In the first episode of Steins;Gate, WHAT THE HELL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steins;Gate.
HI, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I JUST EXPERIENCED, LET’S ALL TALK ABOUT “Prologue of the Beginning and the End.”
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- Y’all know that, generally speaking, I’m a fan of shows and books that just drop the audience into the story without holding their hand through an introduction. This show does precisely that, and I have to admit: this was a ton of fun. Images are thrown my way. People are barely introduced before they start referencing things I’ve never heard of. Someone is murdered, except they’re not? EMAILS TO THE PAST… MAYBE? I don’t fucking know.
- WHAT IS HAPPENING.
- As confusing as this all is, this episode is so distinct. The characters are so fully formed and unique that I found myself drawn to their eccentricities, intrigued by how strange they are.
- Let’s start with Rintaro Okabe (called “Okarin” by Mayuri), who imagines himself as some sort of mad scientist, though his grasp of scientific principles seems flimsy at best? What little I see of him in these twenty-odd minutes demonstrates that he is prone to fantastical theories, ones that feel more like conspiracy theories than scientific ones. He repeatedly references the “Organization,” but fails to ever define what it is, who belongs to it, and what their goals are.
- Does that mean he’s wrong?
- Well… maybe??? I feel like he’s right that something is going on, but I don’t think he’s close to the truth.
- I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS, THOUGH.
- Then there is Mayuri, the second member of this team, who is barely a member of the team??? As Okabe says in his introduction of her, she’s super into making cosplay, but I don’t actually know why she sticks around. Y’all, I have decided I don’t actually need a reason, and I find this 100% funnier if it is never explained why she is part of the Future Gadget Laboratory. Like, she has been close friends with Okabe since they were kids, THAT’S ALL I NEED. Is she interested in the goals of this project? WHO CARES. She is just here to sew costumes and collect cute toys.
- Finally, there is Daru, who is interested in scientific principles, but from a completely different place as Okabe. He’s a computer whiz and a hacker, and he has zero passion for the goals of the Future Gadget Lab. In fact, in practically every line of dialogue he has with Okabe, he is INSULTING his best friend or correcting him. I love this??? I am so into the idea that there is a club where all but one member is reluctant to be in it or is disinterested in the whole point of it.
- WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW.
- And let’s talk about this club, because it’s very much in line with the trope of mad scientists? They exist to sow chaos, to create because they can, not because they should. That’s the mission of the Future Gadget Lab, except… Okabe is really bad at all of it. What gadgets do we even see here? There’s a bizarre television channel with an Alpaca Man (I CAN’T EVEN MAKE THIS UP, IT’S SO WEIRD) that Okabe tries to communicate with. (Though there are POV shots as if there is a camera inside the TV? What’s that about?) Then he has a ray gun that can change the channel or turn the TV on. Then he has a means of controlling his microwave with his phone! Which is cool, except all it can “do” is turn bananas into a green gel or randomly freeze food.
- I haven’t touched one major element of “Prologue to the Beginning and the End” because I don’t know what to do with it. I truly don’t. But y’all, this is how to hook me. I am trash for an inexplicable mystery, and if your book or show or movie introduces some impossible thing that needs to be explained very early on, I AM TRAPPED. EVERY. TIME.
- The first episode of this show introduces an impossibility in the first five minutes: Okabe and Mayuri go to a seminar where a professor is supposed to present his workable time travel theory, and then everything unravels. Initially, that’s because Okabe calls out the professor for copying his theory from someone who posted it to the Internet in the early 2000s. I barely know Okabe, and yet this seems so in-character for him that I just have to laugh.
- Because of COURSE he’d call out a professor for stealing time travel from THE INTERNET.
- However, there is something wrong, either with the timeline in general or Okabe’s perception of it. Because then he meets a woman named Kurisu who swears she met him fifteen minutes prior, despite that he has no memory of this, and then, minutes later, there’s a crash, Kurisu has been stabbed to death, and then EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS DISAPPEARED AND THERE IS A SATELLITE IN THE TOP OF THE BUILDING.
- But no one else experienced this???
- And then Okabe’s text to Daru travels to the fucking past??? WHAT THE FUCK.
- Because how the fuck is Kurisu alive? WE SAW HER DEAD.
- Is this non-linear storytelling or multiple timelines or time travel or ALL THREE AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME.
- Oh my god, the seminar never happened? BUT WE WATCHED IT.
The video for “Prologue to the Beginning and the End” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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