「始まりと終わりのプロローグ」 (Hajimari to Owari no Purorōgu)
“Prologue of the Beginning and End”
So who didn’t get this show? Yes, yes, I see a lot of.. nothing because I’m looking at a monitor, but I can guess most people with no previous knowledge of the story have really no concrete idea of what happened. Don’t worry, I’m in the same boat.
At the basic level, the events over the course of the episode seem to take place in an interval of one day. Okabe Rintarou (Miyano Mamoru), or “Okarin” (or Hououin Kyouma), an eccentric poor “mad” scientist, is similar in many ways to Satou from NHK ni Youkoso, except that Okarin has a goal in mind. What that is, he doesn’t exactly know, and I’m not supposed to know either, but because of the preview, we now know he will create a time machine with the microwave that can only spin backwards and make green gel bananas. The agency, while currently a figment of conspiracy in his mind (again, Satou), really will be after him and his invention, but as of now, only fragments of the truth are shown, which makes the episode sort of “wtf did I just watch.”
Makise Kurisu (Imai Asami) dying and “reviving,” her implication of a past meeting, memory conflicts occuring in Okarin’s mind, the random scream (guess who it is), static phones, and a startling experience of an alternate plane with no people are markers that the timeline has already been tampered with. The first episode merely shows this specific time interval in the eyes of a clueless Okarin, one that has not yet been involved. As for details, there’s a multitude of them to gather, such as a quick glimpse of Mayuri visiting someone’s grave, but none of them at this point really says much. One speculation I have is that the urgent message to Kurisu was probably what could have prevented her death, but it’s a bit pointless to expand further when the episode was just not meant to be fully understood until a presumed later point in the series.
Although the plot in a time travel series can easily be an excuse to not focus much on the characters, the cast of Steins;Gate doesn’t seem to disappoint. Miyano returns in a more mature fashion than his previous endeavors, on occasion reminding me of his work as Light in Death Note, so it’s a throwback seeing him play a half-maniacal character once more. The seemingly useless childhood friend Shiina Mayuri, brought to life by the voice-I’ll-never-get-sick-of Hanazawa Kana, appears with him in the empty plane, bringing about some suspicion of her actual nature, and generally induces much of the dialogue and humor from Okarin. The third member Itaru Hashida (Seki Tomokazu) comes off as your typical lazy otaku (except with coding skill), whose usage of Shiina for a perverse line made me chuckle, so I like him for that.
The first episode wasn’t really too gripping, due to confining itself with pure exposition, and the jarring bits and pieces of seemingly irrelevant scenes might even bore a lot of viewers. I’ve grown a thick skin to extreme exposition in all sorts of media, and if you could sit through any season of Index, this is a piece of cake. The story’s obviously got potential, and although I’m wary of screw-ups due to the limiting factor of time travel, I’m a bit more confident due to it having an already established source material. I couldn’t possibly avoid an anime about time travel, so I’m mighty curious to see how far they’ll actually take the concept.
>mfw there’s an arc to search for the metal oopa because it somehow saves the world
Also, since the story heavily relies on suspense and the unknown, please use spoiler tags if you must, or just simply avoid them from this point onward. :]