Ever since last year, Steins;Gate 0 has been announced for release and we were already given a glimpse of what to expect from this show. Not to mention, this is a treat for those who have gone and played the visual novel of the same name. As stated, the show tries to tread a darker path to what Steins;Gate, the show its derived from, could have been.
In this anime series, we are given the answer to the question of “what if Okabe never succeeded in saving Kurisu and mankind is forever doomed?”
The story focuses around a much more mentally-weak and scarred Okabe whom the pressure of going back in time over and over again just to see his friends killed due to failures has taken a toll of him. He no longer has that courage and drive to be our beloved mad scientist but rather accepts the fact that Kurisu is dead and the fate of the world is entirely out of his control.
It was a wonderful premise for the first episode to start off in a now war-torn Japan where Mayuri regrets her inability to convince Okabe to fight fate and save Kurisu, as what had happened in the original series. A great callback to the events of the main series so that viewers would remember those events.
But moving on, this is a world where Kurisu is dead, Okabe is just a normal high school student dealing with his own demons and everyone else is just the same as they were. Without the necessary slap to the face by Mayuri, Okabe just caves into himself and has become weak. The first episode is a depiction of what would have happened if Okabe just abandoned his time travel adventures and remained normal.
There were a couple of scenes in this episode which tie back to the events, references, and characters of the main series. Examples are the lab in which the main cast were working on their time machine, Daru being aware that he has a daughter, and Kurisu’s research paper being one of the major callback.
Noting the paper, it appears to be one of the major things in this series as the episode ended with Okabe attending a college seminar that highlights Kurisu’s scientific work and thus giving birth to the possibility of creating an artificial intelligence system closely similar to a real human being.
The first episode was nothing more but a sort of slight recap to how things were and how those events in the main series were scratched off in favor of depicting what would have happened in the worst case scenario. As a fan, I am not sure that I was asking for an alternative storyline for Steins;Gate but with the prospect of understanding the consequences in Okabe’s inability to fix the timeline, I am curious as to how really bad it would have gone.
On a different aspect, I believe that this show would not give out much appeal to newer viewers due to the necessity of watching the Steins;Gate anime series in order to understand the context of this alternate, worst-case scenario story.
If you haven’t watched Steins;Gate, don’t watch this series – you’ll end up confused and left out. As for me, I am looking forward to the next few episodes and the developments to this new “human-like artificial intelligence” being introduced in the first episode – will it help the war and create a happy ending for this show? Will this end in tragedy?
Eh, who knows – that’s what makes alternative timelines so exciting.
What do you think about this sequel to Steins;Gate? Discuss in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!