Posted by Lenlo on 13 September 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Mystery/Suspense, Steins;Gate 0

This week Steins;Gate 0 gave me, most, of what I wanted. It gave us a journey through the future, a Time Leap chain and the return of our favorite mad scientist. However, for all that I love it, its to little to late. Lets jump in!

So, where to start. Leaving the big spoilers for after the read-more tag, Steins;Gate 0 did a lot right this week. For example, Okabe’s VN did a fantastic job of changing just a bit for each scene as he went back in time each scene. In particular, its noticeable when we get to hear his Kyouma voice, which was radically different from our “normal” Okabe. Loved it. The music was also on point, giving us some classics from the original series along with some Steins;Gate 0 specific tracks. I never thought the music in any particular scene was out of place, and it did actually add to a number of them. I have also read that, supposedly, the entire reverse time leap sequence is anime original. That the VN just had a black page with text. If so, then good job White Fox. Because that sequence, mostly, worked.

Now, specifics. Easily my favorite part of the episode was Okabe’s transformation back into Hououine Kyouma. Mamoru Miyano did an excellent job here. Maybe it was just nostalgia, but hearing that sort of speech again after 20 episodes was a treat. Steins;Gate 0 also went all out in the presentation here. With the lead-up of not showing us Okabe’s eyes until Daru hits him, to the over the top poses and back bending laugh. The weird names, and Maho’s reaction to just… everything. I really liked this scene, and I think its place in the series is fine. Having it near the end is where it should be, Steins;Gate 0 has been about Okabe getting back to his old self this whole time, so there’s no way it could have been sooner. Personal head-cannon though? Okabe is, after all that leaping, more than a little insane. I hope.

Let me explain. I hope that Okabe is, after all that, leaping back thousands of times, actually insane. At least a little bit. And I would like to see it in these last two episodes. I think that seeing a very unhinged Okabe would be interesting. That in exchange for this new found will to continue, jumping through time so much has affected him. Lets be real here, real as can be in a time travel anime at least, 3000+ Time Leaps would mess with a person. And Okabe wasn’t exactly mentally stable to begin with. I think that Okabe, or Kyouma in this case, going a bit off the deep end is warranted and could lead to some fun character interactions. But I do admit, it might be a bit late for that, with just 2 episodes left. Still White Fox has already surprised me once this week.

They surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting them to actually show us the time leaps. I figured it would just be one single leap back to 2011 and we would be done. Instead Okabe had to go on a journey, and I like that. It shouldn’t be easy for Okabe he has, being frank, been an ass up until now to a lot of people. He should have to work to fix this. And these leaps do just that. I am glad it wasn’t a simple thing. However, I do think it could have slowed down a little. I think that Steins;Gate 0 should have dedicated the entire episode to this time leap thing, showing us the future in reverse so we still got to spend time in it. Show us some of their hardships, and then end on the Kyouma reveal. Because that reveal is the best part.

The reason I think this is that Steins;Gate 0 didn’t properly pace itself. The start of the series was fine, but the middle part started to… drag. It started to move slowly, leaving not enough time for this whole ending sequence. We have 2 episodes left afterall and it feels like there is still so much that can be done. Frankly, with how much ground we are covering, Steins;Gate 0 feels like its rushing to its conclusion at the end. Now, I have praised the pace in Banana Fish, so I am sure it is confusing as to why I am attacking Steins;Gate 0 for it. Its simple. Banana Fish has been all go from the start, it hasn’t really slowed down, for good or ill. Steins;Gate 0 though slowed to a crawl in the middle with almost nothing happening. It feels like wasted opportunity here.

For example, there was one big red flag of wasted opportunity for me this episode. In the middle Amadeus says that Okabe has been using convergence, the fact that he has to “die” in 2025, to stay alive. I wish we could have seen that. I wish we could have seen examples of convergence fighting for and against Okabe. To see him gamble on it more, or try to abuse it to get out of situations. As it is, we mostly only hear about it. Or see it work against him. And it feels… cheap. Like this ending, where once again, the Time Machine gets hit. This is, what, the 4th time? Why should I care? Why is this a better cliffhanger/ending than the Kyouma reveal? Simple answer, its not. Its a cheap, repeated punch that we didn’t really need. Those last 4 minutes were better served elsewhere.

So, all in all, while Steins;Gate 0 was good this week, it was to little to late. It had flashes, glimpses of the promise it had at the start. Moments of brilliance that only failed because the 20 episodes of buildup to that moment let it down. There was no scene in this episode that, by itself, was terrible. With a better buildup I legitimately think that any scene in this episode, or the episode just as is, would have been fantastic. As it is, it feels like what Steins;Gate 0 has owed me. The idea that “Yeah, finally, some pay off for sitting through all that”. I feel relieved that things are finally happening. Not shock or awe or joy at the scenes themselves. And that sucks.

What about you? Did this episode redeem Steins;Gate 0 for you, or are you like me and just ready for it to be over? Let me know below.

One Response

  1. Avatar Animosh says:

    Just ready for it to be over! I’m still looking forward to individual moments – Okabe finding out how to deceive the world, the message to the past – but otherwise it feels like we’re just going through the motions at this point. The challenge prequels have to overcome is that, since the audience already knows how the series will end, you have to put that much more effort into making the way there exciting. But here such tension is almost entirely absent. What will happen the next two episodes is obvious: Okabe will realize that simple methods won’t work, put the pieces together, and then go on to deceive the world. There’s no tension as to how everything will play out: we already know. All that’s left is for us to watch the script play out.

    So, yeah, I agree with you: the potential for a great series was definitely there, but Steins;Gate just couldn’t live up to it.

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