After a year in America, Kurisu Makise returns to Akihabara and reunites with Rintarou Okabe. However, their reunion is cut short when Okabe begins to experience recurring flashes of other timelines as the consequences of his time traveling start to manifest. These side effects eventually culminate in Okabe suddenly vanishing from the world, and only the startled Kurisu has any memory of his existence.
In the midst of despair, Kurisu is faced with a truly arduous choice that will test both her duty as a scientist and her loyalty as a friend: follow Okabe's advice and stay away from traveling through time to avoid the potential consequences it may have on the world lines, or ignore it to rescue the person that she cherishes most. Regardless of her decision, the path she chooses is one that will affect the past, the present, and the future.
How does one continue a story that has already wrapped up perfectly? The announcement of a Steins;Gate sequel film was inevitably met by both caution and anticipation. Like the concept of travelling backwards in time, Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is a paradox. It does not need to exist, and yet it still has every right to.
It could have been an ordinary piece of fanservice, a throwaway story, and some would have been perfectly content with that. It could have been a forgettable prequel or even a retelling of the TV series' story. There were so many options available that you can't
help but wonder, why on Earth did they choose to make a direct sequel of all things? It's almost as if they were asking, begging for a disaster.
The end result has proven to be anything but a disaster. This is a continuation every bit as compelling as it is justified.
Taking place exactly one year after the events of the main series, Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu depicts a seemingly blissful world. There is no SERN, no time machines, no unavoidable deaths-- but still something is amiss. Okabe's memories are distorted. His experiences with time travel have made him an unstable entity. Perhaps it's just a fit of emotional trauma, he thinks, but his worst fears are realised when he suddenly disappears from existence, trapped between multiple World Lines. Miraculously, Kurisu manages to remember Okabe's existence through a steady case of deja vu - determined now to do everything she can to stop him from disappearing forever.
Kurisu's role as the protagonist is the film's greatest strength. While the TV series primarily focused on her intellect and relationship with Okabe, the film instead decides to show a more human side to her character. Kurisu's emotional state takes the centre stage this time, her being subjected to many of the same horrors that Okabe previously experienced. Even when it comes to the light-hearted 'moe' scenes (and there's quite a few in the beginning), Kurisu's personality remains consistent and believable. She acts flustered and embarrassed not for cheap pandering, but because she's not used to having close relationships - she's dedicated her entire life to science. The term "tsundere" does not even feel appropriate. Kurisu is simply a human being with her own flawed personality... although, to be fair, she is pretty much the modern day Einstein.
Fans of Okabe will not be disappointed either. There is plenty of the usual banter and Hououin Kyouma shenanigans within the first thirty minutes of the story. It's only after that point that Okabe actually begins to disappear, and the minutes after still occasionally see him appear. What makes Okabe stand out, however, are the moments between him and Kurisu. We see the romance explored in much greater detail than the TV series, which more or less ended it at a single kiss scene. One of the most powerful moments in the entire series (not something to be said lightly) occurs as Okabe painfully convinces Kurisu to forget him, content with disappearing in return for her safety. Without an episode number to constantly remind us that there's more story to come, there is a perpetual feeling of anxiety not knowing what might happen. What if it actually ends that way? Nothing is for certain.
Also of note is a short scene near the beginning with a drunk Kurisu teasing Okabe and rubbing against his face. I may just nominate that for the cutest moment of the year.
The rest of the cast is largely ignored, but it is mostly for the better. The side characters have never been the series' strong suit, particularly with regards to Mayuri, so scatterbrained that you would assume she has brain damage. The @channel references are also kept to a minimum this time around, although there is still plenty of the ol' Dr. Pepper advertising.
For as great as Kurisu's and Okabe's characterisation is, there are still some minor faults in the story. My main gripe is that there is a lot of build-up and yet very little climax. The entire story builds up towards something grand... and then it all ends within about five minutes of talking on a bench. Compared to the last two episodes of the main series, it all feels a bit disappointing. Perhaps it simply needed an extra ten or twenty minutes of screen-time, as the rest of the film never felt like it was being rushed. There is also a short instance of melodrama (Kurisu running and falling as she chases after Okabe) and the changes made to the sci-fi canon would have benefited from a stronger explanation, but neither of these are bothersome enough to dampen the overall experience. Just don't be expecting much realism from the science aspect - this is a story about time travel, after all.
Much like the TV series, the soundtrack of Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is stellar all-around. The score mainly comprises of ambient sound and moody piano pieces, subtle enough to add to the atmosphere without being overbearing. In the one scene where the music is most noticeable (a piano version of the main theme playing in the background), it is genuinely emotional, never melodramatic. Kanako Ito also makes a return for the opening song of the film, effectively creating a sense of familiarity for fans of the series. Special props should also be given to Asami Imai for providing some of the strongest voice acting in years.
The visual quality is about on par with the TV series. While there is little animation and few scenes that strike the eye, it never quite feels like it needed more than that. It is consistent and plenty adequate for an animated film. My only complaint is that it lacks colour - the original Huke artwork from the visual novel was so much more interesting.
Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is a veritable triumph. Rather than simply exist as a superfluous sequel (or worse - a bad one), it succeeds in enhancing the overall story. Kurisu is now as strong of a character as Okabe ever was. The relationship between the two has finally been explored with the attention and detail that it truly deserves. This is the definitive end to the story and it proves difficult to let go. Maybe it didn't need to exist, but I'm still glad it was made. Some things are worth waiting for.
'No one knows what the future holds. That's why its potential is infinite.' - Rintarou Okabe (from Steins;Gate)
Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is quite simply a thrilling, romantic and beautifully heart-warming experience.
The Story: 9/10
Under the production of White Fox, the original Steins;Gate anime made in 2011 has received it's long waited movie arrival. The original Steins;Gate anime was under high critical acclaim, and was successful in both Japan and Western countries where it was the spotlight anime for the year. And it had such a great reason to be there. It was quite simply stunning. Shortly afterwards, the special of Steins;Gate was released and
ranked to be the highest rated special on MyAnimeList. Here then, we have the next Steins;Gate addition. Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu. The actual story of this movie takes one year after the events of the anime series where Okabe has finished his assiduous, terrifying travel between world lines where he has miraculously reached the Steins;Gate world line. After a while, he starts feeling disorientated with the constant world line swapping which causes him to eventually dissolve and be forgotten from everyone's minds. Kurisu remembers him from déjà vu, and from there complications begin to arise.
The story was told in such a way that it could be said Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu could be a smaller movie version of the Steins;Gate anime. Similar to the start of the anime, Steins;Gate FRDV starts off with quite an identical kickoff, minus Kurisu dying. Then we have the meeting of the characters, all is well then next second you know it, the same intensifying thriller in Steins;Gate is met here in the movie. The overall story is quite similar to the normal Steins;Gate except shorter, and more focused on the relationship between Okabe and Kurisu and their ability to make decisions. It's good to see the rules of world lines are still intact in this movie, and they even mention it a couple of times and explain more about it (regarding Okabe's case, of course). But, you definitely need to focus in the explanations to get it. As the story progresses, it does get slightly more predictable at times but this can be dismissed quite quickly, as it is just as astonishing as if you didn't identify it. The pacing of the story, for a movie of only 90 minutes is extremely good and very little scenes were particularly rushed.
The individual elements of Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is quite good. The Sci-Fi setting follows on from the Steins;Gate anime and the thriller and romance you find there are just as well done here. The suspense in the movie was done perfectly well timed which just accompanied well with the thriller. Romance in this movie plays quite a part in the plot/story and it's very well fleshed out. Feelings towards each other contribute to how the main protagonists make decisions and in turn helps to create the certain drama element Steins;Gate has acquired. The ending is entirely satisfying, one that will leave you with a feeling of peace and fullness in the Steins;Gate universe.
The Art: 8/10
The art style is pretty much like the previous. The textures in the background shades were spectacularly made to attend to the main characters, whose expressions were done realistically and whose movement was fluid throughout the movie which was pleasing to the eye. This makes it it's own art style which is separate from other anime which were adapted from visual novels. The art style is very fitting for the story. The dark shades accompanied the mood in the scene very well and made the simplest streets look like the most eye-catching scenery. Background scenery was rarely ever lively, but it was this that made you feel how the characters might possibly have felt at that time. Character designs are similar to the ones met before in the anime. Each character design was different- from the plump Itaru to someone as small as Mayuri. And all were in high condition. Overall animation panels looked strikingly high in quality and led the story line very strongly.
The Sound: 8/10
Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu has the same character voice actors as the anime, so instantly you can familiarize with them. Each voice fits the character they show and are each unique. From the 'nyaaa...' of Akiha to the 'tuuuturu...'s of Mayuri, each one was very likable in voice and performance. Background music blended in with the scenes quite well and helped to frame the certain atmosphere in the plot. Sound is a powerful tool in shaping the audiences emotions towards characters or story developments and here, it was used quite well. The opening song is worth mentioning, as the theme song performance was done by Kanako Ito- the same person who sung 'Hacking to the Gate' in the Steins;Gate anime. This is instantly recognizable in her voice, and makes her ideal to lead the anime with an opening sung by her. The ending is sung by Ayane, a change from Yui Sakakibara who sung the ending in the previous anime. This isn't much of an issue, but if you liked her you would probably feel a bit bummed. [Just one thing to note, at the moment this Steins;Gate movie does not have a dubbed. I’ll update this when I hear news of one and have confirmed it.]
The Characters: 9/10
Character development started off with the assumption that you watched the anime and the special, as it mentions events in the two quite a couple of times. The characters were quite unique- each of them had a strength and a flaw. The supporting cast had its same use of bringing in a relaxing feeling into the movie. It's also good to know that they even have the same voice actors for the movie as they had in Steins;Gate. Though none directly contribute to the story line other than Suzuha, it was very welcome that they were shown. Each one of the supporting cast is quite likable in some way and they almost never seemed to be annoying. Their peacefulness contradicts with what the main characters are feeling, and this helped to emphasize the mood of the progressing plot. Of the supporting cast, Suzuha is the most fleshed out- mostly because it is her that actually has any major interaction to the main characters.
Mayuri's most obvious flaw has to be that she is a little blunt, but even that has strengths. Due to this, she is more open and contributes to the development of the story- power she didn't have as much in the anime- even by the random things she might say. Itaru is someone who can be said to be the 'tool' of the movie. People in the Lab give him things to do, and he does it. Otherwise he simply sits around on the seat clicking away at the computer. Okabe didn't have as much screen time as he did in the anime, and this is mostly because of the fact that he is meant to be the one saved by Kurisu. His absence in certain scenes attributed to this, and so Kurisu was able to mimic the feelings Okabe felt in the anime which, in turn connects to the viewers. Kurisu is probably the most versatile character in the movie. Her development as a person is clearly seen throughout the movie and is displayed in all the little to big choices that she makes. It's her choices and personal emotion that leads the direction of plot in the movie. She is given the most screen time and the producers have made use of this extremely effectively by making her the most pivotal character in this fragile story. Her decisions are mostly characterized by the emotion she feels in the given time and in this sense, it's very realistic.
The Enjoyment: 10/10
Personally, this is the most enjoying movie I have ever watched. The thrill when a shiver is sent up your spine is such a surprising and addicting feeling and the romance was quite lovingly solid. Others who have watched Steins;Gate and have enjoyed it will also most likely enjoy it. I haven’t re-watched this, as I just finished watching but if you enjoy re-watching things, just go for it. Next time I do watch this though, heck, I’ll make sure to get the disk.
Overall, from the opening to the conclusion it's quality production. Inevitably, because this movie is only 90 minutes, it might not cover entirely everything as it achieved in the Steins;Gate anime. But for what it performed, it did an amazing job. Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu is a very memorable movie which serves to be the absolute final to the Steins;Gate franchise.
There are two kinds of anime movies from existing franchises. The first is made because the creators wanted to continue the story in movie format. The second is made because the original TV series gave them a lot of money and they didn't want to waste the brand. Steins;Gate is the second type. Of that second type there are three further types. The first is the rarely used complete rewrite where the creators decided to fuck the original story and make up an entirely new ones because they've got so much creative juices they can't be bound by canon. This was not the Steins;Gate movie,
although I wish that is what they did do. The second type is the movie set randomly somewhere within the established canon where nothing of consequence ultimately happens and everything returns to the status quo at the end apart from the one character they introduced for that movie along. This is what Shounen Jump movies usually do. This was not the Steins;Gate movie, although it would have been preferable because at least then it tells a self-contained story.
The third type is movie hastily bolted onto the end of a story that was already completely wrapped up and the writers were just desperately trying to force some kind of conflict that tampers with the original ending and makes the whole thing feel pointless and silly. This is the Steins;Gate movie. Funnily enough, it wasn't very good.
The movie plays out in a very similar fashion to the Steins;Gate TV series, complete with the same animation quality as the TV series which was a little disappointing. I would have liked improved animation since they had the time and money for it, but whatever. I like the directing style in Steins;Gate enough to get a kick out of seeing it again, and there's a limited amount you can do with its grey muted tones by throwing money at it. Watching Okarin flail about like the nutter he is, interacting with Kurisu and Daru and co has all the same charm as it always did.
Due to the limited time it does have the problem franchise movies often have where they have to hastily reintroduce all the old characters and make them do their one character quirk before disappearing again. Not that I had any affection whatsoever for the stupid cat maid or the trap, but the scenes did feel rather forced. The earlier scenes between Okarin and Kurisu though do no feel forced. They work great and are ultimately the highlight of the movie. For all the dramatics and long monologues and time travelling that happen later on, the best part of this movie will always be Kurisu rubbing her face against Okarin's cheek.
Then, much like the TV series, after a period of characters mucking about and little weird things happen, time travel goes crazy and Okarin disappears. Sort of. I won't spoil why or how, but the upshot of this is that Kurisu ends up taking the reign as main character, which ultimately ends up being the downfall for the movie. I love Steins;Gate because of Okarin. It's his interaction with characters and his view of the world that makes this tale exciting. How his delusions turn to reality and the shift is his character from that. Strip that out and you have a decent time travel story that moves a little too slowly. And that's the main series. The time travel story in this one is even more nonsense than the original and doesn't have time to play around with the possibilities that made the slow pace interesting from the original.
I like Kurisu a lot, don't get me wrong on this one. Having a movie from her perspective sounds like a great idea. Turns out that's not the case. Living in Kurisu's head is boring as fuck. The back third of the movie is spent listening to Kurisu monologuing incredibly boringly about how she's kinda sad. There's no dressing to this narration. It's just a bland boring monologue. Combine this with the grey artstyle and I honestly started to drift off during the movie. The oppressive grey art style only worked because it was combined with Okarin believing conspiracy theories. From the mind of Kurisu and her more sane view of the world, it just makes Akihabara look like the dullest place on the planet.
Finally, and arguably even more damningly than making Kurisu the main character, you can't help shake the feeling that this was just tacked on at the end because they needed to extend this series further. The entire central plot and what's happening to Okarin was clearly created long after the original script for Steins;Gate was written. I know this is all franchise movies ultimately, but there are ones that do it well without feeling like I've been suckered. Trigun did this really well with Badlands Rumble. Steins;Gate not so much. I do love me some Steins;Gate, but I would recommend just sticking to that original series.
Now I will start off by explaining this: I watched this movie in Shinjuku one week after it came out. Being my first real anime I saw on the silver screen, plus the fact that I am a Steins;Gate fan may impair my judgement. You have been warned.
Steins;Gate:Fuka Ryouiki no Deja vu, or "The burden of Deja Vu" is the absolute ending to Steins;Gate. Need I say more? Yes? Well, let's get into the details while avoiding as many spoilers as I can.
This movie is a sequel, after the bonus episode "Oukoubakko no Poriomania", and it acts as a finale to the series, closing loop
holes in the story that were not closed, and giving it a last bit of closure. The emotional side of the story is almost masterfully handled, with the emphasis on Okabe and Kurisu's relationship to a pinpoint degree. I will say this though: The movie does not focus on the plot nearly as much as the character reactions, which is the strong side of Steins;Gate in the anyways. Unfortunately, that is probably the most I can say without spoiling anything in the story, as this movie is very tied to the Steins;Gate mythos.
The movie is rather short, less then 2 hours if I recall correctly, and it is a entertaining watch. However, like most anime movies based on a series, it would not hold a bucket of water if you watch it separately from the tv series, or have not read the visual novel.
Last word: Watch it if you have seen Steins;Gate. If you have not seen Steins;Gate, then go watch that so you can see this movie. You will not regret it.