|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Steins;Gate Zero's relevance to the Steins;Gate franchise is that it explores a "what if" scenario if Okabe gave up on trying to prevent Kurisu's death from his continuous time leaps, and explores how he developed the plan to reach the Steins;Gate timeline within the prior show's final episodes. Unfortunately, exploring Steins;Gate in this type of scenario has a good amount of issues as many episodes felt like they were dragging their heels with Okabe eventually working up the resolve to resume his quest, especially with his incessant angsting over the situation. The anime builds up to yet another major conspiracy that Okabe and his friends find themselves entangled in like the prior series. But Steins;Gate Zero lacks the solid plot buildup of its prior series to make this effective. The new timeline has some moments of humor compliments of new characters like Hiyajo and Leskinen that contribute to the anime's character dynamics. But these few strengths aren't enough to save the series from mostly feeling like a frustrating chore to watch. In short, Steins;Gate Zero probably would have worked better if the series was cut down to half its length as I could only take Okabe's angsting and the buildup to yet another conspiracy for so long.
Last updated Wednesday, September 26 2018. Created Wednesday, September 26 2018.
(17+ episodes watched):|
I quickly became confused regarding what was going on during episode one. This can't be the same timeline as was underway at the end of the original series, can it? Because that story had basically come to a happy ending whereas here trouble is brewing. Sure enough, this is some alternate reality--that is, a different way things might have worked out amid an infinite number of possibilities. I wish it had been made more clear at what point this timeline diverged from the original one. It also would have helped if I could remember better exactly how the first series had concluded and who's who among the large cast. Here, events are moving inexorably towards WWIII, which will happen unless something is changed. Also, in this timeline the female protagonist Kurisu is dead because Okabe's attempt to rescue her has failed (and was she really just 17 in the original series?). Except she's not quite dead, because an amazing AI program, 'Amadeus' (which is billed as 'Artificial Intelligence with a heart') has been created, using her personality as a model. So, I wish episode one had made it more clear exactly what's going on here, perhaps by providing a brief but concise summary of what has and hasn't happened. When there can be all sorts of alternate versions of reality in parallel timelines, it's important that it be made clear exactly where things stand. So, while I was eager for this sequel to a favorite series of mine, I went into it with some trepidation that I might never fully understand what was going on.
Eventually, Okarin finds himself in the same damned-if-he-does-and-damned-if-he-doesn't situation as he did in the original series: There's a timeline where Mayuri lives and Kurisu dies, or vice-versa, but there doesn't seem to be one in which both survive. He and his friends will have to figure out a novel solution. I still felt that this sequel is more confusing than the original. Which events from the original series have also happened in these alternate timelines, and which haven't? I can succinctly summarize the plot of the original series: they stumble across a time machine (of sorts), use it carelessly, then must race to undo the harm they have done. Here things seem far more complicated and confusing. They are basically in an alternate version of the 'undo' phase, but exactly what they must accomplish hasn't been made clear. People appear and disappear; mysterious organizations attack the cast then vanish. If I am supposed to be keeping track of all this and divining some pattern from it, I have failed. Still, it was a fairly fun show with intriguing ideas and colorful characters and I was confident that I'd be watching it to the end. I just wished the main plot had the same sort of discipline as that of the original series. Hopefully a slam-bang conclusion would make up for all the faults and raise this sequel to the level of the original.
I drifted along with this confusing story as a second season progressed. But the scene is episode 17 in which Suzuha makes mincemeat of a small army of heavily-armed commandos almost made me throw up my arms and turn the TV off. Come on! There are events that are so unlikely that when they happen they shake you out of your state of suspension of disbelief. They abruptly remind you that there's really no reason to be taking a show seriously after all. Someone inventing a time machine seemed more likely to me than her getting out of the jam she was in. It was all the more disconcerting because previously the episode had been better than most, since it provided a badly needed summary of where things stood, at least from one character's perspective. The thought occurred to me that maybe I should quit this anime altogether. And then we get yet another very similar scene in episode 18--one character somehow manages to decapitate two soldiers, simultaneously, with nothing more than his/her bare hands. (Again) Come on! This show wasn't as good as the original Steins;Gate to begin with, and now it seemed to be falling apart like a house of cards. I stopped the episode and watched something else. I guess what I finally realized was that this is not the same Steins;Gate as the original series was, and it was hopeless to keep waiting for it to somehow undergo a surge of quality that would match the original series. There was no wholesale violence in the original show, and what violence there was was tragic and meaningful. I decided to quit; Steins;Gate Zero wasn't catching up to the original, no, it was falling farther and farther behind.
My favorite line: 'We call it a lab, but it's basically a place where we just screw around' --Okabe
Last updated Monday, September 10 2018. Created Sunday, April 22 2018.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://steinsgate0-anime.com/|