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Watch & Learn: STEINS; GATE #1

Gel bananas are nasty!

This poster isn't very representative of the show so far.
This poster isn't very representative of the show so far.

“The Case of the Text that Went Back in Time”

Sounds like the title of an episode of ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? doesn’t it? Or maybe one of the GOOSEBUMPS books. I’m not going to say the whole notion is silly, but I still couldn’t help drawing those sort of connections.

I don’t know what to make of this. I want to believe? There have been so many hard science fiction stories that have promised me the most realistic look at time travel conceivable, only to present me with something tangled, convoluted and ultimately unsatisfying. Perhaps the experience of watching PRIMER has left me once bitten, twice shy? There is something fundamentally intriguing about a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who keeps a lid on all his neurosis when he’s among respectable fears, but uncorks the weirdness whenever he’s back at what basically looks like an internet start-up company trying to patent time travel. This episode intriguingly alternates its mood between Apocalytpic foreboding and quirky comedic; enough for you to feel like these are clowns dancing in front of doomsday. However, I guess I just can’t get hooked by a cliffhanger than centers on somebody receiving a text… from the future!

DUH DUH DUH!

Or maybe I can be? I was pleasantly surprised when this show made such extensive references to the John Titor hoax from a decade or so back. I thought only the English speaking world was aware of that? There’s something intrinsically fascinating about the fantastic being presented in such a mundane way. You know, if a time traveler actually did make it back here, how would he warn the world? Through a blog? An ad campaign? The fact there’s an actual conference on time travel here also makes me think of the time traveler’s convention that was held at Harvard Univeristy while I was going to Boston University. There happened to be torrential rain and thunderstorms that day, so we all joked that it was because somebody had broken the space time continuum. Maybe we should checked our text messages.

Like I said, I'm not sure about this one. It probably says something that it's making draw all these comparisons though?

Watch this episode "Prologue to the Beginning and End" here and decide for yourself.

Read my thoughts on the previous series I've watched for this extended sampling...

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

MarioBozaon May 18, 2011 at 2:40 a.m.
Tom thanks a lot. First you got me to watch Paprika then Summer Wars and I loved both. Then the other day I saw your post on [C] Control, I watched the first episode and I was instantly hooked. I watched all 4 episodes that were out back to back. Now I just finished watching the first episode of Steins;Gate and im hooked onto another new anime. 

Seriously Tom thank you. :D
colorbrandonon May 18, 2011 at 3:18 a.m.
Steins;gate has a very distinct humor as well. Okabe's antics and eccentric personality is what keeps me coming back week after week
metalsnakezero is online on May 18, 2011 at 5:44 a.m.
Its a odd show in places but it helps break the tension when it needs to so that it sciences references can come out well.
DocHauson May 18, 2011 at 7:09 a.m.
This is arguably the best show all season, especially when CERN and IBM (fuck your lawsuit-dodging acronyms) become part of the conspiracy as well.
sora_thekey moderator on May 18, 2011 at 7:51 a.m.

[C], Steins;Gate and SKET Dance are probably the best anime series this season. I enjoyed this first episode a lot. You usually don't have characters like these as protagonist and the plot is really interesting.

zaldaron May 18, 2011 at 12:53 p.m.
hey now no more exp points for me?  Come on now I recommended this one to!  The time travel stuff takes about the only route that is logically possible to avoid paradoxes and seems to work.  The humor just gets more and more, and make sure to watch the first episode closely.  Not sure as not many episodes of this are out yet but I expect some clues to how this is going to turn out were in that episode.  I had never heard of the John Titter hoax before this but it takes a big big part in the plot.
Rxanaduon May 18, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
I just came back from watching the first episode, and I honestly don't know what happened after that one text.  It seemed to jump from some sort of dystopia in the near future where nobody but the mad scientist and airhead were alive and back to an apartment where the mad scientist was making gel-bananas.  

A younger me would have said he would come back to this show, but as I am to day, I don't think this show will ever satisfy my interests if I continued on with it.
zaldaron May 18, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
heh watch it again.  Not knowing what exactly is going on there with that time jump is part of the fun.  It begins to make more sense as things move on.  And the mad scientis is an amazingly great and funny character.

Dig Deeper into Steins;Gate

An anime adaptation of the 5pb and Nitroplus game. A self-proclaimed mad scientist and his friends accidentally discover the secrets of time travel through their microwave and dig into a possible conspiracy.

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