The Gate Season 3 release date can’t come any sooner for anime fans. A-1 Pictures based the story of the JSDF entering a fantasy world upon the Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri light novels, and the story is just heating up. While all 24 episodes covered a lot of ground, the story shown so far is a mere taste of things to come since the novel has anime Alien Xenomorphs running amok!
While it sounds strange for a popular anime to suddenly introduce the Aliens from Sigourney Weaver’s adventures, you have to keep in mind the Gate: And So The JSDF Fought story started life in 2006 as essentially fan fiction. Author Takumi Yanai first self-published the story as web novels but eventually print publishing company AlphaPolis took notice. The initial publishing of the first chapters began in July of 2011, and as of this article’s publishing, the author is up to Gate Volume 10. The question is, will these stories, including the appearance of anime Aliens, find their way into an actual anime season?
Gate Season 2 Versus Gate Season 3
There’s a minor controversy splitting the fandom, with some claiming that the next Gate anime season should be called Gate Season 3 while others insist the proper name is Gate Season 2. It may be a semantics argument, but it’s sort of like how people refer to Fairy Tail Season 9 and Fairy Tail Season 3 interchangeably, with the latter version referring to the years of release rather than actual seasons.
Similarly, those who support calling the future episodes Gate Season 2 point out that the first 24 episodes were simply split up into two parts. This viewpoint is based on the fact that Japan splits up its anime release time frames, which are called cours, into Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Most anime series launch with one cours of around 12 episodes and in some cases additional episodes will air during the following cour. Based upon this viewpoint, the first 12 episodes of Gate Season 1 aired during the Summer 2015 anime season while the second cours of episodes aired during Winter 2016.
Google’s search traffic data would also seem to support the Gate Season 2 interpretation since slightly more people search “Gate Season 2″ on a daily basis in comparison to “Gate Season 3.” However, this article is using Gate Season 3 since CrunchyRoll specifically refers to the second cours of anime episodes as Gate Season 2 and MyAnimeList also uses that title designation.
Gate Season 3 Release Date: It All Depends On The Author
As of this publishing, anime production company A-1 Pictures has not announced anything official about the Gate Season 3 release date, although this article will be updated as soon as the anime sequel is confirmed. However, there can be reasonable speculation about when, or if, the Gate anime’s Season 3 air date may occur.
There are two main issues; money and the source material. Second seasons to anime are only produced if there’s a financial incentive. The good news is that Gate’s sales in Japan seem to be for a sequel.
Anime News Network reports that in November of 2015 the Gate Blu-Ray sales in Japan were in the top 10 on the charts with 4,696 copies sold. Blu-Ray sales of Gate Season 2 had similar numbers, with 4,999 copies sold placing the anime in the top 5 according to a March 2016 report. By August of 2016, the Gate Blu-Ray sales were still in the top 10 and the Gate English dub release date was set for July 11, 2017. As a comparison, No Game No Life Season 1 was #12 on the charts with 5,705 copies sold, and a movie called No Game No Life: Zero is about to be released in 2017.
If it was all about the money, then making Gate Season 3 seems like a no-brainer. The problem is the source material or lack thereof. However, first, an explanation is necessary. Author Takumi Yanai’s novels were reprinted as light novels, with each of the 10 books being split in half to make 20 light novels. The novels and light novels are the same content, but the light novels have extra artwork from artist Kurojishi. Yanai is also writing a monthly Gate manga that’s up to chapter 64, but as of this publishing, it hasn’t even caught up with the story of the anime.
The anime actually skimmed over a lot of the novel’s content, making it worthwhile to read the Gate English translation from the start. Besides, it seems unlikely the future anime season would include all of the dialogue and character development. For example, Gate Volume 3 has the author going into exquisite detail on disease prevention, and he even cites the historical role of Columbus bringing plagues upon the American natives. Gate Volume 8 also has a lengthy philosophical discussion on justifying governmental suppression of the media that brings up religion, Martin Luther King, Pol Pot, and other real world examples. While interesting to read, such in-depth discourse would bog down the pacing of an anime.
The last of the Gate novels was released in July of 2015. The anime story line ended with parts of Gate book 5 and 6 of the novel series, leaving about five volumes as source material for an anime, but the problem is that the main story arc of the novels also ended with volume 5. The remaining five volumes are all side stories, or gaiden, which focus on the adventures of one or more Gate characters. To make the situation even more confusing, the Gate manga ret-conned some of Book 10’s side stories in the sequential timeline that the anime skipped.
Thus, in the end, the problem with producing Gate Season 3 right now is that it would mostly consist of disconnected side stories instead of having a coherent main plot focused on the character Itami. Also, some of the side stories took place in-between events already shown in the anime, which is useless as source material unless A-1 Pictures wants to do flashback episodes for character development (or because there’s zombies). The good news is that Yanai wrote in a light novel’s afterword that he would like to write a second main book series so eventually there should be enough source material for Gate Season 3.
Gate Season 3 Spoilers
The last time we saw our favorite Gate characters, Lelei, Tuka and Rory had disrupted a dojinshi convention on Earth, ending Itami’s main reason for working so hard the past year. The JSDF’s 3rd Recon managed to rescue Pina Co Lada from the clutches of her brother, Zorzal, and the Emperor decides to make Pina his heir to the Empire. 10 days later, a coronation makes her Crown Princess Pina. Zorzal vows vengeance against Japan, bringing the anime story to a solid stopping point.
While it’s true that books six through nine are labeled as gaiden, the side stories apparently do occur in chronological order within the Gate story timeline. The side stories are also designed to segue into the second series of the books so it would make sense for the first Gate Season 3 episodes to include these events. In fact, several of the events are critical for setting the stage for the third season, so the anime will undoubtedly include them in at least the first cours.
No one should be surprised that civil war breaks out in the Empire when Zorzal rallies his Imperial troops for full out conflict. The Special Region forces compensate for modern weapons by trapping tanks in pits and throwing chains on helicopter blades, so they finally put up a decent fight. The final battle against Zorzal results in severe damage to the JSDF in the Special Region, with soldiers dying and equipment being destroyed.
Zorzal is not the real threat since international intrigue has the USA, Russia, and China trying to intervene in the Special Region, with their actions ending in catastrophic consequences to the Gate itself. The multi-national effort results in Chinese agents going rogue and the portal back to Earth is closed shut! The most important consequence is that poor Itami is cut off from his precious dojinshi, but the JSDF is also cut off from reinforcements, with even some of the named Gate characters being split up between Earth and the Special Region.
The JSDF members stranded in the Special Region are faced with the reality of being stuck forever. The four gaiden novels then focus on the adventures of the heroines Pina, Rory, Tuka, and Lelei, and Itami even becomes an awesome Dragon Knight, but it could be said the overarching story theme is their attempts to open a new Gate back to Japan.
Gate: And So Alien Xenomorphs Invade Japan
This is where Gate Season 3 will get a little crazy, especially when it comes to copyright issues with 20th Century Fox. When Itami enters a Gate portal created by Lelei’s science-fueled magic, he pokes his head into an H.R. Giger-inspired room full of facehugger eggs contained on the Alien homeworld.
Yes, you read that right, these are the Alien Xenomorphs straight out of Alien: Covenant. No, these are not copyright-friendly zerg knockoffs, nor does author Yanai simply make implied references in the novel. Instead, Itami describes the facehugger eggs in direct relation to the Alien movie and since the other Japanese character know how Alien films end they rightly freak out. The scene is also humorous since Itami can’t help himself and panics everyone by faking the feeling of an Alien bursting out of his chest!
The reference to Alien Xenomorphs is also not a minor plot point that A-1 Pictures can scrub out of the story like the Chinese censored version of the Alien: Covenant movie. Although introducing Aliens reeks of bad fan faction, it’s an important plot element that the Gate portals can connect to an infinite amount of possible realities within the multiverse. In the multiverse, easily bored gods like Hardy must be real, and so are fictional characters like Aliens and Predators, and it’s possible the author intends on exploiting that angle further. Also, the Gate novel’s usage of Alien Xenomorphs is not limited to one funny scene. No, it’s a full-on invasion and infestation since the Xenomorphs swarm the Special Region, turning the civil war into a three-way battle between JSDF, the Imperial army, and Alien Xenomorphs.
Despite anime Aliens being crucial to the source material, A-1 Pictures will probably be tempted to nuke the concept from orbit and avoid any sticky legal issues by introducing a generic alien species in Gate Season 3. Regardless of the outcome, anime fans will know they’re in for quite the ride when the next season of Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri finally airs!
[Featured Image by A-1 Pictures]