Posted on 12 March 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Mirai Nikki, Steins;Gate

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As per usual, you can check out psgels’ original reviews right below:

Steins;Gate

Mirai Nikki

Steins;Gate (White Fox)

It’s hard to discuss about Steins;Gate without mentioning its current legacy. Both tremendously popular among anime fans, as well as being a critical acclaimed hit, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see its name among the list of modern classics. In a way, it’s part of the point of this retrospective: to form an opinion of a show in today’s lenses, and Steins;Gate, as I put it simply, stands the test of time. Having said all that, with this re-watch I can clearly see the strengths, and the shortcomings of this behemoth and while my grade remains the same as the first watch, my admiration of it has lessened somewhat. The main issue this show has lies in the way Steins:Gate can’t escape the convention of Visual Novel. The first half, in particular, paces significantly slow BECAUSE it tries to pair Okabe up with various different girls. Many of them, especially Nyan-Nyan and Feminine Boy (and just right after Wandering Son, this depiction of trans person leaves a bitter taste here) don’t feel like they belong to the main story at all and as a result they were discarded quickly after their arc is over. Moreover, the “mission” mechanic is so apparent later on when Okabe has to solve these challenges in order to advance the plot. It would’ve been fine but when he asks a girl to give up his father (yeah, really!) or goes to a date in the middle of high-stake drama (what the heck!), it just feels more silly than appropriate.

The second issue I have with Steins;Gate this time around is the comedy. Considering the drama to come, I have a sense that some of the comedy feel just off and don’t blend well with the whole picture. Okabe’s eighth grade syndrome is lousy and makes little sense in this second viewing to the point I had to wonder why any character needs to take him seriously. All the ecchi jokes just fall flat and like I mentioned a paragraph above, the recurring gag involving Luka’s gender is worrisome. There are some plot conveniences regarding Okabe’s ability as well (he happens to both create a time travel machine AND remembers all the time lines. Well?), but I’m not going to fault the show for that. On a positive note, I like the wash-out visual palette of this show and as a whole White Fox does a decent job production-wise.

What Steins;Gate compensate for those issues, however, is the brilliant and certainly inspiring execution of time-travel subject. Time travel has always pique my interest so naturally I have seen a fair bunch of them, and even then Steins;Gate still makes it right at the top. Those time-travel theories are well-researched and all the decisions they made make sense to me. Steins:Gate also explores the possibilities of time-lines and how small change from the past could lead to completely different outcomes to the future. Add those several times and the mystery, as well as the implication just keep tangle up like a giant spider web, but never at once the show loses its direction or confidence. The alternate time-lines have some well-thought-out outcomes, and all the plot progression is believable and relatable. My hat off for one of the best writing in recent years.

But I wouldn’t rank this show so high if all it does is well-research implication of time-travel, it’s the drama that makes this show so gripping, thrilling and ultimately rewarding. Okabe gets himself pulled into some serious conflicts, and the more challenging the conflict, the harder he pushes himself. The harder he pushes himself, the more we relate to his problems. He and Kurisu also have to go through some tough but believable development and I don’t kid myself when I feel I would behave just like him if I was in his situations. The stakes keep getting higher and the price paid just keeps piling up, but in the end I can safely say that Okabe has one of the best character development I’ve seen in a while and the cast has a varied personalities but each one of them reveals their deeper side throughout the course of the anime, and every pair have some sort of distinct chemistry that make them feel like a part of this lab club. The sequel will be out next season so finger-crossed that it can deliver the same magic as its predecessor.

El Psy Congroo

Rating: 93/100

Geek’s Corner: As I mentioned that time-travel is one of my favorite topic, allow me to throw some recommendations on the subject. Normally, the impact from time-travel can splits into 2 theories: 1) the consequences will happen in the same timeline, hence what you change in the past will directly result in what happening in the future (simple example would be: someone broke the vase, you time-travel to find out just to realize it was you who break it) and 2) the consequences will create a parallel timelines, and with the butterfly effect will result in complete different outcomes. Steins;Gate falls into latter category and I’d suggest checking out Primer and The Butterfly Effect if you want more of this theory. (Primer is your definition of mind-fuck indie film but it is hailed as one of the most realistic depiction of time travel. The director himself is a physics so he knows what he was talking about). For the first category, you can watch 12 Monkeys or the Spanish movie Timecrimes. They’re all rewarding, I assure you.

Mirai Nikki (Asread)

Here comes a show that *nearly* blows up on my face. I always have mixed feeling on shows about survival game from a bunch of psychopaths trying to outsmart the others. They provide some great entertainment, mind you, but with the plot-ridden development containing many quick twists and turns, the story can go off the rail very easily. Mirai Nikki has some good premises, about a group of 12 participants using their own future diary to kill each other. Seeing the show as a pure thriller, it was a bumpy ride with a small dose of ups and a big bag of meh. In the bright side, most of the cast fulfils their role. They’re nothing stellar, mind you, but at least they aren’t thrown-away characters. I like the fact that some characters, especially Ninth, are not one-off character but change her own role rapidly throughout the story; others like Seventh pair or Fourth use their time on-screen sufficiently. In the negative side, the story does get dull as it speeds on with plot holes, an intolerable plain male lead, some stupid decisions AND WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ENDING? I mean, the show really falls apart in the last few episodes with the world-blending subplot.

In fact, what keeps me engaged to Mirai Nikki is Yuno and her obsession with Yukko. She’s the star of the show and basically delving into her insanity is the one pleasure of watching this show. She’s the glaring example of yandere at its most fully formed and normally yandere traits can be really off-putting, but here in Mirai Nikki, she fits in with the theme like a glove. Mirai Nikki works as a construction to how an unhealthy relationship is form and developed, the way Yukko agrees to be Yuno’s boyfriend just so that she can protect him, to her over-reliant to him because she needs someone to obsess over. I also appreciate that while other shows display yandere character as normal at first and then imply something wrong within her, this show makes it clear from day 1 that Yuno is one insane bastard, yet Yukko still feels safe enough to get drawn to her. It’s the reason why the plot twist near the end works for me, but the same can’t be said with the redemption part in the last episode. You telling me she can go soft and learn happiness? LIKE HELL SHE CAN. It’s better she’s insane and stays insane.

I also feel like Mirai Nikki has a love/hate relationship (mostly hate) towards its female characters. In the show, female characters are often repressed by the power of men (Sixth and Ai from Seventh are rape victim for example, or how Ninth is chained up by Twelfth), and Yuno is an female empowerment symbol of a girl who takes matter into her own hands, a girl who would go extra length to be together with the one she loves. The issue with that view is that, there are hundred better ways to present women in repressed situation without relying on rape (I ask myself why rape? WHY), or occasionally show them in nude for no apparent reasons. Even with Yuno, as empowered as she is, still functions for the sake of one boy so for me it’s just the bad representation of female characters as a whole. As a sum up, Mirai Nikki has some thrilling premise and it’s still fun to watch crazy characters blow up other characters, moreover Yuno is the poster girl of Mirai Nikki (Boy. She deserves to be remembered fondly), but with the terrible whiny useless male lead, plot inconsistency that comes to pieces like a shattered glass and a closure that is just downright terrible, it just barely crosses the passable line.

Rating: 63-/100

Welp, what do you think about those two shows. I bet you have lots to talk about Steins;Gate and Yuno, right? Shoot them down in the comment. Next post, I will have a light watch with Working!! 2 and Yumekui Merry. Ideally, I’ll have the post ready before the start of next season. Till then, guys.

Posted on 18 April 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Mirai Nikki



Mirai Nikki: grab a bunch of psychopaths, hand each of them a diary that predicts the future, make them kill each other and you’ve got yourself the germ of an entertaining story.

This is a show for those looking for some over the top entertainment. It has action and suspense, but unfortunately also plotholes and a lead character who is a wimp for a good first portion of the series. In the end the pros do make up for the cons in this series, but it takes patience.

The bigggest problem with this series is that the characterization takes a really long while to get going. At the beginning of the series, Yukiteru (tha male lead) is a typical coward who once in a while does something heroic. The side-characters are all pretty dull and one-sided, and it doesn’t really feel like any of them comes to his or her right. The only one who really stands out is the lead female: Yuno. The biggest selling point of this series and the mother of all yandere. But even she takes a while to really get going, and is for most of the first half of this series a deranged psychopath without much depth either. The interesting stuff only starts when the characters start to develop and change over the course of the series. This is where the cast gets depth, Yukiteru grows balls, and the characters come together more and this is where the series gets really fun to watch.

Something also needs to be said about the plot: it can get quite creative in the plot twists it delivers to the viewer. It however is not as clever for this premise to really work, and as a consequence it’s full of plotholes. When you stat to watch this series, you really need to realize this, because there are way too many leaps in logic and weird coincidences that would instantly break any normal suspense of disbelief. It’s the kind of series where you need go go along with the flow, no matter how ridiculous it may get t times.

Because in the end, this does reward, even though it takes a while to get there. Mirai Nikki’s biggest problem is that it stumbles on for a good 10 episodes in uninteresting fights, challenges and characters, and it’s not even for the sake of build-up either. At one point it just decides to make its character arcs longer and actually use some character development effecitvely, and that’s where it becomes quite an entertaining ride. The ending is a bit weird, but heck, this show at least doesn’t skimp on entertainment value.

Just one thing: try to avoid getting spoiled about this series. It’s the kind of series that is hard to rewatch, because a lot of the fun is in its surprises that it pulls you.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very entertaining plot twists, but is a bit annoying in its first halves.
Characters: 8/10 – The side-cast in particular really needs a long while to get going, but in the end the character development is pretty good all around.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Good soundtrack, animation that’s nothing special, but does what it needs to do.
Setting: 8/10 – The setting is just insane, but that’s part o this series’ charms.

Suggestions:
Ben-To
Ga-Rei Zero\
Shikabane Hime

Posted on 17 April 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

So with this we’ve gotten all of the endings of the past season. And it’s pretty weird indeed. At the very least, I’ve got to praise the creators for delivering a solid and climactic ending. This episde was fun, and also had a ton of character development. It was a bit cheesy when Yuno stabbed herself, but heck: she’s crazy, and this episode had far bigger question-marks.

First of all, I’m not sure whether I missed this or not, but the way in which Eleventh changed everyone’s future, was an explanation given of why he knew now that he Mirai Nikki project would fail? There’s also the question of Murmur’s intentions: was it ever revealed what she wanted anyway? I mean, she had captured the Murmur of the world anyway and eventually would have continued to e the assistant of the new God.

The strangest part however, was the sequel hook. I mean, I knew beforehand that Mirai Nikki isn’t going to end here and that some sort of sequel got announced at the end of this episode. However, what the heck did Yukiteru turn into anyway? He couldn’t get over Yuno… for 10000 years? It pretty much sounds like he reverted back to his old self and has been sulking for an eternity.

Still, I enjoyed this episode a lot. This series definitely had its issues, and being spoiled along the way also didn’t help, but it did come together quite nicely.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 9 April 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

Whoa. Mindscrew!

This episode was a lot of fun to watch, and perfect for the penultimate climactic battle. It was completely over the top, but worked really well. It’s a bit of a strange decision to go on for three weeks longer than every other show of the past season, but it really worked out. I have to praise the producers of this series for taking the time for that. It’s a shame that to fill up the lost time, we were treated to those boring skits at the end of each episode, but heck: they can be skipped. I complained about them, but in the end they are a neat trick to get rid of that nasty limitation where episodes all need to be 20 minutes long.

Also, for a minute I was fearing that the series just cheaply pushed the reset button, but the creators really did some interesting things with it, especially with how the different timelines started to intertwine. Especially Yuno stabbing her own father was a bit surreal, especially how we saw a completely different side of him now.

Then this episode also used a classic twist that a lot of penultimate episodes like to pull: the illusion where characters just live their lives without any problem. It was with a little twist, though: Yukki knew what he was going into, and what Yuno was doing, but he was slowly drawn into it.

Oh, when Murmur went berserk, things really got crazy. It also was really well animated. Probably the best animation of the entire series and Asread definitely brought in a talented animator for that scene.
Rating: **+ (Excellent+)

Posted on 6 April 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

Okay… so now this show just pulled stuff out of its ass to push its plot further. The result was weird and kindof interesting, don’t get me wrong, but where did Ninth’s resurrection suddenly come from, and why does she suddenly have flying, time travel and teleportation powers. Overall this episode was a bit too much convenient storytelling.

Still, I have to admit: this episode did something new to the resurrecting and time-travel tropes. I mean, for a minute I face-palmed when I found out that the creators were basically going to resurrect the cast again (so much for those death scenes, eh), but I actually really liked how this episode brought distinction in the people from different time-lines. It acknowledged that everyone Yukiteru knew is still dead, and it clearly labeled Yukiteru as an idiot for trying to save yet another Yuno. Time really got screwed over here, and that was a nice idea.

Oh, and this episode also explained why it was such a big deal that Yukiteru saw the corpses of Yuno’s family… only that it doesn’t… I mean, first of all they were terribly hidden. Yuno had plenty of time to clean things up, and she invited Yukiteru to her house, knowing that there was a really obvious room that anyone with a curiosity would want to check out. Second: wasn’t it Akise who found out Yuno’s identity? Didn’t he find out about that on his own?

Also, I keep finding it a bit morbid that the day that the creators chose for the world to end… happens to be my birthday. Are you trying to send me some sort of subtle message, Mirai Nikki?
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 26 March 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

I had already been spoiled for about half of the major twists in this episode (which also makes this a very bad show to want to rewatch by the way), but after finally seeing the complete picture in which everything is explained I definitely gained a new appreciation for this series. I think the only thing that’s left to be explained is what exactly Yuno’s diary means by “Happy end”. I mean, twice it obviously hinted at the two of them having sex and all, but it still makes no sense to see that as an actual “end”. I think that the best example of creative use of broadcasting schedules was with Michiko e Hatchin. It totaled 22 episodes, yet ran for two full cours and while it had a ton of random hiatuses, it also had random weeks in which it suddenly decided to air two episodes at once. We need more series like that.

As for Yukiteru, I think that this guy improved a lot. There indeed was a long while in this series where he had the bad main character syndrome, but in this episode he again was pretty interesting to watch.

Also for the record, Mirai Nikki has a very strange broadcasting schedule: with this there are still 3 episodes left, so this show will actually end on April 21st, a time when most of the spring series have already started (with the exception of Hyouka and that idol show, I believe). I like that. Screw the fact that you have to end at the final week of march. If this show wants to have 26 episodes, it can have them. It makes things a bit difficult to organize, but who cares?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 21 March 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

This episode was undoubtedly crazy.

The plot is finally coming together after all the seemingly unrelated arcs in the first half. Finally it becomes clear what Akise’s role is in this series and he finally got his episode to redeem himself. Also, there was Yukiteru who is well on his way to become one of the least inept main characters out there. Thankfully though, the creators are actually playing with this for once, rather than just copying the standard male lead over and over again. Oh don’t get me wrong: Yukiteru has elements of this guy written all over him, but being such a wimp to actually kill his friends like that in favor of his deranged girlfriend. I like that.

Overall, I do have to say that Mirai Nikki was by far the worst series for the past year to avoid spoilers on. Both from the different OPs and EDs, but also from the fans who kept giving away hints that the audience wasn’t supposed to know yet. Looking back, I think that that was for me unconsciously something that held my enjoyment of this series a lot, especially considering how focused this series is on its surprises and plot twists.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 15 March 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

Apologies for the delay. There are times when I’m just a bit lazy with my entries. In any case though, the second half of Mirai Nikki has proved to be much more entertaining than the rather boring first half, and especially the final quarter of the series is without a doubt the best part of it.

Ninth’s death was really sappy, but it worked pretty well when Ninth suddenly started to relate to Yukiteru and realized the similarities they had. Oh, and I also love how the saves in this series have a mind of their own: out of their own volition they close off to protect Yukiteru, they only grant access to the makers (including their daughter) and even if you’re similar to said daughter you can get in. Again I’ve unfortunately been spoiled about the reason why, but the death of Eleventh was still very satisfying.

What I do like about Mirai Nikki is that, while it’s not the best of the season, it actually will end well. It waited until the manga was finished and allocated enough episodes to do it. With three episodes left and what seemed like the major antagonist Eleventh gone, I’m pretty excited for the final three episodes.

I do wonder, though: why is Akise in favor of making Yukiteru the next god, when he still has Eighth? I mean, he said that Yukiteru had a valid reason for bringing back his parents and restoring things to normal… but can’t eighth do that as well? He seems to forget that Yukiteru also has the makings of a psychopath and is incredibly emotionally unstable. I’d rather trust eighth, to be honest.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 26 February 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

When that cop suddenly started to propose to Ninth, I was a bit baffled. I mean, can you possibly find an even worse timing for that? It was obvious that he had a crush on Ninth, but the sheer randomness of actually proposing was a bit too much here. And then the rest of this episode aired, and I understood. Of course: in fiction, proposing to someone in the middle of a story is the equivalent of signing your own death sentence. It’s not really a plot-hole this time, but more like a really bad twist.

The cheese is what sets Mirai Nikki apart from Guilty Crown though: Mirai Nikki knows full well that it’s supposed to be over the top, and to its credit: this was exactly that. This was very entertaining, whereas Guilty Crown on top of being full of bad twists and plotholes is also completely stupid, very badly written, poorly built up and has atrocious characters. Here though, I liked Ninth quite a bit, and I have to admit: Yukiteru’s appearance in this episode was excellent.

This really is the Winter of WTF. First we had Milky Holmes, then Aquarion Evol also took the bizarre train, followed by Danshi Koukousei, Nisemonogatari, and really: Mirai Nikki also caught it. I’d also include Guilty Crown, but that unfortunately is in a bad way.

This was what I’ve been hoping this show would be: straight-up entertainment. It’s nothing much more, and it’s a shame that the first half of this series didn’t really impress much, but with episodes like this I’m glad to have continued.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 February 2012 with categories: Mirai Nikki

Plothole time: a person cannot just “act well” from out of nowhere. I don’t care if Yuno wrote a perfectly fine script. Yukiteru still had to act it out with confidence. Something that goes completely against his character.

Still, this episode was full of fun twists. Eleventh as the major of the city makes for a nice final villain, and his speech in order to close down the orphanage was a very nice introduction. I just have one message to the creators of the anime: if you show him in the midst of all sorts of telephones, instead of having Eighth, you’re pretty much spelling out that he’s going to acquire her server diary at some point. Way to create tension here!

Now, I had been spoiled about there being two Yuno’s… multiple times (thank you, manga readers…), but still the identity of the third corpse came as a surprise to me. The creators can do some nice things with this. The whole plot twist of deceiving Eighth also was very nice to pull: they know how Eighth’s diary works, and because of that it would be easier to get rid of them, while also making use of the occasion to find out what Eleventh’s diary does. Why Yuno didn’t immediately pull the trigger when she had her gun right next to Eleventh’s nose is beyond me, though.

What also surprised me is how the soundtrack has gotten better recently. The new tracks here feel much more colourful and energetic whan what this show had before, working in this series’ favor.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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