This anime with the weirdly punctuated name (Steins;Gate – REALLY?!) is supposed to be my jam. I’ve had it downloaded for a while, but I was busy finishing up FMAB (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood…much better punctuation in that one). Barring a few exceptions, I’m super late to anime and only seriously got into it within the last five years.
This semi-wannabe-kinda sorta review thingy should be taken with this in consideration: I just came off of FMAB. And, quite frankly (hi again, Frank), I don’t think anything can or will ever top it. Naturally, after coming off of something of such epic magnitude, the first thing to follow is going to be a huge, flaccid disappointment. (Yes, I meant to say flaccid.) (Yes I know what flaccid means.) (Okay, I’ll stop saying flaccid.) (Prude.)
“After discovering time travel, a university student and his colleagues must use their knowledge of it to stop an evil organization and their diabolical plans.” (Premise brought to you by a direct copy/paste from IMDb. Because I’m lazy. But I’m no plagiarist – I cite my sources. Hmph.)
Here’s another direct copy/paste – this time from user j4x: “Okabe Rintarou, an university student who refers to himself as Crazy Mad Scientist Hououin Kyouma and his lab’s members work on a microwave device that can transfer messages to the past. Without getting captured, they should get it working in order to beat the evil organization, SERN and stop their evil plans.”
Sounds right up my alley, alright. So I understand the recommendation. Anime? Check. Sci-fi? Check. Time travel? Check. Conspiracy theories? Check. Mental disturbances? Check. Social anxiety? Check. Good vs. Evil? Check. Geeky/pervy techy sidekick? Check. Smart women? Check. I mean, really. There are so many things for me to like about this.
But I’ve had problems with it, and I’m only three episodes in.
Problems I’ve had with it, only three episodes in
Mayuri Shiina is a major character. As the lifelong friend and financier/snack supplier of the main character, Mayuri is around a lot. She works at some cafe where she dresses like a kitty cat and prances and meows for customers. Look, I get it. A lot of pre-teen or even teenaged geeks really dig watching adult anime girls dress and act like helpless little girls in short skirts and tiny little voices. And oh my god does Mayushii have a tiny little voice. It drives me batshit. The character is sweet, unassuming, just darling. Fine. But does she have to sound like an infant? Grump grump grump. Steins;Gate does have at least one strong female character that I’ve met thus far. But Mayuri gets under my skin. I think FMAB spoiled me to strong chicks in anime. To be fair, they haven’t fan serviced her yet. Yet.
Let’s not even talk about the pink-haired coworker of Mayuri. She’s up there in the promo pic. So far, I’ve only seen her in her work costume. With kitten ears and making her hands into paws. So she can act like a cat. And meow. I may have just vomited typing that. Not yet. But close.
There are also these scenes where the mad scientist is hanging out in hacker chat rooms trying to solve his mysteries. (Are they mysteries, or is he crazy? That’s a major plot point, and that is somewhat intriguing. But I’m also pretty sure the answer to that is obvious.) Okabe/Hououin goes into these underground hacker/conspiracy chat rooms, and you (the viewer) are looking at the screen and inundated with lines and lines of chat room text. It’s overwhelming, and I get superanxious trying to read all of it. How are you to know which pieces to pay attention to and which to discard as extraneous information? ARGH! I should have taken a screenshot so you can see what I mean. But I didn’t, and I’m at work. So. Yeah. I kept pausing over and over and over again so that I wouldn’t miss a single line of text. I’m sure most of it was extraneous and irrelevant, but I couldn’t help myself. Text was there! Demanding to be read!
I just haven’t been grabbed. It hasn’t captivated me yet. Is it because of the annoying little things I’m picking apart? Or do I have time to pick it apart and notice annoying little things because it hasn’t captivated me yet?
Things I do Like Thus Far
Itaru, better known as Daru, is the hacker of the top secret future lab. UGH. And I just got a fucking spoiler when I looked for a picture of him to include here. And now I’m pissed! Hmph. Don’t google the show unless you want spoilers. Anyway! Daru is the stereotypical otaku guy. Fat, lazy, geeky, whip-smart with all things techy/computer. And he’s a pervert. It’s funny watching him call Okabe out on his eccentricities and delusions. And it’s funnier still when he tries to make the girls say things like, “his banana is floppy.” I like Daru. Daru makes me laugh, and that’s super important.
I love how weird and eccentric and over-the top Okabe is. His labcoat. His maniacal laughter. The way he speaks into his phone…while it’s switched off. How convinced he is of his delusions. And how real I really think they are.
The time travel. The conspiracy theories. The phone microwave time machine thingy. The gel bananas. The floppy gel bananas. The mean (but not really) super. The time jumps and multiple timelines. Love it.
To Continue or Cut My Losses
Only three episodes in, now is the time to quit if I’m not diggin’ it. I mean, I’ve only put in an hour of my life thus far. And that’s not too bad at all, especially when there isn’t much else demanding my time. But there are things I hate about it…cut and run.
On the other hand, not everyone can be royalty. I mean. It’s unfair to hold all anime up to FMAB or Ghibli standards (puhleeze). It would be akin to choosing your favorite artist or musician and saying that all else is garbage because it’s not such and such artist or musician. We aren’t going to fall head-over-heels for everything. It’s acceptable to just like something, right? But it’s also probably not a good idea to leave a RHCP concert and expect me to swoon over Yanni five minutes later. I mean, let’s get real. For fucks sake.
Yeah. I’m gonna give it more time. It’s not like I’m hating it. So I’ll watch a few more episodes and reassess.
See? That wasn’t so difficult, now, was it? Now to figure out dinner. Decisions suck. Grump grump grump.