January 15, 2016

GATE -- Noriko

This is a huge spoiler so it's below the fold.


(Lelei is still my favorite character, but Kuribayashi is a close second.)

After the earthquake, Itami and a few others accompany Pina to the Emperor's palace to make sure he's OK. And then Prince Zorzal shows up, with a warning that there could be further quakes, which fact he says he got from "Noriko". At which point it comes out that he has a Japanese woman named Noriko as a slave, and he's been abusing her (including raping her). Itami spikes and hits him, which leads to a small battle in which Kuribayashi kills a bunch of Zorzal's guard and some of the Pretorians. Itami demands to know the story, Zorzal arrogantly brushes him off, and then Itami orders Kuribayashi to beat the crap out of Zorzal, which she does.

The problem I'm having is understanding just how Noriko ended up there. In the manga it isn't explicitly stated but the strong implication is that she and two companions were kidnapped during the invasion and taken back through the gate before things in Tokyo turned against the Romans. (Yeah, they're not Romans but I'm gonna call them that.)

But in ep 2 of the second Gate series, they reveal that Noriko was grabbed a lot time before the battle in Ginza, because members of her family were in Ginza on that day passing out "Have you seen this woman" fliers with her picture on it, and got caught in the battle and were all killed.

In the manga Rory mentions at one point that it was Hardy, god of the underworld, who opened the gate. And the Romans were ready with a large organized army to invade within minutes of the gate opening. The presumption, then, is that Hardy did this for the Romans, or for reasons of her own, but in either case she cooperated with the Romans and gave them enough warning to assemble an army and move it into place before opening it.

But that doesn't jibe with what we were just told. If the gate opened much earlier, why didn't anyone in Tokyo notice it and... put a guard around it, at the very least. If it opened once, briefly, to let Roman scouts through, and then closed again, then why didn't it close after the JSDF invaded, stranding the initial force? (Or close after the Roman attack failed, during the months in which the JSDF were planning their counter-attack?)

I can't retcon what I'm seeing in a way I find satisfactory. I should note that the anime and the manga are both based on a set of novels and they don't owe any continuity to each other. There have been several ways in which they have diverged on small points, most prominently the character of Cato. In the manga he's a wise man with plenty of gravity; in the anime he's an idiot mainly used for comic relief. For instance, in the manga it was Cato's idea to harvest dragon scales for sale. In the anime, it was Lelei.

But until now they haven't diverged significantly on major plot points which, presumably, they get from the books, which are canon.

And it's hard to believe that there isn't a canonical answer in the books to the question, "When did the gate open, and how many times?"

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Engineer's Disease at 06:20 PM | Comments (16) | Add Comment
Post contains 564 words, total size 3 kb.


Eh, Kuribayashi seems a little too much 'Don't think - fight." for me.  Even Rory is not as impulsive as our wannabe harridan.

Episode 14 did feel very disjointed, like the scriptwriters had a bunch of scenes they wanted to include, but could never put them together into a smoothly flowing narrative.  I have not read enough to the translations of the light novels but it felt like liberties were taken.

Posted by: cxt217 at January 15, 2016 09:05 PM (w2841)

2 Well, in this particular case she was following orders. But it can't be denied that she wanted those orders and enjoyed following them. (The manga makes that a lot more clear than the anime.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 15, 2016 11:58 PM (+rSRq)

3 Kuribayashi seems a little too much 'Don't think - fight." for me.

She was given orders to "fire at will."  The fact that she restrained herself and used non-lethal (but painful) methods until the Centurions got involved shows that she wasn't just acting impulsively in that scene.

All that being said, I do love watching someone who enjoys her work.

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 16, 2016 06:32 AM (KiM/Y)

4 I am actually referring to all the previous incidents with Kuribayashi.  She gets a pass on this one given Itami ordered her and Tomita to take care of business.

Posted by: cxt217 at January 16, 2016 07:06 AM (w2841)

5 I think that

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at January 16, 2016 08:30 PM (AaBUm)

6 Although Kuribayashi  does seem to enjoy fighting a bit too much, she only seems to want to fight for the "right reasons".  I think she will have no trouble being accepted as a disciple of Rory...

Posted by: Siergen at January 17, 2016 07:41 AM (De/yN)

7 I don't remember the manga informing the reader .

If Brickmuppet is correct, she might go nuts and create another plot point.

Posted by: topmaker at January 17, 2016 09:35 AM (6stZH)


Oh boy....After taking look, it appears that the anime is largely faithful to the original plotline of the light novels, in the sequencing of events and by content.  Which means the inconsistency and issues were by the original author.

Posted by: cxt217 at January 17, 2016 03:04 PM (H7pmS)


There's two things that bother me about Kuribayashi fighting hand-to-hand (All of the times she's been doing it throughout the series):

1) She's doing it as a part-timer against forces who don't do it any other way.  The Empire forces will spend all of their time training on hand-to-hand and sword/spear based combat, while she will only do it between training on more modern weapons and tactics.  Plus, a rifle with a fixed bayonet is basically a spear, but will be deeply compromised vs. the regular spears the Empire forces carry.  After all, her rifle is designed to be a rifle, not the handle of a bladed weapon.

2) She's hitting way above her weight class--literally.  There's a reason that fighting sports are divided up into male and female and by weight.  I have no doubt that she could whip a high plurality of people's asses with the element of surprise.  However, they have her whipping everybody's ass in all fights.

I get why they do it for story reasons, and compared to the whole plot it's an easy suspension of disbelief, but it's still there.

I just finished watching the latest episode, and I'm glad the timeline with Noriko is bothering everybody else.  I was trying to figure out what I missed.

Posted by: CatCube at January 17, 2016 08:36 PM (fa4fh)


Jim Dunnigan has written about how men (and, presumably women) deal with combat, and in particular how there are occasional people who thrive on it. It seems like it's their natural element. He says that the Vikings called men like that "Berserkers" and put them on the front line. More recently they have become known as "super soldiers". (That's what Dunnigan calls them, anyway.)

Some of our more famous American soldiers were apparently like that. I think he pointed out two in particular: Patton and Ridgway. This characteristic doesn't necessarily make a man a good General but it also doesn't disqualify him. (It can be a problem sometimes because these kinds of men don't really understand what combat does to normal men, and Patton did have a problem with that.)

It's clear to me that the author is presenting Kuribayashi as being a super-soldier. The author spent a long time in the JSDF and though it never saw real combat there would still have been combat exercises and war games and if he kept his eyes open he would have noticed the type.

And, it turns out, that even though they aren't physically any different than anyone else, they can be far more effective simply because they don't seem to have any fear.

Yeah, the Pretorians are well trained and well armed, but when they're charged by a woman who's five feet tall and screaming bloody murder, they would definitely be intimidated and would feel fear, which would put them on the defensive. I don't find it implausible at all that she could have that effect on them, especially when combined with unusual weapons (they had never seen a rifle with a bayonet before) and uniform and equipment and with the reputation that the JSDF has by that point after two major battles at Alnus and one at Italica.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2016 09:51 PM (+rSRq)


Your examples are of people who were not physically hitting their enemies.  Patton and Ridgway distinguished themselves as generals, where most of their work was intellectual and leadership.  Here, we have somebody who's 5' nothing and maybe 120 lbs beating the hell out of all of the people.  That would be a little off if she was merely fighting contemporary forces; here, she's beating the hell out of people whose only methods of warfare are arrows and beating the hell out of people.  And rifle or no, I think they'd figure out pretty quickly that she's wielding a spear that has a reach of about half their own.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying there's an issue with Kuribayashi being the best soldier in the show.  History has shown that a woman with a gun is easily a match for a man with a gun (or without one).  I question her being the best hand-to-hand combatant.  I should note that her being female has very little to do with this; I'd find it as much of a suspension of disbelief thing if it was a male JSDF, as the Empire has every incentive to maximize their skill at close in, hand-to-hand combat, where the JSDF only does it if things spiral out of control.

I picked Fairy Tail back up after getting caught up on Gate, and it occurred to me that I never even thought twice about Erza being one of the heaviest hitters.  However, that show starts with the premise that all of the fighting is fantastic (in the fantasy sense), so it fits with everything else.  Gate spends a lot of time having accurate weapons, etc., so when they do something fantastic like having the best hand-to-had combatant be one of the smaller people, it stands out more.

Posted by: CatCube at January 17, 2016 11:22 PM (fa4fh)

12 I don't think you give enough credence to the intimidation factor.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2016 11:42 PM (+rSRq)

13 Kurabayashi has a problem - she's death walking and yet it's Itami, slacker extraordinaire, who's got a ranger badge! ;p

I don't know that you could say that she's the best warrior in the show (even leaving out Rory). But shock, it's a real thing, y'know? Kuribayashi wouldn't win in a gladiatorial arena, but most of the fights we've seen have been situations where she wasn't expected (or where the other guys were already really unsettled by events), and she's racked up a tally that's flattering her skill somewhat. Guts and no hesitation really can do that in real life, though.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 18, 2016 01:44 AM (v29Tn)

14 A "half-reach" spear can be an advantage in close-quarters individual combat (or small-unit combat); ask the Zulus.  Long spears are for throwing, or for large-unit formations (the European "pike hedge").   

(Handwaving to follow.)  And she's in a fantasy world.  Dragons shouldn't be able to fly with their wing-to-weight ratio (with the size of some fantasy dragons, they shouldn't be able to breathe).  They can fly simply because they're dragons; they're supposed to be able to fly.  Maybe Kuribayashi wins because she's a true warrior and she's supposed to win?  (In D&D terms, she has some fighter/monk levels, and many of her opponents are zero-level shlubs, trained or not.)

Posted by: Mikeski at January 18, 2016 08:12 AM (LIUK5)


I don't know about that but after Italica Kuribayashi seems to have Rory's favor, and that may have practical aspects to it since Rory is the apostle of Emroy, the god of war, crime, madness, and death. (Sounds like a fun guy to have at a party, doesn't he?)

So Emroy may also smile on Kuribayashi, and that might not be trivial.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 18, 2016 08:21 AM (+rSRq)

16 Pina's father impressed me in this episode, more than in any other. He was analyzing the situation in passionless detail and calmly concluded where his entire empire fit in against these enemies. This was his first time seeing them live and in combat.

I'm sure when Kuribayashi switched to live ammunition once the (sort of) Phalanx was formed, and he saw the easy defeat of one of his better defensive formations, that clinched the deal.

Posted by: topmaker at January 18, 2016 02:51 PM (6stZH)

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