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Gate – Jietai Kare no Chi nite, Kaku Tatakeri

January 6, 2015

gatecover

Saw this manga a couple days ago. I’ve caught up to chapter 43 as of this writing. I dig it, so I’m gonna write about it. Dig?

So the premise is pretty simple, but it’s something I’ve wanted seen done in this way for a long long time.

One day, a Gate opened up in the middle of a Japanese city center. A medieval/Roman-ish army, bolstered with mythical forces such as Wyvern Riders and Orcs come through and start slaughtering bystanders. These Roman-ish guys declare to the local “barbarians” that they now hold dominion over these lands and even put up their flag.

As this occurs, our main character/hero, an otaku who happens to be a military guy, takes charge of the situation, directing the civilians to a place where they could hole up etc, thus saving many lives before the JSDF arrive with their attack helicopters, tanks and other modern weaponry to utterly annihilate the primitive invaders.

The JSDF then go beyond the Gate and set up a base of operations. They’re met by a huge army of around 100K, whom they obliterate using modern tactics and weapons. It seems that the Turtle Formation’s kinda useless against a tank shell. Duh.

Anywho, our main guy gets promoted to 1st Lieutenant and gets garrisoned beyond the Gate. And that’s where our story takes off.

I’ve always liked a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and I’ve yearned for this kind of fish out of water/technological superiority setting for like, literally, YEARS. I think other than Connecticut Yankee and kiddy shows where the kids travel back in time, we basically (almost) never get this scenario, particularly in manga/anime.

I mean, we have loads and loads of stories where kids get sent to fantasy realms, but they seldom get to show off any modern knowledge. Either they just show off a few parlor tricks early on, which are soon forgotten, or the fantasy realm has magic that equals or surpasses modern weaponry. At best, we’d have someone sent to the 3 Kingdoms/Sengoku era and they just happened to remember the outcome of battles.

Gate – Jietai Kare no Chi nite, Kaku Tatakeri is a rare manga that finally gives the modern world a fair shake. The manga’s kinda weird actually. It’s very anachronistic. I mean, yeah, the modern Japanese army and the fantasy world beyond the Gate obviously have differing levels of technology, but the manga itself jumps around a lot. It goes from lighthearted and comedic to a little bit of politics and then “war is hell” gore, which is usually followed up with lots of rape.

But it’s the little bits of realism that I dig. This manga inverts the idealism scale that’s usually present in these kinda of stories. The nobles of the Gate world are shown to be selfish, greedy, politically minded and their culture is highly backward by modern standards. And I dig that. Most stories of this type try to tell us that people from that era were super cultured and at one with nature, but here, they’re just normal people trying to hold onto their power.

Inversely, the technologically superior Japanese are generally portrayed as being altruistic and chased. Aside from being chased, I’m fine with their portrayal. It’s not that the Japanese are “good”, but they follow modern rules. They treat their prisoners humanely and they help the local populace specifically because they’re trying to build good relations. They’ve learned from our history. That’s not to say that they can’t be dickbags. A recent chapter has the Japanese making a deal with a King whose on the outs, whereby they ask for mining rights and tax exemptions. The King wants to retain any gold, silver or copper found. So the Japanese agree and say they’ll split that down the middle. But the clincher is that they want exclusive rights to all other finds. The King knows they want SOMETHING, but he’s got no idea what and had to agree. After all, what else could be valuable other than gold, silver and copper? He had no idea the Japs already knew there’s large deposits of OIL on his land.

The manga explores the story from various angles. So the stories/arcs can vary in quality depending on your tastes. The story where they bring a buncha the main characters from the Gate world to our world is probably the weakest, but overall, I dig this manga. It’s not the most masterfully told story ever, but it finally tackles things from an angle that’s been sorely ignored.

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