Ding! You’ve got mail.
Overcooled: Let’s be honest, you were all won over the second you heard “use microwaves to send text messages to the past.” With a premise like that, it’s hard to argue. It was enough to pique the interest of 3 of us (Hime, Kyokai and myself) to do a first impression, if that says anything. Apparently it was enough to get YOU, dear reader, to have made it this far. It’s amazing what some time traveling plot elements can do for business.
In case you didn’t know what you were in for by now, Steins;Gate politely reminds you with a series of random images and some philosophical musings to set the mood. That’s all the intro you get before stumbling right into the life of Okarin, an oddball science dork who is dragging his flighty female friend Mayuri to a press conference about a time machine. Did I mention he likes to pretend a group called “the Agency” is after him and speak into his cell phone for fun?
5 minutes in and the crazy is already set to 10.
Considering it’s time travel we’re talking about, it’s not exactly going to convince flocks of skeptical scientists to come and check it out. The building is practically empty. Before the conference starts there’s a sudden earthquake, or at least a sudden rumble of the building. Okarin, desperate for anything interesting, runs to see if anything’s going on but just sees some guy making hand signals on the roof. Assuming it to be nothing he returns to his female companion who is pouting over not having money for a capsule machine. It must be nice to be such a simpleton.
Leave Mayuri alone for 2 seconds and she loses her goddamned super metal turbo kawaii panda thing. Okarin listens to the conference all on his lonesome, causing trouble immediately by shouting out that the guy is committing plagiarism. By the look on his face, he definitely is. All of a sudden, a girl breezily grabs him and leads him outside of the room for questioning.
Off to the principal’s office with you!
The poor girl just wants to ask him what he was trying to say to her earlier, but Okarin is more interested in indulging his fantasies and pretending to be a mad scientist for kicks. That and he has no recollection of talking to her. He was in the conference earlier, and with Mayuri before that. He knows that she’s Kurisu, a genius girl who has published some science articles, but talk to her? Nope, can’t recall it. It still doesn’t give him the right to laugh like a hyena and then run away.
After getting some static on his phone, Okarin reunites with Mayuri who can’t find her metal…whatever the hell it is…for the life of her. But there are more pressing issues right now, such as the bloodcurdling scream bouncing off the walls. Always the first to run headfirst into action, Okarin once again races off and stumbles upon Kurisu’s dead body by chance. Why is she dead when it was clearly a man who screamed? Anyways, the only other girl in this show has now been murdered.
The dead body and puddle of blood is replaced with the almost blinding sunlight pounding mercilessly on the streets of Akihabara. Confused, Okarin sends a text to his friend saying that Kurisu was stabbed. Pressing ‘send’ was a bad decision. A decisions that seemingly alters Akihabara so there are no people, just Okarin. He panics, naturally, until he sees Mayuri who doesn’t seem to have experienced the same delusion he did. If that wasn’t enough madness for you, a satellite crashed into the building they were supposedly just inside for the conference.
To make sure it all settles in, we move on to character introductions. Okarin leads a 3 man lab team consisting of himself, Mayuri and the super hacker Daru who invent..things. I’m not really sure they know themselves what use they are to society, but boredom leads to picking up just about anything as a past time. While talking to his companions, he’s told the conference was called off despite his distinct memory of attending it. Weird. Before that thought goes any further, his TV breaks and he rages. Lulz.
Forehead introduction, complete
Okarin takes the TV to a repair shop with Mayuri, who claims to just be his “hostage” hence the reason she bothers with Okarin’s immaturity. Which isn’t a reason at all. Okarin and Mayuri enjoy a DOCTOR PEPPER afterwards because IT IS SO DELICIOUS AND REFRESHING, YOU SHOULD ALSO BUY IT. More craziness on Okarin’s part too. The final little distraction before returning to today’s murder event is trying to microwave a banana using a microwave controlled by a cellphone. The banana turns to gel. That’s the end of that invention for now.
Returning to the events during the time travel press conference, Okarin asks Daru if he got the text he sent him. He did, but a week ago. Cue elevator doors opening and Kurisu leaning casually against the wall, definitely still alive.
Otaku stereotypes: YOU’RE NOT HELPING
What, can’t a bro enjoy some tea?
If this ever becomes a martial arts anime, we’ll let you know, Okarin.
Why are they worth so much money? Because they capture souls, much to poor Mayuri’s dismay.
Kyokai: Ah man, I wish I could review Steins;Gate this season as it seems right up my alley but with increased workload and lots of planning for Metanorn, I will be bowing out of this while Overcooled would be regularly blogging this. I still remember my jubilation when I read the summary of this as time travel and I go, well, quite back in time! Having not watched Chaos;Head and hearing much good about it, I just fear one thing, failure of my high expectations. But, hey, this is too soon to make up my mind.
Hime: I think these guys are confusing “mysterious” with “annoyingly obscure”. While it’s hard to judge how the show will turn out in the long run, and I have hope it will improve, the first epsiode left a lot to be desired. But more than anything, it was boring. Just listening to an insufferabley annoying character monologue to himself about conspiracies is not exciting, and it’s alienating because we don’t speak this worlds’ technobable.
We have no idea how this world works, why it’s characters are all so “quirky”, and I use that word lightly since they’re shoehorned in so unnaturally that all the characters seem to have just walked out of an insane asylum, and what should have been the main focus of the episode was so glossed over that it really struggles to seem important. The girl getting stabbed, the text that was sent into the past, they are all interesting points, but they were lost in a mess of boring and confusing direction and pacing. A nice little plug for Dr. Pepper, though. Classy.
Overcooled: That was…trippy. Trippy, jarring, nonlinear and very strange. The only thing preventing me from really liking Steins;Gate is the disjointed story-telling, but I feel like it’s just something I’ll get used and grow to enjoy. Although it seems to jump from one moment to the next, it’s surprisingly easy to know what’s going on…something that is often needlessly muddled and overcomplicated when anime (or anything, really) tackles time travel.
The great thing about Steins;Gate is it’s not trying to base every iota of momentum towards the whole murder thing. It goes off on tangents. These little diversions give some room to breathe without stuffing drama, bogus science, or heavy suspense down your throat. It’s suspense of the subtly unsettling kind and comedy that’s a bit on the dark side. The only thing that’s in your face is Okarin, who is a refreshing lead role free of the wretched “generic male lead” syndrome, and his kooky antics are more than welcomed. Steins;Gate seems to be a really clever anime, one I can’t just let me slip me by just because it’s a bit fragmented. Leave it Cool to review the rest of Steins;Gate *bows* ganbarimasu~