First Impressions: Steins;gate 0

What if Okabe abandoned his mad scientist alter-ego and became a normie? What if he ditched the lab coat for stylish black clothing, joined his university’s tennis club, and went out on group dates, leaving the Future Gadgets Lab behind? What if Okabe remained on the Beta world line and never saved Kurisu after all? Steins;gate 0, based on the visual novel sequel to the original, posits Okabe in that situation, and as might be expected, all is not well. Besides dealing with grief and impending war, something new is on a the horizon to challenge Okabe, a scientific development sure to play a role in future events, and one that is an embodiment of the specter that haunts him.

Steins;gate 0 occupies a real strange place for me: I want to see it badly, because I love Steins;gate, but I also wish it hadn’t been made—do we really need an unnecessary sequel to such a tremendous series? And do I really want to hurt that way again? And boy, the hurt comes in this episode, and it comes early. Okabe is trying to live a normal life, but he is struggling with PTSD after all he’s been through (while being unable to share with those around him, except for Suzu, who still feels there is hope). The initial episode itself, in fact, kind of matches this tone, at once attempting to be normal but also compelling us to remember Kurisu’s death and the fact that this timeline will not end well. It’s a bit uncomfortable (I felt weird laughing at the humorous bits), which is a good thing as the feelings of the original series were immediately evoked.

But there are some new elements nearly eight years after the original series aired. The characters are given slight redesigns—in particular, Mayuri, always an odd-looking character, looks a lot better and Suzu’s design makes her feel more like the fighter she is. We also have new characters. The appearance of Daru’s future wife is a shocker and a lot of fun, while a “legal loli” appears as well and is apparently knee-deep in the conspiracy that will surely develop ahead (she is researcher involved in an A.I. technology called “Amadeus,” based upon Kurisu’s research).

But the best part, the best part of the first episode of Steins;gate 0 is something I already mentioned: for all the superficial changes, the additions of new characters, and the different world line/story line, the series feels the same. A new director is involved, but the screenwriter from the original remains and the voice actors have returned, helping the continuity. Everything fell into place nicely, and that’s a good sign to this anxious heart. I’m hopeful Steins;gate 0 will continue the legacy left by its predecessor and be an add-on to one of the great anime of all time, rather than a sequel we all choose to forget.

Steins;gate 0 can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

18 thoughts on “First Impressions: Steins;gate 0

  1. I just finished Steins;gate.
    Kurisu being saved was a great end to the story. I’m not sure I want to watch a world where Okabe was unable to prevent the time machine prototype that would cause World War 3 and lead SERN to become tyrranical. I’m just not ready for the ensuing heartache. I’m taking a break.

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  2. While I absolutely love Steins;Gate and like S;G 0 anime, there’s one thing regarding it that I dislike. It is the anime’s opening (VN’s one is pretty good I guess). To be precise, its lyrics. I know the OP theme isn’t made by the original author but rather by the studio, but…I just feel kinda incomfortable with it. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing more of your analysis of Christian themes in anime! They feel really good to read.

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    1. Really? I liked the OP, but I admit I haven’t really analyzed the lyrics. I’ll take a closer look this week. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for the encouragement!

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    1. Oh yeah, I know what you mean. I can see how the concluding lyrics can be upsetting and how they feel troublesome, though I’m not particularly surprised coming from a medium and culture that doesn’t value the Christian God.

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  3. Considering how the original production was handled + all the talk about believing (especially from Kurisu), hope, love for friends, etc., I couldn’t help but feel… backstabbed a little. Well, I didn’t find anything disturbing in S;G 0 so far though. Let’s just hope the OP was some White Fox’s (the studio) shenanigans.

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    1. MAYBE they’re trying to get us to feel this sense of hopelessness? After all, without God, relying on our selves, there is no hope. And as 0 begins, the tone is certainly a hopeless one. Perhaps there’s some meaning here? Or maybe it’s just as you say—White God shenanigans.

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      1. Yes there’s a meaning and it’s amazing ..
        Only if it was told in different way that would be amazing..
        I just replied the real meaning Tuturu ..
        U can also check that out if you have seen the anime as it contains spoiler..
        Tuturu Zutto … El ..Psy ..Kangroo

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  4. That’s the same thing I thought! The opening representing the “Sad Scientist’s” state of mind after failing to save Kurisu. Glad we see eye to eye. Anyways, Steins;Gate is still one of my favourite productions of all time :> El. Psy. Kongroo.

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    1. Oh gosh, what a wonderful interpretation! Thank you for digging into the episodes, and I’m also glad you brought up the episodes from which this song was inspired, which is so important for context. This is great stuff!

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      1. I am so glad you liked it .
        But Can i Edit my comment ? I just found out i forgot to mention the episode number at the first two timestamps..
        The episode no is 18 ..

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    2. There is n@ god, Wonderful New World ( the real meaning) [ Contains Spoiler ] ..

      Lets start then.. I think about the statement like this(Just my opinion,but carefully crafted after a lot of research and some discussions ) ::: ->

      In the alpha and beta world-line we already knew that the future is doomed, and how is that information obtained by Okabe? That information about the future is brought by the people who trying to “playing God” by trying to bend the space and time trying to change the past and the future (in this case it’s Okabe and friends(they were not doing it by choice) and another party from the future->Leskinen(well he was doing it arrogantly).

      Well u can check at these instants in the anime , these are the dialogues of Leskinen.

      Steins gate 0 episode 18 at 11:06 -> All so I could obtain the power of manipulating time.
      at 12: 38 -> Defy Casuality, overcome convergence , all so I can shape the ways of this world on my own .

      He basically brainwashed Kagari to make her believe that he is God (Well this proves who the opening Steins Gate was referring to by God, it;s not targeted to actual God but to those assume themselves as it , the arrogant one).

      Steins Gate 0 episode 21: at time 21:46 is where Okabe demolishes the so claimed “God” , and you know what the song plays at that moment , yes exactly this one->”Fatima-Steins Gate op” , not a coincidence right?..

      And now, why “There is n@ god”, because the conclusion of 0 story is to find a way to reach Steins;Gate Worldline, and when s;g worldline is reached by Okabe in original series, the world is free from all kind prophecy of the future (at least well we set aside s;g movie for a moment (it isn’t canon) ), no one should been able to foretold what’s going to happen anymore except the God Himself, not the people who “playing God”.

      So for me “There is n@ God” not aimed to the God, but aimed to the people who “playing God” (remember Okabe comment on Leskinen about Leskinen thought that he’s a God in ep 21).

      That’s also why “wonderful new world”, because when the conclusion is been reached, it’s a new world with unknown future (Okabe monologue in last episode of s;g when he reunites with Kurisu), so maybe the writer is implying to live the present of the new reality you hoped for (in this case it’s Okabe’s hope that both Kurisu and Mayuri can live along) to the fullest without worrying so much about what’s going to happen in the far future.

      Also the writer of S;G story himself(Naotaka hayashi) , has referred to God directly or indirectly at different places in the whole series, just look first line of the show in episode 1 of S;G , Okabe line when he is in the middle of argument with Suzuha in episode 1 of S;G 0 also and when Okabe arguing with Maho on rooftop in episode 16.(there are more)

      Also this writer of the song “Fatima-S:G 0 opening” ( Chiyomaru Shikura)also wrote the song Skylad Observer (steins gate VN opening,also plays at end of Steins Gate ep 23a) , the starting lyrics are like this

      –The world created by God is perfect and absolutely balanced.
      –It’s a confluence of small coincidences, stacked into an astronomical miracle.

      Also in the new Steins Gate 0 Ending 2 [World-line] by Asami Imai has the line:->
      Please don’t repeat the desecration of the Celestial God ( Taken from translation by Funimation Dub)

      Every single bad event or bad outcome in both Zero and the original is the product of time travel in one way or another, be it due to the lab members themselves digging themselves deeper within the Alpha attractor field, be it SERN creating a dystopia, any of the huge timeline manipulations that take place in Zero with the objective of placing one country above another, there are plenty of examples.

      So the world , the final Steins Gate timeline , is indeed created by God and it’s perfect and absolutely balanced . You try to mess up with it , and something bad happens . Also do you notice whats unique to the true happy Steins Gate worldline , it is the worldline in which humans haven’t messed up with time at all …. (The first time Okabe sent the Dmail was by mistake, and that lead to all this, ….amazing story indeed)..

      So in essence, the rebellion against God in the series are the abuses of time travel, but accomplishing the final goal even through using that very power ends up balancing order in the universe finally leading to an acceptable outcome. That’s the beauty in the story.

      Okabe is the hero here, he struggled so hard to erase every bit of anything related to time travel so that no one will be able to “play as God” anymore.

      So that is meaning of the statement ” There is n@ God ,Wonderful new World”
      So I don’t think the writer of the above song meant it in an Atheist way.

      But I agree the way its put up in the song is confusing and a normal viewer will think it like above.
      So I won’t be recommending this song to anyone though it has a deep meaning , but to any regular person it won’t make
      sense, he/she will misinterpret the end lyrics.

      But who knows what the actual truth is except God, that’s only my interpretation.. El ..Psy ..Kangroo

      **There’s a God, Wonderful Current World.**

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