Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 1 [First Impressions]
Midnight’s First Impressions
Steins;Gate 0 serves as a divergence point from the original Steins;Gate series, I you have not watched that and are interested in watching zero, i’d suggest you double back and either watch the original series or play the light novel. If you have no basis for the series, you won’t understand just how distinctly wrong and unsettling this entire first episode is.
From the first minute, nothing feels right, we start in the future where Suzuha is talking with Mayuri and Mayuri can only ask herself if she’d done things differently in the past. Would it of changed the future? Could World War 3 of been stopped if she’d just reached out her hand to Okabe back when he gave up on his quest to save Makise Kurisu?
We move to the past, where Okabe is under going hypnosis therapy to try to get over some of the trauma from skipping worldlines so many times and the horries that he witnessed. This entire part of the episode just felt so distinctly discomforting and wrong. Nothing about Okabe is right, from him rejecting his friends calling him by his chosen chuunibyou name of Kyouma Hououin, to avoiding the Future Gadget Laboratory, to him taking regular college courses, joining the tennis club and being a ‘normal’ person. Not one bit of it feels right.
As Fate would have it, he can’t avoid the Laboratory forever. As Mayuri gets a call from her friend to come over and discuss cosplay, they head there together and Okabe meets up with Suzuha who has come back from the Future to try to convince Okabe that there is nothing good on this timeline. There is no reason to stay here and there is only suffering and despair in this future.
Okabe refuses,. but Suzuha also refuses to give up on trying to convince him.
On the train home from the lab with Mayuri, he gets a text that his professor and some students are out drinking and he goes to join them. He gets a flyer for a lecture being put on by a professor from the same College that Makise had been attending before her death in this timeline.
He goes to attend, and as the lecture starts he is forced to face the past as they present her work and a program that they have made based around it called Amadeus.
This is where the episode ends, and I have to say, I love it. It was no more than 50 seconds into the episode before I wanted to start crying. The atmosphere is very strange and foreign, as it should be for something that is so wrong.
The episode also introduced two new characters. Yuki Amane, Daru’s future wife and Suzuha’s mother and Maho Hiyajo, a small girl that is actually 21 and attends the same college that Kurisu did before her passing. I’m not entirely sure what to make of these characters and what they’ll add to the plot, however, seeing Hiyajo with Moeka gave me a certain feeling of foreboding that won’t go away.
I will admit right here, I haven’t played the visual novel for Steins;Gate 0 yet. I played a few routes of the original Steins;Gate, watched the anime and watched the movie. I will probably end up doing what I did with the original and that’s watch the anime first and then play the game for the alternate routes and more information.
It’s good to see the Future Gadget Lab members again and I can only hope that Okabe returns to a little more of himself as the series progresses. Watching this shell just reminds me of the pain and heart break that he experienced and honestly, that’s really enough to destroy any man. I’ll probably be watching this series twice as it’s airing, once every week in Japanese and once when Funimation simuldubs it because boy listening to the Japanese voices was weird. Some of them I got used too faster then others, but dear lord was listening to Japanese Daru weird for me.
Anyway, I’ll be watching for sure and blogging 100%.
Possibility of blogging: YOU COULDN’T STOP ME IF YOU TRIED
*Sharing with Tsuyoku
Tsuyoku’s First Impressions
Midnight already did an amazing job at summarizing the major events of this first episode along with her comments, so I won’t really focus much on the events themselves, more on my personal impressions. Unlike Midnight, I’ve never actually watched the English dub, so to me the Japanese voices are more familiar and I must say that these voice actors do a fantastic job of making these characters come to life! In that opening scene with Mayuri and Suzuha in the future, Mayuri’s voice really conveys the desolation the character is feeling.
Okabe’s attitude and demeanor along with his voice also make very obvious that something is wrong with this reality: gone is the grandiose persona he used to embody and now we have a very normal college student! I’m sure the reactions of the characters on the screen mirror the reactions of viewers across the worlds (unless they have played the game beforehand, I suppose!).
Upon learning about Suzuha’s identity in the original Steins;Gate, I was really looking forward to meeting Yuki Amane and she really doesn’t disappoint. What a cutie! Daru is one of my favorite characters in this show and I look forward to seeing how things will develop for them. That’s one of the upsides of this new season and the cute thing that made me smile in this otherwise very tense episode. The desolate mood continues throughout following Okabe where he goes and it pains me to see him like that, but I also feel excitement at the possibility of things changing for the better.
The highlight of the episode for me is obviously the ending, after we meet Hiyajo and see the presentation where they announce Amadeus, a new AI developed from expanding research on discoveries that Makise Kurisu published before she passed. The music, Okabe’s visceral panicked reaction and a strong personal suspicion that Amadeus may have some of Kurisu’s memories inside it kept me on the edge of my seat experiencing chills. I definitely can’t wait for next week’s episode and the rest of the season!
Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed – Sharing with Midnight