Hououin Kyoma is dead. Okabe Rintarou is now in the Beta world-line after unintentionally killing Makisu Kurisu, the woman that he so desperately loved. She was his match. Their journey together to save Mayuri contained some of the most exquisite character interactions and character development in anime. Okabe is a shadow of his former self. He tries to act normal. He seems normal. But he’s broken inside after what transpired during the summer of 2010.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

The episode begins in the year 2036. Mayuri gazes upon a broken world which has been decimated by World War III. She has flashes of the Steins;Gate world-line, slapping Okabe. She contemplates if she acted differently, would this world have turned out any different? The obvious answer is yes, it would have, but Mayuri, accompanied by an older Suzuha, trapped in the current timeline, have no idea. The Steins;Gate world-line was merely a theory. The opening scene is incredibly powerful with a tragic string version of the series’ signature theme, Gate of the Steiner“.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

We then switch to a seemingly well-adjusted Okabe Rintarou alongside Mayuri, who he sacrificed Kurisu to save. Okabe isn’t though. He’s haunted. He’s a shadow of his former self. Hououin Kyouma is gone. Rintarou has become a normal college student, attending lectures. He’s attending therapy. He’s taking anxiety pills; probably Xanax or Klonopin, or both. Kurisu’s death broke him. And the tragedy is, he became unintentionally responsible. He hasn’t been to the lab since summer (it’s now December). He’s distant towards Faris and Rukakou, and even Daru.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

Suzuha confronts him. She tells him to consider the lives lost. 5.7 billion lives in the balance. In Okabe’s hands. A world-line decimated by utter death and destruction. Okabe’s response is so different than the man we know, but also in character. Kurisu completed him. She pushed him to be able to overcome the paradox of time. She allowed him to overcome even God himself.

I can’t…I’ve drifted through so many world-lines I’ve lost count.No matter the world-line, I’ve witnessed time machines toy with everyone’s fate. I’ve even seen you meet your doom. Over and over, it never ends. Believe me, I learned the limits of what someone can do. No matter what I try, I’m powerless.

It’s no use! You can’t just change the past to switch world lines! It breaks the fules which govern our universe! Humans like us can’t just tamper with the province of God! The moment we start meddling, we get punished! It’s terrible! Enough that you want to clamp shut your eyes!

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

Mayuri has vague memories, feelings, of the previous world lines. Of Kurisu (remember she did in this world-line in the original series as well). Okabe tells her that it was an illusion. That the only ones who were ever in that lab were him, Daru, and herself. Perhaps Okabe is trying to convince himself this as well, but he’s haunted. He won’t even go to the lab anymore.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

The episode closes as Okabe attends a presentation by a professor from Makise Kurisu’s college. In fact, he worked directly with her. Her research is the foundation of their creation, to the shock of Rintarou. This may just send him over the edge. Amadeus contains the capacity to feel, a true AI with the memories, feelings, and capacity to essentially be human, minus the body.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

Steins;Gate 0 has the potential to surpass even the original series. Steins;Gate is one of the best time travel story ever crafted, but 0 has a much more interesting Okabe. The series retains its charm though despite the darkness, and Daru and Suzuha’s interactions are some of the best in the episode. Faris is playful as always and is still as playful as ever with Okabe, although he refers to Kyouma as a “dark time” in his past and doesn’t engage. Amane Yuki, Daru’s future wife, is a great addition and brings some light along with Mayuri to the dark and gritty tone of the show.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review

What it comes down to is that Steins;Gate 0 is truly tragic. Its opening is incredibly powerful. World War III is coming. And Okabe is truly broken. That’s what gives this show more potential than its predecessor. Okabe Rintarou is actually a more interesting character because of what happened in the previous series. A huge dichotomy exists. What will be intriguing is how Amadeus will affect the future of the series and whether it drives Okabe even further to the brink of insanity, as Kurisu was his other half. Without her, he’s lost himself completely. Kurisu’s shadow haunts the series and it will be interesting how this develops as the show continues.

Steins Gate 0 Episode 1 Review - Broken
Steins;Gate is back with Steins;Gate 0, a quasi-sequel to the first series that takes place in the original Beta world-line. The series dark, gritty tone and the series' tone give it the potential to surpass the original.
Overall Score10
Pros
  • The opening sequence is the perfect segway to the rest of the episode
  • Okabe Rintarou's character development. He's a broken, more interesting version of the Steins;Gate timeline version (both are broken at different points though)
  • Makise Kurisu's shadow is cast over everything
Cons
  • It ended. I want to see Amadeus, and how Okabe reacts to the obvious reality (from an anime-only viewer) that Kurisu's memories and "heart" pre-Okabe were preserved
10Incredible
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
8.6

About The Author

Founder/Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VG Culture HQ. He has been writing about games for over four years and has written over 1,500 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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