Hello Everyone,

Raistlin and I have been looking for a project to do together for some time now and after I published my recent completely biased non reviews of Steins;Gate 0, he suggested we try to find something on that theme. Don’t let the good times end… Raistlin had a somewhat different opinion of the original Steins;Gate than I did when he saw it and we decided a discussion of that series would be fun. We could go over our different view points. After a second viewing though, things did not quite go to plan… So Instead we bring you a semi fictional time travel review of Steins;Gate. Every Wednesday, one of us will post a bit of the story review, starting this week on my blog! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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December 2018

It’s not as if I made it some big secret in fact you guys are probably fed up of hearing me talk about it, but did you all know that I’m a big fan of Steins;Gate? Yup, for real! Just like a whole bunch of people out there. It’s a popular show… Being a fan isn’t that special.

What makes me special though, is that I go around collecting other people’s views on the series. Like stamps or something! I’m about to add a prize jewel to that collection because lookey here what I’ve just discovered: Raistlin0903’s review from February 2017. I can’t wait to read his thoughts on the subject. His posts are alway so fun!

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Wow, Raistlin really put a lot of effort into capturing all the wonderful characters. This bodes well. Steins;Gate is fairly character driven so if you enjoy the cast, you have a much better chance of appreciating the series. I wonder if I can get him to play the VN so he can truly marvel at the glory that is Faris…. No, no, no…I shouldn’t impose my tastes on others Besides Raistlin has told me many times that he is pain out of free times and VNs just can’t fit into his schedule. Must resist temptation.

Oh man, Raist so lovingly describes the lead up to the action. Some people can get frustrated with the more Slice of Life type episodes at the beginning of the series. This is a problem for a lot of action shows that don’t it the ground running Leave it to Raistlin though, to truly grasp the importance and just sheer joy of those earl episodes.

Drama and tension just aren’t that effective if you don’t have the mundane and relatable to contrast them with. Man, Raistlin really gets it. He would probably be really good at writing fiction, his understanding of narrative structure is fantastic.

Besides, any good time travel story folds back on itself and revisits old scenes If all you have in your plot is either dark and depressing, or breakneck action, you really have no way of gradually ramping up tension or properly evolving, you’ll go around in a circle.. Ha!

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gears are circles

I’m not sure why I’m telling you guys any of this. Clearly Raistlin already explained it all, and better than I could have. I guess this post is just getting me all hyped up all over again. This is why my collection is so great! 🙂

Ok ok, rather than blatantly steal me fellow blogger’ insights any longer, lets see what the rest of the post says…

Although the second part certainly had a lot of amazing twists, and some very clever timetravelling concepts, I still could not get into it enough for me to truly enjoy the series. …The plot of this series is clever, but because of the sometimes weird humor in the series, I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. As a comedy it certainly worked at times, and there were also quite a few episodes in the second half of the series that had me on the edge of my seat. Overall though the series was a bit too slow for my tastes”

Talk about a twist ending. I thought Raist was enjoying the show…  I guess he has a point, there is a bit of a tonal dissonance between the first and second act. And as someone who had spent hundreds of hours in the VN before seeing the series, I’m really not equipped to judge the pacing…but…

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urge to nitpick rising…

Time traveling stories ted to have drastic tonal shifts. It’s almost a requirement of the genre. For the most part, time travel is always treated with great gravity, something you do not undertake lightly, as such if a story introduces it, it’s a sign that something has gone horribly and unexpectedly wrong. Sure, they could have kept a much lighter tones throughout, like Back to the Future (which I love), but realistically, all heck broke loose. Of course Okabe and friends are not having a good time during that second half. And of course everything suddenly seems urgent and events speed up.

This is that necessary contrast again. Time travel, and certain supernatural stories, share the huge obstacle of making event seem meaningful even if the audience knows that consequences aren’t necessarily permanent. How do you create proper tension and conflict within your narrative, if your hero can just go back in time and negate everything that’s happened? Steins;Gate does it with a comedy of errors and a countdown clock as well as highlighting the changes in Okabe’s circumstances.

Basically, we still care about what happens and we still worry about Okabe because 1) he tends to make a lot of mistakes so fixing anything requires tons of trial and error; 2) we are seeing him and his circumstances slowly unravel with every try so we know he in fact has a limited amount of chances before he completely breaks down, and 3) we can see that it was better before and that his attempts are making things worse rather than better. As such, we still feel a sense of impending doom, despite Okabe’s overwhelming advantage.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
so much durama…

Obviously, the narrative can’t just do a huge exposition dump to communicate all that to the audience. So it plunges the tone into something dismal and plays with the pacing to instill a sense of urgency in the viewers.

This is really weird though. Raistlin really seemed to love that cast and had such a great appreciation for the first half. I wonder what happened? Maybe he had a bad day when watching those later episodes?

Guys this makes me a little sad. This series has brought me honest joy and I would really love to be able to share that with a friend like Raistlin. Ok, I don’t think we have a choice here – Dmail it is. But these things have such a low limit. I really have to pick my message carefully… How about this:

Contrast is key

I hope i works…

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of course it will! uhmm…

5 thoughts on “A D-mail conversation with Raistlin (part 5)”

  1. I’ve often wondered about the criticism of tonal inconsistency. As if a show had to choose between being a comedy and being dark. Sure, sometimes it doesn’t work well; but I hear that criticism so often about so many shows that I’m beginning to wonder if my mind’s just bizarre. See, life isn’t all one tone, and the one sure-fire way to lose me is if you’re sticking to a single mood all the way through. It’s tiring.

    Yeah, contrast is key. Contrast is life.

  2. All good things….

    This has been by far one of my favourite projects on the blog. I can’t wait to see the wrap up!

  3. LOL…”urge to nitpick rising” 😂😂 I really loved that one 😂😂 This was such a great project to work on with you, can’t say that often enough. Sad that next week is the final part: but it has been an immensely enjoyable collab: thank you so much! 😊

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