"Steins Gate is just a stupid delusion"
This review might contain VN spoilers only if I need to compare it with the anime adaptation, I will update it when major events happen.
Story - 10
Steins;Gate 0 starts off a few months after the death of Makise Kurisu and Hououin Kyouma. Rintarou is now a "decent" student, barely staying sane thanks to medication and therapy. Welcome to the Beta attractor field, in a worldline with no hope for humanity.
If you watched the original anime, you know that the world is inevitably going to converge towards World War 3, Nakabachi's paper has made it to Russia and it
is only a matter of time before the time machine race begins. But most importantly, how are the main characters involved anyway ? How does the conflict escalate ? Who's pulling the strings this time ?
Steins;Gate 0 introduces a few new themes. Among them, and in my opinion the most important one in the current story arc : A.I.
"Humans also think of themselves as hardware and software" -Amadeus Kurisu
I get to work with artificial intelligence and I am extremely satisfied with its depiction. Lots of references are made towards the sudden progress the field has made in the early 2010s, along with the difficulties it's facing, mix that with a sci-fi breakthrough in brain science that you're familiar with. In these 6 episodes it often made me think "this is how sci-fi should be done !". The characters' interactions with A.I are brilliant, most of them think of Amadeus as a box of memories and logic, focusing on the obvious quirks of the program. However, those who regularly interact with it soon realise that its personality *diverges* based on its environment, just like any human's. I'll paraphrase Amadeus again : what in the world is it ?
My biggest disappointment with the story so far is in its pacing, I feel like it's skipping over a lot of interesting details. For instance, I enjoyed watching Victor Chondria's conference, and it could've easily lasted an entire episode if it followed the VN. However I understand that the change in media is especially more difficult to handle with Steins;Gate 0, and the amount of work the went into story-writing for the adaptation is impressive, I'm looking forward to seeing how the story will fit together.
Characters - 10:
"I want to tell the me back then : don't do anything careless !" -Rintarou
I like how Okabe's depression is portrayed in the anime, born from the fresh memory of killing Makise Kurisu, and the firm conviction that the future can never be altered. Depression quickly turned into crippling fear of witnessing the end of those he cares about. You can see how much it affects his decision-making, making him unable to even attempt time travel.
I find it really interesting to see how the characters have matured during these past few months, there is definitely more to them than what the original series suggests. Now that they aren't used as mere "plot devices" for comic relief or time travel, we get to follow the story from their perspective as well, they interact with each other and advance the story in... unexpected ways.
Holy cow ! The current new characters were properly introduced, their personalities are quite interesting and *complex*, and they're properly linked to the main story through Lintahlo.
Animation - 10:
While the original anime gave you a sense of permanent danger with the overwhelming white lighting, 0 uses darker colours and a style that tends to induce despair and regret. That, and tons of blood and mutilated bodies.
Some characters are a bit lazily drawn in my opinion but it's not noticeable as the animation is extremely fluid. I have never been a huge fan of CG, but it's well used as the VN mentions that the models and voices for Amadeus were outsourced.
The rest is pretty much what you'd expect from Steins;Gate, I really like the new outfits for the fall season.
Sound - 10:
By far the most outstanding aspect of Steins;Gate 0. The main theme "Messenger" perfectly exposes the horror of the Beta attractor field and all the pain the characters are going through, as well as all the determination needed to diverge towards a brighter future. Other soundtracks were brought back from Steins;Gate and rewritten to better fit this story.
The opening and ending themes are in my opinion darker and more intense than their Steins;Gate counterparts, yet sound extremely similar.
Enjoyment - 10:
I am amazed by the quality of this adaptation. Despite the fast pacing the the creepy animation that made me feel uncomfortable at first, it is clear that Steins;Gate 0 doesn't hold punches, it is both brutal and thrilling.
Overall - 10:
Rather than a sequel or a spin-off, Steins;Gate 0 feels like the true story of Steins;Gate. Beyond time travel and conspiracies, it manages to add several layers of complexity to the main plot and handle them with the same consistency and coherence as the original anime.
Now that the first story arc is over, I feel like it's only going to get more insane.