So, one of the reasons light novels seem to do well is because of their convenience. They are meant to be ‘bite-sized’, so to speak. Usually, they come under 50,000 words and are perfect for reading when you don’t want your mind to work too hard to decipher the plot. Plus, they are easily available in either physical or digital formats. This is why plenty of these series often get sequels and spinoffs since they are so easy to expand and continue writing for. However, it could get confusing sometimes trying to decipher the timeline for these spinoffs, like in the case of the Gate Jieitai Kano Umi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri series.
The new Gate 2: Weigh Anchor, also known as Gate Season 2: Jieitai Kano Umi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, follows the web novel as its source material. Therefore, it’s safe to say there’s a lot in terms of the story waiting to be animated.
Gate: Thus, the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought in Their Land was first published in 2006 and became manga serialized in 2011. Which did successful enough to warrant three spin-off manga series and an anime adaptation in 2015. And now, nearly 10 years after its first light novel volume, we got a sequel in 2017.
This pattern of a light novel being adapted into a manga and then going further to get either an animation project or live-action series is pretty common. It’s the origin story for a ton of popular anime. But that’s because light novels, in general, tend to make great source material. They are to the point, without additional lore to be covered. And they don’t span multiple subplots that could distract the viewer from the main storyline. They also happen to be extremely varying in genre, adding multiple different dynamics that lead to a fun anime watch.
In the case of The Gate: Jieitai Kano Umi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, the mix of military strategy and Isekai elements was interesting, considering it doesn’t involve some NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) getting a wish-fulfillment fantasy. It did well enough with its premise to warrant so many side projects. But was there enough to build upon a sequel later down the line? Fans seem to think so! So, let’s discuss The New Gate and if Gate 2: Weigh Over lives up to its predecessor!
The Gate: A Fantastical Armada And Modern Military Mash-Up?
The premise for the original The Gate: Jieitai Kano Umi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri light novel was interesting for its time. In modern-day Ginza, a portal opens up in the sky. And soon, an entire army of Romanesque warriors descend upon the city to ravage it. Alongside the midlevel military also came monsters, and so the JSDF (Japan Self-Defence Forces) utilized their modern weaponry to subdue the enemy.
Curious about the origins of the gate and what lies beyond, they go through the gate to establish a foothold base in the new world and enter negotiations with the current ruling regime present there. However, this isn’t without the envy of the rest of the modern world, who covet Japan’s exclusive access to the Gate. Now known as the Special Region, Japan is vulnerable to exploitation by these other nations.
The JSDF itself is being closely watched by its government, every activity being monitored like a hawk. Yet, this is the same government that refuses to involve itself any further in the Special Region’s affairs out of fear of public outcry.
Gate Season 2: Weighing Over Its Success?
So, the story still follows Yōji Itami, who is a reserve JSDF officer sent as an envoy to explore the other world. Turns out, it wasn’t just the warriors that were fantastical.
In the new world, magic is real. Dragons and elves are just as alive as the humans there. And so, utilizing what little he knew about fairytales growing up, Itami navigates his way through the Special Region. On his adventures, he ends up aiding those he comes across in need of his help, which ends up including Princess Piña Co Lada, the Imperial Princess. He goes up against an ancient dragon to help her out and gets her favor.
And so, he gets an in during negotiations, which helps him integrate into this new society. Again, it’s all very, very Isekai, but it was new for the era it came out in. The idea of this big, burly soldier having to traverse himself through fairytale magic is intriguing enough to push for a sequel.
What Makes For A Good Sequel?
To me, a good sequel follows the narrative of the old story, but not to the point where it feels repetitive. Sequels often suffer from having to live up to their prequels, being put up to higher standards. However, that’s unfair.
There’s a reason why a sequel is different from the original story. It’s meant to start something new, not a direct continuation. It should carry the spirit of what made the first tale so good, but not to the point where it feels like a monolith.