El Psy Kongroo

I just got done watching Steins;Gate. I know, I'm late to the party. But considering I never enjoyed time travel stories, I never bothered picking the series up. Time travel stories are usually wrought with inconsistencies and loopholes. It always starts off great but ends on anti-climactic confusion. I must admit however, that Steins;Gate was pretty damn great.

A lot of people warned me that watching the first few episodes would bore me to death and that the series only picks up later on. That was also another factor as to why I didn't want to start the series. Turns out though, you shouldn't believe that. I quite enjoyed the first few episodes. Great set-up for the characters, brilliant pacing for the story and when things get intense, the emotional build up follows suit. It's not a poor start, it's brilliant writing.

I like the fact that everyone is believably real in contrast to their caricatures. The main character, Okabe, is a chuunibyou and honestly, he got under my skin pretty quick early on. But then you realise that this character of his bounces back and forth with the otaku hacker, Daru and the happy-go-lucky, Mayuri. The characters interact in a way unlike traditional story telling. At times, you have 5 minutes worth of dialogue on the topic of their own perverseness and this sort of thing makes everyone feel more genuine. They feel grounded. Their characters may never exist in real life but if they do, this is likely what they'll be like.

Even the setting of Akihabara sets the tone for the series. It's an otaku haven so, whether you like it or not, a great portion of the dialogue resonates with that atmosphere. In that way, it feels that much more connected to the real world. They bring out fictional places and events, sure but they don't talk about fictional topics. I would guess that if I lived in Akiba and I was an otaku, that's a conversation I would probably have with some of my friends.

As you can tell, I'm all for the writing of the characters but the plot is amazingly written as well. Everything starts off slow but builds up at an excellent pace and when the story finally reaches its conclusion, it doesn't end with a 'I'm not sure that would work' or 'I don't understand'. It ends with a 'Perfect ending!' followed by applause. I only want one thing from time travel stories: a neat bow to tie everything up. Steins;Gate came giftwrapped straight from Santa.

The music is excellent, the animation is excellent, the art (albeit not like the game) is excellent. I gave it a 10/10 score for what it set out to do. It told a great tale about time travel and I appreciate it. It isn't everyday I get to say I actually liked a time travel story. There's so much more I can say about Steins;Gate but I'll just leave it at that. I am, after all, a few years late to the party. El Psy Kongroo!

PS. I've not actually played the game. At this point, I don't think I will. But maybe in the future. Just to relive the experience.


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