For those who disagreed with my argument that Kurisu is a tsundere, they have declared it in the show itself. Kurisu being tsundere is now canon. Victory is mine!
(Although this does bring up the point: If someone calls you a tsundere, how do you respond? If you say yes, then you’ve admitted you’re a tsundere. If you say no, people will just say you’re being tsundere. The liars predicament. Catch 22)
Speaking of dredging up old arguments, the responses to last weeks post were fascinating. Generally commenters will respond to something I’ve written in the post in regards to plot theories or adding their own thoughts to parts I liked or disliked. This time though, when faced with a post that talked solely about the animation and directing, the responses fell into two categories. Those who totally ignored what I wrote and simply talked about the episode themselves, or those who responded with simply “yeah, but the animation isn’t that important compared to the writing”, and then proceeded to talk about what they liked from the episode anyway. Now when I talked about the animation, I wasn’t talking simply from an animation quality standpoint. I’m talking about how the directing of the animation helps enhance the story. Anime is a visual medium. The story should not be told solely through dialogue. The old ‘show, don’t tell’ mantra, that I want to shout into Makoto Shinkai’s ear through a megaphone. Compare the total inability of Bakuman to tell anything with its visuals to Madoka Magica’s story, which is told almost entirely through the visuals. Writing is the bones of the work, but the directing and animating flesh out the story. Saying it’s not important is missing the point of the animated medium.
After writing that post though, it was at the forefront of my mind going into this episode, and I have to say the directing in Steins;Gate is better than perhaps I gave it credit for. Just because something doesn’t smash you over the head with its symbolism like Madoka does, doesn’t mean it’s not well directed. The portrayal of Kyouma is great, through random fish-eyed lens, or swooping angles as he spouts something overly dramatic, followed by the bland overhead shot as the other lab members’ reactions roll out, thoroughly uninspired by his latest declaration. Another thing I liked was the depiction of the lab. The show is incredibly good at giving you a sense of space around the room and where each member stands. How they crowd around either the computer or the microwave, giving us the shot from the piece of electronics viewpoint so you can see how intently each person is looking it. It’s a great and simple trick to show how each of them currently feel about events by reading their expressions. Or how when they have a round table, the viewpoint drops back to include the entire room to deliberately contrast the claustrophobic clutter around the more significant plot development scenes.
So yeah, Steins;Gate isn’t so bad in the animation department after all.
I suppose I better, you know, talk about the plot for a change. What I liked about this episode was how it played with the viewers knowledge of how a typical Steins;Gate episode plays out. The spend a while chatting about, then they get experimenting, chat to a few more people, then shit starts to get more serious and they delve deeper into the plot. How this episode played with that was how the twist sorta leaped out of nowhere. The stuff that we thought was just mindless chatter, as is per usual in Steins;Gate, turned out to be stuff we should have been paying attention to. Little throwaway details changing is pretty standard for time travel plot lines, but Steins;Gate played that well by keeping to the same style of the past 6 episodes. How were we supposed to know this latest chatter over Dr.Pepper would actually be brought up again in a plot-related point? Or, more importantly, how did Ruka buying a lotto ticket suddenly change the world enough so that they ran out of Dr.Pepper? Seems like a rather strange thing to diverge on.
Now Kyouma is the Messiah. Great, another anime drawing its lingo from that bloody bible again. I mean, sure, two of my favourite anime of the past 4 years had more bible lingo dominating its plot points. Noblesse Oblige, please continue to be the Messiah. Madoka becoming Godoka. Heck, my all time favourite anime has the entire plot revolving around the line “I shall become the God of this new world”. It’s not that I necessarily dislike this lingo as a plot device, when used where relevant and revealed carefully. Even in Steins;Gate, the plot built up carefully to making such as statement so that it didn’t come off as ridiculous. But it’s when lesser anime try to follow this lead, they stumble horribly and become pretentious messes. It just gets on my nerves that so many high concept stories end up reverting to religious lingo to describe their plots.