GATE (2014)

[ゲート 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり]

Volume 4

GATE - Volume 4 (2014)

Author: Takumi Yanai
Artist: Satoru Sao
Publisher: Alphapolis

A Dark Elf comes to Arnus Hill to seek the aid of the "Green People" in slaying the Fire Dragon ravaging her people.

The two main threads of the story in this volume are Yao's efforts to enlist the Jieitai's services to defeat the Fire Dragon and the political wrangling in the Capital as Japanese ambassadors seek to negotiate a peace treaty with the Empire. Regarding the latter, I appreciate Piña's burgeoning statecraft. There to throw a monkey wrench in the deal is Prince Zorzal, more of an explicit villain than even the Emperor (not that Mort isn't evil but he's far more controlled than Zorzal and that makes a big difference). It is amusing, however, how the story will juxtapose horror and comedy with his character, which can lead to a sort of twisted appeal. The Jieitai's covert operations in the Capital's red light district makes for an interesting thread that could almost warrant a spinoff series. I like the chemistry between Kurokawa and Misery and honestly would like to see more interaction between them. All this leads up to the impeding earthquake, which makes for a fine cliffhanger.

As you can see from the cover, Yao's costume in the manga is a little more, ahem, extreme than her anime counterpart. Whether that's your preference or not is your business. I will say that while I like the design for the anime version of Zorzal, I feel the manga design is more appropriate given the cultural setting. Speaking of Zorzal, his introduction is more explicit and also, the cleanup of the red light district is more disturbing, as per the harsher visuals of the manga.

In some of the 4-koma this volume, we actually get a little background on things with oblique mentions in the main story, such as Myuute entering Rory's service, which isn't what you'd normally expect from what are mostly gag comics.

I've complained before about things being a little too easy for our heroes' side, but the politics in the Capital is one front where we actually get some solid conflict, which is rewarding. The introduction of Yao and Zorzal set up the arc to follow, but if you read the series for the action, there isn't going to be much here for you this volume. Fans should be satisfied with what they get, though. It's worth reading at the very least.

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