(This review pertains to the first two episodes of the anime, it is an opinion and should be taken as such, thank you for reading!) I will try to have one of these out every weekend.
So I figured that since I've watched quite a few (cough A LOT) anime in my time, I might as well share with LV my thoughts on what I'm currently watching to help gauge interest in or keep you away from-- certain anime! This will provide an in-depth analysis involving a rubric I use below. Thanks!
Elementalists are all mixed up
I didn't intend to start my review series with this anime, but here it goes, I think. So Divine Gate is an anime I believe based off of a mobile card game. This isn't anything new; game to anime works are happening a lot more frequently lately, though this genre is a little rough around the edges. We open the first episode following a rather poetic (...more like edgy to me) character walking in the rain, talking about how the "rain will never fill the holes in his heart". But what I immediately take notice of here (sorry for my artist mind), is the lack of fluid animation. My god, the first few frames of this anime are already horrendously choppy, using a fade effect to express movement.
I'm not sure if this was a lack of budget or press for time but it was too noticeable, already giving Divine Gate some bad marks. A personal bother of mine with the art itself was the very intense shading done on the characters. As you can tell the characters are shaded with almost a pure black, it is an interesting and very different choice, but I feel it's too distracting and could destroy some otherwise nice details in the art. But, take that as you will, everyone has a different taste. Then things get interesting with a strange child character who seems to be in the boy's conscience appearing, egging him on about some bad stuff this boy got into. At this point, I grew a little more impressed with the design of the anime, the color filters used in the background of this scene were very nice, blended in a clean fashion with out bleeding into and distracting from the characters.
But now that we fast forward, not only are we ALREADY getting a flashback of the main character's past but also an action scene with a crazed man on a train and some new characters showing up introducing these things called "Adapters" and "Drivers" This is a lot to take in in such a short amount of time, and I feel one of these scenes could have been saved for later (flashback, anyone?). Anyways. here's where the premise gets unique. The characters are able to open fields where they can battle freely against something without anyone or any structure getting in the way. The drivers, are the names of their weapons, which are basically little spheres that when activated turn into a sword, power-gloves, etc whatever your weapon is. The adapters are the people wielding them, and apparently are those with elemental powers (fire, water, wind etc). Elements are something I don't often see portrayed so bluntly as such in anime for what they are as they are in American media, so it was intriguing to see this anime make it such an important fact that /these are/ different powers and should be treated as such.
And here's where we learn that these Adapters want to reach something called the Divine Gate. What is the Divine Gate? We aren't told, but we are told it's some sort of gate that makes wishes come true (an all too familiar trope; kids with powers competing to get their wish granted). But it doesn't stop there, each Elemental Adapter has a Spirit (I believe, or simply a fairy teacher) they follow from another world, specifically one of their element and each has a unique name. At this point I'm not really sure what to think, this anime seems like a bunch of tropes thrown together in some way the writers hoped it would work. Elementalists, a wish granting gate, lest we forget another seemingly evil organization that charges a robot at the main cast, other worlds and character development? This is a lot to take in at a very fast rate. While this anime is unique in both art and plot, it is meshed together and it is meshed bad. This all happens within the span of two episodes mind you, this pacing is awful.
I did enjoy the designs of these fairy leaders and the cast very much, though. Their designs were very cute and eye catching, and besides the shading the art wasn't bad to look at. I did get a childish feel from how blatantly obvious it was what element each character controlled though, (Akane was all red, Midori all green). And it was sort of cute how the characters were QUITE LITERALLY named after the color of their element (Akane= Red, Midori = Green, Aoto = Blue). It made me think of those anime meant for a younger audience like Magical DoReiMi or simply Sailor Moon. I feel this anime could have had potential if the writing didn't make it trip over its own feet. The character personalities are all nicely varied, but don't really have any quirks that make them memorable. As worried as I was for this series' pilot, I'm still watching it, and am being optimistic about it tying itself together. I'll see if this series, remains a mess, but for now, it does have some interesting (no pun intended) elements I hadn't seem much of, if at all before art and direction wise. If you feel up to it I simply recommend checking this anime out if you have nothing better to do the day, its not something I can see having time invested into. It can be cute in it's own way.
ANIMATION QUALITY: 2.5/5
CHARACTER DESIGN: 4/5
Shiro's over all score for this: 4.7/10
Thanks for reading!