This post shouldn’t exist. On so many levels it should not have been possible.
I think it’s fair to say that I quite like Stein’s;Gate as a franchise. For reasons explained in my VN post, I identify with Okabe more strongly than possibly any other protagonist. When he gets into high stress situations I can feel my heart speeding up. Phantom sympathy pain shoots through my right eye when he’s hit by a migraine. We share a connection. As such I was always ambivalent about the release of Stein’s;Gate 0. A strong you can never go home again foreboding feeling gripped me. I really wasn’t sure I would be watching it at all.
I knew for a fact I wouldn’t keep up with it as it aired. I wanted the option to watch it at my own pace. Besides I was watching 3 shows last season and had vowed to watch fewer this time around, and I was already back up to 3…. Definitely I wouldn’t be doing episode reviews. I simply don’t have the **time**.
Full disclosure, I have played Stein’s;Gate 0 and that will most likely influence my experience. It already has. I thought the intro was so cramped. There seemed to be a big rush to get all that information out in an artless deluge of exposition (let’s face it, Steins;Gate has a pretty momentous build up). And despite that, I have a feeling that viewers who are not already familiar with the franchise will be a bit lost and a lot disinterested.
I was glad to see my old friends though. My beloved proud pervert Daru whose voice sounded odd to me and who was way too soft on Okabe. My sweet little Mayuri whose fanservice winter coat was distracting. Suzuah bringing with her usual bag of nightmares, Faris whose character development had been sadly undone. At least my fragile Ruka seemed to have kept some of his hard-earned confidence but maybe a bit too much.
And then we had the man himself. Someone I knew like the back of my hand. A guy who might as well be a bit of me. The embodiment of my fears and hopes in chuuni form. A man who was now nothing but a shadow of his former self. Okabe is broken and haunted. He is playing yet another role, the normie, because he’s given up and lost.
Okabe is desperately missing someone he has never met, burden by a deep nostalgia for events that never happened, longing for a past that doesn’t exist. He has almost disappeared, but not quite yet. New players are stepping up to shake him out of his complacency. Kirusu’s ghost is taking shape. If not hope, at least Okabe may still feel curiosity.
I don’t know what happened. I blinked and the episode was over, then I HAD to tell you guys about it. I don’t know if I ll be doing this every week. So many things that shouldn’t have happened did. But guys, I’m home…
Here’s a little gallery but trust me, the images won’t tell you what you need to know…