Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Steins;Gate - Episode 3

It the prospect of a microwave than can teleport bananas doesn't excite you, then it's probably fair to say that Steins;Gate simply isn't for you... for the rest of us however, it's time to start digging a little deeper into just what so-called "mad scientist" Kyouma Hououin has stumbled across.

Luckily, just the right person to do this happens to have stumbled into the "Future Gadget Lab" at the moment of this bizarre discovery, with Kurisu Makise turning up on the doorstep only to find herself being drawn into this strange scene - of course, Okarin and assistant Hashida only make this scene all the stranger, sending any conversations around the houses until Makise finally gets down to the crux of the matter; just what happened to that banana?  Some further experimentation involving said microwave attached to a mobile phone seems to suggest only one possibility - time travel; a possibility that sends Makise running from the "lab" never to return incidentally.

From here, Okarin's attentions return once again to John Titor, and more specifically his claims that in the future CERN hold a monopoly on time travel devices amongst other things (again mirroring the real-world story of John Titor online outside of the series), and also that it's CERN's creation of a mini black hole that would bring about the discovery of time travel in the first place.  This assertion leads to Okarin asking Hashida to hack into CERN - something he manages to some degree with ease, only to uncover evidence that seems to back up John Titor's claims...

If one thing has surprised me about Steins;Gate to this point, it's that it increasingly feels like a bit of a slow burner of a series - it isn't rushing to drag us into its massive conspiracies and mysteries, instead letting everything evolve at its own, occasionally luxurious, pace.  Luckily I don't actually mind this too much on this occasion, as the show's sense of humour and the feeling that it isn't always taking itself too seriously gives it more space to breathe - in particular, the early interactions in this episode between Makise and the "Future Gadget Lab" staff are amusing and entertaining enough to carry things along even when there are perhaps more important questions at stake.  Certainly, watching Steins;Gate requires a monumental suspension of disbelief (although crazier things than a nerd hacking into CERN have happened before), but somehow its very nature aids and abets such disbelief.  I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this series at this juncture, but I do know that I'm still enjoying watching it.

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