Here's to the crazy ones ...

For those who don’t know: Steins;Gate was one of, if not THE, best shows of 2011. If you haven’t seen it, don’t start here; start by watching the show for yourself. If you are wondering what it is about, take a look at my first impression post, as what follows contains spoilers. The one thing I would add is that this story delivers right up through the closing scene.

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After all that he's been through, Okabe doesn't want to get involved with time machines ever again.

Steins;Gate has been a wonderful show, with only a couple of weak episodes over the run. Last episode was a touching farewell to one of the best characters. Could the ending really live up to what had gone before? Imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of the best episodes of Steins;Gate so far? I even got a chill in the brief segment before the OP. How is this series so good?

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Okabe Rintarou: You can cry for yourself.

Episode 22 of Steins;Gate was even grayer and de-saturated than usual. Okabe makes a painful decision, and we say goodbye to a cast member. NOTE: due to the nature of the episode, this review contains more spoilers than usual.

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Okabe alone with his thoughts, but making no progress.

Episode 21 of Steins;Gate is aptly titled “Paradox Meltdown”. Outwardly Okabe has returned to his earlier disability. He has taken the responsibility all onto his own shoulders, but in so doing he loses the ability to move. In truth this is used by the show’s producers not to produce dramatic tension, but to give the three principle characters an opportunity to breathe.

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Hououin Kyouma makes Rukako cry again.

Steins;Gate episode 18 continues pretty much as expected. Okabe (AKA Hououin Kyouma) needs to reverse the change he made for Ruka. This episode featured a lot of Ruka, played by the great Yuu Kobayashi, but what really impressed me was that they followed up on the “bleed-over” of the Reading Steiner.

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Feyris has a ten year alternate life.

In Steins;Gate episode 17 Okabe gets beat up, Feyris lives a 10 year dream, and Christina gets jealous.

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The satellite disappears.

Episode 16 of Steins;Gate was full enough of twists that I don’t really want to say too much. Suffice it to say that John Titor travelled to the past twice in this episode, and at great cost. It was an oddly emotional episode, with enough surprises to be quite entertaining, but by no means have the Future Gadget Lab members resolved the most important problems facing them. In particular they have yet to reach 1% divergence.

Our only clue.

Steins;Gate is a remarkable show. Reaction from the aniblogiverse has been uniformly positive, which is not usually the case. From the short and sweet, to more detailed comments, bloggers appreciate the consistent development of the story, the great characters, and the entertaining bits of humor. Episode 15, though tense, was not as dark as recent episodes. As Guardian Enzo points out, this was in part because the Future Lab members are fighting together against the future, and those who will control it.

To some extent, this episode was expository, but we had some interesting developments with a possible path (to the past) that might save the future. As time travel shows are likely to do, this situation raised a paradox in my mind: If “John Titor” does travel to the past, and Okabe has to time-leap, does he run the risk of preventing the time machine from having been repaired? Alternatively, might the time-machine’s journey prevent the time-leap machine from having been created?

Either way this is the one show that has continued to deliver for those of us following it. Certainly Steins;Gate is a standout example of recent Science Fiction anime.

Honestly, I don’t want to say much about this episode of Steins;Gate, except to say that it is so nice that this show keeps delivering. All that has happened can now be utilized. I was frustrated as the episode began, because Okabe has a character flaw that I have commented on previously, and he initially was stuck because of it. Fortunately he broke through with the help of a friend, and the story is moving again. Now I’m excited to see what happens next week. “Let’s go.”

Okabe suffers through the loss of a friend.

If you haven’t been watching Steins;Gate, turn back now. There is no way to do this post without spoilers, and your priority should be on starting at the beginning of this great series, and watching it first-hand. You can come back and read this once you’ve caught up.

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