrieved the man’s knife, and killed him.

Turning his blood-splashed face to the police officer, Itami asked (08:31), “Are you all right?”

No panic. No wide-eyed fear. Itami attacked a better-armed opponent and put him down with little visible effort. I’m not sure if the invasion or Itami’s in-control manner shocked the police officer more. But talk about a great way to introduce a character! We’re not nine minutes into the first episode, and I already want to know more about this guy.

What did you think of Itami’s reaction to being promoted? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Gate Thus The JSDF Fought There Episode 1 Review

  1. You just reminded me why I loved GATE when it first came out. This first episode really does hook you in and Itami is fantastic in it.

    1. It’s a treat to be re-watching this series! I needed something less emotionally weighty than Land of the Lustrous, and this fit the bill!

    1. There’s something about this series that hit me just right. In a lot of ways, it’s the series that convinced me I wanted to start an anime site. I’ve said before that the reason was to connect to other people who enjoyed anime, and that’s absolutely true. Gate, though, was just so everything I wanted in a story!

      Though I still wish I knew why the princess was named after a fancy drink…

      1. LOL! Because she is intoxictating???

        The “modern warriors vrs. sworsd and armor” theme was pretty good. Unless you were outnumbered by a hundred to one it would be a bloodbath on the more primative side.

        Lots of interesting individual characters, not always focusing on the protagonist. Complex plot structure. A harem where the harem protag is neither a nonentity nor romatically interested. Love this show!

        You might like this video. I think it appropriate.

        1. “LOL! Because she is intoxictating???”

          It’s been right in front of me all this time, and I missed it! I love that!

          Also like your description of what this show gets right. I have to be careful not to just start gushing about the characters… In fact, that’s one of the hardest things about writing these reviews: I can’t just gush about Pina’s introduction in episode 2! I feel like I should stay within the episode as if I were watching it (mostly) for the first time.

          Thanks for sharing the YouTube video. I hadn’t see that before. Interesting stuff!

Please let me know what you think!

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