DVD Review: GATE – The Complete Collection

We enter the GATE and explore a world filled with dragons, demigods, magicians and soldiers; but what does MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of the series have in store for us? Well let’s find out!

Synopsis:

When a mysterious gate suddenly appears in Tokyo’s Ginza district and begins spewing armed warriors and flying monsters, the world is thrown into turmoil. Although the deadly attack is thrown back by Japan’s Self Defense Force, there’s now a new and entirely unknown land on the other side of the portal, and Japan is effectively at war with a nation on the other side.

Determined to secure peace, the JSDF must send an armed force into the Gate, but ogres, dragons and a ruthless Empire populated by elves, humans, and half-animal warriors aren’t the only dangers they’ll face. With the resources of two worlds at stake, the balance of power on both sides of the Gate is destabilizing, and betrayal can come at any time, from any quarter. There, trapped right in the middle of the ensuing firestorm, stands officer Yoji Itami and the JSDF’s Third Reconnaissance Team as they plunge into the GATE.

Our View:

Adapted from Takumi Yanai novel series comes GATE; a series which focuses on the unlikely story of two differing universes connecting with one another to deliver friendship and peace between two warring nations. It sounds like a promising setup; but in reality its nothing but disappointment with some action and comical twists thrown in. Harsh words indeed; but when the antics of the characters involved are more fun to watch the overlaying plot then this is the end result.

Where does it begin, Where are we going, What is the meaning and more importantly what conclusion do we get? These are just some of the questions you’ll ask yourself during the span of the twenty-four episodes and that’s before you dive into the terrible quality of this PAL DVD released by MVM Entertainment into the UK.

Taking place in modern-day-Japan GATE follows the adventures of Yoji Itami and the Japanese Self Defence Force, or JSDF for short, as they travel through the GATE in an attempt to converse with the inhabitants on the other side. Initially this debate began with conflict, with the Empire of the ‘mysterious world’ sending every able bodied soldier to fight the JSDF; but this conflict is short-lived with the JSDF futuristic military might. With the main Empire threat taken care of the JSDF settles down at Alnus Hill and use it as their main camp and soon begin building their own community; a community which expands when Yoji Itami begins exploring the surrounding area with his recon unit.

This recon soon leads Yoji into all sorts of different situations, some which see him and his recon team evacuate a local village, finding new locations and even defending themselves from a dragon; all of while growing the popularity of the ‘Green Men’ within the Kingdom of the Empire.

The Empire meanwhile still plan to overthrow Alnus Hill and take back the land that were stolen from them; but when the King’s daughter, known as Pina, begins her plan of forging relationships with the Green Men (i.e. the JSDF) this threat of war fades away. Several episodes later and this battle of might soon goes into a battle of debates between two different civilisations; namely Pina of Empire with the Japanese government.

While the discussions between these two nations continue a more troubling matter exists elsewhere; tension within the Kingdom and disagreements soon lead the sons of the King, and an elf with a grudge, to cause a rebellion and it throws both worlds into chaos. This event sees the JSDF act in a more ‘aggressive’ manner than previously thought with war once again breaking out between the two fractions.

This ongoing feud is the focal point of GATE, with the end result being peace between the two civilisations; but underlining all of this we have Yoji Itmai’s lazy approach to being a soldier in his infatuation with doing nothing and the friends he has made in this new world.

Yoji Itami is keen to do as little as possible but is always thrust upon to action, whether it be to defeat a dragon, act as a protection or pretend to be an elf’s father; Yoji certainly has his work cut-out for him. This is realistically the highlight of GATE; the amusing interactions between him and other characters (all female I might add) that seemingly gather around him.

GATE isn’t a harem by any means; but it may as well be with the amount of girls that try to grab his attention – especially Rory who, despite being over 900 years old, is often mistaken as a child and easily tries to seduce Yoji at every turn.

So once again what exactly happens within GATE? From my perspective not a lot – as while we do see the nations overcome one another in battle to create peace amongst them the highlight is the interactions between characters and the comical charms they bring to the screen; whether it be Lelei La Lelena and her magician in training elements or Rory and her demigod powers that destroy everything in her path.

Good fun to watch unfold in episodic (or binge-watching) experiences but not so good in developing a complete and conclusive story other than one which sees two differing worlds coexist with one another in some shape or form.

Extras:

As per usual the amount of bonus features within a ‘Sentai Filmworks’ mastered release is relatively barebones, with the usual inclusion of textless songs and promotional materials, making up the bulk of this release.

This being said one noteworthy addition is the inclusion of an animated comic; of which goes into further detail about the daily events with Yoji Itami and the characters that follow him around. The Animated Comic does a great job of recreating GATE in manga/comic form but animated with some voice-overs to provide that immersive experience.

The other bonus features meanwhile, which are limited to textless songs and Japanese promotional materials, are as expected and further extend the viewing times of the disc.

In reality nothing exciting; but the opening and endings are pretty good both in audio and visual form while the promotional materials give us a closer look on how the series was promoted during its initial release in Japan.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x5
Region: 2
Running Time: 1:40:52 (Disc 1), 2:06:05 (Disc 2, 3, 4 & 5)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

This release of GATE contains the entire anime collection within a single set; a set which consists of twenty-four episodes with each season being twelve episodes long. In this case the first season, or the first twelve episodes, act as an introduction to the world of the Empire, the characters and the development of the JSDF camp situated on Alnus Hill within the world of the Empire.

This first season also acts as a start to the political debates between Princess Pina of the Empire and the Japanese government in hopes of reaching a mutal understanding an agreement to those involved. Yoji’s involvement in this is one of protection for those involved and discovering more of the world.

The second season meanwhile, which takes up the remaining episodes of this collection, acts as a catalyst to destroy everything that was build upon in the previous episodes. The discussions between the Empire and the Japanese government are halted when the King’s son takes matters into his own hands with the help of his slave elf, who has her own twisted agenda, and as such the Empire suffers.

With things in turmoil the JSDF steps in to help calm the situation through rescue missions and peace-keeping events, while Yoji’s role is to protect Lelei La Lelena from the hands of the empire after it emergred she helped kill a dragon. A mighty honour indeed.

When all is said and done one final battle ensues; with the victor awarded the spoils of war but its not a memorable ending nor is it an enjoyable one. Just like the main character GATE just passes you by without a care in the world; and while it may have a few memorable moments it does very little in delivering a forfilling story.

When it comes to this DVD release by MVM Entertainment then things just go from mediocre to downright terrible; and I’m not referring to the English Dub, as that is actually pretty good. Instead I am referring to the poor PAL conversion of this DVD set which results in a lack of overall picture quality in the form of ghosting and shadowing throughout.

Personally I’ve never seen a DVD release this bad, with the exception of Gundam Wing by BEEZ Entertainment which had interlacing issues and the ghosting issues on VIZ Media’s Sailor Moon releases; but its constant and highly noticeable throughout this DVD release. I suspect the Blu-Ray will not suffer from these same issues, as it will use a High Defiinition (NTSC) master.

In relation to audio formats and subtitling then once again GATE manages to provide the quality you would expect with high quality English and Japanese audio tracks, both of which are presentable and clearly audible, with accompanying subtitle tracks providing the details one needs to enjoy the show.

Overall this DVD release  is a bit of a miss-match; a mediocre series thats only enjoyable with the entertaining cast of characters and a poor PAL encode that makes the mediocre experience even that more terrible. Fortunately a High Definition version exists; but its another standard release with nothing worth shouting about.

Score: review-stars-2

GATE – The Complete Collection will be available as a Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD Combo Pack on the 9th April 2018 and as a standard DVD and Blu-Ray release on the 2nd July 2018 within the UK via MVM Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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