All good things come to an end, as I am afraid we have reached the last installment of my collab post with the wonderful Irina. If you haven’t already, check out last week’s part over on Irina’s blog. Before I move on to the final part, on a personal note I want to apologise for not having responded to some comments left on this post. Trust me it’s not because I am ignoring you but it’s because currently I am really not feeling like my usual self. It’s hard to even write a comment sometimes or find any spark of energy to even write someting. I am sad that I have missed out on a lot of posts, and haven’t been able to keep my promise for still being around here. I am doing my best to find that energy again, so please be patient with me if you can. Now, before this becomes way too depressing, on to the fun stuff: Part 6 of the Steins;Gate review. I hope you will enjoy it, and thank you again Irina for doing this amazing project with me. It’s been a blast!
Inbox G–mail: Raistlin 0903, dated 2017/18/02
Contrast is key
Hello everyone, it’s Raistlin (yeah who else would it be). I’m back again to continue the review of the time travel epic anime series Steins; Gate. I hope you are all ready for this as we are entering the final arc of this series. And you know that’s where things can really go wrong. We all have probably seen countless examples of enjoying something thoroughly, and having the final ruin everything that came before. The past hours I have felt this weird pressure as if someone is overlooking my every move. It’s nothing quite as sinister as The Organisation that is looking over my shoulder, but more a guiding and helping hand that makes sure that I don’t screw this up. As I said before, this is an important review. I’m writing it to make sure that everyone ends up loving this series as much as I have. But also for that blogger that I have mentioned that you all still haven’t met. I have, she is an amazing friend, and the impact she will have on this community will be felt throughout the centuries. Irina is her name: don’t forget it, you will thank me later.
Okay in the last segment I talked about the fact that the first segment while slow, is very important, a joy to watch, and probably even the best thing about this entire anime.I have also let it shine through that the second half of the show is much darker. But exactly what do I mean with that, and how does it hold up in the overall scheme of things? I’m not going to tell you what happens because I have pretty much always avoided putting spoilers in my post, so I am not going to start now. Suffice it to say though that when that shift in tone occurs, you won’t be ready for it. There were very subtle hints in the first half, another thing that’s so clever about Steins;Gate. But the true shock will hit you like a sledgehammer. It will wrench your gut, and it will make you cry. You might even feel as if you are slowly suffering a heart attack. And after it happens, the anime shifts gears. Radically. It almost seems as if you are watching an entirely different show.
I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. But looking back now that is pretty much exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. You see, what happens in this second half is that it creates an atmosphere of true desperation. A lot of things that seemed so very innocent in the beginning turned out to have very dire consequences. And you feel Okabe’s sense of urgency. You feel his heartbreak, his need to fix things in the right way. But maybe some things can’t be fixed. Or when they are fixed, they might leave a timeline that is even worse than the one created now. And I do say timeline, because the build up to the real time travelling aspects of the show, come to the fore in this second half. Think full on Back to the Future stuff and then some. As someone who really loves everything that even has a single spark of time travelling in it, I think this is where Steins;Gate really shines the most. And not for the reasons you might think. It’s not just the way that this show handles the concept of time travel itself.
No, what makes the time travel really work is the way this series is built up. The first half lures you in with this sense of calm, the funny dialogues, the establishing of the relationships, in short it seems to set the tone for the entire anime. At least that’s what you think. There are of course hints thrown your way that you might not pick up on until much later. And then that second half hits you: the tone is dark, the characters you know suddenly are much different when what you are used to, and you might even wonder where the series you loved so much all of a sudden disappeared to. But once the initial shock dissipates, you begin to go on the same journey that Okabe is going on. You want him to succeed at fixing things. You cry when he fails another attempt. You feel the sense of dread that maybe it won’t end happily. Every time jump into the past your heart races, hoping that maybe this is the one where our favorite mad scientist succeeds.
Steins;Gates’ contrast in tones is a stroke of genius. And I appreciate the show even more for doing it in this way. It takes a concept that at first seems very innocent to a level that you simply would not expect when you first start with this anime. If all my writing about this hasn’t been enough yet to convince you that you should really check this one out, then I don’t know what I can do more. Well, maybe there is one last thing. Somewhere, in the future, a time traveller called Irina will appear. Her identity right now is still hidden in mystery. When she first appears, you might not even realise her greatness yet. Almost like Steins;Gate she lures you in very cleverly. But make no mistake. Her blogging skills are awe inspiring and will blow you away. One day out of the blue, she will start to talk about this anime. And she will convince you even more to go and watch it than I have done. If for some reason the first time you might not have enjoyed Steins; Gate, try it again. Because who knows? Maybe time will change things for you…….Psy El Congroo……