After the shocking discovery that those people on twitter and in comment sections are, in fact, real people, let me rock your world again by informing you that I too am a real person. Yes, these wonderfully formulated packets of wisdom known as blog posts do come from the fingers of flesh and blood and not a highly advanced computer programme that has been developed specifically to be the one sentient life form that does not like Princess Tutu. Hence sometimes real life events obstruct my noble duty. But I will do everything to prevent this from happening, especially when it concerns the last episode of Steins;Gate.
This summer I went on holiday to Sardinia with my parents (I’m 20, I’m still allowed to do that). For those not clued into European geography, Sardinia is part small island in the mediterranean, off the west coast of Italy (and for Americans out there, Italy is in Europe, that continent across the ocean on your country’s east coast). I didn’t have any intentions to watch anime or go on the internet much at all, but I wasn’t going to let me blog go silent. I had a bunch of posts pre-prepared and scheduled to go up while I was away. The only time I planned to make an exception was the last episode of Steins;Gate.
You see, I had been having a poor run of form with choosing anime to cover episodically over the past year. Spring 2010 was a godsend with Arakawa and Durarara, but since then I’d been consistently choosing garbage. From Occult Academy’s magical flying panther to Bakuman’s sexism to Ore no Imouto’s shameless loser otaku pandering to the totally not a sequel to the original Arakawa shut up , I had been consistently choosing poor anime to cover. This culminated with the winter 2011 season where, instead of covering the ground-breaking Madoka Magica, I went for bloody Fractale. Picking up Steins;Gate was a risky choice for the spring 2011 season, given it was an inexperienced animation studio and a visual novel adaptation that was related to Chaos;Head. But Steins;Gate proved to be the hit show of the season. Even though I was on holiday during the final episodes airing, I had to cover it. I didn’t want to get this far only to falter at the very last hurdle. You might consider my priorities were a bit muddled, but this was genuinely important to me.
Bit of a problem here though. You see, Sardinia isn’t much one for the whole ‘internet’ thing. Not that the island is backward or anything, but concepts like wifi haven’t really been embraced. Neither do they appear to think much of internet cafes. Or at least, allowing foreigners into their internet cafes. I’m not quite sure what that man in the internet cafe was asking for, but apparently it was neither ‘crumpled irish drivers license that I use as my ID for getting into nightclubs’, nor ‘give me puppy dog eyes and I’ll let you use a computer’. I eventually found a wifi hotspot. Or should I say ‘coldspot’, for the quality of this wifi was somewhere between ‘shit’ and ‘turned off altogether’. I had an entire bloody episode to watch before I could even write about it. So I stuck on a download of a 360p version of the final episode and ordered me some pizza.
The download crashed, predictably enough. As did every other attempt at downloading. I was using my mum’s teeny tiny netbook, so it didn’t have bittorrent. Not like I’d be able to download bittorent either, as that download would have probably crashed as well. So I had to delve into the world of shady streaming sites. I used to watch all my anime on such sites, but apparently times have changed since then. All the sites I used to know off had apparently been taken offline. Youtube had no videos of the episode. The few sites I found were so full of malware and ads that the poor wifi connection couldn’t even connect long enough to load the website itself, let alone the damn stream. Eventually I found a site that the netbook could load and started buffering the stream.
After a shuffle from restraunt to outdoor plaza, but still in range of the wifi connection, and yet another pizza followed by some ice-cream, I could finally watch the final episode. Well, the stream crashed halfway through, so I had to refresh the page and start from the halfway point again, which meant even more pizza. Until finally, in that candlelit plaza in Sardinia, with my parents and my sister enjoying the view and me huddled over a netbook, I saw the last mission of El Psy Congroo. To be honest, it wasn’t a great final episode, but I got my post out anyway, and that’s what really mattered to me.