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Video Game / Gate Keepers

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Gate Open!

Gate Keepers started out as a Turn-Based Strategy (with Dating Sim elements thrown in) video game for the Playstation in 1999. A manga was also commissioned as well and both were released in the same month. It was later adapted into an anime series in 2000 by GONZO who decided to omit one of the main Gatekeepers and replace another with another character with a similar design. The setting takes place on Earth, after the end of World War II. In the middle of all that, alien creatures known simply as Invaders are infiltrating Earth and attempting to take over the world by turning humans into soulless robots. The only means to defeat the Invaders is by tapping into powerful energy locked inside dimensional "gates".

That's where a secret agency known as A.E.G.I.S, short for "Alien Exterminating Global Intercept System," comes in. They seek out people known as Gate Keepers, who have the ability to unlock the gates, which in turn gives them superhuman powers. The protagonist, Shun Ukiya, is one of the Gate Keepers, who becomes aware of his powers after witnessing a fight between the Invaders and a schoolmate — and childhood friend — Ruriko Ikusawa. The story goes on to include other Gate Keepers and their exploits as they fight against the Invaders in their bid to defend Earth.

It also spawned a sequel, Gate Keepers 21, set 31 years later. There is also a novel, set in 1985, which helps explain some of the events between the two anime series.

If you were looking for the young adult series of novels about the Gatekeepers, see The Power of Five.

Gate Keepers contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Each female member of the main cast can definitely hold their own against the Invaders. And when push comes to shove, the "Ooh, intense!" girl is also seen packing some firepower.
  • Adapted Out: Francine, who was one of the main Gatekeepers in the game, was completely omitted in the anime.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: With the exception of the Commander, his secretary, and the Bridge Bunnies, everybody at AEGIS HQ becomes an invader, forcing them to make an escape.
  • Alternate History: It's mentioned that the Invaders were first encountered in 1945. The events that transpire in the show itself, as well as the existence of AEGIS, could also count.
  • Artistic License – History: Lampshaded when an invader craft patterned after a Boeing 747 shows up at an airport, While the plane was already in production, the fact that it's even there ahead of its scheduled flight clues the Gatekeepers in that it's an enemy.
  • An Ice Person: Yukino uses the Gate of Ice and Snow, and it's one of the most potent Gates, capable of creating enormous blizzards.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Reiko's gate power is very effective, able to take out hordes of invaders at once, but it depends on her having a musical instrument (often a grand piano that can easily be destroyed).
  • Badass Normal: Bancho has no Gate abilities, but does his best to help the team with his brute strength. He becomes an Empowered Badass Normal by the end, with his Gate abilities awakening in the final episode.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Subverted. One scene from the OP apparently depicts Megumi firing a ki blast from her hand (which is naturally impossible due to the nature of her powers, and thus, wouldn't happen). It turns out she was using her powers to block that energy blast, not to produce it.
  • Barrier Warrior: Misao, in the games, wields the Gate of Walls to generate barriers to block attacks. In the anime, Megumi uses these same powers.
  • Beach Episode: Invoked as part of the Lotus-Eater Machine in episode 10 as Count Akuma encourages each of the cast to indulge in their desires.
  • Blow You Away: Shun wields the Gate of Wind and uses it with his kendo skills. It's eventually revealed that his father had the same power.
  • Body Horror: Two different types, depending on the series. In the case of Gate Keepers, the Invaders were sleeper agents, some sleeping so deep that they were horrified by the realization of what they really were. In Gate Keepers 21, the Invaders are The Virus.
  • Brain in a Jar: Count Akuma's brain is in, for lack of a better word, a fishbowl.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Through Megumi's corruption, Ruriko's spirit breaks in the final few episodes and it manifests as her Inverse Gate of Genocide.
  • Calling Your Attacks: On top of the usual "Gate Open!" invocation, every attack by their user is named.
  • Canon Foreigner: Megumi is an anime-only character. As is Bancho, who unlike Megumi, isn't even based on a character from the game.
  • Crazy-Prepared: AEGIS just happens to have a giant piano for the Gate Robot in case Reiko decides to pilot it instead of Shun.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode, "Send Out The Gate Robo!", is a Reiko-centric episode, as it focuses on Reiko trying to find the strength of her power, as well as her place on the team, and what she contributes to it.
  • Delinquents: Shun and Ruriko disguise themselves as delinquents (Shun wearing his uniform in disarray, Ruriko dressing like a sukeban with a long skirt and curly hair) in order to confront Bancho — whose nickname itself is Japanese for "delinquent."
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Downplayed, but the anime also touches upon both the social norms of 1960s Japan and the radicalism among the youth at that time which Reiji exploits in order to declare himself Prime Minister.
  • Disappeared Dad: Shun's father, who died while testing a prototype Gate Engine.
  • The Ditz: Reiko, though this might be out of trauma after her parents's divorce.
  • The Dragon: Kaiser Kikai and Count Akuma are elite Invaders under Reiji's command, and are a notch above the rank-and-file Invaders.
  • Driven by Envy: Ruriko is popular, beautiful, rich and kind. Megumi is socially-inept, plain-looking, middle-low class and embittered. Guess which one pulls a Face–Heel Turn?
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Commander. His name is revealed in the novel.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Happens to Kageyama whenever he switches to his "Shadow" identity. Inverse Gates are pure black, regardless of their original color.
  • Expy Coexistence: Megumi is a strange case in that she coexists with the person she is expying, Misao Sakimori. However, Megumi turns out to be a Corrupted Character Copy of Misao when she pulled a Face–Heel Turn later on.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Megumi Kurogane, due to her massive case of being Driven by Envy, specifically her envy towards Ruriko.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Alien Exterminating Global Intercept System.
  • Genki Girl: Francine although she doesn't reach the heights that many of the other characters do for the trope and can be very serious when she wants to be but her goal in life is to make one thousand friends.
  • Gratuitous English: Any American character who isn't part of Jim's team. Also Francine from the game.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Shun wields the Gate of Wind to augment his kendo skills, while Ruriko's Gate of Life lets her shoot light-empowered arrows.
  • Healing Hands: Ruriko's Gate of Life also permits her to heal wounds of the injured.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Shun struggles in every episode to learn how to use his ability properly.
  • Humongous Mecha: In 1969, AEGIS has managed to manufacture Gate Robots, powered by Gate Engines to further amplify the pilot's powers.
  • Instant Fan Club: Reiji has at least three girls as members of an actual club that he started.
  • Invocation: "Gate! Open!"
  • Jerkass: Most of the undercover Invaders are like this in their human disguise. One episode that centers around one shows that this may partly be due to stress as it was mentioned that the invader only started acting like a Jerkass shortly before the episode.
  • Lady of War: Ruriko, who uses arrows, as opposed to Kaoru, who uses her fists.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Shun got his power from his father.
  • Leitmotif: In the game each of the main female characters and some of the supporting characters have their own theme.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Demon Duke traps the cast in one of these in episode 10.
  • Magic Music: Reiko's Gate power is focused on her piano playing, which creates beautiful illusions for people... and acts as a Brown Note for invaders.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Reiko, as her skirt always flows whenever she gets ready to unleash her sound attack.
    • A Running Gag with Agent Ogawa, a.k.a. the "Ooh intense!" girl.
  • Master of Illusion: Reiko's Gate of Illusion can create illusions, and her music is harmful to Invaders. Count Akuma also uses illusions to sway the hearts of his victims.
  • Meaningful Name: The Commander's name has something to do with his ability to manipulate time.
  • Multinational Team: Jim Skylark's elite group consists of Jim himself (British), Jun (American), and Misao (Japanese-German).
  • Musical Assassin: Reiko can use her powers when she's playing music, so...
  • New Era Speech: Once Kageyama takes over and declares himself Prime Minister.
  • New Transfer Student: The Gatekeepers, barring Ruriko, all had to transfer to AEGIS's combination school/secret base when they join the team.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Comes as either the invader leaders, or the group of AEGIS commanders.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: It's inexplicable how no one realized Kageyama was their enemy when all he puts on for disguise is a pair of shades (which he carries around everywhere anyway) and a little unbuttoning of his shirt.
  • Parental Abandonment: Shun's resentment of his dead father; Kaoru, Reiko, Megane, Big Boss and Feiling have no visible parents (Reiko's are divorced); Yukino's parents died some eight hundred years ago. Averted by Ruriko's intact and happy family. Possibly subverted by Megumi's apparent desire that her own parents would just go away and die somewhere.
  • Playing with Fire: Francine (a game-only character) uses the Gate of Heat and Explosion. Feiling instead uses this kind of Gate in the anime, though its attributes are merged with her original Gate of Animals so she conjures flaming beasts for her attacks.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Kageyama, and Megumi, after her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Put on a Bus: Misao's role in the game was replaced with Megumi in the anime (it should be noted that the characters do have different personalities). Both Misao and Jun also played a more important role in the game and were both main characters as opposed to their brief cameos in the anime.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Yukino was born in 1169, but has stopped aging due to the effects of her Gate powers and maintains the appearance of a young girl in 1969. Even in the sequel, set 31 years later, she reappears without showing any signs of aging.
  • Red Herring: The old sweet potato vendor from one episode, who owns an exact duplicate of the Invaders' Sinister Shades. It turns out that the real invader was a cute white spitz that seemed irrelevant at the time. The Reveal was quite narmy, considering it showed the dog wearing sunglasses.
  • Running Gag: The "Ooh, intense!" girl with her Marilyn Maneuver moments.
  • School Sport Uniform: Kaoru Konoe, the most athletic of the group, wears one 24/7, even when she's in civilain mode, to the point where the only episode of the anime where she isn't seen in one is the Beach Episode. The anime also have more than one episode set during sports festivals, where all the girls wears burumas.
  • Seers: Misao, in the anime, wields the Gate of Perception, giving her Combat Clairvoyance to allow her teammates to anticipate enemy attacks. Reiji's original Gate, the Gate of Foresight, permits him to see the future, but because nobody took him seriously when he predicted great tragedy for his family, his anger twisted it into his Inverse Gate.
  • Sexy Secretary: Keiko, the second-in-command who's often seen serving The Commander, is quite the looker, and she also happens to be School Nurse.
  • Shock and Awe: Jun Thunders, a member of Jim's team.
  • Shout-Out: The spitz in episode 18's transformation sequence is similar to Ultraman's
    • During the puppet show in episode 16, Reiko's witch character uses the "Isaki apam mehinam, eto caffe nam" invocation from Magic User's Club — which was also directed by Junichi Sato.
  • Sinister Shades: The Invaders wear these, as do the Big Bad.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: The "Ooh! Intense!" girl turns out to be an undercover AEGIS agent who carries a BFG.
  • Spider-Sense: Misao Sakimori from Jim's team, who dictates the exact time before something happens, giving the group a serious tactical advantage. Kageyama had the Gate of Foresight before his Start of Darkness turned it into the Gate of Shadows. He got it back after he pulled a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Spoiler Opening: The surprise Big Bad gets revealed even before the first episode.
  • Straw Nihilist: Shadow, he's in league with the bad guys because he's disgusted with humanity's evils.