THE NEW GATE – Episode 1

By: Alex Henderson April 15, 20240 Comments
Shin holding a comically long glowing red katana

Content Warning: fan service

What’s it about? One day, the MMORPG The New Gate became deadly, preventing its players from logging out and killing them in real life if their avatar died in the game. The curse was only lifted when a player named Shin defeated the final boss. But instead of being logged out and sent home, Shin finds himself portalled to somewhere unexpected—the world of The New Gate some 500 years in the future.

I love a series that presents an interesting premise and then does absolutely nothing with it, don’t you? Despite its twist on the “trapped in a game” formula and intriguing (if… confusing) set-up, THE NEW GATE seems pretty content to waltz through familiar plot beats, character types, and misogynistic disappointments that we’ve seen played out before.

Shin, like many protagonists in his genre, isn’t much to write home about. It’s nice that he steps up to singlehandedly defeat the boss and free his fellow players, but this all happens in such quick succession that there’s not much indication of why he does it. Likewise, he sleepwalks through his new existence in The New Gate’s world without much of sense of personal motivation or an emotional reaction (except for an admittedly funny bit where he rolls around on the grass lamenting the fact that he’s been isekai-ed. Which, like, fair enough. I’m not happy about it either).

Shin lying on a field of green grass clutching his head. Subtitle text reads: First a death game, now an isekai trip?!

He’s got a cool black-and-red outfit and a powerful sword. He’s super duper strong, especially with the buffs he received from slaying the monster before the timeskip. He still has access to his stats screens, which apparently no one else can see, which gives him a leg up in any fights he comes across. He has access to his inventory and can pull things out of thin air, something that’s treated as an ancient, bizarre magic only available to a select few. He’s got so much going on and yet so little.

Okay, in fairness, that last one, at least, is kind of interesting—the idea that player-characters are a long-forgotten people and being a gamer is an art lost to time. Aside from this, though, this premiere really doesn’t do much with its “game world 500 years after all the gamers disappear” premise and it slides comfortably into familiar plot beats about Shin rescuing an elf babe from bandits, signing up to the adventurer’s guild, and fighting a big cool unique monster. He also takes the time to ogle aforementioned elf babe, by the way, the camera gliding down to her ample cleavage. So, pardon me, I tell a lie, that’s at least one defining character trait for our hero: he likes boobs.

Shin leaning across a shop counter towards a shocked-looking female elf in a skimpy outfit. Subtitle text reads: Is she a beautiful elf with waist-length silver hair and an incredible body?

He’s in luck, because there are plenty of them. We meet four female characters in Shin’s new homeworld and each of them are scantily dressed in their own unique way, including—maybe most insultingly—a woman who’s introduced cleavage first in the final seconds of the episode. Sure does seem like it’s setting her up to be important to the plot, but clearly, establishing that she’s got honkers is the most crucial part of this cliffhanger.

This premiere sets the tone for THE NEW GATE going ahead: a bland and occasionally pervy protagonist, weak worldbuilding, and fanservice served up by both the character designs and the camera work. I, mercifully, am not forced to stay logged into this world, so I’ll be taking my leave.

About the Author : Alex Henderson

Alex Henderson is a writer and managing editor at Anime Feminist. They completed a doctoral thesis on queer representation in young adult genre fiction in 2023. Their short fiction has been published in anthologies and zines, their scholarly work in journals, and their too-deep thoughts about anime, manga, fantasy novels, and queer geeky stuff on their blog.

Read more articles from Alex Henderson

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