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So typically I watch two or three episodes before getting to this, but one point in Divine Gate’s favour is that it gave everything I needed to know and a good idea of where it’s going in just the first episode.

The premise, in a nut shell, is that some people have one of six elemental powers, including wind, fire and water. The World Council has gathered many of these gifted humans, organizing them to use their abilities to maintain peace and stop anyone who abuses these dangerous powers. Meanwhile, there is an urban legend that somewhere in the world the Divine Gate is hidden, and whoever opens will have their wish granted.

Divine Gate episode 1 first reaction

Our main characters are three teenagers with just these powers. Akane has the power of fire, and is a straight shooter who prefers to talk about everything openly rather than keep secrets. Midori is a cheerful girl with the power of wind and a lot fascination with the Divine Gate. And Aoto is an emo who puts on an uncaring exterior even though deep down he’s just so emotional. I don’t like Aoto, and he’s the focus of the first episode. But we’ll get to the issues there later.

Divine Gate episode 1 first reaction

Divine Gate episode 1 first reaction

Akane and Midori run into Aoto for the first time on a train where a rogue flame user is threatening to kill everyone because… he’s insane? He rants about how he’s going to reach the Divine Gate and use it to reshape the world, but Aoto comes in and… kills him I guess? The fight is over in one hit, and when Akane and Midori, who work for the World Counsil, show up they talk about the man needing medical attention, but we never see anything else regarding him. Anyway, Akane and Midori just let Aoto go, then get back to base and are told to go recruit him.

They bring him in, Akane asks him if the rumors that he killed his parents are true, Aoto says, “yup,” and then he refuses to join and goes to angst in the rain for a bit. Episode done.

Divine Gate episode 1 first reaction

Divine Gate game first reactionSo this is based off of a smart phone game in Japan. Barely anything’s been written about it, and its own Wiki’s “Mechanics” page is blank. But from what I gather, it’s a grid based tactical RPG, like a really watered-down version of Fire Emblem or Advanced Wars. Actually, it kind of reminds me of Dungeon Dice Monsters or all things. Combat is done through arranging seemingly randomly generated tiles representing different elements. Somehow this got an anime. And it doesn’t look like a cheap anime either.

 

I’m not a big fan of computer generated effects in my Japanese animation, and this has quite a lot of them, but I can admit that they don’t look terribly bad. It’s used best around the science fiction effects, which are becoming more and more common in anime these days, but aren’t quite clichéd. When a battle starts, the city the show is set in has these towers that will activate to create some kind of pocket dimension (actually, it seems more like a Closed Space, from Haruhi) where the battle can happen without citizens or property being in danger I guess. When we see a character look at a flower, a holographic display comes out of nowhere, presumably giving information about the flower. And when characters run down a hall, these portals just sort of appear in the middle of the hall and take them to their destination. It’s all cool stuff.

Now, Aoko. Yeah, he is painfully emo, but usually that’s fine when it’s just one character. Who knows, maybe it will develop into something interesting. But so much of the writing is his monologue, and have you ever read emo poetry? It’s bad, with line like, “You’re a liar but you’re not,” and, “The rain may fill the potholes in the road, but it will never fill the holes in my heart.” With what little we get of his backstory so far, it is understandable that he is the way he is, but it’s so clichéd. He was one of two brothers, but the other brother got all the attention. There’s obviously going to be more to it- there’s the whole killing his parents thing, and apparently he was neglected because he didn’t have any powers while his brother did, so that needs explaining- but if the whole anime is from his perspective, I will have to drop it.

 

Right now I’m guessing he’s going to have a change of heart and join the counsel, then he, Akane and Midori will go out looking for the Divine Gate for some reason and it will become the more adventure focused anime I was hoping for. It still has the potential to be worth watching. It also has the potential to have too much Aoko, and become intolerable. I’ll probably be back for a second reaction, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Don’t Lose Your Way

 

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