As a fan of Steins;Gate, I decided to watch these shorts. Before you watch these shorts, there are a few things to keep in mind. These shorts are advertisements, meant to show people how IBM's "cognitive computing" initiative might enhance people's lives in the future. The 4 shorts use the Steins;Gate characters and universe to show different scenarios and how the "cognitive computing" (represented by an Oopa with a cutesy voice) help solve problems.
If you can get past the fact that these are advertisements, and you are a fan of S;G, there are some very enjoyable moments and interactions in the approximately 12 minutes of
animation. The art and sounds are almost identical to the series, with White Fox at the helm, and many of the same voice actors reprising their role. The 4 shorts are described below:
1. "Cooking" - Kurisu and Mayuri want to make fried chicken, and Okabe and Daru are hesitant to let the girls cook. The girls state that with the help of Oopa, they can do it! However, they don't have the ingredients for fried chicken, so Oopa helps them make something else.
2. "Navigation" - Okabe and Kurisu have an argument in the park, and each ask Oopa to navigate them back to the lab, without bumping into the other. As they walk and take trains, they think about the other and how silly the argument must have been. Their paths take them to shops, and they see something the other might like.
3. "Fashion" - Mr. Braun's daughter, Nae, complains that Okabe and Daru never change their clothes, and are "yucky". They enlist Kurisu to help give them new wardrobes. With Oopa's help, Kurisu sees projections of Daru and Okabe in clothing that matches their hobbies and personality.
4. "Meeting" - The lab members are told that due to the noise, they are being evicted. They ask Oopa to help them find a new lab. Everyone requests some "must-haves" for the new space, but Okabe is reluctant to leave their current lab. Oopa's suggestion for a new lab space surprises everyone.
Each short has moments of comedy and some light emotional drama. The Navigation and Fashion shorts have some great character interaction with Okabe and Kurisu. If you are a fan of their pairing, definitely watch those two!
Overall, these shorts are recommended to anyone who enjoyed S;G and (like me) always wants more!
Although I'm still not sure why IBN sponsored this, I'm really glad that they did.
To put it bluntly, these short episodes show us Stein;s Gate re-imagined as a slice-of-life anime.
With any sort of apparent threat seemingly gone, we get to enjoy our characters doing everyday things like cooking, going shopping, riding the subway and even renting an apartment (not necessarily in that order).
By using a cute little robot to portray cognitive computing and create more hilariously awkward situations, these shorts never fail to disappoint and, if anything, are likely to bring a smile to your face.
At 12 minutes total, they're not
much of a time investment and are definitely a rewarding experience if you really love the characters from Stein's;Gate and have missed them acting silly around each other.
Steins;Gate: The IBM Ad is a series of four four-ish minute long OVAs created as a collaboration with IBM to explain the impact their Cognitive Computing (AKA advanced weak AI) could have on daily life. The shorts follow the Gadget Lab some time after the OVA episode as they relax and live normal lives together. Mayuri brings in a Upa she brought that have Cognitive Computing on board and they proceed to use it for a variety of mundane yet entertaining things.
The story is weak, but it doesn't do anything to hurt Steins;Gate's great plot. Its place in the timeline is clear, but its
canonicity, or lack-there-of, is also clear. Each of the stories are perfectly coherent slice of life fair. The writing is funny and there's even one touching Okabe-Kurise moment that gets pulled off perfectly.
Art is fine, the great art style of Steins;Gate returns, but the budget is clearly a few pegs down. Expect cross-eyed Kurisu, off-model Mayuri, and rapidly expanding & deflating Daru, but don't expect outright ugly.
Sound is... okay. The voice actors all come back and do a fantastic job, but as far as music goes... I legitimately can't remember. As of writing this, a mere ten minutes after watching the shorts, I cannot describe what the music was like. I just pulled up an episode, and it seems to be mostly stereotypical background bleep-bloops. Nothing offensive to the ears, but it it instantly forgettable.
Characters are spot on. After watching the movie and seeing how badly White Fox's writers can butcher the characters, they are absolutely spot on with them this time. The OkabexKurisu moments play out exactly like they should, Mayuri is as adorably spacey as she should be, Daru is an unrepentant pervert, and all is well.
Overall this is a perfectly acceptable little OVA series. Don't expect it to rock your world or anything, but if you want some bite-sized Steins;Gate, there's a lot worse ways to burn fifteen minutes.