A thoughtful response to current anime.

Steins;Gate – Episode 3

I don’t remember what was going on in Steins;Gate, but that’s a little like saying I don’t remember whether P = NP or not: I never knew the answer, possibly no one ever will, and probably the answer itself will turn out not to be as interesting as the mystery.  Let’s hope the answer to “does P = NP” is something a little more sensible than “it was all a conspiracy by a guy with a hallucination machine, also he tortured your mother to death for some reason, btw spoilers”.  Anyway I think there was something about hit indie late nineties internet time traveler John Titor, and the main character (who is probably, himself, John Titor) had managed to send a banana back in time, though he destroyed its internal molecular structure in the process.  Looking forward to seeing how they deal with this!  I enjoyed this scene in Primer, we’ll see if Steins;Gate episode 3 can match up to that classic of indie cinema.

…thirty minutes pass…

Between this and Kaiji I am getting some seriously mixed messages.

Hououin is not as smooth with the ladies as Keima from TWGOK, but he has his own charms.  Chicks dig a guy with big ideas.  Hououin is a lot more believable as a harem head than the Chaos;Head protagonist, who just wanted to be left alone to surf the internet and fantasize about his imaginary pink-haired anime girlfriend.  Chicks do not dig that!

I think I liked every character that appeared this episode:

  •   Hououin is amazing of course, he is everything a mad scientist ought to be.   I loved the part where he kept trolling Kurisu.
  • His hacker buddy I expected not to like, given that he was just a stereotyped 2chan denizen, but his character is treated with a surprising amount of love and respect by the writers, almost as if they think internet people are actually people.  Well, it’s not polite to dehumanize your core audience, no matter how inhuman they may be.  (Hi guys!  When I said internet people I of course did not mean you.)  Hacker buddy is the most unexpected win.
  • Mayushii is the biggest win, but that was totally predictable.  She’s a weird girl with various cute mannerisms who hangs around the protagonist for less-than-fully-explained reasons and puts up with his various insanities.  It’s a very particular type of character you have there, and the important thing to do when writing such a character is to make sure you make her seem like an actual person taking interest in the protagonist, rather than a deus ex machina out of nowhere.  The weirdness and the mannerisms are key here, if she has her own uniquenesses then it becomes more believable that she would accept Hououin’s.
  • Makise Kurisu is a tsundere, and you gotta love those, right?  But more than that, she’s a Woman of Science, to match Hououin, the man.  Kind of funny, when you think about it, how different the two are.  As a Man of Science, you’re allowed to get passionate about your work, allowed to see things in terms of a grand struggle against the forces of ignorance or whatever.  As a Woman of Science, you are required to always be coolly analytical, never show emotion.  That’s pretty sexist!
  • The bicycle chick was probably cool.  Okay, she didn’t really make enough of an impression on me.

Unfortunately, the plot is still a little iffy.  I mean, I guess it’s not really their fault, constrained as they are by the original John Titor posting, but, CERN taking over the world, facilitated by time travel, facilitated by miniature black holes they made with the Large Hadron Collider? Give me a break.  I was hoping it would turn out to be a case of an unreliable expositor, and secretly there would be something else going on, but now they’ve hacked into CERN and there is a conspiracy actually at work.  Sigh.  Well, I can enjoy it on the level of the characters, I guess.


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