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

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 26 February 2012 with categories: Steins;Gate

So, a number of people wanted to know my views on the Steins;Gate OVA that recently came out. I finally had some time today, so I finally got the chance to check it out. And really: to be honest I found it rather boring.

I don’t mean the episode in its entirety: the way it ended obviously was quite good and a nice lead-in to the movie to have Okabe and Kurisu finally become a couple, and the revelation of Daru’s future wife added to that made this definitely an OVA with a point, rather than the usual DVD specials we usually see. I liked that.

Apart from that though, the rest of this episode was just random banter while everyone went for a trip to America. And that random banter still was quite annoying to sit through, and it just wasn’t fun to watch, having Okabe act like an ass throughout the entire episode. This is already something that got on my nerves a lot throughout the TV-series, and at the very least Daru wasn’t as annoying this time.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 13 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Steins;Gate




There is one thing at which Steins;Gate is unrivaled at compared to anything else that aired this year: its plot. If it’s originality, creative twists and multi layers that you want, then this is a must-watch. This has a bit of a slow start, but as the series goes on its intricately woven plot about time travel shines like no other and this show is masterful at combining seemingly insignificant hooks into gripping plot twist. This definitely stood out as one of the most solid shows of the past half year.

Helping with that is a unique style of this series. The entire series is animated with dull and washed out colours, the animation is simple and only becomes really smooth when it really needs to (with great effects, by the way),and a lot of time in this series is spent on characters just talking to each other while the plot slowly progresses. It’s slow, but each episode has its purpose, even though this only may become apparent later on. The lead characters’ monologues in particular are well written, but on top of that this is a series that really did its research into time travel. It may not present the most logical way that time travel might be possible (I mean, there are still parts where you’re going to have to suspend your disbelief), but it’s very well researched.

The weakest part of this series is its cast of characters. Obviously they’re not bad, but they do have a few quirks that didn’t make them as interesting to follow as some of their counterparts. In particular, the acting of the main cast leaves things to be desired, in which they’re trying too hard to fit themselves into certain stereotypes. Daru, Kurisu and Mayuri are the biggest examples of this, which often makes them annoying to watch. The main character Okabe meanwhile just tries too hard: during the dramatic parts he tends to act too dramatic, and during the light-hearted parts he tends to act too over the top (which becomes rather repetitive after a bunch of episodes).

That’s pretty much what held this show back for me. Do not let that discourage you however, because there have been plenty of people who experienced the characters in a completely different way. Heck, at the beginning of this season I did not expect another series this year to come close to the amount of acclaim that Madoka Magica got. I personally did have these beefs with the characters, but even there there are still plenty of good parts about the cast of characters, in particular their development.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really knows how to deliver stunning plot twists. Has a unique and down to earth style and uses it really well.
Characters: 8/10 – Some annoying and forced acting was probably the thing that bugged me the most about this series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very smooth animation is wonderful to see, though there also are many inconsistencies during the quiet scenes.
Setting: 10/10 – A truly excellent story about time travel and all of its intricacies. It’s creative and boldly written together.

Suggestions:
Noein
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Bokura no

Posted on with categories: Steins;Gate



And here we really see the advantage of adapting a medium that has already finished: it’s so much easier to plan in a great conclusion. This episode really impressed me by how it did exactly what it needed to close this thing off. I do have one question about the plot, though. Did I miss this somewhere by not paying attention?

When Okabe traveled back in time with his time machine, shouldn’t he have seen his version of the previous episode together with him? I mean, I was really looking forward to seeing Okabe stop not just Kurisu’s father, but also his own blunder of killing Kurisu last episode. He didn’t use any D-Mails to undo that, right?

Either way though: the rest of this episode rocked. The metal Upa thing took a while to hit home, but again I have to praise this series for putting so many huge consequences on such a tiny little thing. The finale was over the top, but it was wonderfully animated. This series has definitely found a unique style of animation, and even though it only had the budget to show this once every three or four episodes, it really made huge additions to this series. This episode was also where that came together wonderfully.

Oh and yeah: a movie just got announced. This episode closed off nicely, while still leaving a number of key questions unanswered. There are things like Suzuha’s mother, but the biggest is probably: why didn’t Kurisu start to work for Cern? In fact, that whole subplot is still pretty unexplored, because she only became like that in the Mayuri-death-timelines: where she met Okabe. Something happened there that killed Okabe and Daru, caused such an unlikely scenario to happen. I hope that the movie is going to focus on that.

Overall, the past Spring had four shows that stood head and shoulders above the others: Ano Hana, Tiger & Bunny, Hyouge Mono and this one. Overall, I think that I do like Anohana better. As for second place though, that’s really going to be a tough one: Tiger & Bunny had much better characters, while at the same time it had a less impressive plot, and the settings of both all were incredibly well constructed, while Hyouge Mono has better acting, while its plot will entirely depend on what it has planned for its final 13 episodes. All in all though, it was one heck of a ride, and definitely set a standard for the other endings this season.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 September 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



OMG! WTF!

Right from the start I knew that this would be the point that I had been looking forward to the most: the explanation of what the heck happened during that first episode. And yeah. It pretty much was my favourite episode of Steins;Gate yet. But for the love of God, that plot twist in which Christina’s killer is revealed was awesome!

This episode really was amazing. Everything came together wonderfully. The twists that the plot took here were brilliant, and I even loved the characters. Okarin’s future self’s message was awesome in how well his past version understood what he had to do.

I really thought that Moeka, FB and CERN were the central villains: that they too were somehow involved with the third world war somehow. Instead though, they are just vital for Mayuri’s death, and they only come in action when they actually intercept that D-Mail. They probably participated in the arms race for building the time machine, but without Kurisu they actually didn’t get the upper hand.

And holy crap this thing only has 24 episodes. It’ll be over next week! Okabe is going to have to save Kurisu in one single episode. It actually is possible if the creators play their cards right. I’ve said many times before that an ending can make a huge difference on how I view a series, and out of all the series that are going to end this season, this one has the best papers for it. The most important thing: do not rush too much!

Also, who put the OP through a blender?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 1 September 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Apologies for the lateness of this entry. I finally thought that that I’d have some time to catch up to everything this week, but then I caught a cold, so at the moment I’m not really 100%. I do want to respond to the surprising amount of comments who found it strange that I didn’t have this ranked as my top series for my August Summary. It’s pretty similar to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica earlier this year: yes, this is undeniably awesome, and this episode was no exception. There just are series that I like better.

The reasons for that are always tricky, but I think that me having trouble to identify with Okabe’s angst has some part in it. There are a few things about this series that I just didn’t understand that have to do with that, and which have been bugging me for quire a while now. The first one I mentioned before: what about all of the time-lines that Okabe left behind, where Mayuri just dies. What happens to them? I find it a bit hard to believe that they just… disappear. The second thing I didn’t understand though: why is Mayuri fated to die? I mean, I can understand the first time she died: Moeka was ordered to do it, so she did it. Fits totally with her character. However, why does every single truck, train or vehicle hate Mayuri to the point where they just have to run her over? This series has this idea of “fate” that I just don’t understand, and for as far as I picked up, it just refuses to explain exactly why.

Still, the plot, and setting here still are top notch and amongst the best of the season. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the characters: Hyouge Mono, Natsume Yuujinchou, Tiger & Bunny, Penguin Drum, and quite possibly even No.6 all have a characterization that I consider to be better and more interesting, varied and dynamic. Does that make the cast of Steins;Gate bad? Hell no, this episode was awesome and an excellent climax for the romance between Okabe and Kurisu.

I do guess that my expectations were a bit off about these past two episodes, but instead I got two very character focused episode. First one about Mayuri, then one about Kurisu, all about Okabe trying to decide to which time-line to go, all assuming that Kurisu’s death will be unavoidable like Mayuri’s. I admit that I did expect something more fast-paced.

The thing is though, that if if the plot wasn’t this good, I wouldn’t be able to have all these criticisms. The dialogue was wonderful and the conclusion of this past two episode arc, while I do feel that it was a bit dragged out, was excellent. I also really have to give props to the excellent use of the ED and that final climax afterwards.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 24 August 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Out of all of the endings that are coming up next month, Steins;Gate is the one I look forward to the most, with on second place Hana-Saku Iroha. It’s really going to be something that could potentially make the entire series come together and boil down to a wonderful conclusion. But first, an episode entirely dedicated to the characters.

This episode didn’t really reveal any new information, but it really solidified the cast. The past between Okabe and Mayuri got fleshed out some more, same as Mayuri’s worries about Okabe, along with Kurisu. My favourite part of this episode was when she learned that she’d die if the cracking phase was completed.

The people who rewatched the first episode pretty much know what’s going to happen next, so the question of this episode wasn’t really “if Okabe is going to continue with the cracking”, but when he’ll do it. There’s also still the question of how he’ll be able to find a device that allows him to travel further back in time (what happened in the first episode can not be explained with just the thoughts-back-in-time transferer).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 16 August 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Whoa. He realized. Okabe realized the thing that had been glooming in the background for ages and that we were all looking forward to: if he reverts back the first D-Mail, Kurisu will end up dying. I’m really looking forward to seeing Okabe prevent that, while at the same time preventing her from joining CERN and create the time-line where Mayuri dies.

I do wonder, though: how does Okabe keep travelling back in time? Sometimes he uses the D-Mail, yes, but at others the time just goes back, and while sending FB’s message in this episode he reverted back to Moeka’s apartment. Are we to assume that Okabe goes back to Kurisu immediately, wait for her to complete the brain travel device and travels back using that?

And yeah: FB’s identity: it all makes sense now, or at least the big question of how CERN knew so much details about their plans: they’re just a case of poor sound ceiling isolation. His motivation was very clear, and he was really a tragic character and I really liked how they tied Suzuha to him, without making her part of CERN’s plot. It really was a clever way to flesh out a villain who you don’t want to be known as a villain yet.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 9 August 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



Holy crap! Talk about being completely different from the previous episodes! While those episodes were tragic and bitter-sweet, this one was just completely brutal. The writing in this was just brilliant, as things slowly became clear about what was going on with Moeka, and how any of Okabe’s attempts to change that were futile.

What’s bizarre is also the strange message that she sent. Because she sent a message to herself to buy a new phone, she received the message from a mysterious FB (who seems to be the mastermind behind everything) with the message of where the IBM 5100 was… and yet she just put it in a safe and didn’t hand it over to her subordinates. What’s going on here?

Right now this might be a bit premature to say this, but at this point Steins;Gate has pretty much the best plot of the year for me. Of course, the series hasn’t ended yet, and that FB could very well turn into a generic villain after her revelation, or a very forced alias for a main character (Visual novel readers: please don’t spoil anymore than you’ve already done), but the way the plot is weaved together, the plot twists are delivered, and how this series changes with every passing episode, there isn’t really any other plot to match up to it. Even Madoka Magica, Hyouge Mono and Tiger & Bunny are inferior to it with their storylines.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 2 August 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate



One thing that we’ve never seen in this series: what happens after a D-Mail gets sent in the time-line that Okarin leaves behind? Does Okarin just split in two, where one version leaps to a different time-line and the other stays behind? I mean, this episode created a lot of drama around Rukako having to change her gender back, and yet that version of her shouldn’t notice any change and instead she’s sending a consciousness of Okarin to a different time-line. Would the time-line in this episode just result in a full fledged romance between Okarin and Rukako?

In any case, Rukako requesting a date made this episode a bit sillier than I expected. It unfortunately lead to Daru showing once again how far removed he is from reality (by far the most annoying part of this series), and unfortunately I have to admit that the reason why the creators made Rukako fall in love with Okarin was a very flimsy one. The kind you expect from a bad harem show.

The reason for the IBM5100’s disappearance however, was very good. Here I thought some big conspiracy was behind it, and it turned out to be a mere accident. It was such a key point in the story that changed everything for the worse.

Beyond that, the part few episodes have also been terrific build-up by preparing for the inevitable attempt to retract Shining Finger’s D-Mail. She’s been completely absent from the past episodes. And after that, things should only get even more interesting. It’s hard to believe that there are only 6 episodes left, and yet I feel that that could be the perfect number for this show to close off satisfyingly.
Rating: * (Good)

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