- Genre: Everything that Irina Loves
- Studio: White Fox
It’s amazing how quickly something can seep into your normal. You repeat the same actions under the same circumstances a few times and just like that, it’s a ritual. Comforting and familiar. You miss it when it’s not around. Before you can even notice, it’s a little part of your life, and tiny little spec of what makes you, you.
Since April 12, 2018, every Wednesday evening I’ve come home to watch an episode of Steins;Gate 0, then I savoured it. I took it in my mind with me and let it settle as I drifted off to sleep so the next day, I could try to tell you all about it. I truly wanted to share the experience with you in an unvarnished, honest way. I wanted to give you all of my thoughts and feelings and to heck with pretence and pride. It often came out in a jumble of passion and directionless enthusiasm.
On Friday evenings I would relive the episode in stop motion form to capture images and put it all together, ready to publish by Sunday. Even after a long week, I enjoyed taking this time, screencapping away.
Like most of my episodic posts, my Steins;Gate 0 reviews have had relatively modest success. But that’s fine too. It made sense that such personal and intimate posts would be seen by the few close readers that have gotten to know me best. That was comfortable…and familiar.
And so, for some time now, Steins;Gate 0b has become a part of my reality. It’s made a tiny mark on me. I’m the girl who looks forward to Wednesday evenings. The girl who’s a little quieter and pensive on Thursdays and a little too contempt on Monday mornings. The girl that mumbles El Psy Congroo under her breath and giggles in her head. I have come to enjoy being that girl. Today, I’m going to be that girl for the last time. I couldn’t have asked for better company.
Steins;Gate 0 has been a ride! If you want a proper review, I’m sure you have plenty of options. This isn’t going to be one. I probably couldn’t write one even if I wanted to. I’m a little biased…
WordPress’ digital editor always screams at me when I start sentences the same way. It’s an issue with drinking games… This is why I put this little buffer in before continuing. Steins:Gate 0 is a series that trades and relishes in nostalgia while betraying the expectations built upon those memories. I don’t think you need to have seen the original to enjoy this season, but it certainly adds a ton to it. In any case, although the story is different and the themes almost opposite, it’s pretty safe to say that it will likely appeal to the same audience.
This is a time travel story meant to take you back in time. Back to the original, which is still beloved by so many fans. It’s clearly pandering and I bought it hook, line, sinker, rod and probably part of the fisherman’s glove. This show was written for me. It did exactly what it was suppose to. It took me back to a time when I was a little anime lover and time travel otaku who had no friends to share those particular passions with and stumbled unto a fan patched version of the visual novel. To a time where I was completely engrossed in that world. For months, I live in Steins;Gate’s version of Akhibara.
I remember once overheating my laptop while playing and having it unexpectedly shut down and refuse to start up again. My only concern was that I might not be able to find the game and mostly the English language patch again. I couldn’t care less about the computer itself, everything else on it or my progress. The first time I found Steins:Gate, I found a place where all my disjointed passions came together in a format that was my preference. I found a home.
A decade later, fearful and suspicious, I stepped back into that world that had meant so very much to me. I was suspicious and defensive. How can you possibly catch lightning in a bottle twice? And then, I was home. Only this time, for the first time, I get to invite friends over.
I told you this was not going to be a review…. OK this is the deal, Steins;Gate 0 is a lot like the original and also very different. By now, enough has been said on both that my post is unlikely to either sway or inform you. Instead, this post serves as a place to hold all my feeeeelings about the season but also to tell you a bit about this final episode.
Shocker: I liked it. What can I say, I’m a girl in love. It’s not as if I’m completely blind though. I realize there were some issues. We never got back to the second Reading Steiner. Judy’s role was useless and a lot of the characters are dreadfully underdeveloped. Farris the great is lost forever in the folds of time. That’s just tragic. The darkest future lacked the narrative connective tissue to make the emotional impact it could have. Why was Moeka with Maho in the first episode? You can tell that in the editing process meant to adapt a multi branching VN narrative to a basically linear one, some plot threads where excised not quite a cleanly as they could have. I don’t care, I loved it.
And really, the final episode wasn’t perfect either. Those directorial choices were plain to see. This was a story cut down to fit the format and the director obviously had to pick what would stay and what would go. The action is streamlined and half skipped over. Only a few characters get to grab unto the spotlight. These were hard decisions but the fact is, if you want to get somewhere, eventually you have to pick a path. Steins;Gate 0 picked the prefect one.
Visually, the episode opens as a parallel to the ending of the first season. Okabe backlit and depressed in the streets of Akhibara. The episode itself twined around and intermeshed with the ending of the original Steins;Gate in one glorious Ouroboros. We finally got the full view of how both stories fit together, crossing paths for only one second and changing the future for eternity. Cynically you could call it a huge load of fanservice for fans of the original. At least at first sight. I call it beautiful.
Thematically though, it was quite different from Steins;Gate, and that’s what I adore about it. We never saw Kurisu again and Amadeus is gone forever. This time, the difficult choice is made. This is the worldline where love doesn’t conquer all. It’s also the worldline where decisions have eternal consequences. If Steins;Gate was about having it all, Steins;Gate 0 is about the importance of compromise. But closing one door in order to open another is a powerful gesture. There’s something deeply comforting about that. A sense of purpose and urgency that brought out the very best in everyone.
Mayuushi was a force to be reckoned with. This is a character that was essentially a walking, talking damsel in distress trope. And yet, our eternal little victim saved absolutely everyone through sheer strength of will and never faltered for a second. The damsel in distress was allowed to pick up the sword and become a hero. It took a decade to get there, and it was well worth the wait.
The unfortunately underused Moeka was given a sliver of agency and more importantly hope, for a second she looked like a real person and not a puppet. Moeka has always been one of my favorite characters and generally favorite villains. The idea of an average someone being so deeply broken that they willingly make themselves into a weapon as it is less painful than being a person, was as terrifying as it was sad. Her every appearance in Steins;Gate 0 send a shiver down my back. Giving her a chance at a different life, brought a smile to my lips.
As for Kagari, her trajectory is similar. In essence she’s also nothing but a tool. But Kagari had something Moeka never had. A mother who loved her. As we bid goodbye to the season we also saw Kagari as her best self. A small child longing for her mommy.
And Suzu… My dearest Suzu. It’s not that much longer to type out Suzuha but I always shorten her name. It’s a nickname, you see. We have a rapport Suzu and me. Few characters have endured more. It would have been easy to write her as an ultimate badass having sacrificed all emotions in order to survive. She tries to pretend sometimes. But Suzu did manage something amazing in the eleventh hours. She actually figured out how to be vulnerable without being weak.
This was an episode full of heroes.
Somewhere along the twisting and turning timelines…uhm worldlines… Steins;Gate matured. 0 is no longer the insecure kid that needs it’s leading man to be everything to everyone. It’s secure enough to spread the glory around. It can handle ambiguous relationships that aren’t clearly defined and long term friendships that don’t lead to dating. It’s also grown up enough to trust us, the audience. To let us figure out what it was saying without over explaining everything. That’s what happens when you get older, you learn to let go.
I adored that no one got the girl. In the end, there’s no real indication of who “the girl” even is. This time that’s not what it was about. Everybody got a turn at the wheel. For everything it failed to do, Steins;Gate 0 finally gave the little girls lost a chance to chose their path and find themselves. That’s worth a whole lot in my book
But where would Steins;Gate be without the Mad Scientist of the hour! Few characters have gone through as much growth and regression and regrowth as Okabe Rintaro. The man has his faults. Many, many faults… He can be frustrating, annoying, unbearably selfish. When he’s not being a cringe inducing doofus, he’s a complete downer. Who could blame you for being over the guy? But you still got to admit, that Hououin Kyouma’s got some swagger!
‘Cmon, don’t tell me you did cheer out loud when his silhouette came into view at the last second. Now that was an epic Big Fat Hero moment.
I mean it… don’t tell me. In my worldline we all applauded and cheered, laughing loudly. We hugged and danced around the living room. Buddy watched us, confused. It was a great moment. Don’t take it away!
I had a great time these past few months. I was really happy you were there too. If ever you want to take a stroll back down memory lane, you can relive the good times with me:
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep1 – In Memory of Things That Never Were
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep2 – Kindred Spirit
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep3 – Little Girls lost
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 4 – Confabulation
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 5 – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 6 – The Best of Times and The Worst of Time
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 7 – Strange Bedfellows
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 8 – Okabe And The Real Girl
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 9 – The Comfort of a Familiar Ache
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 10 – Space Time Oddity
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 11 – Anti-Thesis
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 12 – MEAMs
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 13 – Discrepancy
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 14 – The Disapearance of Kagari Shiina
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 15 – Hope for the Future
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 16 – Those Who Fail to Learn From History…..
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 17 – The Second That Lasts Forever
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 18 – Never Trust A Professor
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 19 – Meaningless Consequences
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 20 – The Once and Future Okabe Rintaro
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 21 – Going Back to Yourself
- Steins;Gate 0 Ep 22 -A Nostalgic Sorrow
I’ve been reducing the number of pics. They slow down my site. Also Crunchy roll has recently changed making image capture much harder. Still I couldn’t resist this week. Here are a ton of pics. Doesn’t that Mayu and Suzu pic have slight yuri vibes?