We all have that one show that we’re ashamed of enjoying. It doesn’t fit into our tastes, we shouldn’t like it, but it’s become our guilty pleasure, and despite all of the ridicule surrounding it in the Anime community: we had a great time with it.
So what’s my guilty pleasure? Brace yourselves for a weird one…
Can someone please explain to me why I liked Divine Gate? Because I honestly have no idea why beyond some incredibly vague notions that I was able to forcefully yank out from the deepest, darkest depths of my inner psyche.
Divine Gate is an absolute mess of a show.
The writing is full of inconsistencies and is jam packed with seemingly random nonsense that doesn’t make sense at all. It’s almost as though the script writers had absolutely no idea what they were doing and just threw a boatload of unrelated ideas together to make a story.
The characters are mostly unmemorable, their motivations and overall goals make little sense and half of them contribute nothing to the narrative, with several of them disappearing from the plot immediately after being introduced. There’s also a character named Santa Claus. You read correctly. There’s a character named Santa Claus.
The animation is also lackluster and riddled with eye-gouging CGI that gives even the crowd shot scenes from Parasyte a run for their money in terms of awfulness.
Yet, I enjoyed Divine Gate. I’d even go as far as recommending it.
I guess I’ll give this a shot…
While the plot is nonsensical and near impossible to follow, the underlying concept and core themes of Divine Gate were surprisingly engaging. The series narrative resolves around a mystical gate that can bend time and space and reshape reality through granting the desires of any individuals fortunate enough to arrive at it. While the series itself fails to properly explore its themes and the nature of the Divine Gate itself is never made clear, the dark look into the characters mental states and desires was something that kept the show interesting and gave off an uncomfortable and unsettling atmosphere that really enhanced the overall experience.
As much as the characters didn’t develop and had motivations that made little sense, I did like the main character Aoto. He was an incredibly damaged and traumatised individual and the series did an excellent job conveying his tragic backstory through his personality, which in itself was fairly unconventional compared to the average Anime protagonist. He wasn’t an amazing character or anything, but he was certainly different and his backstory was genuinely compelling and even sparked some emotion in the later episodes. Unfortunately, the remainder of the characters, to put it bluntly, were absolutely dreadful. Except Santa Claus, who despite the ridiculous name, was actually really awesome.
While the animation was dull and lacked energy, the general aesthetic of the series was pretty neat. It had a unique, pastel-themed colour palette which was really nice to look at, and the character designs were outstanding, with an almost Manga/Comic book aesthetic to them, accompanied by thick, black outlines surrounding the edges of the character models. It’s a look that really stands out, it looks phenomenal and it really helped to bring the atmosphere that the show was going for to fruition.
And I really liked the sound design. It was well produced, it was solid and it was eerie. Super eerie. And the Opening was great too.
Divine Gate is a bad show. It’s an incoherent bundle of creative threads that were tied together, but wound up getting tangled up in the process. It’s a mess. It’s a failure. It sucks. It’s exactly what you would expect from a rushed Anime adaptation of a game for mobile phones.
Yet I some how found myself enjoying Divine Gate. I marathoned the entire series in a single night, and while I was never quite blown away, I had a good time with it.
So I’m going to go ahead and say it: I’m ashamed that I enjoyed Divine Gate. Go watch it on the off-chance that I may not be alone here.
…And no, I still have no idea what was going on 90% of the time.
What Anime are you most ashamed for enjoying?