Home > emanga Reviews, Manga Reviews, Reviews > The New Gate, Vol. 1

The New Gate, Vol. 1

Cover to The New Gate, Vol. 1The New Gate, Vol. 1
Manga by Yoshiyuki Miwa, original story by Shinogi Kazanami, original book design by ansyyqdesign, original character design by Makai no Jumin.
Rating: Not Rated

For decades now, anime and manga have churned out story after story about people becoming trapped within a virtual reality world, and their adventures as they seek an escape from their digital prison. Numerous series have been built upon this premise, including the classic .hack franchise, but also more contemporary works such as Real Account. Fans of the genre can now add The New Gate—Yoshiyuki Miwa’s adaption of Shinogi Kazanami’s novel of the same name—to this ever growing list. What sets The New Gate apart from the others, is how it repurposes the endgame of many of the series into a starting point and the potential for it to delve into the aftermath of such events.

The New Gate, Vol. 1 opens with a climactic battle introducing us to Shin as he frees the thousands of players trapped within the virtual reality game, New Gate. Unfortunately, Shin finds his own ability to log off is blocked and blacks out shortly after. He awakens, still seemingly trapped within the world of New Gate, 500 years later. Seemingly unperturbed, Shin sets off to discover where he is, what’s happened to the world around him, and how he can finally free himself from game and return to the real world. This time skip leaves the series with a number of incredibly interesting directions to the take story. Given the fantasy elements of the New Gate world; there’s the tantalizing chance to present a post-quest world and explore the ways in which the epic heroic quests that dot the fantasy genre landscape may impact the world beyond its immediate aftermath; there’s the possibility of exploring what impact the sudden loss of thousands of virtual residents has upon a persistent virtual world; or perhaps the possibility that the New Gate Shin now finds himself in isn’t a virtual world at all, but some kind of alternate reality the game was somehow tapping into. The possibilities are endless and tantalizing. Unfortunately, while the high concept and possibility for interesting takes on traditional fantasy quest stories and the trapped in a virtual world stories are fantastic, there’s one thing holding The New Gate back at this point… Shin.

Presented with the possibility that he has somehow slipped 500 years into the game’s future—not to mention finding himself trapped in the game still despite his efforts to free himself and others—Shin responds with absolutely no sense of urgency or worry. He merely shrugs it off and goes about finding out where he is in the most nonchalant manner possibility. There’s no sense that he’s in a hurry to escape from the game, no concern about his still being trapped within it. It’s just another day for Shin. This approach makes it incredibly difficult to invest in the story and its potential for drama or suspense. If the characters don’t particularly care about their circumstance and show no real drive or motivation to achieve a goal, why should I? By the end of the first volume, there’s no real sense of stakes within the story.

A page from The New Game, Vol. 1

A sample of the action sequences.

Oddly enough, the artwork mirrors the story quite nicely. It’s serviceable, but there’s a lack of backgrounds which strips the work of any atmosphere it might otherwise have. Yoshiyuki Miwa does a pretty good job when it comes to action sequences. They’re clear, easy to follow, while also doing a good job at conveying Shin’s character and his ample skill set, beyond yelling out special attacks that is. Many of the character designs do a fine job at conveying character on first glance, perhaps exemplified by the big bear like figure of the innkeeper, though even Shin’s slightly generic look matches his rather blasé attitude—though in fairness, Shin’s clothing choices throughout the volume are intended to camouflage his true abilities, and when he encounters “higher level” characters, their gear is appropriately flashy and stand out a bit more.

Overall, The New Gate, Vol. 1 is a middle of the road introduction, with some potential to develop beyond the stereotypical stories which mark the “trapped in a game” genre. Hopefully, as the series goes on it, it will develop into something a bit more memorable. That said, it’s a perfectly enjoyable, light, read. A nice diversion and escape during a time when that’s a much needed thing.

The New Gate, Vol. 1 will be available on April 16th from One Peace Books. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

  1. June 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    We reviewed this too, I’d be interested to see you review Loner Life in Another World, another new Isekai release. Both were adaptations from light novels so they have a similar heritage in that regards. Keep up the good work.

    • June 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks! I’m typically not a big a fan of light novel adaptions of this type, but it’s always good to give something new a look and step outside your comfort zone.

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