Sometimes I look back on things that I’ve written over the years and I can’t help but grimace a bit. For example, there’s a Skyward Sword review from more than six years ago where I called it the best Zelda game ever made. That one hurts me on a daily basis — it wouldn’t even make my top 10 anymore, but I’m going to keep those words up for posterity. It’s important to be accountable when you’re wrong.
There are other times where I’ve been very right, however. Steins;Gate was a prime example — I gave the show a perfect 5 out of 5 in a review from 2014 and I stand by that to this day. It’s still my favorite anime and I ranked it fourth among ALL television shows when we did our lists last year. That review doesn’t talk about a ton of spoilers and I won’t go into them here either, but…damn. The show is so good.
Once the anime adaptation of the visual novel Steins;Gate 0 was announced, I was interested. It’s more Steins;Gate! It doesn’t even necessarily have to be good! I even stayed away from playing the game, because I found the original to be lacking in comparison to the show (although still good).
But that was months ago, and as 0 was pushed to the back burner while waiting for a release date, I found myself less excited about it. What if it’s not very good, and it impacts the way I view the original? Why mess with what I consider to be a perfect ending? Some of those doubts started to creep in.
Fast forward to a few days ago, and I realized I was right back where I started. The anticipation was there again. It’s more Steins;Gate! Almost all of the dub cast is returning! But more importantly, it’s about the core principle here. I’ve been on record saying that prequels and sequels and other derivative work shouldn’t have a huge impact on how you view media that you’ve really enjoyed. For example, there was a ton of complaining about the remade soundtrack on the Final Fantasy X remaster — and that was a game where the original version was there as an option! They weren’t missing anything, it was just additional content!
Sometimes you can’t worry about what your brain thinks, you just have to go with your heart. My heart says that Steins;Gate 0 will at minimum be an enjoyable side story to the original, and still has the potential to be as good or better if everything clicks. My brain still goes “ehhhhh” but it can shut up. Watch this opening for the new show and see if you feel the same — and if you haven’t watched the original Steins;Gate, for the love of god, close your internet browser and fix that immediately. It’s available on Funimation’s website and you can get a free trial.
Editor’s note: Don’t come at me about dub versus sub. The debate is stupid, and you’re stupid. Steins;Gate’s dub is subjectively better than the Japanese version, but that doesn’t matter — if you’re the type of person who derails topics about dubs by going HERR DURR SUBS ARE BEST, get the fuck out. Anime comes from Japan! You’re guaranteed to get your wish with every show you watch! But the rest of us who prefer watching and not reading are in an uphill battle for quality, so let us do our thing. Terrific. Thanks.