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Steins;Gate Half Season Review [Completed]

So, I realized that Steins;Sub just rips their anime off Crunchyroll, complete with Crunchyroll translation derps, and they’re actually disbanding next season because they don’t even have a translator.

BUT MY SUPPORT SHALL NEVER FADE FOR THEY ARE SUPERIOR TO HORRIBLESUBS EVEN THOUGH THEIR SUBS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AND THEY COME OUT A WEEK AFTER IT AIRS

NEVER

I really don’t have much to say, having already blogged this for half a cour. Scamp’s done an excellent job blogging the series to its finale, and if he hasn’t covered something, the comments on his post definitely have. If you’re looking for a better place to read about Steins;Gate, go there – and don’t stop at the end of the post, because the comments on his site are generally excellent.

So I guess I’ll talk about my personal experiences with Steins;Gate, then.

. About half a week after Episode 20 aired, I was on twitter and mused ‘hmm, I wonder if FB could be somebody like Fred Braun or whatever’. Immediately, I got two replies boldly declaring ‘YO BRO SPOILERS MAN’ and ‘Some people haven’t watched the episode yet…’ (paraphrased because I’m too lazy to pull up the original tweets).

Since I was still waiting for Steins;Sub to finish… doing what they were doing, I didn’t actually even have Episode 20 yet, much less watch it. Thus, by warning me to not spoil, THOSE PEOPLE SPOILED ME.

I DIDN’T WATCH THE EPISODE AND THEY’RE TAKING THIS CHANCE TO SPOIL MY STEINS;GATE EXPERIENCE

This is undoubtedly the main factor as to why I didn’t give Steins;Gate a 9/10.

I don’t get why they timelines change when they delete the D-Mail from SERN’s database. They didn’t change anything, all they did was change SERN’s /records/ of the mail. All that happens is SERN not coming over to take the time machine, since they don’t know that the D-Mail was fired. There’s no reason Rintarou should jump to a new timeline. Let’s say that SERN sends a message back in time to tell Mr. Braun to do stuff because they saw the record of the message. That makes some sort of sense, as deleting the record of the message will cause them not to tell Mr. Braun to do stuff, thus creating a different timeline (that somehow kills Kurisu), but /how do they know that SERN did that/?

Why would meeting his other self in the past cause a time paradox if the timelines are different anyways? For example, let’s say ‘Rintarou’ is a time traveller who comes with Suzuha to convince ‘Okarin’, a clueless eighteen-year old mad scientist, that Kurisu is dead. Let’s say Rintarou accidentally meets Okarin. Okarin will then wonder what’s going on, and maybe because of that, won’t discover Kurisu. But that’s alright, because Kurisu’s alive anyways and Rintarou meets her, because Okarin doesn’t exist in the future. That’s not a paradox. That makes sense. So why is she saying that it’s a paradox?

I understand that Steins;Gate is really more about emotions than logic, but… when you’re trying to make time travel work, you’ve got to iron out /every loophole/.

Nevertheless, I admit that the last twist was simply amazing. That was a huge loophole that only Rintarou could have thought of, and there are a few problems I would like to add (namely that the past changed because of Mayuri’s Oopa, and that simply deleting D-Mails won’t magically postpone SERN’s operation by a day each time), but I’m afraid my logic doesn’t allow me to formulate a coherent argument.

The thing about Steins;Gate is that there are so many things with its time travel that are just so /convenient/. We want to argue about the Butterfly Effect? Oh hey, Attractor Fields cause everything to happen regardless of minor changes. We want to argue that the past changed? Oh hey, there are multiple timelines, so even if their past changed our past doesn’t matter. We want to argue that SERN could gain infinite knowledge by sending people back in time from 2036 to give knowledge to the 2010ers? Oh hey, their time machine doesn’t work over long intervals because Daru didn’t build it (actually, they never gave an explanation for that, so I’m making one up).

Kurisu talks about how Madoka she would be everywhere, at every time, at once, but that’s definitely not true. Everybody changes when timelines change, there is no /you/ except a you in each timeline, who is different from all the other yous in other timelines. With that quote, she’s implying that all timelines are simultaneous, but… I think she’s just trying to console Rintarou instead of as an actual scientific theory. It’s not like you can experiment with time anyways :|

Continuing about simultaneous timelines. There /has/ to be a ‘timeline-timeline’ for Mayuri to know of her deaths after they’ve ‘happened’ (and not before they’ve ‘happened’) in Rintarou’s timelines. If all timelines occur simultaneously, Feyris would remember that she sent back a D-Mail to undo her first D-Mail – before she sent her first D-Mail. If all timelines occur simultaneously, Kurisu would remember all of her encounters with Rintarou going back in time before she finishes building her machine for the first time. If all timelines occur simultaneously, Rintarou wouldn’t even bother trying to save Mayuri more than once, as all of his memories of saving Mayuri will come back to him.

Reading Steiner is an interesting ability – yet, while others may think that everybody else (besides maybe Daru) remembering their pasts makes the ability a complete cop-out, I believe that only Rintarou has the true Reading Steiner. Everybody else remembers ‘previous’ (remember, there are only ‘previous’ timelines if there was a ‘timeline-timeline’ – without a ‘timeline-timeline’, all timelines would occur simultaneously, and there would be no ‘previous’ or ‘next’) timelines subconsciously and within dreams – it’s an ability present among all… of Rintarou’s female love interests. However, the difference is that Rintarou, who has the Reading Steiner, can remember all ‘previous’ timelines /consciously/.

As for that whole saving Mayuri fiasco, I like how the previous revisions of the Wikipedia article summed up those seven episodes with two sentences: “During this operation, Mayuri is killed by SERN’s unit. Rintarō travels back in time numerous times to try to save Mayuri but this proves to be futile as Mayuri ends up dying even in scenarios where they manage to avoid SERN’s men.”

Much of Steins;Gate felt extremely fake, as fake as AnoHana (which is the pinnacle of fakeness, if you haven’t yet realized. D’awww that ending almost made me cry except it didn’t because EVERYBODY WAS CRYING ENOUGH). Mayuri’s voice felt fake. Kurisu’s acceptance of Rintarou felt fake. Suzuha’s professionalism felt fake.

I’ve never actually cared much about voice actors. For me, there were four main elements of an anime that made it entertaining – plot, characterization, presentation, and meaning. And under characterization, there were only three elements: likeability, empathy, and depth.

Yet, there’s something else that’s very important – presentation. The presentation of the character. Voice acting is crucial to this – there’s a clear difference between a good one and a bad one. And a good voice actor isn’t necessarily the person who can act as many different roles, but the one who pulls off the most believable presentation.

The crown went to Rintarou, who was completely believable the entire way. How he broke down, how he rose up, everything – his voice actor pulled it all with the skilled precision of a professional breakdown-er. Daru’s voice actor was also decent – I never had any doubts about Daru’s identity as a clueless fat genius during the entire run of the show.

However, Kurisu and Mayuri definitely fell down. Kurisu’s tsundereness felt completely and utterly fake and forced – her serious mood wasn’t serious, either. While Rintarou’s banter with her felt very casual and friendly, her banter felt like she was trying too hard to make light conversation. If anything, her voice felt like Kyousuke from Oreimo – not because she’s a man, but because people don’t /talk/ like that, as much as otaku want them to. Even if you’re 100% tsundere (which is like 50% tsun 50% dere), you don’t talk with such fakeness. You don’t /try/ to make yourself tsun. It doesn’t work. Similarly, Mayuri’s entire act was absolutely horrendous – I know she’s HanaKana and all, but I absolutely (hated is a strong word) disliked every moment she opened her mouth. Nobody talks that lightly, and especially not after you’ve just slapped somebody. Compared to Rintarou, who’s act just completely broke down at the end, both Kurisu and Mayuri held their sanity till the end, even though anybody in their situation /should/ be breaking down. Even just one exasperated tear from Mayuri or a frustrated shout from Kurisu would make their presentation far better, but not even that happened.

The music in Steins;Gate wasn’t good at all, either – it also tried to get all emotional but even AnoHana did better. The art isn’t too good either, compared to Tiger & Bunny and AoEx.

It’s obvious who the star of the show was – Rintarou. Steins;Gate doesn’t actually mean anything. All of the science in the show didn’t mean anything (Rintarou actually didn’t do anything (besides getting it on with numerous women in the middle of the show) in the show, since all the work was done by Daru and Kurisu…). All of the plot doesn’t matter. Steins;Gate completely focused on one thing, and one thing only – Rintarou. It’s rare that an anime would risk everything on one person, but that’s what they did, and that’s how they succeeded. Everything that he did was just the mark of a director’s masterpiece.

And that’s what this was. A masterpiece.

Overall Rating: 8/10 (Masterpiece)

4 responses

  1. FUHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA

    2011/09/22 at 03:47

  2. Nameless Subs

    Yeah. We only said we were ripping directly from Crunchyroll about 20,000 times.

    2011/09/22 at 15:20

  3. WHATEVER I STILL LOVE YOU GUYS

    2011/09/22 at 22:43

  4. Pingback: 2012 Winter Anime Part Three « O-New