Posted on 7 June 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Okay, so my post about Stein’s Gate 09 was a complete disaster. I had problems with the episode but blamed them on something completely stupid and irrelevant. I still hold that Daru needs to shut up, though, but more on that below.

First of all I want to say that before watching this episode, I got intrigued by a message of PL on the shoutbox, where he (she?) claimed that “Suspension of belief cracked”. With that, I assume that that referred to the scene in which Okarin assaulted Rukako. And yeah… that was out of place. If everything around Okabe changed, wouldn’t it at least have crossed his mind that the thing they tried to change in the first place? I mean, it’s a ridiculous scenario, but when the entire area I lived in changed dramatically, I’d at least consider buying flying pigs.

In a way, the more realistic a show is, the more these small inconsistencies tend to stand out. That’s what makes these kinds of series tricky to do, but that does make them really interesting. This episode may indeed not have been the best of the series so far, but I still really liked the turns that the plot took in the end.

In any case, let me try to actually explain exactly what has been bugging me about this series. It’s got nothing to do with plotholes or cliches that may or may not be there; that kind of suspense of disbelief is just the effect it has. Instead this is about storytelling versus characters. Steins;Gate is brilliantly told. It’s a pity that it chose the same season to air in as Hyouge Mono so that it can’t exactly boast the best dialogue of the season, but the camera work, pacing and atmosphere: I’ve said plenty of times that they’re amazing.

When looking at the characters though, I’m missing something. I keep praising other shows this season for adding to their cast, and giving their characters more depth by developing them, but I can’t really do that with this series. In fact, this episode finally took an in-depth look at one of the characters: SuzUha. With this episode her character finally changed, or at least our perception of this. In the meantime: all we know about Okabe is that he once got sick in the past. Mayuri meanwhile has a sad past that caused her to remain with Okabe, Daru meanwhile is a typical Otaku and it feels like all Christina has been doing is either be quiet or act tsundere.

Instead this show has been fleshing out its characters, and that’s another thing that it can be really good at. As much as I dislike Daru, I really like how he in this episode went out to a meeting of various members of a forum. The times that the characters spend shopping and doing the laundry are also quite cute. But at the same time they feel repetitive. Especially Okarin, Daru and Christina are guilty of this. Okabe’s monologues were once fresh, but after ten episodes they sound too much like each other. Daru was better in this episode, but generally he feels very repetitive whenever he’s not involved in the plot (I also realized that he’s voiced by Tomokazu Seki, and oh my god: he’s really forcing his voice here, making the acting of this guy just bad).

In short: too many characters are just repeating themselves too much. They mostly tend to shine whenever the plot is involved, but that’s because the plot is so incredibly good, not because the characters themselves are enjoyable to watch (or not as much as I’d like anyway).

The big question is of course: is this intentional? With 24 episodes, this could just be a form of build-up. The characters right now are slightly annoying because the creators are building them up, to give them some good depth in the second half. This has been done quite a few times, but there also have been plenty of shows who didn’t. The repetition in the banter right now however is something that’s irking me.

And why did I get a deja vu when I just wrote that?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

22 Responses

  1. Dude says:

    Has Okabe really sacrificed his special moment with Makise to ‘save’ Suzuha? On the phone Makise looked pretty pissed instead of having this almost kiss-scene. Poor guy as only he remembers :/

  2. Rex says:

    @Dude
    I guess that will be a plot point later on, okabe might think he advanced with makise, but she thinks the opposite.

    @psgels
    So what about then plot points this episode? The ending revealed some pretty damn big revelations.

  3. Frost says:

    I really enjoy the characters interacting with each other, and I find Makise cute to begin with, so I approve of the little romance

    Anyway, I said it here first: John Titor is the son of the part time girl sometime in the future

  4. Wolf says:

    @ Frost
    It’s obvious that she and John are somehow linked, but I read an interesting theory on another page: DARU AND THE PART-TIME GIRL WERE GOING TO ATTEND THE SAME FORUM CLUB MEETING, AND THAT DARU IS THE FATHER WHO DID NOT SHOW UP AT THAT MEETING. DARU BECOMES HER FATHER IN THE FUTURE. Anyway, that was the guy’s theory. And… it actually makes sense.

  5. gecd says:

    no
    not deja vu
    that is reading steiner

  6. @wolf just wait as the story goes on. . . Im glad this show is 24 episodes, the plot points are awesome especially when you know whats actually going on

    but Daru being John Titor has actually been hinted at in the Anime…once the story goes on, you’ll probably remember it.

  7. m says:

    I think Makise Kurisu is the only character in Steins;Gate that I would willingly socialize with if they were all real people. However, even in a series where the characters appear to be either mentally ill or hammered out of bad archetypes, you need to develop a sense of normalcy before you can lose it, and that means spending some quality time with the main cast. Quite possibly this entails recognizing that you might not align perfectly with the target demographic of the VN (or the anime as it were), and so there may be some dissonance between the characters and the sort of characters you generally like. So long as you are able to look beyond this to experience the story from their perspective, Steins;Gate is pretty entertaining. All I had to do to enjoy the dramatic significance of events was to empathize with them.

  8. tanukichan says:

    “In a way, the more realistic a show is, the more these small inconsistencies tend to stand out.”

    Agreed. While I have no problems with the Rukako assaulting scenes, I find it unrealistic that they didn’t use their phones to light up their way when the light went out. I don’t know about everyone else, but Okabe always has his phone by his side.

  9. AKI says:

    Who the hell is watching Okabe? I got petrified there for a second…Red jello sure can be frightening!

  10. AidanAK47 says:

    Hehehehe….oh Psgels
    Internet discussion 101:
    Whenever someone has been proven wrong in their argument they will either
    a) Attempt to salvage their point by moving it in a different direction
    Or
    b) Find other faults to focus on to try to save face.
    Here you are doing both. That quip at Daru’s voice actor was a cheap shot and you know it.

    Anyway considering this is a mystery series you can expect characters to get in-depth coverage from the get go. However we have received hints. Christina for example has given hints of having either an overbearing father or problems with abuse. When Okabe jokingly started intimating shouting at her instead of shouting back like normal she became terrified. The girl has got some daddy issues, of that I am sure.
    Suzuha obviously came for either the future or a different world line that had some sort of dictatorship. At the first mention of brainwashing she overacted and started looking for signs of it.
    Feiris probably is the typical “Family works all the time and cannot spend any time together” or possibly her father was previously dead which lead the business to fall into her hands. So she sent a message to save her father. In turn prevented the business from falling into her hands and never turned Akihabara into Moe paradise.
    You have to look out for the little things…

  11. AidanAK47 says:

    *intimidating shouting

  12. UnknownVoice says:

    Calling it: Daru is Part-time-girl’s father.

    Its obvious that she is from future so her father must be young yet and not know about her. They almost went to same time-travel forum meeting. and so on

    One thing that interests me is that it seems that not only we now have TWO John Titors(japanese and american), we now have THREE titors total(2 johns and one barrel).

  13. UnknownVoice says:

    Also anyone noticed that in the scene in the night where Okabe is searching for the girl, the satelite is missing on that building?

  14. Rex says:

    @UnknownVoice
    I was thinking about that too, my guess is that its the part-timers timemachine.
    Think about it, when makise was killed, the timemachine hit hte building, part-timer killed her. She KNEW that makise was holding a lecture there.
    Someone travelled through time, so the worldlines changed (only okabe knows), “erasing” John Titor so he did NOT appear in 2000, making it so that makise was NOT having a lecture. She was in the building, but okabe meeting her, then being in shock that she is alive, might have kept part-timer away so she couldnt go in for the kill.
    Makise might be responsible for something in the future, that part-timer thinks is so bad she travelled back in time to kill her. But now she might have realized that the worldlines changed into something that possible might not have makise do something horrible in the future.

    Thats just my theory.

  15. AKI says:

    @Rex, you know what, that sounds entirely plausible. I was really thinking why is there a need to kill Kurisu in the first place? Was that random? Or was there an intent to kill? Now that you mentioned it, only Suzuha has that close-to-intention thing to murder Kurisu. Oh man, the mystery and all that is very intriguing. I’m liking this show more and more. By the way psgels, do we have confirmation that this is slotted for 24 episodes? Wikipedia says it is, but others I saw only 12.

  16. Rex says:

    Whoops, i can see now i forgot to write what my original intention was about my previous post.

    >timemachine crashed into building
    >suzuha tries to kill makise
    >suzuha tries to find her father
    >fails and says goodbye
    >timemachine is gone.

    also, she stares at it all the time. and besides, why havent anyone bothered to remove it, or check out to see what it is?

  17. Wolf says:

    I just rewatched episodes 1-4. I’m pretty sure that the voice of John Titor is being supplied by the same man providing the voice of Daru.

  18. LMekko says:

    AKI, according to http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-03-26/steins-gate-anime-final-bd/dvd-to-include-special there’s going to be 24 eps and a special on the last blu-ray disc.

    Also, anyone know about the book Makise hit Okabe with? Paused during that and it was titled Der glücklichste Gedank meines Lebens by Hans Schmidt. Some googling turned up that Gedank meines Lebens translates to “happiest time of my life” or some such, but that was about it. Ok, and lots of German pages but I don’t speak that :p

  19. tomphile says:

    If Daru turns out to be John Titor, my whole world would be flipped. But thinking on that more, it isn’t so far-fetched. Daru is smart, no doubt about that, plus, he was at the same Time Machine gathering that Suzuha’s father, Barrel Titor, was supposedly at. This gives them a connection and if current trends are anything to go by, you shouldn’t leave out unlikely links like that one.

  20. meow says:

    If Daru turns out to be John Titor

    I strongly doubt if Daru could be the actual John Titor that was conversing via SMS with Okabe. It makes more sense for him to be just using the handle “Barrel Titor” in the internet forum, in reference to his body. He had the IBM in his hands but wasn’t particularly excited about it and only used it to crack those encrypted SERN mails. Big question mark about Suzuha and why she ran away pre-D-mail. She obviously partied with Daru post-D-mail so if he is her father, why didn’t she recognize him? Was he supposed to do something at the meeting? What’s with the pin? Well, Daru and Suzuha have the same hair colour anyway.

    Btw, I’m seriously impressed that Daru is performed by Tomokazu Seki. I’m alot more familiar with his FMP, Seed, Nodame roles and I totally didn’t recognize his voice at all.

  21. Rex says:

    Remember, the real John Titor that turned up in 2000 was american.

    Somehow, when suzuha travelled back in time (when the satelite crashed and okabe saw makise being killed), the original john titor was erased and replaced by someone else, suzuha using john titors name.
    Which again is why makise was suddenly alive when the worldlines changed, since the original john titor didnt exist, she wasnt holding a lecture etc. etc.

    Anyway, i think its important to keep the real john titor in mind as im sure he will play a role later.

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  • JaK
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 02:14 PM)
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-08-01/digimon-adventure-characters-returns-next-spring-in-high-school-sequel/.77195 omg i have soo many childhood memories of s1 it being one of the first anime i ever watched yesssss
  • JaK
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:37 PM)
    oh taiyou no ie won the kodansha best manga award for shoujo good going their its a really good manga totally deserves it
  • JaK
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 12:26 PM)
    not all of them though kino’s journey was a exception among exceptions
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 11:06 AM)
    What gets me though is when I for example were to say “what did you think of perfect blue?”
    And someone says “Never heard of that, do you watch guilty crown?”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 11:02 AM)
    Many light novel adaptations feel like low end 12 year old targeted action films, they also feel like terrible fanfiction.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 10:58 AM)
    Of course, Im saying that the appeal-to-age ratio happens most, not all of the time.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 10:57 AM)
    My bad, if it reads like I’m rambling, because it’s two AM and I’m tired as fuck.
  • K-Off
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 10:54 AM)
    @Emma When we had Bebop, the target demographic for that was much younger. Fast forward a decade, and the new younger audience doesn’t find the humor of Space Dandy,or the premise of Zannkyou no Terror very interesting. So those shows only remain relevant thanks to the likes of us, who grew up with similar shows. Since the new generation is a majority, it’s only logical to assume that it’s the reason why TiR and SD would get the backstage.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 10:43 AM)
    Mindfuck time, artist for koe no katchi did the art for at least one Mardock scramble manga.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Aug 1. 2014 10:37 AM)
    @K-off: My view of Zannkyou is still up in the air but I was thinking the exact same thing as you were earlier about shows getting overshadowed as I watched it.

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