A young man named Shin has spent the past few years of his life trapped in an online game called The New Gate. Shin isn’t alone; tens of thousands of other users are confined with him. As the book opens, he is locked in a fierce battle with the game’s final boss: Origin. The manga adaptation of light novel Isekai, The New Gate volume 1, comes to the West thanks to One Peace Books. You can pick it up both digitally and physically.
The New Gate, the story begins
It’s the same concept as Sword Art Online and all its imitators; the players are trapped in a virtual world, and death in the game means death in real life. The main character, Shin has survived long enough to become one of the game’s most powerful players, and so he defeats Origin, freeing everyone. One by one, he watches them log out and prepares to return to the real world himself.
However, for Shin, there is no logging out. Instead, a gate appears that pulls him to a new world, learning that The New Gate is much more than a game. As Shin slowly comes to grips with his new surroundings, he comes to realize that he is trapped even deeper in the game than before. Instead of a virtual reality environment, everything is real, with the life and death consequences remaining.
Luckily, all of the abilities he earned in the game have carried over to this world, including his enormous attack power. Which of course, he uses to dispatch some fierce-looking monsters quickly. Eventually, he uses his guide beacon to find his way to a place called the Moon Sanctum. Every MMO needs a player hub, and this is The New Gates’s. But what will he see when he opens that door?
The New Gate volume 1 spoilers
That’s a long nap
Within, he meets a cursed elf girl named Tiera. Tiera is the proprietor of the Moon Sanctum. Her black hair is an indicator of her curse, which draws monsters to her wherever she goes. Shin learns five hundred years have elapsed between the end of the game and where he is now. The mass exodus of players that happened after Shin defeated Origin caused the near-extinction of a race known as “high humans” (of which Shin is one) and plunged the world into a kind of decay.
Shin manages to lift Tiera’s curse with purifying magic. Elated that the curse is finally gone, she gives him a letter of introduction and sends him off to the nearby kingdom. That letter gets him past the town guards once he reaches the end of the kingdom’s protective barrier. It is here that he joins the adventurers guild. Thus setting up a base of operations, and meeting characters who will undoubtedly play a big part in the coming story. Shin spends the rest of the volume exploring and getting to know this world. While the people around him try to unravel the mystery of just who this powerful stranger is.
What sets this book apart from other Isekai is the concept. Shin is overpowered, like many isekai protagonists. Unlike just about every other story of its type, there’s a reason he’s as strong as he is. He earned all his powers and skills through years of grinding in the MMO version of The New Gate. The isekai version may not be exactly the world he remembers. But, it’s close enough that he can walk around and do things without feeling like an outsider.
The art is nice but familiar; Shin is a cookie-cutter isekai hero; tall, mop of wavy dark hair, early twenties, “X” over his nose, etc. If you’ve read or watched any popular isekai, you’ve probably seen him before. It’s not bad by any means; it just isn’t original. The other characters fit their assigned roles but don’t stand out art-wise. The environments fall in the same category. They’re fine, but again, if you’ve read or watched any isekai, you’ve seen them all before.
Is The New Gate volume 1 worth reading?
Yes, as long as you know what you’re getting into. The New Gate volume 1 is all about setting the stage and introducing the characters. There’s not much action, and the little of it there is ends quickly. It’s very similar to The Great Cleric in that way, which also shows the main character settling into his new surroundings and figuring things out before going on bigger adventures.
It’s evident from reading that the original author put a ton of time and thought into building the world and populating it with characters. I think this will lead to fascinating stories in the future. So I think that volume 1 of this book is worth reading and that volume 2 will be worth a look when it’s released.