I think the nicest thing that I can say about GATE is that I expected to be a lot more disdainful toward it than I turned out to be. This was in large part thanks to it being one of the most insipid shows of the year, with it not aspiring to much and easily reaching those low aspirations. I don’t even think one could say that it had a nationalistic/pro-military bent—it was that lifeless in its masturbating over military hardware and the espionage on the part of other countries who just want to keep Japan down, man.
Despite all that, I can’t say that I disliked GATE. While it doesn’t inspire much in the way of praise and the characters straddle the line between nothingness and a single dimension in terms of appeal, it’s not offensively bad. Well, except for one part. Of course I mean the shitty, clunky, ad verbatim Apocalypse Now reference inserted because somebody forgot that comedy involves /some/ input that a 70’s reimagining of Heart of Darkness can’t give by itself.
I wrote in an earlier post that (the increasingly excellent in hindsight) Gakkou Gurashi was able to use a common setpiece of zombie media (the infested mall), and adapt it for its own purposes. It was able to pay homage to certain classics in the genre without relying on them wholly, to show where it came from without holding those up as the peak that all zombie media should aspire to reach. It was basically more than a blatant reference to Dawn of the Dead and genuinely made me happy to see.
And then GATE made me really really sad. It made me sad in the way that a painfully awkward comedy routine makes me sad. It’s the kind of botched execution that would make a room of rabid baboons suddenly quiet and introspective, something so off the mark in its pointlessness that I wonder if anybody who had a hand in making it feels the pangs of regret that one would feel after accidentally maiming a loved one. It’s that balls-awful.
Again, GATE as a whole wasn’t bad. Most of it doesn’t inspire anything more than glazed eyes and a shrug. But goddamn did it have one big fuck-up.