Steins;Gate – Episode 5
May 18, 2011
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Steins;Gate is a much more straightforward show than Denpa Onna. We don’t have characters pondering to themselves how best to deal with other people, the relationships are pretty much how they appear on the surface (modulo some tsunderes, but you should know by now how to deal with those). This leaves them time to focus on passionately fighting against the evil CERN conspiracy, and solving the secrets of time travel. As I recall, at the end of last episode Hououin and Kurisu were lugging an old 1980s-era computer across town. It was a cliffhanger because, are they going to be able to carry it? Will their arms get tired? Who is going to have to be the one who walks backward? Be careful not to drop it on your toes! Now we’ll see the exciting resolution to these issues, in episode 5 of Steins;Gate.
…thirty minutes pass…
Product placement owns - remember Pizza Hut and Code Geass?
Maybe I’ve sold Steins;Gate a little short. This episode was substantially focused on interpersonal interactions between the cast members. I have definitely sold Makise Kurisu short. She really came into her own this episode. I guess Mayushii showed her around the lab, she started to get used to her environment, and she became more able to meet Hououin on his own terms rather than simply robotically striking back every time she was struck at. (Spellchecker recommendation for “robotically”: “erotically”. Hey, no argument here, spellchecker.)
I liked her Americanness that kept getting brought up – “oh you’re an American so you can read these lab reports in English” “oh you’re an American you probably wouldn’t enjoy Japanese food like Cup Ramen” “oh you’re an American so you like Dr. Pepper (well doesn’t everyone Dr. Pepper is so great buy Dr. Pepper)”. See, Americans can be cool, not just stereotypes like in Ika Musume! So long as the Americans are ethnically Japanese, of course.
The scene where she freaked out after Hououin shouted at her was moving to me. If I had to point to one thing that’s making me revise my opinion of this show upward it would be that. It’s a good sign that there is some depth to these characters. It even has me not worried about the chick who works at the TV repair shop being all weird and mysterious. It has me not caring about how silly the timetravel jelly black hole squishing explanation is. I know I’m only setting myself up for a fall, like in Chaos;Head, but I’d like to briefly indulge in hope if that’s ok.