Review: Gate Keepers

Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
Manga: 3 Volumes
Author: Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Artwork: Keiji Gotoh
Original Run: November 29, 1999 – October 29, 2001
Anime: 24 Episodes
Studio: GONZO
Original Run: April 3, 2000 – September 18, 2000
Gate Keepers 21: 6 Episodes
Original Run: April 24, 2002 – January 8, 2003
Novel: Gate Keepers 1985
Published: January 30, 2003

In 1969 Japan, aliens, known as "Invaders", are attacking Earth. However, this truth is not known by the general public. The elite secret organization, A.E.G.I.S., was set up by the government with its special goal of confronting these Invaders. AEGIS relies on their special members called "Gate Keepers", the only ones who have any real chance in battling the invaders. One day on his route to high school, Ukiya Shun observes a battle between a young girl and a group of Invaders. He ends up helping her and discovers that, much like the girl, he is also a Gate Keeeper. As a result, Ukiya then joins A.E.G.I.S in an effort to recruit other Gate Keepers and protect the city, all while doing his best not to imitate his late father, whom he dispises.

Story: The first part of the series primarily revolves around the recruitment of Gate Keepers to AEGIS. There are also random attacks from the invaders that reveal information that lead up to the next episode. However, the main point is actually the attack of the top invaders, Akuma Hakushaku and Kikai Shogun, and the evil Gate Keeper Kageyama Reiji. For the story, there's only excitement, lots of comedy, and some action in the first part. But, it turns into a considerably moving plot in the second part, though it retains its share of comedy and light-hearted scenes.

Characters: Considering that this series was created based from a game, the characters have remarkly good unique individual traits and attitudes. They have a solid identity and well-portrayed character. Their backgrounds and history were well thought of and fit how they turned out in present day. The designs are very good and fitting.

Relationships: Of course, romantic relationships are also found here. But, it is not the main focus of the story and mostly, these relationships are shown in comedic fashion, with few exemptions. There is only one main romance focused and that is between Ikusawa Ruriko and Ukiya Shun. However, there are also some sideline relationships that have been given their own spotlights during the series such as Banchou and Konoe kaoru, as well as The Commander and Ochiai Keiko. Aside from romantic relationships, family, friendship, teamwork, and even superior-junior relationships have had big parts in the series.

Gate Abilities: Gate Abilities are the special powers that the main characters in the series possesses. There are only few people who have these abilities and they are called Gate Keepers. Gate Keepers have the ability to call power from a different dimension and open a "Gate". This gate varies from one Gate Keeper to another. Respective gates have specified abilities such as the Gate of Fire, which allows the Gate Keeper to summon flames and control them. Or even the Gate of Supersonic, which gives the Gate Keeper superhuman speed. A Gate Keeper must open his/her gate in order to use their respective gate abilities. Each Gate has its own color though some of them might have the same.

AEGIS: AEGIS or A.E.G.I.S. is short for Alien Exterminating Global Intercept System. It is a highly secret elite organization that was set up with special funding from the government. This was formed in order to counter the attacks of Invaders. They rely on the ability of Gate Keepers, who have the power to open dimensional "gates" of a paranormal energy that give them their superpowers. These gate abilities are the only weapons that have any effect on Invaders.
A.E.G.I.S., being an international organization, has branches around the world all over the world. Each of these branches have their own Headquarters headed by a commander. Often, the commanders gather together to convene in the Main Headquarters of AEGIS. The series focuses in the Far East AEGIS branch in Japan whose headquarters lies beneath Tategami High School, a facade created by the organization to mask the active recruitment of new Gate Keepers. Since many of the candidates were High School students, the location allowed the agents to be enrolled in school and be available for a mission at a moment's notice. Other AEGIS branches that have been mentioned are the German Branch in Germany, Shanghai Branch in China, American Branch in the United States of America, French Branch in France, AEGIS England in England.

Animation: The animation is very good. It is high-quality, detailed and accurate. It has bright, cute, and colorful atmosphere that fits the events, situation, and places during the series. I must say, this is another of GONZO's many wonderfully created series.

Voice Acting: The voice acting is good. The seiyuus did very well in protraying their characters. However, personally, I really like the portrayal did by Koyasu Takehito for Banchou and Suzuki Masami for Hojo Yukino. Banchou's personality was really shown not only in the animation of his actions but through the very well-done voicing of Koyasu Takehito. He is also the voice of Excalibur in Soul Eater, Keiki in Twelve Kingdoms, Pesche in Bleach, and Hotohori in Fushigi Yugi for some examples. As for Suzuki Masami, she did well in voicing her silent character while making her seem alive. The cast is also full of other well-known seiyuu. Sakurai Takahiro voices Ukiya Shun. He is also the voice behind Santa in Kaikan Phrase, Sasame in Pretear, Fakir in Princess Tutu, Suzaku in Code Geass, and Tachibana Shito in Zombie-Loan among many others. Kawasumi Ayako voices Ikusawa Ruriko. She was also the voice of Kaede in Angelic Layer, Chikage in Sister Princess, Tazusa in Ginban Kaleidoscope, and Saber in Fate/Stay Night to name a few. Many of the cast have roles in the anime Bleach and Kaleido Star.

Soundtrack/Themes: The Soundtrack is very commendable. The music is always fitting and well-timed. The themes are no less, of course. They catch attention and really tells a lot about the series. I love the tune and beat of the songs. I like how the opening is very upbeat and the ending is mellow and heartwarming. The opening theme is Asu no Egao no Tame ni, while the ending theme is Kyou Kara Ashita E both by Matsuzawa Yumi.