Manga Review: Gate – Where the JSDF Fought

The above trailer is for the anime. This review is for the manga.

Details: Currently ongoing. Also known as GATE – Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri and ゲート 自衛隊彼の地にて、斯く戦えり.

Score: 7/10

Gate – Where the JSDF Fought is interesting in that it combines the tropes of a fantasy isekai story with those of a military/gun fanatic story.

The story starts off in modern Japan. A magical gate has appeared in Shibuya and an army seemingly from a fantasy world shows up and starts killing people. The Japanese Defense force shows up and repels the invading army back into the gate. Fearing what else will come out of the gate, the Japanese Defense Force is ordered to enter the gate and deal with whatever threats they find inside the gate.

The first story arc is simply military supremacy. The enemy is medieval and the Japanese Defense Force has guns. It’s a one sided slaughter. The story gets more interesting as the plot tries to tell a sort of realistic story about how Japan would try to establish diplomatic relations with a medieval society in a fantasy world. There are tons of new threats for the Japanese government to deal with like new natural resources on the other side that need to be negotiated for, nations that could be easily destroyed but are negotiated with for the sake of peace, new natural disasters like the presence of dragons that can survive bombs and machine guns, and a whole bunch of fantasy world problems that will be dealt with modern diplomacy and weaponry.

The other main part of the story is a harem story. The main character is a Japanese special forces soldier who is also an otaku or nerd. He loves manga and anime and all the other stuff that comes with it. Over the course of the story, he meets all sorts of classic, fetishized female tropes that you normally see in anime and they become of the core group of characters. It’s very harem-esque. There is much fan service. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of glorifying the Japanese military while also showing off scantily clad, well endowed anime girls.

Personally, I found the otaku tropes generic and overdone, but I really enjoyed the military and political aspects of the story, even though they are a bit oversimplified and glorify Japanese integrity quite a bit. Some people might find the pro Japanese military stuff objectionable, but I didn’t mind it at all. Every country that produces entertainment also produces stuff that makes that country look good. I’ve read quite a bit of Korean Manhwa and they never hesitate to include some Japanese characters as the bad guys. American media often casts bad guys as Russians or Nazis. The Chinese government doesn’t even allow their entertainment industry to touch upon politics unless it is a blatant attempt to make China look good and foreigners bad. Every country does this sort of thing and I found the presence of this in this manga to be minor and not take away too much from my enjoyment of this story.

The art is fine.

Overall, I enjoyed this manga. It’s something unique in that I can’t recall seeing a story that combined classic anime tropes with military glorification. It’s definitely something new to me and new is often more than enough to keep me entertained.

Comic Book Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal

Details: This series is currently complete. More information can be found at https://www.dccomics.com/comics/dark-nights-death-metal-2020/dark-nights-death-metal-1 and https://dcdeathmetal.world/

Score: 6.5/10

Dark Knights: Death Metal is DC Comics big comic book event for this year. It is a mess. The prior big annual event was also written by Snyder and that was also a mess. This was an even bigger mess and while entertaining if you read it superficially, it feels too disjointed and pointless. If there was any real point to this series, it is to relaunch the DC Comics universe yet again and to launch an enormous line of toys and action figures.

If you’ve been keeping up with Batman and the Justice League comic books over the last few years, you’d be aware of the character known as The Batman Who Laughs. He’s basically an evil Batman from a parallel universe with all of Batman’s intelligence, but none of his morality. The Batman Who Laughs has obtained god like powers and threatens the entire DC Comics multiverse. Now the heroes and villains must band together to fight him and his nightmare forces.

After reading this, it’s clear to me that Snyder’s forte is writing horror, not large scale science fiction. Scott Snyder first met success at DC when he wrote for the main Batman book. His run on Batman is considered one of the best runs on Batman in its history. The story arcs here that got the most praise were the dark ones that were full of that horror atmosphere and yet had an optimism that permeated those stories.

Snyder later moved on to Justice League and the Death Metal annual miniseries’ which were books that mostly turned me off. They were just so scatterbrained. Snyder writes all these plot points that build up almost instantaneously and offer lackluster, unearned payoffs. It’s a weakness that I’ve also seen in Jonathan Hickman’s stories where the writer just tries to cram in too many ideas into a story and what you get is a half assed story that doesn’t do justice to any individual plot point. There’s too many things going that were set up poorly.

The same is true in Death Metal. There are too many cameos, plot points, development, references to past comics, all bereft of any competent setup. It all just ends up feeling cheap rather than what was like intended to be an epic moment. Of Snyder’s DC books that he’s written since leaving Batman, it was The Batman Who Laughs that I enjoyed the most. That was a small, intimate story with horror tones and ample character development. Death Metal lacks all that. It feels like Snyder constantly overreaches and throws in poorly researched elements of DC Comics history and glues them together for an incohesive story.

The art is great. I always enjoy Capullo’s art. It’s a shame that the story is so scatterbrained because good art cannot shine in a comic book with at least a somewhat decent story behind it.

Overall, this book was disappointing. Ultimately, this book exists solely to relaunch the DC Universe yet again in hopes of drawing in new readers, providing new stories to old readers, and to sell a ton of new toys.

Anime Review: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III

Details: This season is complete. Also known as Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka III and ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうかIII. More information can be found at https://myanimelist.net/anime/40454/Dungeon_ni_Deai_wo_Motomeru_no_wa_Machigatteiru_Darou_ka_III

Score: 6.8/10

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III is the third season of this ongoing series. As a result, you should not watch this unless you’ve already watched the two prior seasons.

This story takes place in a fantasy world where the gods have descended on the world of mortals and recruited mortals into “families.” The main goal of these families is to honor the god leading that family and to descend into a seemingly infinite dungeon. Inside the dungeon are monsters and everyone wants to go down and conquer the dungeon for treasure and glory.

The most jarring aspect of this anime is the animation quality. Episode one was animated very well. Then the animation quality drops for most of the season until the last episode, where it gets only slightly better. It’s a mess. As someone who cares about animation quality, I’m tempted to just recommend watching the first episode and then quitting the rest of the season.

The story is okay. The protagonist finds a sentient monster in the dungeon and now we have to deal with the consequences of that as the society in this world has been brutally killing all monsters for thousands of years.

Overall, this was okay. If you enjoyed the last two seasons, then you should watch this just to see more of this fantasy world. Otherwise, I would not recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t watch any of the prior two seasons. Additionally, this season was so mediocre that I do not recommend watching the last two seasons just to catch up and watch this season. It’s not worth it.

Fast Food Review: Dunkin’ Donuts Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

Details: More information can be found at https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/menu/sandwiches-and-more/beyond-sausage

Score: 6.5/10

Beyond Meat is a plant based meat substitute that pretty much tastes like low quality ground meat, which makes it the perfect substance to be used in fast food burgers or breakfast sandwiches. The meat at fast food places is generally already trash quality, so replacing with something that tastes like trash isn’t that big of a leap.

This Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich is egg, white cheddar and a Beyond Meat sausage patty on an English muffin. Sausage is the perfect place to use Beyond Meat since it’s just over spiced ground meat.

Overall, the sandwich was okay. All the ingredients were fine, but the Beyond Meat was noticeably worse than a sausage patty made of real meat. But that’s the price you pay to avoid meat and protect animals and your health and all the other reasons why people avoid eating meat.

This thing also wasn’t very cheap. It was somewhere between four to five dollars. I could go to the nearest deli and get the same sandwich for one to two dollars less. But again, this is price of being a vegetarian/vegan. Society has deemed that vegan/vegetarian products will cost a premium. Or maybe it’s just Dunkin’ products that cost a premium.

Fast Food Review: Dunkin’ Donuts Hot Macchiato

Details: More information can be found at https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/menu/espresso-and-coffee/macchiato

Score: 6.8/10

As the official website states, Dunkin’s hot macchiato is basically a cup of milk with two shots of expresso. They let you get a complimentary flavor shot. I got mocha.

Overall, this was pretty good. It cost about four dollars though, which is a lot. Starbucks is more expensive, but this still a lot for what is mostly milk. I will say that this thing has an impressive amount of caffeine. The day that I purchased this I was in a rush and drank about half the cup at once. That was a mistake as it gave me the caffeine jitters, something I don’t normally get. So if you need a jolt of caffeine, a cup of this stuff will do the trick.