Throughout the duration of this column, I've noticed that the Japanese seem to feel less bound to keeping a particular series in one genre. In some cases, that leads to a series that evolves as it unfolds and throws you some serious curveballs along the way. In other instances, it gives you a story that feels like it’s got an identity disorder. Being so fresh from 2011, STEINS GATE has perhaps accelerated that formula a bitby going through some drastic mood swings over its commercial breaks. The first half of this feels like some urbane sitcom; a comedy of manners that just happens to involve theoretical physics. Then the moody music hits the soundtrack for the second half and we explore said theoretical physics for all the grave and unsettling implications that would’ve gotten them filed in THE X-FILES 15 years ago.
I don’t know. I started warming up to the character play in the first half a little. My imagination started getting seized by the spooky retroactive evidence of botched time travel and Jell-O people in the second half a little. But the two halves didn’t come together harmoniously. It’s almost like somebody taped an episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY over a VHS copy of DONNIE DARKO and the two are bleeding into each other at random breaks in the timecode.
Going to Comic Con meant I had to take some time off from my regular W&L viewing. I wondered if that break might get me to look at this a little more fondly, but it honestly hasn’t. This isn’t a show with especially bad elements, it’s just really slow and disjointed. You can say all you want about this being a slow-burn preparing me for “the good stuff;" I’m nevertheless facing another cliffhanger that doesn’t motivate me to check out the next episode. I’ll give it another try or two before I decide what new series to pick up or, perhaps, take up MUSHI-SHI again.