Steins;Gate 2nd Half
Let’s rewind time a bit and go back into Steins;Gate for the second half of the best series of 2011 so far, in my opinion. This part of the series deals with the consequences Okabe and his group must face, all caused by their meddling with time. Most of the wonder and exploration that is central to the first part is gone, replaced with a sense of desperation as Okabe works with the Future Gadget Lab members to undo all the changes they made to save one of their own.
I hate dropping major spoilers, but the death of one of the lab members is pivotal to the plot for this half of Steins;Gate, and therefore unavoidable. The series picks up with Mayuri being killed by Moeka Shiina, a lab member that appears in the first half who was looking for the same rare computer the group was tracking down. She comes to take the group, their research and the time leap machine, revealing she is a spy of SERN. As the situation turns desperate, the group is saved Suzuha Amane, the part-time worker of their landlord. Using the opening, Okabe jumps back in time by sending his consciousness back in time as data.
From here, Okabe tries to save Mayuri, but continues to fail no matter how many times he goes back. Consumed by despair, Okabe confesses to Makise that he has been time traveling to save their friend. With their two genius minds, along with the help of a time traveler from the future, John Titor, they discover they must cross to a “Beta World Line” by altering time so dramatically that Mayuri’s death is no longer a fixed event. Thus begins Okabe’s tedious journey slowly dismantling all the changes they have made, to not only save his friend but also to prevent a World War fought over time travel.
Okabe’s quest to figure out how to revert the events they changed in time is compelling and heartbreaking. As he goes back step-by-step to each message they sent, he struggles to stay convinced he is doing the right thing. His friends must relinquish the changes that have made them happy in order to save their friend. The characters in this part are further developed and I started to emphasize with every one of them. To give up something in your life that is important, even though you can never remember not having it at some point since it was in another time line, is truly the hardest thing I can think of anyone having to experience.
The series does a very good job of keeping the story interesting by mixing the plot of saving Mayuri while answering the mysterious that are brought up throughout the series. John Titor is revealed, the leader of SERN is unmasked, the motivations for Moeka being a spy are explained, Suzuha finds her father and a few other mysterious I can’t remember are laid out by the end. Some of the revelations are surprising, while a few are predictable, but even so they do not diminish the quality of Steins;Gate’s story. In fact, this is one of the few series that I can say I was perfectly satisfied with the resolution, because every piece of the story fit together by the conclusion.
Steins;Gate is an immensely character driven story. The pacing may be slow to some, but to me it moved fast because I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I’ve watched a few other series, which I will be writing reviews for shortly, and most of them are older, while some were at the recommendation of a friend. A few I couldn’t get into, and I told my friend this and his response was that he was going to stop recommending slower shows to me. I don’t think speed is the problem, though. Steins;Gate is a long, mildly paced show, but the story is so refreshing and the characters are skillfully developed I couldn’t stop watching. With so few series these days that strike me enough to want buy them, Steins;Gate is definitely one that is going on my wish list.