Steins; Gate Episode #02 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The world continues to feel off for Rintaro as he's not sure that time travel just happened for him.

What They Say:
Episode 2

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The discovery that Makise is alive after she was attacked and stabbed has certainly left an impression on the budding your mad scientist. Rintaro can't believe it, but it gets even harder for him to handle at the panel she's hosting where she talks about how time travel isn't possible, even though he's apparently doing it through the text messages on his cel phone. And to make matters even worse, everything she says refutes what he's saying in a kind of flip and arrogant way, which makes sense considering the style in which he's unloading on her about it from almost the start of her presentation. Rintaro's pushed pretty far here, which doesn't take much considering his personality as we know it so far.

Rintaro's confusion is fairly amusing to watch, since you do have to wonder if he is kind of cracked in the head with the way he plays up certain things, such as the whole 'my hand is possessed' thing he does at the shrine. A lot of it is just his personality where he's a bit of a jokester, but not in a cruel or mean way, but he plays it to the hilt. It does get hard at times to tell what he's really seeing and what he's hallucinating. One sequence that gives off that feel at the start involves his internet research which reveals a conversation log by someone claiming that there are time travelers here and that the group is known as SERN. They maintain the control over the time machines in order to bring about a dystopian future for humanity. This happened way back in 2000 with the author claiming to be from 2036. The research is simple, but it's fun watching how Rintaro works the web and his own research to try and figure out what happened and where it can lead him.

Where it takes a more surreal turn is the next day when Rintaro is walking around town and finds a woman that's snapping pictures of him on her phone. She claims she takes pictures of everything as proof of where she's been, which certainly captures Rintaro's attention at first, but there's the background belief in his head about the Organization that may target him which would cause her trouble. And he certainly doesn't want his picture out there at all. It's another strange little piece of the puzzle that's added to the series which has that edge about it that something is terribly off, which you can see in the animation sometimes as it doesn't exactly skip, but seems like it bubbles for an instant every once in awhile. It just adds to the surreal nature of everything and draws you in even more.

In Summary:
Steins; Gate offers up another episode where the mystery is paramount but has the very proper way of making sure it's intriguing while drawing it out. The central focus on Rintaro is especially welcome since it avoids the school age aspect and gives us someone who wants to be the bad guy in a way, but only to a certain degree. He has aspirations of being hugely important and there are plans to do so, but he's now feeling out of place because of the whole time travel thing that's confusing him like nothing else. It's hard to pin down this series at this stage since it hasn't really revealed much, but it's put some intriguing things out there. Some shows can work very well in teasing things out like Steins; Gate is doing and it definitely keeps you coming back to see what the next little twist will be. The show continues to be a dark horse favorite for the season with its approach and style as well as the actual story potential.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Steins; Gate