30 CommentsFirst Impressions, Steins;Gate / By Scamp /

Steins;Gate episode 1

Present Day

Present Time


Woah woah calm down there spring anime season. We haven’t seen half of the shows’ first episodes yet, and here you are throwing us yet another quality show? Something is seriously up when even the VN adaptations are performing. Better yet, Steins;Gate performed in an area I’ve never seen a VN adaptation perform in: The strength of it’s characters. The Mad Scientist lead is fantastic. He’s not mad in the classical sense. He doesn’t talk to invisible people because he can actually see invisible people. He doesn’t really think there’s a conspiracy agency after him. But he still talks into his phone to an imaginary Juiz to tell them that the agency is after him. Because that’s what a mad scientist does. It takes a special kind of crazy to think like that. I’m perhaps less impressed by his HanaKana voiced ditsy female sidekick, but in a way she’s the perfect foil for him. She happily accepts his attempts at being mad, which further adds to this idea that he really isn’t the kind of mad he likes to pretend he is.

It’s also clever in how it set up the mystery element. A lot of anime, generally those animated by JC Staff, seem to believe that a good way of setting intrigue and mystery is to throw out a lot of technical terms without telling the viewer what they are. Alternatively another lame method anime tend to do when setting up a mystery is have totally random shit happen that makes no sense whatsoever and make you want to continue on just to see what on earth that was all about. Steins;Gate is clever. What happens in this episode isn’t necessarily anything crazily stupid or weird. It’s little things that are unsettling. A text message you thought you sent yesterday was actually sent a week back in the past. A lecture you thought you went to was apparently called off, yet you can distinctly remember going to it. Little things that creep you out in that position, not big stupid incidents with no prior foreshadowing.

Now I am wary because this is still a VN adaptation, and VN adaptations suck (mwahaha go my biased views go). Plus this is from the creators of Chaos;Head and that started interesting before descending into stupidity. What keeps my faith in Steins;Gate a little higher is it has two aspects in its favour that don’t really have the capacity to change over the course of the show: Strong characters and witty writing. Even if the plot gets silly, it generally takes the show to go down an entirely different focus if either of those facts change significantly from the first episode. On the negative side though, this episode I watched was the Nico eye-cancer quality broadcast that didn’t have the opening or ending. This may not sound like a worrying fact to you, but I am still haunted by that shockingly dreadful Chaos;Head ending song. How I would start to panic 5 minutes before the end of the episode, waiting to pause it before those accursed first few lines started up, or else the song would be stuck in my head for the rest of the week. Never again  do I want to experience that torture. Please have a better ending song than that one Steins;Gate.

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  1. Kagura89
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Holy shit Scamp actually like the first episode of VN adaptation! I must be dreaming!
    Jokes aside, this 1st episode is very good but shitty niconico video hurting my eyes >.> Okarin “chunibyou” is amusing haha.

  2. Chipp
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    It HAS a better ending song, I swear.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4dBscKY9T4 or something like it, at least the performer is the same – FES.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Kind of a boring song but at least it’s not Super Speci-bleargh!

  3. Posted April 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Looks like this is a show that I have to wait for to finish, so that I can watch it in one go. I have high expectations for this one (by high, I mean I assume it won’t suck).

  4. Posted April 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    That was some great building up of suspense. I like it, although I don’t quite understand it yet. In which timeline is he now, and what happened, so that that red haired girl can be alive again?

  5. esha25
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    This show is a trip. I’ll be watching if only to figure out what is going on.

  6. Posted April 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    very good first episode, but the corollary to Scamp’s comment about characters is that shows with plot CAN easily fall apart, despite getting off to a good start. I’m intrigued and watching, but the proof is gonna come later in the series, when they try to put it all together.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      24 episodes is a lot of space to fuck up in…

  7. mcm38
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    First 5 minutes and I already guessed there was coming a bloody scene, two mins laters I was confirmed. It’s a classic mystery put in a cleverly wroten setting with, altough also overused, interesting chars, who blend in very good with eachother. Gotta admit it’s doing great. The way you can’t guess in which timeline he is, makes it much better.

    And if I’m right, this is gonna be a braincracking plot.
    Go mad scientist Kyouma go!

    Incidentally, I hope you blogg this one. (Ah, damn you Gedächtnis.)

  8. Posted April 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    You’re always super special~
    That’s why you are here with me
    Miracle baby I’m happy to be with you~

    Chaos;Head was terrible because MadHouse doesn’t take pride in their series anymore. That ending song was great, though.

    Steins;Gate is apparently one of the best written visual novels ever according every bit of information I can find, so I guess it’s WhiteFox’s ball to drop. Blog this.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      The ending song is dreadful aaaaaarrrggghhh

      Also well written visual novel is a tautology =P

      • Posted April 6, 2011 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        Go play Saya no Uta already. It’s like six hours long.

      • Posted April 7, 2011 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        I don’t think the word means what you think it means.

        It’s a visual novel that won awards without having sex in it. I think that’s interesting.

        But I don’t think you’ll play a VN. Ever. You hate the adaptations of them as is….

      • Scamp
        Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        I’ll play them one day, but nothing I’ve seen so far has convinced to to do otherwise. But hey, maybe Steins;Gate will be the one

  9. luffyluffy
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Why do the screenshots seem like they’ve been filmed through a fuzzy filter?

    • Posted April 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Because it was through nico nico live streaming. That means, it has the quality as hetalia thanks to the same reasons. The HQ version just came out yesterday.

  10. Posted April 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


    • Scamp
      Posted April 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      OP: eh, it’s all right, will probably get bored off it quickly

      ED: meh, pretty boring

      Kinda disappointed. My favourite OP/ED from this season is still the ED song from the Nichijou OVA

      • Posted April 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        There will still be Shaft. I think we can wait for that.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Oh yah, Shaft openings! Even their Madoka one grew on me eventually

  11. Posted April 6, 2011 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    vat. this was like a beautiful mind meets the matrix meets the twilight zone meets ayn rand meets 1984.

    interesting premise even though i typically dislike trippy storylines. i’ll give it a shot i guess. characters are expertly crafted, though.

    • Posted April 6, 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      also, how can you hate that ED so much? it’s catchy~ although i did snicker at the “super special” line.

  12. The Arbiter
    Posted April 6, 2011 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    The three characters somewhat recall another mismatched trio of maladjusted misfits…Okarin is Sato, Mayuri Misaki, and Daru Yamazaki. Except that this time, the conspiracy does exist, and they are screwing with everything.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      I did find myself thinking of the NHK conspiracy watching this episode. Also I’m pretty sure there is no NHK this time around. Or maybe there is? That would really fuck with the guys mind

  13. Posted April 6, 2011 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping we get more characters as delightful as Okarin, not just background characters that make him look good. But it’s only episode one, I’m sure we’ll get more. Kurisu looks semi-promising.

    …That song destroyed my brain T.T

  14. Posted April 7, 2011 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    All right first episode. Didn’t really grab me, but didn’t really repel me either. But I guess there’s no indication that it shot its load in the opener like many other anime, too.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2011 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    After having waited till non-shitty video came out (I for one aborted after a minute into the shit-quality because of show style) I can now honestly say: Scamps, what were you smoking when you wrote this?

    ‘Strong’ is the last of the last things I would use to describe the characters in this first episode. Only one character got any time on screen to show any degree personality and that was mostly being eccentric and over the top for the sake of being eccentric and over the top. Kamina too was eccentric and over the top, but his character was flatter than a tanner travelling on train tracks. It’s too early to call anything in this show ‘strong’ imho, let alone any of the characters.

    We’ll have to wait and see, like the plot, the characters have only played a single note.

    Besides the characters the rest of the show didn’t click with me that well either. It’s off to a similar start as Fractale in that regard. The latter however actually had colour in its scenes. This first episode of Steins;Gate was just mostly scenes of shades one step short of black, or just white. And that is just a lazy/cheap way of showing that it’s summer, an annoying way especially in a first episode. As a stylistic choice it’s fine and has merit to save on cash (it wasn’t annoying in SEL for example), but that’s no reason to make the scenes so fucking bland.
    There’s more detail in a blank piece of paper hung on a wall on the other side of the English Channel than in the majority of scenes in this first episode. This might of course have again a stylistic reason in the greater plot, but this is the first episode. It should be high-quality to lure the watchers in. If you don’t show any hint of having a budget in the first episode, when are you going to have any budget to show? Never in most cases. Maybe in the last episode if your show is popular but that’s a rarity.

    The OP and ED were plain but did their job.

    Thus far we only have a time travel plot and a main character who might or might not be insane or just obsessed with appearing as eccentric as he can. Neither of which are comforting thoughts.

    So for me this show is off to a weak start (like Fractale was), I hope it gets better in the next or I’m just going to drop it. I also wish it was directed by the director of Goku: Midnight Eye instead of its character designer.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I was smoking some goooood stuff~ :)

  16. Haijun
    Posted April 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Haha! Serial Experiments Lain reference. I love it.
    Episode 1 was pretty interesting and the dialog between characters was funny. I can’t judge the series just yet so I’m going to keep watching it to the end.

One Trackback

  • By Spring Impressions on April 8, 2011 at 3:33 am

    […] I agree with Scamp, that it’s the little things that give it that mysterious feel that leaves you wanting more here. But other than that, by the end of the episode you’re left questioning what may or may not have happened in the episode. Which has some possibly unwelcome parallels to Chaos;Head, but I’ll give this show the benefit of the doubt. This entry was posted in Assorted Anime Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Kimi ni Todoke S2 – 10: FINALLY! […]

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