Steins;Gate 0 Ep. 1: What if the protagonist sucks? 

It’s been years since I touched Steins;Gate, but I still remember a few crucial details about its story. Basically, if Rintaro failed to rescue Kurisu, then World War III would break out. And this is the World War to end all wars. This is the World War that will pretty much devastate the entire planet. So yeah, you kinda want to prevent that. Saving Kurisu is great and all, but saving humanity sounds a teensy, tiny bit more important if you ask me! So near the end of the penultimate episode, Mayuri slaps some sense into her best friend. It’s not just about never giving up… it’s also the fact that billions and billions of lives is depending on him. As a result, he regains his spirit, sees the all-important scrambled video, then tries once more to save not just his girl but the entire world as well. Finally, after such a long struggle, we eventually get our True End. Cool? Cool. Now… what if the protagonist sucks? What if the guy just gives up? Bam, Steins;Gate 0.

In this alternate timeline, Rintaro couldn’t save Kurisu. In fact, he was left broken by his failure. As a result, he’s been trying to live a normal college life. Trying is the operative word. He’s joined the tennis club — yeah, tennis — he’s gone on group dates (it’s goukun, but I always misspell it as gokkun which is apparently a totally different thing), so on and so forth. Much to Suzuha’s chagrin, he never drops by his laboratory anymore. Y’see, she still wants to save the world. Unfortunately, the savior has been resorting to hypnotherapy just to keep his mind at peace. It’s that bad, I guess. I mean, you can definitely tell just from Rintaro’s personality alone. Like I said, I don’t remember much about the original series anymore, but I remember him having a much more boisterous personality than the one I’m seeing here. No longer is he the mad scientist. Instead, you just have a morose guy dressed from head to toe in nearly all black. Hell, he’s even medicating himself hard. If this is what normal is, then normal sucks.

This Rintaro is honestly kinda pathetic. He’s pathetic and full of denial. Sure, sure, this Rintaro has been left broken and scarred by his experiences. He can’t mentally endure the thought of jumping through time again and again. And before we continue any further, yes, I saw “23 β.” I know that he eventually decides to fight for the future again. But for now, let’s just talk about Rintaro as he is currently. Dude, 5.7 billion people are going to die. That’s what gets me. Kurisu is fine, I guess. I don’t have anything against her. Honestly, if I had to pick one of these girls, I’d waifu the shit out of her before anyone else. Especially before Mayuri, a.k.a. the worst girl. But at the end of the day, I don’t really care too much about Kurisu. It’s the 5.7 billion people, man. That’s so nuts. It’s like that dumb quote from Spiderman: “With great powers comes great something something…” I just can’t wrap my head around abandoning the world to annihilation no matter how traumatized I am. I just can’t.

Of course, this Mayuri doesn’t help. In “23 β,” she defended him from Suzuha, and she continues to baby him here. Mayuri practically spoils Rintaro. He doesn’t have anyone to give him any sort of tough love. And y’know, I don’t want to trivialize mental trauma. I certainly don’t believe that tough love can fix everyone right up. But there has to be a limit to that, right? When the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, you gotta stop treating the so-called hero with kid gloves. But even though Suzuha wants to change Rintaro’s mind, she doesn’t even raise her voice. Her face looks angry, but she has little to say except that she won’t give up. 5.7 billion people! I keep harping on it, but it’s so incredibly selfish to just give up. When Rintaro starts freaking out and breaking down on the roof, it’s the only time when he might feel like his old self. Unfortunately, it’s been horribly warped with cynicism and depression: “Humans like us can’t tamper with the province of God!” But if God does exist, then you let him worry about that. You gotta do what you do and let God sort it out later.

Well, if none of his friends are going to do it, fate will. Fate will drag Rintaro kicking and screaming into heroism even if he doesn’t want to. When the guy attends a seminar on artificial intelligence at Kurisu’s university, he’s shocked to find out that a team of researchers has continued her work on memories and how they are stored within the brain. They’ve even gone and created an AI that they’ve dubbed as simply Amadeus. More importantly, this AI has a heart, because it has been built with authentic human memories. Well, even if you haven’t seen “23 β,” it doesn’t take a genius to guess whose memories it has. Or maybe you read the show’s synopsis… either way, remember Kurisu? She’s back! But in pog form AI form! I was hoping to see the girl’s image show up on the big screen as the AI (like in “23 β”), but all we get is the ugly Amadeus logo. I hope nobody paid for that…

Anyways, the first episode is a mixed bag. The stuff with Rintaro, Kurisu, and y’know, the main story is fine. It doesn’t blow me away, but it’s functional. It sets up the rest of the story. All of the other nonsense, however, is cringy. Like meeting Faris at the cafe, or Yuki doing a fashion show at the lab. Just gimme a break with that shit, man. Unfortunately, this is a 2-cour series, so I’m certain that the show will have plenty of time to shove fanservice up our ass. Speaking of which, were the girls’ bust sizes always this big? Or am I just imagining thing? Also, why does Maho have to be so short? Is it just to fill some sort of loli quota? Gosh, we have a trap, a maid/catgirl, a time traveler, so on and so forth… hell, even the canon waifu can double as our AI waifu! But do we have a loli? Anyways, I don’t think I have much else to blog on Wednesdays. I guess I’ll just have to cover Steins;Gate 0. I should brace myself though, because I know how popular this series is.

12 thoughts on “Steins;Gate 0 Ep. 1: What if the protagonist sucks? 

  1. A Library Archivist

    That is the anime which taught me to spot and fear the semicolon. The studio which makes semicolon anime only makes horror anime, usually ones where someone sweet and innocent you just spent several episodes getting to know is brutally and savagely murdered. Any anime with a semicolon in the title is made by that studio, and they’re consistent about it. Robotics; Notes is also about a sweet woman murdered brutally after getting to know her. Jerks.

      1. A Library Archivist

        It goes horrible in around ep 5 or so, and the rest of it is about time travel, like the movie for the Time Machine from 10 years ago. That’s the trouble with these semicolon shows. Interesting setting. Lots of fun ways the stories could go but they only do horror.

  2. sonicsenryaku

    whew….I went back to read your post on the 23rd ep of steins;gate; damn the comment section turned into a shit show. I wasn’t able to read it the post back then but i shared similar sentiments then about Steins;gate having truly ended at ep 22

      1. sonicsenryaku

        Haha for real; oh and it’s not just you seeing shit; the bust sizes for the girls have become much more pronounced in comparison to the original series

  3. Advaris

    As expected, the first episode isn’t exactly promising. Steins;Gate’s story is pretty much mediocre and has a terrible pacing. Its only saving grace is Okabe, Kurisu, and their romance. Okabe is still better than most anime protag even in his current state, but the supporting cast just can’t match him and still feel like a prop than a fully-realized character. Okabe can’t save this anime alone and the new legal loli is meh. And AI Kurisu is pushing it, but the other female characters so far are pathetic. So, I guess an AI of Kurisu is going to be better than them. I hope that this AI doesn’t end up as a love interest, though. Ugh… And this anime has two seasons like the first one. The pacing is going to be as bad as the prequel, huh?

    Btw, I read your post on episode 23 of Steins;Gate and to be honest, I don’t see why it has to be such a fuss. It does feel like an epilogue for the devoted fans who want to get a happy/golden ending. I’m reminded of Lunar Eternal Blue (or Lunar 2) when I read that. That game has a playable epilogue where if you finish a side quest/dungeon, the hero can be reunited with the heroine. He can’t meet his old friends again, though. The heroine is on another planet (long story), but it’s worth it to him. Okabe got a much better deal I say. Lol

    Of course, this anime happens and it makes episode 22 without the entire brouhaha with another Suzuha as the ending. Yes, yes, it’s alternate timeline and at the end of this anime, we’re going to return to episode 23 again and get that golden ending. Lol

    “Speaking of which, were the girls’ bust sizes always this big? Or am I just imagining thing?”

    Anime can only do two things to make cute female characters grow older: make her hair longer or make her tits bigger. My waifu can’t grow older, ya know? Lol

    “I should brace myself though, because I know how popular this series is.”

    It isn’t as popular as back then. I personally think that you should brace yourself more for Persona 5. I know I do.

  4. anabchamploni

    I filled up all my Steins Gate quota 6 years ago when I re watched the whole series with my boyfriend (I used my recently acquired girlfriend powers to make him watch the anime). So having watched the series 2 times in a short period of time made me tired of Steins Gate. I will not watch this series, it seems just super boring and exploitive. There isn´t a new story worth to be told. It is just like the Madoka Sequel. Geez, I didn´t even bother to play the original VN up to this day.

      1. anabchamploni

        The Madoka sequel is a movie. It´s called “Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion”. Not totally a waste of time, but it´s a more a fanservice without the magic (baduntss) that made the original anime so popular and acclaimed.


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