Divine Gate (Dibain Geto) (2016) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2016|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Soma Saito / Chris Burnett
Tetsuya Kakihara / Joel McDonald
Kanae Ito / Alexis Tipton
Yuichi Nakamura / J. Michael Tatum
Koji Yusa / Chuck Huber
Akira Ishida / Austin Tindle
Takahiro Sakurai / Z. Charles Bolton
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Three worlds, human, fairy and demon, were once joined by a gate, creating chaos. So the World Council was established; it brought order to the human world and the Divine Gate was lost, and became a thing of legend. Memories of the gate linger; some believe that if the gate is found it will grant the wish of anyone who reaches it. But others, such as Arthur (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura / J. Michael Tatum), believe that those who reach the gate can remake the world. So Arthur has assembled a force known as the Knights of the Round and created an academy to train girls and boys known as Adapters, children who have special elementary abilities and who may be able to open the gate once it is found. Keeping an eye on the academy is the trickster god Loki (Koji Yusa / Chuck Huber) and the wizard Oz (Akira Ishida / Austin Tindle).
One day on a tram two academy students, Akane (Tetsuya Kakihara / Joel McDonald) and Midori (Kanae Ito / Alexis Tipton), witness Aoto (Soma Saito / Chris Burnett) use his Adapter skill to save a young girl. Aoto is a mysterious figure, a conflicted loner who, it seems, may have killed his parents and been involved in the infamous Blue Christmas massacre of 666 people. Nevertheless Arthur has tried many times to recruit Aoto to the academy, but has been rejected each time. Now Akane and Midori are ordered by Arthur to recruit Aoto, and they ultimately succeed.
Akane and Midori feel some affinity for Aoto as both are disturbed by memories and have suffered a loss in the past; Akane’s father was killed in a fire and Midori’s best friend suddenly disappeared. Akane and Midori both think that the gate exists, and that finding it will mean that their wish to be reunited with those they have lost will be granted. When Santa Claus (Takahiro Sakurai / Z. Charles Bolton) gives Arthur the key to the gate, and the training of the students has reached a sufficient stage, Arthur, the Knights of the Round and the students set out on a journey to find the gate. This is against the wishes of The World Council. The wizard Oz calls upon the Scandinavian gods to oppose the travelling party and many of the Knights perish while creating an opportunity for Arthur to reach the gate. He does, but Loki has a surprise in store. With things spiralling out of control, Midori, Aoto and Akane must each face their past and counter betrayal, subterfuge and Shakespearean characters in order to unlock the secrets of the Divine Gate.
You have to admire any anime as inventive as Devine Gate (Dibain Geto), a series based on a game developed in 2013 for mobile devices. It is a veritable trawl through the myths and literature of various cultures. The centrepiece, more or less, is a version of the King Arthur and the Holy Grail legend. There is a character named Arthur, who has a round table and knights including Lancelot, Percival, Mordred, Bedivere and Gawain, and he is on a quest to find what amounts to the Holy Grail (referred to as the Holy Gate). Added to this framework is the Norse, two faced and devious god Loki, the wizard of Oz (with another character called Dorothy), Santa Clause, Shakespeare (as a girl), Shakespearean characters Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello, the Bible and, for good measure, a version of Cinderella! Within this wide cultural and literary framework, Devine Gate considers themes such as mankind’s challenge to the gods, loss, sacrifice, hope and despair, friendship, conscience, regret, self-determination and especially memory because, as one character comments, “the past . . . always comes back in tears”. If you had the chance, would you change the past or change the world for a different future?
Divine Gate is a bit of a mess. It tosses its themes and ideas almost randomly into the mix and hints at alternative worlds while not necessarily explaining the world we are in or the powers and attributes of the various characters. The result is a confusing and frequently heady mixture but the tone is generally light, the characters interesting and the juxtapositions of diverse popular cultural icons inventive. One can only smile at the interconnections of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail with Norse gods, the wizard of Oz, Santa Clause and Shakespeare!! All the youthful characters, as well as some of the older ones such as Arthur, have interesting backstories; perhaps the most compelling character is Aoto who is guided, or perhaps misguided, by a figure who serves as his conscience, and seeks to overcome his tragic past and perhaps reconnect with his twin brother.
This first season of Divine Gate completes one story arc but sets up a number of others for the next season. As far as I can see, however, a second season was not produced. Divine Gate aired on TV in Japan between January to March 2016. This release, Divine Gate: The Complete Series contains episodes 1 – 12 on two discs.
Divine Gate is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, in the NTSC format and 16x9 enhanced.
This is often a deliberately soft looking anime with varied colours. Some scenes around the academy tower and the gate are grey / blue monochrome, flashbacks / memories are soft with a yellow overlay while other scenes have bright, vibrant colours including red, yellow and blue. Often the contrast between a softish background and firm characters in front resulted in the characters looking like pop-up figures. Lines are strong, the blacks solid and shadow detail fine.
The English subtitles are a white font. They are not the most crisp you will see and seem to be affected by mosquito noise but are easy to read and are removable for speakers of Japanese.
The layer changes are not noticeable.
Like many Funimation releases, the DVD contains an English dub Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and the original Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I listened to some of the episodes alternatively as the audio and subtitles can be changed on the go with the remote.
The original Japanese audio is surround encoded and the surrounds and rears featured music and effects such as rain and the loud thumps of impacts. The subwoofer did add boom to the impacts. The English dud was more balanced over the sound stage but to my mind the voice acting tried for more levity and thus lacked the intensity of the Japanese.
The music by Takumi Ozawa is varied and effective, sometimes jazzy, other times utilising a piano or cello for poignancy.
This is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras of any kind.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There are six part Japanese and German releases of Divine Gate that are not English friendly. There appears to be a US Blu-ray / DVD combo although I cannot find out any details.
Divine Gate has received some indifferent reviews but I enjoyed the interconnection of King Arthur, Norse gods, Santa Clause and Shakespeare, however weird that sounds, although the result is indeed uneven, most likely because this anime was not based on a developed manga but a game. Not a top notch anime, but certainly interesting if you are in the mood.
The video and audio are fine. No extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|