Despite being my favorite anime right now, there are still some things that irritate me about Steins;Gate. (Note: I still love Okabe and Kurisu, so don’t worry about those two)
For most of the series, I’ve been happy with everything Steins;Gate has done. The characters have been above expectations, especially with the versatile comedy the cast is capable of. The use of time-travel has been rousing especially when you see only Okabe retaining his memories when time changes. The mysteries are one of the more attractive aspects of Steins;Gate, helping keep each episode interesting as they answer a few questions while asking some more. And the pacing, too, has been pleasing. But there have been a few developments lately that seem to get on my nerves.
The first is Kurisu’s quick recognition toward D-mail changing timelines. For one, how is Kurisu so observant toward Okabe’s behavior that she can discretely tell when he’s being make-believe mad scientist and being seriously frightened that everything has changed? Everyone should just assume it is a part of his act because he’s always been partially absorbed in his fantasy world. For her to quickly dismiss that notion and go forth with D-mail, something that she’s not fond of in the first place, seems out of place for both her character and the series in general. But I suppose they need someone to recognize the change in timelines and no one is more intelligent than Kurisu, so I guess she needs to be pinned with this role for storytelling purposes. Still, I don’t like how they she can guess that when there’s no real proof.
Another thing that bugs me about Steins;Gate is Okabe is able to sustain relationships across time. When arriving in a different timeline, all the characters seem to have the same relationships with everyone else despite there being some minor differences. Differences which might have changed any of the relationships around. Okay, let’s ignore Moeka for a sec since that actually DID happen and some relationships happened to vanish. But the point here is different. I’m focusing on the characters Okabe has just recently met, such as Kurisu and Suzuha, and their relationships with everyone else. It’s almost like whatever changes happened had zero effect on these relationships, that they’re not missing a beat with anything going on. Perhaps later on there’ll be deeper changes but I would have expected more by now. Perhaps we could see Kurisu wondering whatever happened to a different nickname that was developed during another timeline or Suzuha learning more or less about Okabe’s time-machine due to other character relationship changes. I guess I should be thankful that the relationship between Moeka and the rest of the lab was severed when she failed to buy a new phone and I hope to see more of those events in future episodes, where relationships are vastly altered. Actually, I’m more interested in seeing Okabe repair these relationships and see what happened to the character to change the world so. These relationships are one of the more interesting aspects of Steins;Gate, especially the ones we do not fully understand yet.
And I may sound vacillating here but I’ll toss Ruka into this category, too, even though I like him (or her?) as a character. For one, I hated his idea for an experiment to send a D-mail to try to change his sex. For one thing, all the scientists there should’ve told him eating vegetables during pregnancy won’t change the baby from male to female (that’s not how science works), although it is still an excellent idea to produce a healthy baby. There are these things called chromosomes which ultimately decide on sexual differentiation, unless of course there are disorders, such as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, but even then, the genetics won’t change. And doing such an experiement with potential to drastically alter all sorts of events, especially after Okabe learned about what happened with Moeka during his last experiment, should have raised some flags that told him this was not a good idea. So it sounds like I have more of a problem with Okabe here but I’m putting the blame on Ruka here for suggesting this unethical experiment in the first place. I still like Ruka as a character, regardless of sex, but I am disappointed in his ideas for uses of time-travel. Hopefully there’s an explanation behind this.
While there are a handful of elements of Steins;Gate that drive me up the wall, the rest is satisfactory, if not enjoyable. With the use of time-travel beginning to pick up and its effects becoming more visible and understandable, I can’t help but be extremely excited with where the anime is going. Each episode fuels my love for this anime, especially with its uncapped potential on areas to explore, both for the characters and for the mysteries. I am elated that the comedic ingredients of this anime have remained unchanged and as funny as ever. And despite this episode highlighting a few flaws, the show has been steadily improving and this has been one of my favorite episodes of Steins;Gate thus far. It’s always a wonderful sign of an anime where I can critically whack parts of it while still loving it overall. But I guess Steins;Gate is just that kind of anime.