I finally got around to watching Steins;Gate during Thanksgiving. And then rewatching it this Christmas season with my sister. I thought it was a fantastic show. And it gets better the second time through. Actually, I thought even the pacing seemed quicker the second time around, maybe because I was noticing things I’d missed the first time. Even though the time travel to change fate storyline has been done, and quite well actually with Higurashi and Madoka Magica, Steins; Gate still felt fresh, smart, engaging and interestingly enough, lovable.
I always feel a little sad, a little down after finishing a great show. I’d always had an inkling why, but I think it was after Steins;Gate that I realized that the feeling was similar to saying goodbye to a good friend. The great shows, the really great shows, they pull you into the cast like you’re one of their own. You laugh with them, you cry with them, and even though you’re not really there, you fight with them. And when it comes to the end, you hate to say goodbye. You don’t want to let go. You just want one more go around, one more episode, one more victory to achieve. Part of it is the quality of the storytelling. Mysteries, dramas and tragedies have the benefit of putting you on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s easier to become invested in characters when you’re pulling for them and when you share the same “enemies.” Steins;Gate, Higurashi, Madoka Magica, Gurren Lagann, Code Geass all do this brilliantly – pulling you through the topsy turvy ride of fighting to change fate, save lives or save the world.
But a dramatic storyline itself isn’t enough. You need to have a cast that you like, one that you can empathize with, one in which you can imagine hanging out with. The major difference between a show like Steins;Gate and a show like Fate/Stay Zero was that one show had characters that I fell in love with. If I didn’t have to save the world with the cast of Steins;Gate, I’d still want to join the mad scientist brigade. The Fate/Stay cast? Rider aside, eh… not so much. They’re interesting characters, but feel too one-dimensional, too far from what I am for me to connect with. And sometimes all you really need is the cast. I think the quintessential anime that I hated saying goodbye to was Aria. And not that the content was mundane. Far from it. Aria featured a fantastic world and while the stories didn’t have the same world-ending gravitas, each story was a perfect depiction of a slice of life, so to speak. But what made Aria so hard to say goodbye to were the characters, and the bond that I, as a viewer, had with them. It’s why I waited months to get around to watching the 3rd and final season. If I held off, I didn’t have to say goodbye. And I hate saying goodbye. I felt similarly about Natsume Yuujinchou (although that show apparently may never end), The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Mushishi and more.
I feel the same about anime blogging and the community. I know I haven’t been as active in the blogging front or Twitter for several months now. And to be honest, in between balancing school and some personal stuff I have going on, it’ll probably be a while before I can get back to any sort of regularity. This sporadic-ness will likely continue. And admittedly, I don’t know if it’ll ever be like the first three years. But like the characters and episodes of shows I love, I can’t bring myself to walk away from this game. I want to go through one more heart-tugging show, one more sense-overloading convention, one more grand trip to Japan. Even if the names and the community have changed, even if it’s not as familiar to me today, it’s something that’s been dear to me for four years now. So to that effect, my thoughts for the future of this blog is that it’ll continue, and the content will always exist as long as I think it’s relevant. And for as long as there’s enough money to pay the bills.