As I’m writing this, I have some time to kill before I head to work. As such, and given I finally finished Steins;Gate 0 on Tuesday, I thought I should give my thoughts on Steins;Gate as well as Steins;Gate 0.
Also, I haven’t watched the movie yet. I plan on doing that on Monday.
Speaking first of the original series, I really enjoyed it. The first half is more slice of life than I was expecting, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, I like it because it gave us a chance to establish the characters more. However, the second half is really when the series goes from good to phenomenal. The last 12 episodes or so of the series are some of the strongest stuff in anime I’ve ever seen. It is so well-written and brilliant. That’s probably why I don’t mind the first half being what it is. The second half is so strong and depressing that you need the first half to balance it out. If the first half was as sad as the second half, then it honestly might work against it, because then you may have lost the character introductions.
As for where it ranks on my favorite shows of all time, hard to say. I don’t know if I would put it in my top ten because the first half, while good, is kind of floating aimlessly. I think it definitely make my top 25, though. And I would make the excuse that I have a tsundere bias, which is why I think shows like Toradora and Kaguya-sama are better, but that doesn’t work because Kurisu is maybe a top 3 tsundere. I think in the end, it just comes done to the fact that there’s such a lose thread tying the first half together that I feel doesn’t make it as strong as other shows. And while I don’t need an ongoing plot episode per episode, as shows like Nichijou are among my favorites of all time, I thought it honestly worked against Steins;Gate.
Okabe is probably the best written main character I’ve seen in an anime. He is so interesting and engaging. The only main characters I think comes close to Okabe is probably Ryuuji from Toradora or Lawrence from Spice and Wolf, but even then they have their less interesting qualities. Okabe keeps you guessing as to what he’s going to do next.
Speaking of Okabe, I love the relationship between Okabe and Mayushii. I think besides Okabe and Kurisu’s relationship, that is really the backbone of the show. It feels so rare to see a platonic friendship between a male and a female in anime. And to top it off, it’s done so believable. I love that Okabe’s chuuni behavior is to cheer Mayushii up. God, that is just so heartwarming.
Next, I want to talk about Kurisu. Not to be cliche when I’m saying this, but Kurisu is the best part of this show. She is the reason why I watched this show, and she lived up to the hype. I love everything about her. I love how much of a tsundere she is, I love how sarcastic she can get, I love how much of a dork she actually is, and I absolutely adore the back and forth between Okabe and Kurisu. That to me was a major highlight. Honestly, I wish we saw even more of the back and forth between Kurisu and Okabe. We got like 30 minutes worth in the original series of them bickering, but I want a whole series of nothing but those two sniping at each other. Every time it happens, it puts a big, fat smile on my face.
Overall, really enjoyed the original series. I would probably give it an 8.5 out of 10. 9.5 in the Beta Attractor Field.
Now onto Steins Gate 0, which I have more of a mixed opinion on.
Right off the bat, I want to list the positives I feel about the series.
I really like Maho as a character. To me, she was the strongest thing about 0. I like how she’s Kurisu’s equal who happens to live in the spotlight of her and never got the same fame and glory. She isn’t a direct copy of Kurisu, and she brings her own interesting characteristics.
I think 0 did a good job of making Daru more likable. Of all the recurring characters from the original series, he’s the one who I felt benefitted the most from the new series. Seeing him punch Okabe was shocking, but also gratifying from a character standpoint. It showcased he wasn’t some kind of pushover.
Again, hate to be cliche, but episode 8 was the best part of 0. Seeing Kurisu come back and seeing her and Okabe have one last farewell was so bittersweet and touching. It’s kinda amazing because this episode in my opinion blows the rest of the series out of the water. If the rest of the episodes were as strong as this one, then maybe it would rival or even surpass the original series.
And now, onto some of the problems I had.
I think the biggest issue I had with Steins Gate 0 is that tonally, it’s all over the place. Until like the final 6 episodes, the show doesn’t know what it wants to do. At first, you think the series is going to be about Kurisu being turned into AI as Okabe struggles trying to get over her not being around. But then that plot kind of fades away. Then, you think it’s gonna be about Kagari and Mayushii. But that only lasts a couple episodes. They even tease something involving Kagari and Okabe as children, but sorry. Won’t be mentioning that again. Then finally, we get what the actual series was building up to this entire time. Which, luckily, happens to involve the other two major plots. I don’t mind arcs, and I like that everything eventually tied together, but I don’t get the sense that the show knew what the end goal was. I think they just lucked into it.
Perfect example of the tonal shift, in one episode, we get a big reveal involving Kagari that’s supposed to be this big shocking moment. And how does the next episode follow up on it? By having Daru go on a date. You have this big, dramatic moment at the end of one of the episodes, and you follow it up but having a light-hearted episode? Tonally, that’s just all over the place.
Speaking of Kagari, I really wanted to like her more than I did. But in the end, she just kinda falls flat to me. The idea of someone having amnesia and Mayushii being a possible mother figure was and is an interesting concept. But I don’t think they did enough to make Kagari an interesting character besides that. Of everything going on in Steins Gate 0, Kagari is the one thing that really felt underdeveloped and half-baked that I really wish wasn’t.
I think it was a mistake having Maho go away for a couple episodes. The whole time, it just made me wonder “Why is she leaving? Is it building to something?” And the answer is, no. She just left and came back. I wonder if the show was trying to write her off permanently and she was originally not supposed to show back up but they decided to bring her back because she was just too interesting of a character.
The villain reveal at the end was extremely obvious. And at the same time, extremely half-baked. I wish they did more with the revelation and the character as a whole, because outside of his broken English, there was nothing interesting about him.
Lastly, I do like that both Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 had happy endings. It was nice that neither ending was depressing or ended on a sad note. I also like how the ending of Steins Gate 0 ties directly into the ending of the original series.
Overall, I’d give Steins;Gate 0 a 7 out of 10. There were some strong episodes, like episode 8 (I’m personally also a huge fan of the episode where Daru goes on a date, as despite being out of place it did a lot for his character), and the last 6 or so episodes it felt like the show finally clicked things together, but so much of the show was so all over the place. It had the pieces to be something really special, but it didn’t fully piece them together.
That being said, I’m glad I got to watch it and I’m glad I got to finally watch Steins;Gate. It will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Okabe X Kurisu forever