The year is 1969 and Japan is under attack from the evil invaders, beings that have successfully infiltrated human society. To combat this increasing threat, a specialized defense force known as Aegis has been created. Its members, known as gate keepers, draw on powers from other dimensions in order to defeat the invaders.
The story begins as Shun Ukiya and his childhood friend Ruriko Ikusawa are reunited and discover that they both have gate powers. They must find a way to master their abilities and their feelings for each other in order to defend their friends, families, and each other.
Gate Keepers has just about everything you could ask for in an anime: great characters, evil invaders, giant monsters, romance, special powers, comedy, fast cars, and giant robots. The story has the right mix of action and comedy to keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation.
The invaders have been blending with normal society for years now. It is impossible to separate them from humans, in fact, as they have replaced real humans that have an actual past and are implanted with their memories. The invaders are called to return to their true selves and fight by a paranormal frequency that activates them, removing the illusion of their humanity. They then transform into their natural form by wearing special sunglasses (really). It’s similar to the thousands of agent Smiths in the Matrix, now that I think about it.
Although the story is somewhat hokey, the series still manages to work with it well, since it doesn’t take itself very seriously. It’s almost like a parody of other anime or action movies. Some of the elements are so over the top that it comes across as very tongue-in-cheek. There are a number of running gags that also provide some comic relief.
The plot originally centers on the threat posed by the invaders and the two invader executives that are commanding them. It later becomes apparent, however, that there is a third force at work that is even more dangerous, and this enemy is human.
The characters are some of the most likeable and funny I’ve seen, and have a good mix of personalities. Shun is the determined, sometimes bumbling, captain, of the group who often charges in without thinking of the consequences. Ruriko is the charming, level-headed one. She has struggled with her feelings for Shun since childhood, and now she must contend with the very assertive Kaoru. Comic relief is often provided by Reiko, who, although 18, is very naive and has a childlike outlook on life. Megumi, on the other hand, is a brooding, melancholy girl with a critical eye towards others. These contrasting personalities provide some interesting and varied dynamics between the characters.
The plot covers at least some background on all of the characters without deviating too much from the main story. Throughout the series, the relationship between Shun and Ruriko is explored, adding a sense of romantic drama to the action in a rather effective way. Shun must also find a way to overcome the disappointment and resentment he feels towards his late father as he strives to prove himself.
Gate Keepers does a very good job of creating some very emotionally-charged, exciting action sequences. The action in the series is pretty intense and the animation carries it over well, blending CG and cell animation in some rather clever ways. There are a few spots where the CG is a bit awkward looking, but they are not very significant.
The characters’ abilities are varied and provide some good entertainment. The invaders can combine with each other and transform as well, creating a number of interesting monsters. Along with their unique abilities, there are a number of nifty gadgets that our heroes get to utilize, including a giant robot.
The animation is very pleasing and smooth during action scenes. The character designs are nicely done and have a distinctive look that is instantly recognizable.
The audio in the series is good, with a very catchy intro tune and effectively upbeat melodies. Some of the tracks have a militaristic theme to them which works well. The voiceover work is very well done, with almost no annoying voices at all. I thought that all of the English voiceover artists fit the characters perfectly.
Almost all of the elements of this show exude quality, so I think most viewers will find some aspect to enjoy or appreciate. Although the series doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table, it makes use of classic anime themes, humor, and some wonderful characters to create a story that is both exciting and heart-warming.
- Audio: Good, charming voiceovers
- Video: Quality animation
- Plot: Cliche, but a good mix of action and drama
- Style: Great character designs, distinctive overall style
- Characters: Very likable cast with a range of personalities
- Violence: Mild
- Language: Mild
- Nudity: None
- Genre: Action
- Episodes: 24
- Rating: 4.0 of 5