Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: Steins;Gate 0 Part Two
Anime Studio: White Fox
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Sci-Fi / Thriller
Released: September 30th, 2019
Language: Japanese / English
Okabe couldn’t save her. Plagued by the guilt, his only solace lies with academia and with his friends who have been by his side from the start. But nothing’s ever easy. While Okabe struggles to leave his traumas in the past, he meets a familiar-faced AI that re-opens old wounds and could lead to a terrifying new future.
Picking up where part one left off, Steins;Gate 0 Part Two is more of the same, but with a little more balance. Of course, the excellent animation by White Fox is as consistent as ever and Takeshi Abo’s score continues to be perfectly fitting. Both versions of the voice do another stellar job too. It’s in the way the story progresses that I think makes this release shine over part one though.
The characters are put through the emotional wringer here, and the tale is all the better for it. Suzuha in particular is given a lot more screen time again, and her attempts to ensure her future parents Daru and Maho get together are equal parts endearing and heart-wrenching. Mayuri too has to face up to the harder realities of love, when she deals with the fact that Okabe loved her the same way she loves him. It’s all beautifully done, and the result is that the key players in the supporting cast come across as truly well rounded.
Okabe too continues his tale, but this time with a course set for redemption. The flash forward arc was excellent, and I got a real kick out of seeing the characters future – Or in Suzuha’s case, past – forms. When he finally makes it home and you hear that crazy, mad scientist laugh again for the first time, it’s a really goosebump inducing moment too. The return of his Hououin Kyoma persona is so well executed, and it will be hard for fans of the franchise not to smile when it eventually happens.
We get a better mix of storytelling and action this time too, with more than a few action set pieces set up, all tying into some time travel trickery. The main thing is though, the whole things builds up to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.
That all being said, the OVA episode does little to add to the series this time around. If you weren’t already sold on this alternate timeline tale, even the rebalancing of the story isn’t likely to win you over. The reason for that is that, as good as it is, it isn’t the same quality as the original series.
So, the key here is how you feel about the series in general. If you can find enjoyment in the what-if setting and the slow rebuilding of a hero to his former glory, then this is a great purchase. The characters are memorable, the emotional beats hit home, and the action comes in healthy doses of realism mixed with sci-fi trappings. For me, this is an easy 4.25 out of 5.