I’m sorely disappointed at the lack of golems made out of body parts in Steins;Gate. Sure, we got the required mad scientist (Even if he’s a bit less “mad” and more “batshit wrapped in a tinfoil hat insane.”), but where’s my misunderstood creature throwing school girls into lakes? What’s up with that?
Steins’ interesting. It’s tossing out a bunch of shit at us, allowing us to wallow around and wonder what in the hell’s going on with the main dude experiencing things that others don’t seem to think have happened. Arguments break out, girls get murdered, and it all might be some big delusion. Or it could be some basic quantum physics shit. Or maybe it’s an evil plot schemed by bitter bananas trying to overthrow their cruel master who insists on nuking them in the microwave. At the moment, it’s the good kind of cocktease that keeps you waiting in anticipation.
The problem with these sorts of series, whether their anime like Angel Beats or live action series like Lost or whatever, is the fact that they rarely ever live up to their potential. Crazy shit goes down and my imagination goes off in all sorts of directions. Yeah, that good ol’ crazy conspiracy theory instinct kicks in and I’m loving it. But do these sorts of series ever pull it off?
It ain’t about whether the show reads my mind and plays out one of my fantasies, though. All I want is for the series to surprise me by going down a path I didn’t expect. Or, you know, to have things play out in a fun way. More often than not, though, these sorts of shows play it safe and go for the most mundane, sedate, and audience-friendly ending. Angel Beats had everything end perfectly for every single character despite the fact that the vast majority of the characters didn’t earn their happily ever afters. And, well, yeah, Lost fucking sucked in the end.
And that’s the curse of these sorts of “mystery” shows. They can be great at building up tension and anticipation, but they rarely have a decent payoff because they don’t have the guts to be as crazy at the end as they are at the beginning. So yeah, I’m interested in Steins;Gate’s quantum physics conspiracy right now, but I’m hoping it can be that rare story that can pull off this sort of shit.
Steins has one thing in its favor: the main character is pretty cool. The dude’s messed up in the head. He talks into a phone to some imagined power that gives him orders and alerts him to “dangers.” He goes off on rants that only make sense to himself. He’s amassed some sort of faux harem, but based on the second episode said “harem” is more of a sounding board for his inanity than anything. The chicks themselves are pretty lame in a standard-fare harem sort of way (The friend, the bitch, the quiet one, the weird one, the crossdressing-one-because-that’s-like-hip-and-shit), but they act as decent targets for the main dude’s psychosis.
But that’s only gonna be interesting for so long. It’s cute to see the scientist dude ramble on with a made cafe chick about training in the mountains and learning secret techniques, but eventually the series’ll have to tell us what’s up. I’m worried it’ll dodge the issue the way they dodged having that one chick explain why she thinks time travel is theoretically impossible by cutting to her berating the main dude after her speech.