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Boy did this series have a lot to live up to, given how much I enjoyed the original series. Based off a separate timeline, the series follows a version of Okabe Rintarou who is unable to save Makise Kurisu. The story portrays his attempt to move past the trauma of that event. For a series that inevitably lives in the shadow of its predecessor, I thought that it did a relatively decent job, but it definitely took its time getting moving. The tone is also considerably more tense than the original, as it’s largely missing the goofiness that was Hyouin Kyouma.
My favorite part about this series is that it continues to explore the concept of time travel that was introduced in the original series. Rather than dwelling on the same concepts, it plays with new ideas. There’s an episode where Suzuha seems to be in danger of erasing herself from existence, and it’s probably one of my favorite episodes in the series.
Granted, some of these attempts get a bit confusing (without knowledge from the visual novel), especially with anything concerning Kagari. But in this sense, I think the series played to its strengths a bit.
The other major theme in this series was the implications of artificial intelligence, namely through Amadeus. The series toys with the idea of using Kurisu’s image to further interfere with Rintarou’s healing process, but I thought that the AI angle was ultimately squandered as the series returned to its time travel concept.
And while I truly enjoyed the final scenes in the series, I have to say that many of the developments leading up to that ending felt incredibly similar to the original series. Without getting into details, there’s the example of Rintarou having to repeatedly time travel once again for effectively the same reason.
Overall, this series is a much slower version of the original series, but I think it works as the spin-off that it is. It got me thinking about time travel in different ways than I did when I was watching the original, and I greatly appreciated that experience.