“If you don’t come to the Isekai, the Isekai will come to you,” could be the introductory statement to Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There. The action and fantasy anime left the fans wondering if a third season could or should be expected.
What happened so far in Gate
August, 20xx. Tokyo, Ginza. What should have been a peaceful day for self-proclaimed otaku and JSDF reservist Youji Itami, musing between aisles full of doujinshi, turns into a nightmare when a warping gate opens the area.
Medieval soldiers and beasts of legends crossing to our reality lay waste to the landscape and brutally kill anyone in their way. Youji then uses his training as a soldier to secure a safe perimeter and help civilians to safety. The Japan Self-Defense Forces quickly restore the peace using their modern weaponry and military tactics. However, wary of what could be lying on the other side of the GATE, the authorities decide to send a small task force to explore the fantasy world and start peace negotiations. Doing so causes the curiosity and envy of other major powers as interested as Japan in the natural resources the Special Region has to offer.
Youji is tasked to lead the Third Reconnaissance Team in the Special Region, using his otaku knowledge to guide them. He selflessly helps the local population when needed. He is joined by three women with different backgrounds: Lelei (the mage with an aptitude in languages), Rory (the embodiment of the God of Death), and Tuka (an elf who has lost her village following a dragon attack). Slowly but surely, Japan gains the people’s trust from the other side by giving them access to modern goods and doing good deeds (getting rid of the Fire Dragon, beating a group of marauders, and so on.). Their firepower worries and impresses Pina Colada, the Crown Princess of the Empire: she then makes it her goal to achieve the signature of a peace treaty between her country and Japan, fearing what they could do in a war.
Unfortunately, it is not an easy task: between her authoritarian brother Zorzal, set on conquering Japan and annihilating the JSDF, and the international community in our world eager to colonize the Special Region after learning about the lack of high-level technology on the other side. Zorzal’s ambition pushes him to clash with the JSDF, getting thoroughly humiliated thanks to the gap in weaponry and tactics. Delusional and too proud, Zorzal will go from one plot to the other to try to realize his dream, even resorting to poisoning his own father to create a coup d’état, imprisoning his own sister, and pushing the country to the brink of civil war. Caught between the political matters of both worlds, Youji, and his party will have to take it to the next level to ensure that war will never be an option.
What is going on with A-1 Pictures?
Gate is directed by Takahiko Gyougoku, written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, and the score is composed by Yoshiaki Fujisawa. The first cour premiered on July 4 and ended on 18 September 2015. The second cour started on January 9 and ended on March 26, 2016. A frequent misconception is that Gate has two seasons because of the time gap between each cour (term used to describe the two parts dividing a season, with each part representing an arc).
Gate only has one season. Gate is a bit of a UFO in the anime world. Using a militaristic perspective, it uses the well-known isekai genre and makes it clash with our modern world. The idea is interesting but a bit clumsy in its execution. The animation is pretty clean, as is the case with most A-1 productions. When it comes to environments, you might be a bit disappointed if you came for the fantasy feel: the backgrounds are generic, and most of the time, the characters interact in lush urban landscapes. We find here a big flaw: for an anime using a fantasy world as the core of its story, it sure does not emphasize it. The world-building is poor, and we do not get to see and understand what makes this world the expected fantasy. Sure, there’s a dragon, and people fight with swords but behind that? Where is the magic? How does religion work considering Rory’s role? What are the specifics of each race?
The story is fast-paced. This is not a bad point but, the way it is done does not allow for too much characterization for most of the cast. Not even the protagonist, but Itami does not need it; he’s already too perfect, doing everything perfectly in all perfection. The pace is also since the JSDF is glorified here. Gate is nationalist propaganda and does not hide it: they solve all the problems, rescue everyone, are nice people, and that package comes with an arsenal of shiny weapons and vehicles.
In this underdeveloped world, the JSDF has no real enemy, no one to challenge their bullets and jeeps. Fights are over in the blink of an eye. Yet, it does not cancel out the story and its political twists to keep the viewer interested. It even takes the much-appreciated approach of following a 33-year-old protagonist, divorced too, instead of a teenager with raging hormones. As usual with isekai, the hero is surrounded by a group of women, but in Gate, fanservice and adoration for the main character are kept on the low side. Rory is the only one openly flirting with Itami, whereas the others just respect him as a person.
A-1 Pictures has big licenses such as Uta Prince Sama, The Idolmaster, The Seven Deadly Sins, or Sword Art Online under its wing. The studio is currently working on the original work Visual Prison.
What do we know about Gate Season 3 so far?
Nothing has been released as of yet because the anime has never been renewed.
What are fans saying about Gate Season 3?
Whether or not a new season is coming is a question mostly asked by newcomers in the fandom. Otherwise, fans are enjoying the Internet to share their fanarts, cosplay, and opinions.
The fandom outside of Japan is not that big, and access to light novels and manga in English is difficult. Nevertheless, the anime is well appreciated when looking at its score on MAL.
Will there be Gate Season 3?
The anime is an adaptation of the light novel written by Takumi Yanai, published from April 12, 2010, to July 3, 2015 (10 volumes) and illustrated by Daisuke Izuka and Kurojishi.
Gate Season 2 started on August 8, 2017, and is still ongoing (5 volumes). The light novels differ from the anime toward the end as some characters die or make different decisions. Gate counts five manga series based on its universe: Gate, illustrated by Satoru Sao, published from July 30, 2011, and following the original storyline (with minor changes – 19 volumes); and four short spin-offs. In 2015, the estimated combined number of copies sold (novels, manga, and books) since 2006 was 2.4 million in Japan. It was so popular that the real JSDF collaborated with the anime to try and boost its recruitment campaigns.
Google Trends shows that the ratio of searches is pretty low but never reaches the all-time zero. It aligns with the fact that fans are not hoping for a new season anytime soon. Sentai Filmworks released a limited-edition boxset (Blu-ray + DVD) of the whole series released in 2017 by Sentai Filmworks. On May 4, 2021, Sentai Filmworks re-released the anime on Blu-ray only.
When will Gate Season 3 be released?
At the moment, there has been no announcement for the third season of Gate.
What can we expect in Season 3 of Gate?
If Season 3 is produced, it should follow the novels and switch to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force entering the gate four years after the initial events. However, the new novels include a part where they enter the Xenomorph world via another gate. It is pretty difficult to imagine that A-1 Pictures will ever obtain the authorization to use the Alien franchise for Gate.