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)

Posted on 30 July 2011 with categories: Steins;Gate, Summer 2011 Kaleidoscope



Nurarihyon no Mago – 30
Talk about a massive improvement here. There are the types of stories that should be slow-paced. Nurarihyon no Mago is not one of them. Another big disadvantage of the first season is how little time it spent on backgrounds, so right now this series is really catching up on that, with half of the second season consisting out of background and all. Junji Nishimura really did not fit this series: he should be busy with original stories. That’s where he really shines at. The snappy direction here is much better, especially in this episode. The art also looks much crisper. This could very well be the only actually good thing of Studio Deen this year.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Steins;Gate – 01
After many people recommended it, I re-watched the first episode of Steins;Gate and holy crap What the hell!? If you haven’t re-watched that episode by now: go and re-watch it. Don’t read the rest of this paragraph of analysis and just watch it. This episode did the opposite of what I expected and actually asked more questions than it answered. The big one is the message that Okarin sent to Daru: how the heck did that happen? How the heck did Okarin send a D-Mail when it hadn’t been invented yet? It’s going to be the key to save Mayuri, though: if Okarin never sent the message back to Daru, Daru would never have been able to warn Okarin, and CERN would never have been able to track them down. And holy crap, this show will also turn into a quest to save Makise Kurisu. I totally forgot that some version of Okarin actually tried to warn Makise Kurisu. Now… has the future Okarin created a freaking time-loop for himself? This plot just got even more amazing than it already has.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Sket Dance – 17
This arc was really strange. I really got the impression that it didn’t know what it wanted to do here: there was this huge build-up with the members of the Sket-Dan joining all different bands and having practicing for an upcoming school concert championship… and here this episode comes and throws in a bunch of illnesses and broken arms causing these bands to disband (no pun intended) immediately. It then turns into some moral life-lesson for a violinist as the three members just do the predictable and form a band themselves. I was really looking forward to see all of the different bands compete with each other, but instead this episode skipped across most of the acts for just a few seconds and the only one that we really got to see was this really cheesy J-Rock song in which Bossun suddenly revealed that he has the singing voice of a J-Pop Idol. This series always did so well in capturing school life, but to me, it felt like it didn’t really do this with the school concert. It all just felt too clean. The song that the Sket Dan performed was just too rehearsed (remember that these guys had very little time to prepare. I don’t care how much you practiced, you’re not going to get THAT good in that little time). It’s a bloody shame, because these school concerts are often very fun to watch. Especially because this one looked to be a REAL concert, unlike those silly unimpressive idol acts.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Usagi Drop – 04
Do note that I’m not guaranteeing to blog every series every single week in this kaleidoscope. This time I was merely late with checking out Usagi Drop’s episode, but there may be weeks where I just don’t have any inspiration about the latest episode. In any case, I like how the children in this series really sound like young children, rather than voice actresses trying to act really high-pitched. I also like that this episode introduced yet another single parent, with whom Daikichi can relate with. He’s by no means a perfect parent, but the tension between him and Rin is quite interesting to watch.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:08 AM)
    Ah but that would frustrate me in muv-luv, I’d be the one suffering as a result of having to wait for the characters suffering to start.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:06 AM)
    I’ve heard kickstarter being used for crowdfunding indie films, honestly as a film buff I really should get on that and start supporting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:41 AM)
    I generally don’t pre-order unless its a gift for someone else, so I can guarantee for 100% sure I can get it for them and it won’t sell out.

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