r#129 – steins;gate the movie: load region of déjà vu

What’s going on, internet people?! nesha is back again with another anime review, and yesterday night I just watched the movie of the Steins;Gate series, the one and only which called Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu aka. the Load Region of Déjà Vu. And now because I know that a lot of people want me to cover more of Steins:Gate, I guess this is the time for me to enter this entry and tell you whether this movie was kind of disappointing in a way, or instead, actually good to go.

By the way, I recommend you to loop the resonances of piano that I will put below this paragraph while you’re reading this review … I bet it’ll going to make everything two times better. Okay then, first up, let’s talk about the plot concept!

synopsis.

From America on August 3rd of 2011, at least one year after the events of Steins;Gate, the American Virgin arrives in Akihabara for a press conference and reunites with all other members of the Future Gadget Laboratory club. However, their reunion cut short as the Mad Scientist starts having intense side effects from his time travels experience, which forces him to experience visions of alternate Worldlines. These side effects eventually culminate in Okabe vanishing from the current Worldline.

But before that, a mysterious visitor shows up at Kurisu’s hotel, telling her to remember three things; a cell phone, a microwave oven, and the global research organization called SERN. Later that day, as Kurisu is talking to Okabe about how people’s and her own instances of déjà vu may be similar to Okabe’s time jump ability famous by the name of Reading Steiner, the Mad Scientist suddenly disappears before her eyes. Furthermore, no one else seems to remember the Mad Scientist ever existing, and even Kurisu herself only barely retaining a faint memory of him.

A week later on August 11, as Kurisu is in the midst of despair trying to remember him, she finds a fork that Okabe gave to her, and with that, she remembers the words that a mysterious stranger told her; cell phone, microwave oven, and SERN. Figuring out everything then leads the American Virgin finally learning that Daru had hacked SERN for some reason, which suddenly gives her the urge to build a Time Leap Machine.

Using her first invention of the time machine, she leaps back to the night of August 3rd, the first day when all the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory club were gathering together. Only then, Kurisu starts to observe how Okabe’s side effects are causing him to disappear and reappear continuously from existence. Overwhelmed by the mystery of déjà vu and Reading Steiner, together, the American Virgin and the Mad Scientist must figure a way for them not to say goodbye to each other.

settings.

When this movie was first announced to be premiered, the fans were so happy as they were patiently waiting for something new from the franchise. And when it finally premiered in Japan, the movie debuted at number seven under the top 10 grossing movies in their first-week premiere, making more than $874 thousand USD across 18 theatres only in Japan. The original creator of the franchise, Shikura Chiyomaru, a couple weeks later reported via his Twitter page that the movie had grossed over 500 million yen. And during their coverage of the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release, a video game magazine called Famitsu reported that the movie had grossed over 550 million yen.

That time, there’s still no news about the upcoming production of Steins;Gate 0, and with that, everyone would see the movie as the epilogue of the whole Steins;Gate story. Even Richard Eisenbeis and Toshi Nakamura from the video game blog Kotaku, they stated that the movie really lives and dies on how well people would connect to Kurisu and Okabe- they can’t imagine not being able to appreciate this excellent epilogue to the Steins;Gate story.

The movie brings back the earlier staff that created the original TV series, and it’s directed by Kanji Wakabayashi together with Satou Takuya, with Hiroshi Kamasaki acting as their chief director. These are some people who have some interesting titles tied to their names as they have worked in a number of awesome projects, such as the making of Vampire Hunter D (2000), Perfect Blue, and Paranoia Agent. In the written department, there’s also Jukki Hanada, the brain behind the series composition of Robotics;Notes and Nichijou.

In the end, the movie won the 2013 Newtype Anime Awards for Best Anime Film, which is an award that ever goes to the amazing movies as such K-On! The Movie, Psycho-Pass: The Movie, Your Name., and Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale. And by the way, with the testimony I pointed earlier, just in case you want to get the most from the movie, I guess you have to take this as the epilogue to the Steins;Gate story too. Your experience watching it may become so much better if you haven’t seen one episode of Steins;Gate 0.

script.

There are a lot of comedies in the beginning part of the movie, but just like any other instalment of Steins;Gate franchise, the atmosphere will soon be changed. It’s not even halfway through the movie until I realized that something is turning off the wrong way, and I thought, this is not going to be a fun movie, is it? One thing I realized since the opening scene though, that the movie is slow paced. But the difference is that even though the TV series of Steins;Gate always ups the pace a notch after its story begins to change its atmosphere, this is not what happens in the movie. From beginning to the end, the pace is consistent at a slow one.

Personally, I don’t like this. When it comes to stories that took a heavy rotation in such topics as time travel, I feel like it would be better if it ended by a huge leap; a changing tone from the light atmosphere in the beginning, to something that can be overlayed by the complexity at the end. Steins;Gate the Movie does not do so, and instead, even though there’s a process towards the revelation at the end, it doesn’t really answer the general question of “how come” this and how come that, which made me feel like the movie hadn’t reached it’s true potential yet —it could be better.

Forget about the revelation for the movie ending, the background story is pretty much grounded very strong. Additionally when we’re introduced to some kind of new information, together with Kurisu, our way to learn them is through the mysterious stranger that I have mentioned in the synopsis section. As for who she is, you may have to find that out by watching the movie. But sadly, there is no interesting way for us to approach/re-approach all the concepts of the story; in a world where everything is complex and can’t be explained by only one sentence, yet everything was made clear in a way that is so simple … which made the movie kind of boring.

But of course, everyone’s experience may vary, and considering the overall rating of this movie in various anime and movie communities, I myself might be in the minority. But you know, I just felt like there’s something off with the storytelling, and with that fixed, I think the movie could be a lot better.

Steins;Gate franchise has been a great experience for me so far, and maybe this is the first instalment that didn’t live up to my expectations. I understand 100% that the movie was trying to divert my expectations, but the movie also failed in this department as well as there are no changes in the story that surprised me. But even with this drawback, I still couldn’t say that the movie is bad … because it’s actually pretty good. In fact, if only I was having the mood to go slow and maybe a little bit drunk, watching this movie might have been a total satisfaction.

casts.

This storytelling problem also comes packed with the characters, and honestly, this has made me feel a little bit sorrier. Sadly —and surprisingly— the amount of screen time and creativity that is poured for the character development are just not enough. To be honest, there’s not enough charm when they are reintroduced at the beginning of the movie, and when the story changes its tone to be more serious, they didn’t give me enough reason for why I should care for them.

In the post of Top 10 Tragic Romances in Anime that I wrote last month, I mentioned the romantic couple from Steins;Gate in that list, Okabe and Kurisu. This fact is just too melancholic considering that at heart, just like any other good stories, Steins;Gate actually talks about the characters more than the story itself. Even though I could feel the effort from them trying not to be just some two-dimensional characters, it’s still pretty hard for me to characterize them as … what kind of characters exactly?

But at least, there’s something new. In this movie, we approach them through a different angle. The tsundere Makise Kurisu now becomes a major character, stealing the screen time way more than how much that Okabe is having. With Okabe’s screen time even reduced, the other supporting casts such as Daru and Mayuri feel like have been forgotten, which made me even more disappointed. But even though with all this sacrifice —I would say— Kurisu still feels like a flat and relatively lifeless character, despite her trait for being a tsundere of course, which comes together with a little bit of featured fanservice and the so-called ‘cute moments’ of her.

visual and arts.

Moving to this department, what shines is the line of soundtrack that the movie has. Starting with the opening and ending theme that are new and produced to go hand in hand with the movie’s narrative, they are amazing *first time I heard it, I dig it! Then there’s also a good number of piano tones that would add a lot of stress to your experience in dealing with the movie —but in a good way, since that’s exactly what it intends to do.

The quality of design language remains mostly the same as the previous instalment of the original TV series, the people behind the making of this film also still use the same character designs. But of course, all that visual and animation but with a few exceptions, now instead of a TV series, they were using the budget of a movie. But maybe because the dark atmosphere and colour palettes that are not so great, there are no areas that’s really impressive even though it has been improved. Even despite the one year gap since the end of Steins;Gate, there’s almost nothing that has changed.

Overall, the movie has managed to keep everything fresh even though this is a sequel of some sort, there’s even a bit of CGs. If you’re already a fan of the franchise, then this is exactly for you as it reflects the look of the TV series very densely. Just so you know, a movie like this never involves too much in heavy animation such as fighting or some scenes that must use your imagination to comprehend, but instead, a movie like this always tends to be more about the talking and walking around. But of course, there are some new details that they added, and for that, I would give a clap to appreciated them.

closing – nesha’s final verdict.

Now that you’re reading this paragraph, you may have realized that I pointed out a lot of bad scores for the movie … it might be true, it might except if you see the movie from the other point of view. From there, I think Steins;Gate really does care about this movie and it’s just that, the people behind the making thought that it’s time for them to dance bravely … to not care about the people who are new to the franchise, and give this movie only to be enjoyed by people who have watched and loved the original Steins;Gate TV series. I guess they never really thought about how the movie would draw the attention of new viewers who come to the theatre.

However, in case this is true —if they just stuck around to please the already fans of the franchise— then they just pushed me away as one of their fans. But again, I gave this movie a go while I have watched almost a dozen episodes of Steins;Gate 0, maybe that’s why I had a different experience from what everyone else had. Maybe this review is a little bit unfairly prejudiced since unlike the majority of people who enjoyed Steins;Gate, I’m a fan of the franchise because of the characters, and not really because of the story. Because I watched both western and Japanese outline of entertainment, and to be honest, there is a number of better time travel stories than Steins;Gate.

Maybe yeah, the creativity is something that I realize was totally lacking when I watched the movie, but maybe that’s only because I watched the three movie episodes of Memories right before I watched this movie —which I know that the genre is pretty much similar, but the two doesn’t resemble any same characteristic— Steins;Gate the movie kind of falls back in pouring the cleverness and imagination in storytelling.

Yet still that after all these, as I said earlier … I still can’t say that this is a bad movie, maybe because the way of that storytelling is just fit right into the personality of Steins;Gate itself. And even though the limited budget and 100 minutes of movie running time had cut off the characters’ charm and development, I guess this movie still offers you a better than average story concept. Just so you know before you watch it though, as you’re now consulting with someone who’s into the characters more than the story, I personally think that this movie still has a poor narrative to even led the revelation at the ending of the movie feeling a little bit rushed -or a little bit squeezed more precisely, if you know what I mean.

In conclusion … Steins;Gate has never been a fun franchise to begin with, and watching this movie has also been a ride on a roller coaster —a dark and depressing roller coaster, I would say. But it’s just that, currently the roller coaster won’t moving that fast even after you get down the hill and move into a loop, in case you’re asking for my testimony, then sadly I would say that the thrill and excitement had never consumed me. In case you have a different expectation than what I had, just so you know that the movie is still a roller coaster, and with that, there’s a possibility for it may give you a better experience too. Here’s my final score: …

additional pieces of information.

external links: official siteAllcinemaAmazonANNMedia Art DBWiki (en), TeaserYouTube (T3)YouTube (T2)YouTube (T4)YouTube (T5)YouTube (T6)AnimeNfoAnison, and MAL

By the way, I’m actually in a depression, having another round of beef with my parents and stuff. I planned to get productive tomorrow, but I don’t think I should; just gonna curl up myself and have a lot of sleep instead, at least until my boss calls me to come up for work. Next week I may get you my perspective for the third season of HeroAca, so in case you’re interested, just make sure to follow #moe404 here or on Twitter @moenotfound to get notified when it gets posted.

You can also help me get rid of these annoying ads from WordPress, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donate on our Ko-fi tip jar. I don’t know when I’ll be able to upgrade this blog and remove all the WP advertising, but that’s the plan anyway.

Okay then, keep watching anime, and I’ll see you again next week! Bai-bai now~

© written by nesha5971
proofreaded by sliceofalfredo
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2 responses to “r#129 – steins;gate the movie: load region of déjà vu

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