Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Anime Review: Steins;Gate

In my dreams I think of time and space rather than a 4-dimensional plane as a digital video map with an infinite number of layers (in my head I call it the map of creation), on which we have an undetailed fixed view. But what if someone was able to change the view of the map. They wouldn't necessarily be able to read it any better but this discovery would be integral to creating a system by which one could travel to different points along no scratch that within the map.

The creation of such system would mark a distinguishing point on said map, one that might attract travelers.

Or in layman's terms why wouldn't future time travelers want to influence the invention of the time machine?

Thus is the plot of Steins;Gate.

The story of the invention of the time machine.

Our friendly neighborhood mad scientist somehow discovers that he is the only person in existence who can maintain awareness of other timelines he's experienced. Someone just pressed CTRL+ -.

I really really like this show but unlike Robotics;Notes I don't have one big thing to say about but a lot of little ones.

I really really dig the idea of a person's consciousness being able to transcend timelines. That premise alone is really intriguing. Mostly it's not anything physical that's traveling back. Or at least nothing big. Just a few em waves, and that goes a long way to making the plot seem more plausible than your typical time travel fare. It's also obvious that the show is dealing with very rudimentary tech. The first iteration of something greater so to speak.  And well that's how engineering works. You think we just farted out motherboards.

The show really does go into the implications of time travel. Especially when a guy just blunders into it. At least Doc Brown had rules and supplies, and animal testing. These guys are just doing it FOR SCIENCE!!!!!!

Like Robotics;Notes the show kind of does a 180, but rather than that 180 being the plot it's the tone as the protagonist tries do undo everything he did in the first half after realizing the implications creating a damned paradox machine.

Also this show has one of the best depictions of transexual people I've ever seen. It doesn't mock(well maybe a light poke or two), doesn't pull any punches. It just describes the feelings of someone who feels they were born in the wrong body. On the one hand the science behind flipping it is a little "folksy" for show with such a grounding in science but still it's got courage, and is deft enough to attempt and succeed with that subplot.

Furthermore there are subtle gender subversions elsewhere in the story that challenge traditional assumptions and that's always interesting. 

We have character development. The main character was always a little nutty but that was always because he never took himself or what he was doing seriously. Who would? It's a hunk of junk. When it starts going bad, the plausible transformation of his character is astonishing to look at yet he's still undeniably the same guy but he gets that this isn't just goofy kid stuff anymore.  

One plot hole, I suppose, is the idea that only three (two depending on how you look at it) people concurrently figured out time travel. My view is when it comes to intuitive information, or more objectively mathematical logic i.e. the stuff science is made of these, sorts of leaps are made contemporaneously by multiple parties when better technology for measurement comes along. Rule one never assume your opponent is stupider than you. If you can figure it out so can they. If you have access to information chances are so do they. If you know they probably know.  The plot hinges on nipping time travel in the bud by stopping the guys who invented it, but I argue somebody else is destined to figure it out soon enough, and what then Einstein. We're right back where we started. It's like trying to stop the invention of the gun. Good luck with that.  

Of course I'm also the evil sort of sumbitch who says that at least it was us who invented the bomb and not the Germans. Imagine it. Hitler with nukes. Ehghhhh.

Damn I am getting more militant as I get older. 

Speaking of which the third act really does make time travel an allegory for nuclear technology, and that's something I haven't really seen before. That was an interesting place to take the show especially after the more "gee whiz" first act.

Overall I really really really like this show and it's one of the better anime I've seen in a while.

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