What They Say:
Long ago the human world Terrastia, merged together creating people with abilities called Adapters. With their abilities, the Adapters have the power to open the Divine Gate which has the power to make any wish come true but most believe that to just be a myth. In the present, a boy named Aoto is recruited to join an academy of Adapters called the World Council but he must first overcome his past and the murder of his parents.
Content (warning as portions of this review may contain spoilers):
Well, I tried. I really tried, but I can’t keep this up anymore. Divine Gate’s been testing my patience since day one, and while my curiosity as to how the staff could handle supposedly original material for the first time, is what kept me going it’s no longer enough. What we end up with this week is a full on display of every single one of the show’s problems and it’s enough to finally snuff out my last few bits of patience.
Things open up with our main trio headed to an area not controlled by the World Council called an Abandoned Section in order to train. They aren’t the only ones, though, as another squad is sent to train with them. We’ve seen them in the background before but since the show can’t be bothered to let them speak for themselves, their personalities are literally narrated to the audience, and in the usual batch of poorly written prose. Despite the weird amount of focus their intros get, they have pretty much nothing to do with the rest of the episode, which is instead focused on Akane.
While doing his training he runs into a mysterious girl who tells him that he should be glad he has something precious like memories of his father (which are narrated to us of course!) since she hasn’t been able to find happiness. Akane’s left to chew on this for a while (yes this is also narrated in case you’re starting to notice a pattern) and is soon left in rather awkward position when it turns out that a group of modified humans known as the Defilers have taken refuge in the area and she’s one of them. The Defilers were cast out for going against the wishes of the Council, and while Akane tries to sympathize with her, she hates the fact he gets to live a happy life while she has to suffer. Aoto convinces Akane to keep trying to reach through to her but in the end, she can’t accept his pity and is killed by one of Arthur’s knights alongside the rest of the Defilers.
Outside of stuff like Tokyo Ghoul or X-Men, most scenarios involving discrimination against some type of mutant is usually pretty hokey but this episode really takes the cake. The show doesn’t go through any extra effort to make the Defilers seem sympathetic, instead relying on the idea of them being discriminated against to be enough to make for a tragic scenario and instead comes off as a bit silly. It doesn’t help that the set-up feels ridiculously contrived and while that can partially be handwaved by the fact that the extermination might have been a ploy by Arthur, it all makes for a story that feels bizarre more than anything else.
It certainly doesn’t help that the narration is a lot more obnoxious than usual this time around. While it’s presence has generally been all over the place in the show, here feels like the show actively goes out of the way to add prose ridden narration to everything and every instance of it comes off as awful. Heavy narration can work if executed with a certain level of direction like with Hunter X Hunter’s Chimera Ants arc since it can be effective in putting a different perspective on events, but this series doesn’t have a clue at how to do and instead, it feels like an excuse not to properly write out what’s happening. In fact, we’re now 5 episodes into a 12-13 episode show and it’s still hard to say where it’s headed. One thing’s for sure, though: I have no interest in seeing the destination.
Divine Gate’s finally reached the point of no return for me as this week’s events are all of the shows biggest problems at full force. The story we get this week feels incredibly hokey and contrived, and the heavy narration is worse than ever as it permeates a large chunk of the material and feels more like an excuse to skip out on writing rather than an attempt to enhance the material. It’s finally time for me to shut the gate closed on this show, and I certainly won’t be looking back to see what lies beyond it
Streamed By: Funimation, Hulu