Steins;Gate 0 Episode 6 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review of Steins;Gate 0 Episode 6.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 6.

So, does the streak of excellent episodes continue? You know it’s funny, round the half-way mark of this episode I was getting this kind of creeping dread that the show was starting to falter, nothing massive just that maybe it was beginning to spin it’s wheels a little.

Me, all the time.

How do you mean? Well it was all very light and ~seemingly~ inconsequential, they talk about New Year’s, and then go to a shrine for a celebration where a bunch of the cast are helping out as shrine maidens, and the American side characters continue their broken-English comic relief shtick. And it’s all very entertaining to watch, it’s like being with old friends again, but I was kind of like “shouldn’t we be doing something more important?” and then they have a New Year’s party back at the lab, which if you’re keeping track that’s three parties in the space of six episodes.

They look gross but I’m sure they taste… fine…

You’re sounding very negative all of a sudden. And then shit gets real. First the others discover Amadeus on Maho’s phone and they’re all quite interested in this AI, even if Mayuri gives Okabe a look that lets on more than we know. Then, as the AI disappears from the screen a group of gun-toting masked men crash the party, their motifs unknown and Okabe is once again confronted with the very real possibility that someone he cares for deeply could die. History is repeating itself, just slightly off-kilter.

IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN *anguished face*

So the dramatic ending saved the episode? No, not at all. The more I thought it over—and this show has me thinking more than any other show this season—the more absolutely brilliant I realised the first half of the episode was!

What the “inconsequential” stuff? Ah, but see, that’s where I was wrong! Or rather missing what was right in front of me! More than being about time travel or artificial intelligence or orchestrated high-stakes drama involving people being held at gun-point. This is a show about the cunning and insidious pervasiveness of grief and trauma, it’s always there, just waiting to pounce, lurking beneath the surface of Okabe’s face. Even in the most joyous and carefree moments, where everything seems ~fine~ something as simple as a bridge or a face or a phrase can trigger the grief and it all comes flooding back like a wound torn its stitches.

There are ghosts all around us…

Is this new information though? I thought you were well aware this show was about Okabe dealing with his grief. I believe you mentioned that in the first episode review? That was me rationalising his character, how he was as a man. It’s only now that I realise that it’s more than just that, the loss of one’s self through the loss of a loved one and the continued anguish that puts on one’s soul—that is what Steins;Gate 0 is about. Not science and technology and government plots and future wars, it’s about how grief affects everything and everyone it touches.

That’s the look of someone who’s seen some shit.

Fair enough then. So the boundless praise continues then? As if there was any doubt.

Oh Maho, marry me pls.

Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:

Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review

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Steins;Gate 0 Episode 5 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review of Steins;Gate 0 Episode 5.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 5.

“Blah blah blah, best show ever”? Hey! Were you peeking at my notes?!

I—I was joking! That’s not really what you were about to write, was it? Listen, there’s only so many episodes of a show that can pass that are each executed so flawlessly that I have to wonder whether it’s some sort of omni-fluke or I’ve just lost my goddamn mind. Either way, Steins;Gate 0 is as close to perfection as an anime like this has ever achieved. Well, at least on this world-line…

Truer words were never spoken.

Wha… what do you mean by “world-line”? Shhh, that’s not important right now.

Er, um, okay. What happens in the episode? lot. We get to see what the duplicitous and potentially dangerous Moeka is up to, namely here working as some sort of private investigator and attainer of knowledge. Daru has employed her services to find the missing girl, you know the future girl who was ‘lost’ in 1998 as a 10 year old and who looks a lot like a young Kurisu, but I’ve made that connection before haven’t I? Or maybe that was in a different time…


What’s going on, you’re acting strange… I don’t know, anyway, moving on… Maho is once again badgered into facing her true feelings for Okabe, and so goes to Akihabara to visit him only to be stalked~ by an unknown party, causing her to panic dial Okabe en-route to his lab and find herself cornered in an alleyway by an assailant…

She’s so anxious, I just want to hug her!~

Oh no! Except it’s just another ~American~ from the university who speaks in some kind of disturbing faux English for comedic effect until she realises her intended audience speaks Japanese and continues to do so fluently.


Sorry… so what happens next? Well Ruruka (Luka the cutest boy in anime) shows up at the lab, with the ~important request~ she had called Okabe to discuss towards the end of the previous episode. And surprise surprise the person in tow is a gorgeous Kurisu analogue with amnesia and FOR SOME REASON OKABE DOESN’T REALISE THIS IS THE MISSING GIRL IMMEDIATELY WHAT KIND OF GENIUS ARE YOU?!

Kurisu, C-cup edition.

Whoa! Settle down… I mean maybe you could make the argument that Okabe never actually looked at the photo of missing future girl Kagiri Shiina but really you just finished talking about a 22 year old-girl who’s missing in the city and then suddenly a 22 year old-girl with amnesia appears and you don’t immediately join the dots? Get your head in the game Okabe!

You mentioned something about “world lines” before? Metal oopa! The missing girl has one, except it’s all old, even though it’s something that only came out a few months ago, except it’s different from the one on this world line and this is all very important information!

Is it oopa or upa?

Time travel is confusing, yo. Hey, that’s my line! And we haven’t even got to proper time travel plot lines yet (I can only assume they are coming). You can imagine my anxious excitement as for what’s to come! Let’s just hope whatever the outcome, Maho can find someone to warm her bed at night. I mean I totally ship her with Okabe, but that’s only to try and keep Daru away from her! Now… where were we or more appropriately, when were we?

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Steins;Gate 0 Episode 3 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Steins;Gate 0 Episode 3.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 3.

Things still progressing in a satisfying manner? That’s an understatement! This show is amazing!

Not even going to bother with saving ‘final verdicts’ ’til the end are we? Sorry, it’s just sometimes you watch something that’s destined to be a classic and you have to almost pinch yourself at the kind of achievement that you’re witnessing.

AKIHABARA!!! *fangirls*

Sounds a lot like you’re just caught up in the hype to me. Oh I’m sorry, are you the one watching Steins;Gate 0? No? Then stick to asking the questions!

Fine, I’ll word it like a question. Don’t you think you’re letting hype cloud your judgement of the series? I’m not getting caught up in anything other that witnessing the impossible, namely a sequel anime series successfully meeting and possibly exceeding the ludicrously high standards set by a critically lauded and fan beloved predecessor.

Childhood friend-zoned.

Isn’t it a bit early to be making such proclamations? This is only episode three! I’m willing to look a fool if I’m proven wrong by time, but right here and right now, I’m calling it like I see it!

AI Kurisu blushed!

Fine. So what happens in this episode that’s got you so jubilant? It’s not what happens, it’s how well it happens. Simply put Okabe is getting too attached to the AI version of Kurisu and people close to him are starting to notice (namely Mayuri and Maho). Also there’s a Christmas party. If I put it like that it sounds like not a lot happens, but it’s the way this show deals with its topics and its characters, it’s like watching a master craftsman at work. There’s just so many great scenes in this episode, so much character development, especially for Mayuri and there’s a heap of charming and funny moments, especially at the Christmas Party! It’s soulful and intelligent and just impossible to not get caught up in. Kind of like how Okabe gets caught up in this artificial version of Kurisu.


How do you mean? It’s all about the comforting illusion, the solace in reliving something that’s long gone, rather than confronting the harsh reality that all that remains is a pale imitation. Okabe wants so much for Kurisu to be alive again, and for the viewer it starts to feel like the old Kurisu too, the more Okabe interacts with her the more her trademark spunky personality comes out. It’s only when Maho turns off the screen at the end of the episode does the reality sink in. She is dead, and nothing’s going to bring her back. Or is she?!

Brutal, but he needed to hear it.

Huh? You did this last week too, what do you mean? The final moments of the episode have Okabe enduring one of his flashing visions, what does it all mean? We get glimpses of violence and sadness and lots of different faces, is it past or is it future? Whose world line/s are we seeing? And what does this mean for Steins;Gate 0 going forward! So many tantalising questions and I can’t wait to see how/if/when they’re answered!

Yes he is 😉

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Steins;Gate 0 Episode 2 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Steins;Gate 0 Episode 2.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 2.

And what’s the show got in store for you this week? FEELS.

Feels? As in feelings, you know emotions? Jeez, how old are you?

Sorry I’m not hip to all the internet lingo! So it’s an emotional episode then, huh? Continuing directly on from the previous episode, Okabe is at the Artificial Intelligence conference where Amadeus, an AI program made from a person’s memories and emotions is being unveiled. After an impassioned outburst, an awkward after party and a touching scene between Maho and Okabe, he finally comes face-to-face, or rather face-to-computer screen with Amadeus, the AI program in testing phases comprised of the memories and emotions of the deceased Kurisu.

Well that’s certain to be an emotion charged moment. With just a look we can tell exactly what Okabe is feeling in this moment, it’s beautiful and heart-breaking. The fact he’s looking at and able to talk to someone he loved as if she were alive, even though she’s very much not. Or is she?!

What do you mean ‘or is she?!’ She’s dead, right? Her physical body is for sure, but ask yourself what is a person, what defines something as being alive? Everything that comprises our life; our hopes, our dreams, our memories, our loves, our pains, our relationships they’re all stored in our mind. They exist as information, so just because the human body ceases to be, who’s to say that the a perfect digital approximation of a once living mind with all the emotions and memories in tact isn’t ‘alive’ too. Just a different kind of life.

Wow… that’s deep, I’m surprised you came up with that and nary a mention of boobs or cute girls. Hey! I can be deep too sometimes!

So it’s a thinking person’s anime? Steins;Gate has always been like that, and it’s at its best when it can marry heady near-future science fiction concepts and morality exercises with raw human emotion and genuine relationships. And I know it’s only Episode 2, but I’m already fully invested in this series, and I don’t just mean because we’re dealing with characters we already have come to like from the first Steins;Gate series. I mean I’m invested in this story, in the story of AI Kurisu and what that means for Okabe and the rest of the characters new and old alike!

Anything else you want to add? Originally I was going to wait to watch this in English dub like I did the original (I know, I know) but because it’s coming so late in the month I couldn’t resist watching it in Japanese. I’m not going to speak about what voices I like and which I don’t that doesn’t matter, what I am curious about is how they’re going to dub the American professor Leskinen, who frequently speaks whole sentences in English (which Okabe can’t really understand well) and some sentences in awkwardly spoken Japanese. Seems like something they’ll either have to work around creatively or just ignore, either way it does make me glad I decided to watch the sub first.

Fair enough, so still on track to be one of your favourites of the season? I don’t like calling things this early, but seeing as I’ve now watched the first (and in some cases second and third) episode of every show I intend to watch this season, I’d say it’s easily among the top 3 and I am reasonably confident they can keep up the quality, the intrigue and yes even the feels.

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 1 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Steins;Gate 0 Episode 1.

What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 1.

Oh yeah, the time travel show, I remember it because in the review for the first season you horribly insulted me and still haven’t apologised. Yup that’s the one!

Right… so what’s this, doesn’t Steins Gate Zero? Doesn’t a ‘zero’ usually denote a prequel? First off, don’t forget the semi-colon; it’s important. Secondly, good for you, knowing something about something! Yes, in a lot of media including Japanese films and video games a zero or 0 after the title usually denotes that it’s a prequel set before the events of the original (i.e. Ring 0 or Resident Evil 0) But, in this case no it’s not a prequel but rather an alternate world-line (alt universe) continuation of the original season!

Uh-huh, and so precisely how confused am I supposed to be by all this? Well for you or anyone else who has never even watched the original season you’re screwed, but for everyone else, as long as you’ve watched it semi-recently, or liked it enough to remember it fondly or even just looked up where in the timeline this takes place you should be fine.

Right-o, so when does it take place and what is it about? SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL STEINS;GATE ANIME FROM HERE ON!

Thanks Mr. Capslock. So basically the original series is all about self proclaimed “mad scientist” Okabe trying to simultaneously save the two ‘loves’ of his life, childhood sweetheart and too pure for this world Mayuri and fellow scientist and all around best girl Kurisu. Also he’s trying to prevent World War 3. He time travels with his “phone microwave” in order to put everything right but around about episode 23 he realises he can’t save both Mayuri and Kurisu because of paradoxes and what not and so he resigns himself to let Kurisu die and continue on with his life. It’s at this point that Steins;Gate 0 stems from. Because in the original series he comes up with a work around that basically involves faking Kurisu’s death or something and they all lived happily ever after. And I know that might sound like I’m being reductive but the original Steins;Gate is among my Top 5 Anime ever so I had no issue with that ‘happy ending’.

Hmm, so why does this ‘zero’ series even exist if the original is so well received, and it is well received, isn’t it? Indeed, it’s a critically acclaimed series loved by almost everyone. And while yes, I would have been content for the series to end there, I’m also totally cool with having more content with these characters and this universe because they are so unbelievably great. (Well most of them, Faris is kind of annoying)

And is this new series as good as the original? If your asking me to compare just 1 episode of this new series (which will be 23 episodes in total) to the entirety of the original Steins;Gate… I will gladly do so! It is just as good, and if you’ll allow me to elaborate I will explain why I think so!

Go ahead. The first season had an awkward half dozen first episodes, that is to say the pacing and story was kind of confusing for newcomers. It was still good, it just wasn’t immediately ‘all there’. Here, however I feel like we’re benefitting from coming in at a point where not only do we already know most of the characters and what makes them tick but also coming from such an emotionally devastating point for our protagonist that there’s the kind of rich backstory that you don’t normally get in first episodes. Yes it feels like a new season, but it also feels like we’re off the back off a juicy cliffhanger that’s slowly unfolding before us.

And what about the Okabe, the main character, wasn’t he in a real bad place when episode 23 ended? I see you’ve been reading the notes I left for you. Yes, he was in the worst place emotionally during that time and the show takes the wise move and set it many months after that time. And what we’re given is a kind of quieter, more contemplative Okabe, who’s trying his hardest to move on, whether that means going out of his comfort zone by playing tennis and group dating and just doing whatever he can to distract himself from the lingering, penetrating pain from having lost Kurisu. It makes the show so much more mature, I was actually kind of in awe of how Okabe’s characterisation was handled. It would have been so easy to just make him some mopey SOB but they made him feel like an actual person trying hard to fix his heart and not dwell on the crippling sadness that’s bubbling just below the surface.

So it’s a different show than before, but not? How’s that work for the audience. The worst thing they could have done was just made the show just feel like it was before without considering how much Okabe is emotionally destroyed up by his decision to give up on saving Kurisu. What we’ve got instead is a complex and layered narrative and characterisation that really means something.

You’ve really built this up a lot, aren’t you afraid people will go in expecting a lot and be disappointed? Nope, don’t care. I loved this new season, its already more consistent than the original thanks to being a continuation of an already established series and all the new things they’ve introduced like “legal loli” Maho Hiyajou and AI program Amadeus are all brilliant. The only way is down!

That’s not really a compliment. I know this. I’m not pretending like this show is above criticism, it may very well blow it’s potential and become a trainwreck in future episodes, but as it stands now I do recommend the show and if I’m completely honest I do think it will be as good if not better than the original series and will be remembered as a classic for many years to come.