Friday, May 20, 2011

Steins;Gate - First Impression

Title: Steins;Gate
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Steins;Gate is set in the summer of 2010, approximately one year after the events that took place in Chaos;Head, in Akihabara.

Steins;Gate is about a group of friends who have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN, who has been doing their own research on time travel, tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.
"Hacking to the Gate" by Kanako Itou

One of the plot devices that I like is time traveling and now we got an anime focused solely on that so this is like a dream come true. The major draw of this series is its interesting story and the surprising twist and turns that accompanies it. When I was searching for a plot synopsis during the time I'm gathering data for the spring preview, I stumbled upon one on Wikipedia and I dunno if its fortunate/unfortunate that I've spoiled myself but heck the spoilers made me go "Wah!? This is interesting!" I actually said a whole lot more but I don't want to spoil you guys so that's the gist of my reaction when I read the plot synopsis.

Okabe Rintarou is an amateur scientist who is very interested in the concept of time traveling that he even attended a symposium together with Mayuuri Shina in the Radio Kaikan building. On that fated day he stumbles upon the body of the neuroscience researcher Makise Kurisu lying on a pool of blood. He then leaves the building in a panic with Mayuri and while they were crossing the street he texted Hashida Itaru about what he saw and then people just vanished but then they reappear but no one around him seem to experience the same phenomena. Okabe together with Hashida both went to the Radio Kaikan building again where he stumbles upon Makise Kurisu who is alive and well. He then told Hashida what he experienced and he said that he did receive a text message which was sent to him the previous week. Okabe's memory somewhat doesn't fit what happened and he was a bit confused. On further investigation that involve some banana turning into a gel they found out that their customized microwave could send text message to the past. As they investigate on an organization named SERN they found out that they were able to make one functioning time machine and even successful in sending humans to the past though all of them died and turned into a gel just like in Okabe's experiments. As they improve their own time machine and got involve with the organization SERN they have to find a way to fix things and find a way to return everything to normal.
So far we got a lot of questions with few answers that have kept me watching this series and hopefully little by little we would get some answers eventually. What I really love about this series is how it connects real life people and organization that takes part in this series. This series even made me go research (Ah..this is the first time I researched something for an anime) who is John Titor and I was surprised that he really did exist in our world though they tweaked some facts on him. This series is really thought provoking not just because it throws us some jargons but because of how they present us with the facts that makes you think and even makes it seems that time traveling is possible in our world. Not only is this series thought provoking, there are some instances that the we have one hell of a cliffhanger that make you wish that a time machine exist so that you could fast forward to next week and watch the next episode. We honestly got one interesting story and I think if the execution will be as impressive as ever we might get one hell of a sci-fi anime.

The characters of this series is really interesting from the main characters and also the side characters that will have their part in the future episodes. Okabe Rintarou is one entertaining protagonist who believes that he's a mad scientist who insists that everyone calls him Hououin Kyouma. We often see him talking to his phone babbling about an organization who wants to sabotage his plans so sometimes you have to discern which of his speech is relevant to the story. Some might find him annoying but I like him better than the protagonist of Chaos;Head who mixes fantasy from reality since unlike him, Okabe is still rooted to reality that he considers how his actions would affect his friends. Surprisingly, I enjoy the bickering moments of Okabe, Kurisu and Hashida. Somehow I find those light hearted moments a breather in this plot heavy show and who wouldn't be entertained with Kurisu-chan's tsundere response :3, how Hashida says some perverted stuff to her and that Okabe giving Kurisu-chan some weird name. Kurisu-chan is also an interesting character since at first she doesn't want to admit the existence of a time machine but when she saw the experiment of Okabe's group she still wants to deny that she's interested but still she joined the group (hehe she's even a tsundere at whatever she does). Shiina Mayuri is one cute and calm girl who is Okabe's childhood friend (I wonder how he found a cute childhood friend when he's such a weird guy). I really enjoyed her "too-too-roo!!" with Kana Hanazawa's voice and I have this urge to make that my message alert tone. Even though she's the member of Mirai Gadget she doesn't have any knowledge on sciences and doesn't contribute much to the group except the food she gives to the group. So far we still don't know what part does Mayuri plays in this series but from someone who was spoiled by a synopsis I'll tell you she will play a big part in this series together with Kurisu-chan. Hashida Itaru is an otaku that is good in hacking both software and hardware technologies. I like this guy since he brings out the best in the girls of this series and together with his hilarious speeches, he brings out a bit of comedy in this series. Moeka Kiryu is a very weird girl with glasses that Okabe encountered at Akibahara who takes pictures . She is very shy in expressing herself but is very talkative when she message Okabe. Incidentally, she's also looking for the IBN 5100 like Okabe and currently she's also a member of Okabe's group. Suzuha Amane is a part-timer who works with the landlord of Okabe's place. This mysterious girl often glares at Kurisu for unknown reasons and she seems to act as if she's seen mundane things in world for the first time making me speculate that she came from the future.

There's nothing much I could say about the animation since there's nothing really impressive with it except how they put more detail on the surroundings and even to the random people that walks the streets. Well its understandable that there's nothing impressive with the animation since this series doesn't have any action scenes where it could show off its animation prowess but instead of it being flashy, the animation is more like dramatic so it definitely fits this show. Since I'm a fan of Huke's art, I immediately love the character design of this series. I find the girls so adorable and somehow I find Kurisu's off shoulder jacket and Mayuuri's hat very appealing. It’s a bit sad that like in the BRS anime they weren't able to fully relive the gritty style of Huke's art but I have to commend the effort they've done in adding the gritty style in the OP animation.

The OP song is fine but its not really that catchy and somehow it sounds similar with Chaos;Head's OP song. I like the ED song better since the song give me a feeling that time is running out specially with the animation of clocks and broken sand timer that accompanies that song. Somehow the song has grown on me as I repeatedly listen to it after each episode. The most impressive part of the sounds is the voice acting. I just have to commend every seiyuu in this series because of their impressive performance of the characters and because of them the characters really feels alive.

"Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku" by Yui Sakakibara

Hell yeah! I definitely enjoy series that makes me think. With an intriguing story and characters, I am so hooked with this series. I just hope that this won't be like shows with strong opening but then eventually goes downhill at the end of its run. Hopefully it won't become dragging and a chore to watch in the future and I'm expecting to see more at-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense in the coming episodes.

Until then…


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