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Steins;Gate Half Season Review

Steins;Gate.

Is that Stein’s gate or “I went to a friend of mine for dinner, Steins; Gate was there, too, counting his money.”?

Firstly, as one of the few who have read the manga first, I must say that the tone of the manga and the anime are completely different. Polar opposites, even.

From the first episode of Steins;Gate you can see and hear (showing expert mastery of anime senses) the eerie aura surrounding the whole situation. The dim lighting and gradual shading, the frequent change of perspectives, the accentuation of the slightest footstep and lack of sound, be it background music or talking, with the slight music there is adding to the atmosphere. Even the art shows how serious everything is – it’s decidedly un-animu, it’s semi-realistic art, with long faces, small eyes. At first glance, one could even say the art is ‘ugly’, but I prefer to call it ‘dramatic’.

The main character, Okabe Rintarou, is not your typical otamot. He appears not mentally coherent at times, and acts not as humans should act. His personality fluctuates wildly at times, unlike the shallow, one-dimensional, ‘I FIGHT TO PROTECT MY FRIENDS! ALSO I AM ALWAYS RIGHT BECAUSE I KILL EVIL PEOPLE’ characters, whose personalities are firmly rooted to one spot. He appears to be afraid of people when they’re angry, yet runs without regards to his own safety to murder sites. He thinks of himself highly, yet realizes the he isn’t so intelligent as he seems – and then shows us that he is just as intelligent as any. He seems clearly confused at turns of events, yet keeps the calmest mind when this happens – though his body acts anything but calm. Both an idiot and a genius – I guess this is what they call a mad scientist.


Actually, this is Houoin Kyouma but he looks so similar to Okarin

Makise Kurisu is Rintarou’s counterpart, a genius girl with a far more logical, and conservative, mind than Rintarou’s (i.e. the only difference between them is that she knows what SERN is but Rintarou doesn’t). Because she’s a genius, she’s already teaching university courses on the things they teach university courses on, and is currently some high-ranked researcher in an obscure field (probably something like analyzing the patterns between number of words in books and the age the books’ authors died) in America.

As she and Rintarou are the same age (18), she is the perfect target for Rintarou’s sexual abuse. Though of course none of that is on screen but whatever

We start to see the divergence (diver genes) between the anime and manga right now, in Kurisu’s lack of detached sleeves, which totally ruined her entire character. Oh well.

It’s funny to see how mental intelligence and emotional intelligence are so disconnected – Kurisu is obviously very mentally smart, but emotionally she’s a tsundere, which is something like the bottom of the emotional intelligence chart. The chart in question goes something like:

Dead – Fetus – Baby – Spoiled Brat – Tsundere – Slut – Otamot – Teenager – Protagonist – That Really Cool Side Character That Appears in Three Episodes But He Was Really Cool – Not-Spoiled Child – Adult – Your Boss – Your Mom – Mai-chan, which I just realized is the name of a manga that’s coincidentally called ‘Mai-chan no Nichijou’ and is probably much less emotionally intelligent than the Mai in Nichijou.


Actually, she probably has the emotional intelligence of herself, a.k.a. Kurisu Chan

The series revolves around these two, and others – Daru, a fatass ‘supahaka’ (with the BEST voice) who perhaps is a good representation of 60% of the people I follow on twitter; Kiryuu Moeka, a completely un-moe girl who perhaps represents 10% of the people I follow on twitter (of either gender); Urushibara Ruko, a completely not-cute boy who seriously isn’t a good trap in the anime (he looked pretty cute in the manga though).

There’s also Shiina Mayuri, Rintarou’s childhood hostage who is forced to have bananas that she doesn’t want, and Feyris, a seemingly ordinary maid at a maid café – for the anime still didn’t reveal her true power and influence. Funny, because in only 6 /chapters/ (you know how short manga are), the entire plot is started, and Moeka, Ruko, and Feyris all use the time machine – something that hasn’t happened after 6 EPISODES of TWENTY-THREE MINUTES each. It doesn’t take a minute to mirror one page – it takes ten, no, five SECONDS!

However, the anime does explain things in more detail – showing why the IBN5100 needs to be used, explaining how they found out where it was, telling what happened when the time machine worked, and examining in far greater detail the Jellyman reports of SERN. It’s not that the anime is too slow-paced – it’s that the manga went too fast. Really, what’s the point of having a manga that completely parallels the anime? Perhaps they wrote the manga to be so fast to generate interest in the anime, which it… definitely did? :s

Amane Suzuha, the main character of Boukan no Rebellion, seems to be rather paranoid toward Kurisu – a mystery, if you didn’t know she was a time traveller from 2036 who failed to kill Kurisu, who then did bad things to her entire family, including her father who went back in time as John Titor.

You see, that’s another problem with publishing manga before the anime – I read Boukan no Rebellion and now there’s no mystery surrounding Suzuha. I’m sure the revelation was/will be much more dramatic and mind-boggling than the one in the manga – reading the manga just made me feel like I read a gigantic spoiler. Even so, Steins;Gate is two seasons (CLIMATE SEASONS, DAMMIT) long – should be enough to make the series a decidedly epic (grand in scale, through either space or /time/) watch regardless of my initial spoilerment.

(Of course, another minor problem is differentiating between the manga and the anime on my tags. “Steins;Gate (manga)” as a tag just feels bulky, so I suppose the tag will apply to both the manga and the anime)


That pixellation may or may not be censoring something

Steins;Gate is comparable to another show this season – Hyouge Mono. Both have little action or cuteness involved, and rely solely on their superior plots and dramatic execution. Dramatic execution, not only in the seriousness of the situation, but also in their humour. Though at times, it flops (forgive the pun; the “who’d eat a pervert’s banana” might have been more funny if Daru didn’t expand on it, but since most of us were already planning to make the connection, I guess it was used more to reinforce Daru’s character), most of the time, it hits spot-on. Steins;Gate is the kind of anime that sways completely based on your sense of humour – if you don’t like their style, nothing’s going to be funny (but at least the plot’s still worth watching), but if you do, everything hits every time. Maybe that’s what I’m missing from Nichijou – I’m not in their target audience.

Even the transitions from humour to seriousness is dealt with adeptly – take the gelbana to Jellyman scenes. It’s not a mash of humour and story, it’s a well-mixed blend.


She looks ready to dig a grave

Time to wrap this up:

Steins;Gate’s cast of mostly-feminine characters makes me think it was originally meant to be a dating sim, and eventually became a story about time travel just because. Either that, or it was meant to be a story about time travel that could be expanded into a dating sim. Either way, I don’t get how the Future Research Go Go Gadget Microwave Club built that microwave in the first place – if they could build something like this, why weren’t time machines invented a /lot/ earlier? Not to mention that they have access to university labs to analyze the gelbanas but they don’t have enough money to buy a television that shows more than Alpacaman’s unchanging, unwavering expression of relentless distrust. Both things don’t matter, though – there are some things in time travel best left unmentioned.

As for the time travel segment of the show, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happens when a worldline changes – how do you still keep your memories and how does everyone still act the same around you? Shouldn’t, say (this happens in the manga so I can say it) female Ruka and Rintarou’s relationship change, drastically? Shouldn’t she enroll in a normal school instead of staying around in the shrine all the time, now that there’s no stigma surrounding her? I have a headache right now, so I can’t think – though even if I do think about this, I’ll bet I’ll just develop a headache /anyways/.

I don’t like how Steins;Gate relies so much on cellphones – it’s stupid how they’re dominating our society. Even my teacher told me “Please turn off your cellphone.”, of which I would have responded with a totally undeserved rant about how I DON’T OWN ANYTHING and HAVE NO MONEY TO BUY UNNECESSARY ITEMS SUCH AS CELLPHONES, LAPTOPS, JUNK FOOD, TOYS, VIDEO GAMES, AND… external… hard drives… er… never mind that, but that would be mean to the people who are less rich than me.

John Titor was ‘real’, and his ideas parallel Titor’s ideas in the anime.

Finally, way to quit, Steins;Sub. I can only hope Nameless continues releasing it, otherwise I’ll have to switch to Commie or something equally unthinkable.

Shudder.

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