Steins;Gate – 5

When did this anime adjust from murdering girls, falling satellites, and texting across time to searching for computer parts, watching fireworks, and wearing lab coats?  Not that I have anything against fireworks or lab coats; I mean, putting on a lab coat does make you feel more important and that’s always fun, right?  But that’s not the point here… what happened to all the elements that hooked me on Steins;Gate?

While the enthusiasm certainly has died down since the first couple of episodes, Steins;Gate continues to structure its story, ever so gradually like a sober person playing Jenga.  The mystery elements are certainly there, too, especially with Suzuha’s reaction to Kurisu and her dialogue with Rintarou while searching for spare computer parts.  And that’s not even mentioning the other half of the story going on with SERN’s Jellyman reports and the horrors they are beginning to uncover concerning authentic time-travel.  But these past few episodes are wildly different when compared to how the series began.

The main difference when comparing the first and most recent episodes are that there has been little to no action lately.  I’m fine with the progress of the story since its actually progressing but there is no excitement going on.  Now, scenes consist of the three “smart” ones sitting behind a computer discussing a top-secret report about failed experiments.  What happened to opening a door and finding a freshly slain body resting in a pool of blood?  Or how about discovering a text you sent earlier in the day was actually sent a week ago?  These are points of interest that build curiosity and awareness in the audience.  That is what has been missing recently in Steins;Gate.  And while the scenes in each episode may present the same amount of substance to the story or thereabouts, the former episodes built more interest in the series than these past couple.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to find out what’ll happen next, especially since we learned a tiny bit more about SERN’s experiments and were introduced to some fairly uncomfortable hints regarding Suzuha’s story.  But there’s just no action going on right now to enhancement the experience.  I’m growing restless here and the style of these past few episodes has begun to grow tiresome for me.  The most action we got this past episode was Kurisu and Rintarou playing a card game and Rintarou throwing a hissy-fit after losing.  The first episode had a satellite that crashed into a tower, a murder, a text that traveled backwards a week, and people microwaving bananas (not exciting but undoubtedly bizarre and therefore interesting).  Why can’t there be more episodes like the first one?

Also, the naming system in Steins;Gate is beginning to drive me insane.  Everyone has a real name, one or two nicknames, a lab number, and a one-word descriptive title and they interchange frequently within a single conversation.  I’ll admit, the communication is unique in Steins;Gate and, quite honestly, is one of the more witty aspects of the show.  But all the names everyone seems to have has gotten bothersome.  Not that it’s hard to track who’s who but I’m beginning to have trouble on what to call these characters.  Which name is appropriate to use?  Their real name would seem like the logical choice but they often go by their nicknames when they’re in conversation.  On top of that, others use different nicknames when talking to the same person.  If you stuck with lab numbers as your nomenclature, then you’re leaving out a majority of the cast, like Suzuha, Faris, and everyone’s beloved, Mr. Braun.  And what if you just feel like changing things up, like calling Kurisu ‘Christina’ for a day?

But I’ve realized something.  Any name seems fine as long as the audience knows who is being talked about or who the communication is being directed towards.  So any of the names are appropriate so long as everyone is on the same page.  And all those names are kinda fun rather than having one, simple name for each characters.  So while the naming system in Steins;Gate is nothing less of confusing, as long as you know what’s going on, it’s just another element of the fun that Steins;Gate is having with its audience.  At least I hope that’s the reason.

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