The New Gate is an isekai manga, based on the web novels by Shinogi Kazanami and drawn by Yoshiyuki Miwa, that follows the adventures of a young man trapped inside a video game world, but with the twist that the story starts at the point where most series in this vein typically end. I’d like to thank One Peace Books for providing me with PDF review copies of the first two volumes of this manga in exchange for an honest review.
When Shin finds himself trapped and unable to log out of the online game, New Gate, he joins forces with NPC’s and other players, who are likewise trapped in the game, in order to try and find a solution. After a lot of hard work and sacrifice, he makes it to the game’s final dungeon and manages to defeat the final boss, thereby beating the game and meeting the requirements to unlock the logout option. Shin waits and watches as, one by one, all of the thousands of other players logout, staying behind to ensure that everyone else gets out safely. Finally, he is the last player left, but, just as he’s about to logout himself, a mysterious gate opens before him and Shin is sucked inside and transported 500 years into the game’s future – only it’s not a game anymore, the world of New Gate has somehow become real and Shin finds that he now has no way of returning home!
Poor Shin, he’d completed his quest, defeated the final boss and saved the day, but instead of getting his happy ending and getting to go home, he’d forced into a whole new adventure. But things aren’t all bad for our hero; as a reward for defeating the final boss he gained special abilities and, what’s more, a lot of the skills and items that were once fairly common in the world of New Gate are now incredibly rare or the stuff of legends, likely due to the mass exodus of player characters that occurred 500 years ago, when everyone but Shin logged out of the game. This, combined with his already high level, makes Shin way more powerful than even some of the strongest people in New Gate.
Having the protagonist be overpowered like this can sometimes suck the tension out of a series, as you’re never in any suspense as to whether the hero will be able to defeat an enemy. The New Gate manages to keep things interesting by adding in other stakes to every battle. Instead of wondering “Can Shin win this fight?” the question becomes “Can Shin win this fight without giving away how powerful he is?” or “Can Shin win this fight while keeping someone else safe at the same time?” This helps to ensure that the fight scenes are still exciting. Miwa’s art is detailed but also feels uncluttered and I found the fight scenes to be dynamic and easy to follow. I also enjoyed the varied monster designs, which ranged from cute little fox spirits to grotesque undead monstrosities.
Shin is an easy going and kind person who is inclined to help out whenever he sees someone in need. Unfortunately, he’s perhaps too laid-back to be compelling. He accepts the new scenario he finds himself in pretty much immediately, without any real grieving over the lost chance to return home or any bitterness over being the only person still trapped. Actually, Shin doesn’t even spend any time thinking about his life in the real world at all. We don’t learn if he has any family or friends waiting for him to return or if he has any goals for the future that will need to be abandoned if he can’t make it back. We don’t even know if he hated his old life and is actually happy with getting to live in a fantasy world where he’s an unstoppable badass. He just seems to be going with the flow and doing whatever; he’ll make occasional reference to trying to figure out the cause of his situation, but doesn’t seem to be too concerned about it most of the time. Aside from the fact that he’s a generally nice guy and appears to not have had any luck with women in the past, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about Shin, he’s just about as generic a main character as they come and I’d say the lack of any depth to his character is a significant flaw in the manga, as Shin winds up being the most uninteresting part of his own story.
I think this series is best suited to readers who really enjoy world-building in their fiction, as the manga goes into great detail about the mechanics of the world, with notes sections included to help readers who might not be familiar with all of the video game terms. Overall I found these volumes to be a decently entertaining read; however, readers who prefer more character focused stories will likely find this series to be a bit boring.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
For more information on this series, please visit One Peace Books’ website.
What did you think of this series? Has anyone read the books it’s adapted from? Let me know in the comments.