"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbley ... timey wimey ... stuff" - The Doctor
When it comes to entertainment, one of the easiest things to get wrong is the concept of time travel. Part of the reason for this is because our scientific understanding of "reality" is still in its infancy, and this means that the writers for shows like Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, even Star Trek, must apply their imagination and creativity in order to resolve some of the inherent paradoxes that
will occur whenever a narrative decides to hop, skip or jump.
In other words, they make it up.
More often than not the implausibility of any sort of time travel is camouflaged with pseudo-science, techno-babble, and a good smattering of conversational quantum-hokum. These add a veneer of believability so that the average person can achieve the suspension of disbelief required to buy into the storyline. When it comes to anime though, the concept of travelling through time has generally lacked in substance, delivery, and even narrative relevance.
Until now ...
Originally a visual novel by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate tells the story of Okabe Rintaro (the self styled mad scientist known as Hououin Kyouma), and his "colleagues" at the Future Gadget Laboratory, Hashida "Daru" Itaru and Shiina Mayuri. Okabe spends his days making strange inventions with Daru, and the oddest one so far is the Phone Microwave [name subject to change]. At first it seems as though this device does nothing more than turn bananas into a green, jelly-like substance, but it has a hidden side effect that no one knows about. Everything seems placid and normal until the day that Okabe and Mayuri decide to attend a lecture given by the eminent Professor Nakabachi on the subject of time machines and time travel.
For the most part Steins;Gate is a surprisingly well thought out series that applies the notion of cause and effect in a reasonably intelligent manner. The plot follows a logical, if somewhat timeworn progression, and while there are numerous recycles, repeats, reboots, and "do overs" that form an integral part of any time travel tale, these are handled in a way that would have turned Endless Eight from tedium incarnate into an arc that was at least watchable. The show throws around a number of concepts and theories to explain or justify certain aspects of the science fiction, and on quite a few occasions these have been woven into the main body of the plot very well. Ideas like the Butterfly Effect (which, given the visual cues, should be obvious to anyone), the Observer Effect and Schrödinger's Cat have been used to support the problems caused by time travel (and their resolution), and in that respect Steins;Gate deserves a good deal of praise for trying to use science to support the science fiction (and it does it far better than the likes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica).
Unfortunately it's not all fun and games.
One of the problems within the narrative is the inevitable conflict between human drama and science fiction, and in true anime fashion the emotional side wins out. This has the unfortunate effect of removing much of the chaos that is inherent in a story about time travel, and replacing it with predictability and melodrama. Thankfully the human side of the tale is handled in a surprisingly decent manner, but this is tempered by the fact that a number of basic questions are never actually addressed. The very nature of this anime automatically requires that certain aspects be resolved or explained, and while there are all sorts of "scientific" reasons flying around, the series tends to shy away from tackling certain first order issues like the Grandfather Paradox.
There's also the matter of the rather "neat" ending, but we'll get to that in a bit.
Steins;Gate is a very good looking series, but as with any adaptation from another visual medium, there's an automatic limitation placed on aspects like character design. That said, White Fox have produced a series that viewers may find appealing, if a little generic at times, and have used what they've been given to very good effect. The character animation is of a high standard, and many of the visual effects are imaginative and well choreographed (which should be no surprise given that White Fox also produced Tears to Tiara and Katanagatari). It's unfortunate then, that the typical anime mentality comes to the fore in the little details, the main one being the distinct lack of variety where clothing is concerned. Everyone seems to have only one outfit, which may seem a little picky to some, but imagine how you would feel if you wore the same underwear for three weeks while running around and in mostly warm weather.
This mentality also comes to the fore in the script, and while the majority of the dialogue in the show is actually pretty good, the usual shenanigans come out to play at times when there really doesn't need to be any more drama. Thankfully the voice actors are experienced enough to know how to deal with the scriptwriters' attempts at overcompensating for various shortcomings, and in truth they're the ones that carry this series. If it wasn't for the talents of Miyano Mamoru, Imai Asami, Seki Tomokazu, Hanazawa Kana, and the rest of the cast, Steins;Gate would quickly collapse under its own weight, and it's thanks to the seiyuu's abilities that the more technical or scientific portions of the script can be delivered in a manner that fits with the narrative.
The opening sequence features Hacking The Gate by Ito Kanako, a fairly average J-pop track track that has been set to a montage of most of the characters who seem to be deep in contemplation while a variety of clock faces, cogs and technical looking diagrams zip around the screen. On the other hand, The Twelve Time Governing Covenants by Sakakibara Yui works rather well as the closing theme, and for the most part the end sequence is a far more subtle and off kilter affair that is more in tune with the atmosphere of the series proper (until the last few seconds that is, and one has to wonder about the mentality of the person who thought ending the sequence like that was a good idea).
As for the background music, there's a rather nice variety of tracks that are often very subtly used. More often than not the series relies on mundane noises and silence, and because of that attention has been paid to the timing and usage of the score.
Steins;Gate has a core set of characters who are surprisingly well defined from the start of the series, but in terms of overall development much of the growth applies only to Okabe. Now this isn't really surprising given the events in the story, and to be honest the show is actually better with his character being the only one who truly changes. Okabe's development when dealing with the events that are rapidly spiralling out of control is handled in a sensitive yet realistic manner, and it's nice to see that the anime hasn't shied away from depicting the apathy he feels after experiencing a series of personally harrowing events.
Unfortunately the attempts to further develop some of the other characters tend to fall a little short of the mark, and this leads to a few situations that effectively remove the dramatic tension that has been painstakingly built up. The sad part is that while it's laudable to try and develop characters like Suzu, Mayuri, Feyris, and even Tennouji Yugo (Mr Braun), this should never come at the detriment of the main storyline.
Steins;Gate is a very entertaining series that isn't afraid to play around with various scientific concepts, but at the same time it clearly avoids tackling certain major issues related to time travel, and the focus on human drama can sometimes be at odds with the events in the storyline. That said, it's a very enjoyable anime that doesn't get too bogged down in technicalities, and while I rather liked the fact that Okabe cast himself in the role of mad scientist (complete with laugh), imagine my surprise at finding out he's supposed to be 18 years old.
Which brings us back to the ending.
There's a certain ... "clinical" ... feel to the conclusion that really doesn't sit too well, and while it's always nice to see a story end happily, one has to wonder about the plausibility of it all. The thing is, Steins;Gate uses a concept of time travel similar to that used in Quantum Leap, and therein lies the problem. Anyone who is familiar with the latter series knows that Dr Sam Beckett (an actual doctor, not an 18 year old first year student like Okabe), is unable to return to his original timeline because too many changes have been made to past events. In the nomenclature of Steins;Gate, he's moved across too many world lines and affected too many lives, and this is one of the major things that Steins;Gate glosses over completely. Now one could argue that the idea used in the series creates an effective escape clause, but that only covers certain people. The simple fact is that everyone you meet when you travel through time, no matter how brief the contact, is affected by your presence, so in order to return to one's original timeline, one must undo every contact with every person, even down to brushing shoulders with a total stranger on the street.
One of the other aspects that really should have been explored is Okabe's ability, Reading Steiner. At no point does the series delve into why he has this ability or how it works, and this is more than a little odd given how much importance is placed on "Fool yourself. Fool the world".
Even with those issues though, Steins;Gate is easily one of the better science fiction anime to appear in the last few years, and while there are areas that could have been improved upon, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Steins;Gate is an enjoyable romp in the realms of implausibility that delivers on several levels, and while the happy ending may not sit well with everyone, the conclusion to the story does offer a degree of catharsis.
It's just a shame that everyone seems to think you need a happy ending in order to make a story great.
“No one knows what the future holds. That’s why its potential is infinite.”
Okabe Rintarou (Steins;Gate)
Such a powerful quote, from an anime at least just as powerful. It’s one of the many wise quotes featured in the excellent time travelling tale called Steins;Gate. It is a story praised by many, and I think the show is definitely worthy of all its praise: it’s an excellent piece of work. Steins;Gate is, in essence, a unique anime. There’s not a single show that I found to be comparable to Steins;Gate.
But why does everyone think of Steins;Gate as such a masterpiece?
Steins;Gate is about Okabe Rintarou, a “mad scientist”
who spends his time hanging out in his laboratory with his friends Mayuri and Daru. Ocassionally, they manage to invent futuristic gadgets, though these are never worth mentioning. The first few episodes may turn you down, as it seems like your general slice of life/comedy anime. However, when their most interesting invention, the Phone Microwave, turns out to be able to send text messages through time, everything changes: the text messages sent to the past have a huge impact on the present. When Okabe, in a horrifying way, finds out about an evil organization called SERN, and their ways, he is forced to use time travelling methods to prevent from getting captured – and stop their plans. This (around episode 9) is where the amazing Sci-Fi thriller fires up its engines, and puts the viewer on the edge of their seat. What follows is a fascinating (somewhat complex) plot, which manages to blow your mind each episode. Steins;Gate is not just your generic time traveling show; the plot is executed perfectly. Hardly ever before have I encountered such a well thought through plot as featured in Steins;Gate. The show features several jumps in time, but still manages to keep the viewers’ attention without confusing them. The pace present in Steins;Gate is not lacking either – in fact, from episode 9 onwards the show holds a perfect pace. Piece by piece, the mystery of the events that happen is unveiled, working towards a fantastic, satisfying ending. (Which is very rare, especially for a show with such a complex plot) Story - and plot wise, Steins;Gate is pretty much an unprecedented piece of art, and I think it might stay so for a while.
This is the field in which Steins;Gate lacks the most. Steins;Gate isn’t a show with a huge budget, and therefore it is to be expected that the art isn’t jaw-dropping. However, this doesn’t mean that the art is bad, or that the drawing style is unbearable. In fact, the goal of the art is to portray the atmosphere as well as possible – and it does: the art style simply has a way more realistic feel to it than your generic anime.
Amazing voice acting, nice opening, and decent BGM. There were quite some moments where I think there could have been made better use of background music, which is why it misses out on a perfect score here. Nonetheless, very solid sound overall.
What can I say, the characterization in this one is just fantastic. The characters are written in such a way that you are bound to like them. They all have their own likeable and recognizable traits, which are perfectly described from the start: Makise Kurisu the tsundere, Daru the nerd, Mayuri the childish girl, and so on. I found myself having a weak spot for Kurisu in no time. There’s hardly any character development, but I think this is not necessarily a bad thing; it would only distract from the fantastic plot that is ahead of the viewer. The only character which, logically so, develops, is Okabe: you’ll find him changing in character over the course of episodes, due to the events that unfold. But this is all for the better: this development is, again, done exceptionally well. The development has a very realistic feeling to it (And so do all the characters in general), which makes the story as a whole even more compelling.
Steins;Gate is one of the few shows that manages to score a 10 on enjoyment for me. Like most people, I found Steins;Gate hard to get into, as the first few episodes don’t really cover much ground. However, once the engine got running, I was hooked. I couldn’t refrain myself from watching episode after episode, slowly crawling to the awesome ending ahead. And I think most people would; as the plot is set up in such a way to keep you hooked each episode. If you are a fan of Sci-Fi, then you will surely enjoy this anime – but that’s not a necessity. Steins;Gate is an anime that is very likely to keep you hooked. So go ahead, you won't waste your precious time. In fact, you might want to go back in time to watch it again!
The subject of time travel is no stranger to the world of anime, so it takes a lot of work to make a time travel story stand out. For Steins;Gate, that hard work paid off. This is by far the best-executed time travel story that I've ever seen in my experience with anime, and if you haven't seen it yet, you're definitely missing out!
The story revolves around the antics of Rintarou Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist that goes by the alias "Hououin Kyouma," as he essentially dicks around with time and subsequently deals with the consequences of his selfish actions. I'll be completely honest
and say that the incredibly slow and random start to the anime threw me off so much that I re-watched the first episode 4 times over the course of 6 months before I could resolve to just pushing onward and finishing the anime. However, this slow start is balanced out by the fast-paced second half. By the end, it was answering questions that I never thought to ask, pointing out the significance of things that had long been discarded by my mind, and that sense of tying up loose ends is just the most refreshing feeling to have after dealing with so many time travel stories that are too lazy to clean up after themselves.
Unlike many time travel stories, especially in the world of anime, Steins;Gate has no noticeable inconsistencies objectively. I say objectively because this is a science fiction story, and that makes it really hard for everyone to agree on it. The thing is, none of us have experienced time travel in the way the characters in these science fiction stories have (and if you have experienced it, I'm very sorry for making assumptions), so there isn't a clear right or wrong way to write a time travel story. Obviously, if a story contradicts itself, something went wrong. But Steins;Gate seems to obey its own rules, and while a lot of people have made very compelling arguments that point out flaws in Steins;Gate's concept of time travel, they all make assumptions about how time travel works, and no one can really say for sure how things would change if we altered the past.
In the end, this isn't a science textbook, it's a science fiction anime. It's not supposed to be 100% believable, otherwise we wouldn't be able to watch it and say "wow, that was unbelievable!" I give the story a 10/10 because it was interesting, well-researched (many ideas are borrowed from other works of science fiction and played with), and overall just plain entertaining.
I really prefer talking about the art of a particularly spectacular-looking anime or else a particularly underwhelming-looking anime. Since the art in Steins;Gate is neither extremely good or extremely bad, I'll rate it an 8/10 for not influencing my opinion of the anime in either direction. Consider it a passing grade, basically where we should expect the art quality of anime to be in this day and age. Anything better would be remarkable.
I can't say much for the soundtrack, but the voice acting is awesome! Okabe's seiyuu is all kinds of talented, but everything good about the sound in this anime, and really, everything good about life in general, can be summed up in the maniacal laugh of Hououin Kyouma. I can't really speak for the English dub, and while I love Michael J. Tatum's work in Baccano, what I've heard of the dub sounds to be sorely lacking compared to the Japanese voices. Miyano Mamoru is just so cool! Sonuvabitch!
One thing of note about the soundtrack is the lack of one for a large portion of the anime. During quiet moments, rather than listening to quiet music, you're usually just listening to nothing. This is something that I've seen a few times, and I think it's pretty cool. It accentuates the importance of those scenes that do have music, and at the very least creates a nice contrast of mood, not between happy and sad music, but between silence and... not silence.
You should know that while not each and every character is the pinnacle of how great anime characters can be, they're all very interesting, entertaining, and Hououin Kyouma can handle being the pinnacle of just about everything.
But really, my rule for judging a character to be good is that I either like them or appreciate how much I don't like them. There are characters that I like and characters that I don't like in Steins;Gate, but all of them fit, and none of them are pointless and annoying. And yeah, Okabe is startlingly charismatic, and that can take an anime pretty far in the character department.
This anime made me laugh maniacally and cry silently. It also made me think, and it rewarded my thoughts by having closure and clarity, which left me more than satisfied. Easily a 10/10 anime, and now one of my favorites that I've seen!
As you may have noticed, Steins;Gate is revered as a masterpiece by most. For those of you who haven't had the privilege of watching this show yet, i'm writing this (belated) review to emphasize just how much you're missing out on.
First of all, you have to understand that Steins;Gate is completely unique compared to other anime, in terms of story line. Now, with such a complex plot, it would be incredibly easy to mess the series up. Except that they didn't. If they did, it wouldn't a masterpiece. Steins;Gate explores the world of time travelling and time lines, putting in acknowledgements to theories
such as the butterfly effect and how, once you change a minor thing of the past, the future transitions into one large scrambled egg. Once you pass the first slow starting episodes, the intrigue and mystery begins, and the pace of the series accelerates. The plot throws in numerous surprises and sudden, unexpected turns that, in turn, creates a powerful ending that is almost flawless. Also, you're hit bluntly in the face with quite a lot of feels early on in the series.
One of the great things about Steins;Gate is that the characters are developed incredibly well. Astonishingly well. To the point that you feel connected with them in terms of their feelings and aims. They each have their quirky side too - not everything is all serious. I'm talking about the mad scientist personality, the Dr.Pepper jokes and Daru's perverted jokes which lightens up the series so that it isn't all serious drama. But the trouble is, the more like able the characters are, the harder you find it to leave them behind when the series ends, meaning that even a week after Steins;Gate ends, you'll probably still be thinking about Okabe whenever you spot a bottle of Dr.Pepper.
I didn't really pay attention much to the soundtrack of the series, i admit, due to the fact that i didn't find it all that enthralling or unique. However, i did enjoy the opening and the ending particularly. Aside from that, the soundtrack did it's job of emphasizing the mood/atmosphere of scenes pretty well.
The animation in itself was done really well though - i found that the consistency was great, meaning that (to my eye) there was no sudden drops in quality.
Something that i loved the most was that the ending was fantastic. There were barely any loose threads, and as a poor ending can sometimes ruin a good series, i'm grateful that they executed such a content finale.
I stress that you must watch this series. It's not enough for you to read however many reviews you can lay your eyes on, but to actually experience this masterpiece for yourself.
Note that I have not read the visual novel that Steins;Gate is based on. This is a review which judges the anime adaptation by its own merits alone.
Over the last year since the Steins;Gate anime finished airing, the series has garnered massive popularity and acclaim, becoming an internet sensation and skyrocketing to #3 on MAL’s Top Anime page. So, the obvious question is: does it live up to the insane hype? Well, yes and no.
Steins;Gate is a mixed bag of sorts. It has some great concepts behind it, but they often fall short in their execution. The story follows Okabe “Hououin Kyouma” Rintarou, his lab
assistants Hashida “Daru” Itaru and Shiina “Mayushii” Mayuri and their encounters with time travel. The story should be familiar to any science-fiction fan, and for the most part stays within the established expectations and norms of the genre, including all the technobabble and repeated recursions of time that one would come to expect. The plot is packed with drama and thrills, and this can make for a very exciting experience for those who just want to sit back and enjoy the ride without sweating the details. However, if you’re a supporter of science or even basic cause and effect, you may find yourself wanting to rip your hair out in frustration at the massive leaps in logic this show makes on a regular basis.
The series sells itself as a sort of celebration of science; the characters, self-proclaimed mad scientists, are constantly parading around in lab coats, talking about science, using science lingo and bragging about their immeasurable intellect. The problem is that Steins;Gate isn’t nearly as intelligent or “sciencey” as it would like to think it is. The scientific justifications behind the various implausible events which take place throughout the duration of the show range from the laughable to the absurd. They are grounded in some solid scientific principles such as chaos theory and special and general relativity, but whoever dreamt up these explanations is obviously someone whose grasp on these principles is shaky at best.
Now, I’m aware that it’s unreasonable to expect absolute scientific accuracy out of a time travel tale, but the series also violates some more basic principles that you don’t have to be a science geek to understand so much as you just have to think about what you’re watching as you’re watching it. Things such as the butterfly effect and world lines are treated with almost childish simplicity, and one plot thread in particular throws the entire concept of cause and effect out the window in exchange of “fate,” a device which seems extremely out of place in a sci-fi series. There are some unresolved plot threads, and some things that deserve a scientific explanation go by without so much as an attempt at one, which only serves to further damage the show’s image as a “science” anime that it spends so much time trying to build up. It’s things like this that make me wish that, if they weren’t capable of creating a convincing and consistent sci-fi story, the creators would have just gone the magic route instead of wasting so much time with far-fetched pseudoscience explanations.
On the more emotional side of things than the cold, hard science is the character-driven drama, and in the case of Steins;Gate, it’s this side that outshines the other. The characters themselves, however, leave something to be desired. Although the anime panders to otakus in other ways (the dialogue is peppered with 2ch memes, and the show is not without its fanservice scenes), the area where this is most prevalent is the characters. Daru is the perverted otaku surrogate, with the rest of the main cast neatly filling the role of a different otaku-friendly stereotype. Kurisu plays the blushing, stammering, tsundere-for-everything girl (who wants nothing more than to assure you that it’s not like she’s tsundere or anything), Mayuri the air-headed moe girl with an irritating catchphrase, Ruka the trap whose actual gender is irrelevant given the exception of one particularly ridiculous arc, Moeka the silent, predominantly emotionless girl who communicates solely by texting, and “Faris Nyan Nyan” the flirty catgirl maid who, as you may have guessed from her name, feels obligated to add cat noises into her speech at every opportunity. It wouldn't be such a problem if only one or two of these archetypes were used, but the fact that main cast is made almost entirely up of them seems just a little too convenient. Okabe, as the protagonist, manages to avoid these stereotypes altogether, and as a result he is by far the most interesting and enjoyable to watch out of the main cast.
The other characters, though stereotypical they may be, are given more depth than the average anime that contains these stereotypes. These characters are each given their own dedicated arc through which their personalities are fleshed out, and these arcs, though somewhat predictable due to the way the second half of the show is structured, are where Steins;Gate excels most. It’s unfortunate, though, that any character development that happens within these arcs is completely undone by the next resetting of time, which makes one romance subplot feel particularly forced and unnatural, something that is half-compensated for with a plot device that should have a scientific justification behind it but slips by without one anyway. The series also feels somewhat empty, as there are very few background characters in the series to accompany the relatively small main cast, and there are even a few instances where the viewer is lead on to think there are more characters than there actually are, only for it to be revealed that the true identities of these characters are actually the same as those of other characters.
The series makes some attempts at humour to lighten the mood, primarily through the interactions of the characters, which largely consists of arguing, in frequent and large doses. Now, you might expect that people who are brilliant enough scientists to break the very laws upon which modern science is based would be capable of coming up with some rather witty quips, but the banter between the characters is mostly made up of immature name-calling followed by the recipient of the name-calling expressing their distaste for the name which they have just been called. This may be amusing to some, but it got very old very fast for me and I grew tired of it by the second episode. These bouts, however, become less and less frequent as the show progresses and becomes more serious which is definitely a plus.
I’m confused as to whether I should be rating the art or the animation in this review, since the page for writing a review says art while the finished review that other people see says animation. It’s a shame that I can’t rate them separately, but I’ll talk about them both here anyway. Personally, I was not the biggest fan of the character designs as they appeared rather lifeless to me much of the time (I think it was the pale skin tone and white pupils). Many of the characters also suffered from some of the worst cases of noodle limbs since Code Geass, with the obvious exception of Daru, who looked to me like the strange offspring of a barrel and a human. On the other hand, the anime was made with very high production values, and it shows; the proportions of the drawings remain consistent and the animation is smooth, with few hiccups throughout. The backgrounds also look rather nice and detailed, and offer a nice backdrop to the characters and their various antics without distracting attention away from them.
The music in Steins;Gate is rather good, with some quite memorable background pieces that are placed with appropriate timing to accentuate the different emotions that the various scenes in the show aim to convey. The opening and closing sequences are solid tracks with some rather pretty and high-budget visuals that do a fine job of representing the series, including some hints about the show’s plot dropped here and there. The voice talent in the anime is strong, with Miyano Mamoru’s performance as Okabe in particular standing out. The other performances are somewhat overshadowed by this, but are solid performances nonetheless. I did have some personal hang-ups about the casting though; Daru’s voice (which I was surprised to find out was put on by Seki Tomokazu) was especially hard for me to take seriously during dramatic scenes due to its cartoonish quality.
Enjoyment is probably the area where people’s experiences differ most, as it is the most subjective. Personally, I found my immersion being broken frequently by questionable science and plot holes, which hindered my enjoyment significantly. The humour wasn’t my cup of tea either, but I can see why people find the show as enjoyable as they do. This is doubly true if you’re a non-critical person or are just new to anime in general, a group of people which seems to make up a large chunk of the Steins;Gate fandom as, over the last year, it has become a gateway anime through which many newcomers have been introduced to the medium.
You might now be under the impression that I hate this anime after reading this review, as it focused more on the negatives than others; however, this is not the case. Although I don’t normally write reviews, I had some issues with this series that I felt were not addressed properly in the reviews that I read (skimming over most of the 10/10 reviews that nearly fill every page) and decided to take it upon myself to put them out there as someone who watched the show after the hype died down quite a bit. If you still have an unquenched desire to read somebody praising this anime unflinchingly, then feel free to check out almost any other review for this series.
Tutturu~! It took me awhile to finish this review, school, other online drama and whatnot. So here is my in depth evaluation/praise of the show Steins;Gate. I must say that I have excluded a lot of spoiling content so that I can have a legitimate review posted. This is my first review and I hope it informs you and gives you a different perspective of the show!
The genre of Steins;Gate, from what I observed, was Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Drama. The demography reaches out to both Shonen and Seinen crowds. The concepts of time traveling, time paradox, time looping, time leaping, and the butterfly effect were
all presented very well. They were explained with a fluent, consistent logic and the concepts are supported by using time lines (in the show they call it world lines, when really it’s almost saying “parallel universe”.) Some may criticize Okabe’s ability to retain his memories through his “Reading Steiner”, which I personally choose to ignore for reasons I will say at the end of the review.
The setting is in modern day society and the conflict is between our main characters and a secret organization called SERN. The whole SERN conflict shows this kind of Terminator-feel to the overall plot and Okabe is basically John Connor in retrospect to the beloved Terminator series. Overall, the story is greatly supported by the several types of conflicts and plot progression being utilized all throughout the series. Steins;Gate also consists of addicting suspense that supplements the story with a fluent, chain-linked consistency that makes you crawl back for more—a well done job.
Characters are usually all too static in anime, rather than dynamic such as those you find in some Hollywood produced dramas. Here in this particular series, there is a gold mine of dynamic-range for personality and human-quality. A lot of the characters share this quality and all have some elements that any one person could relate to somehow.
Let’s start with Okabe Rintarou. He is just this loveable, hilarious mad scientist that starts off as a comic relief by acting as a mad conspiracy theorist. There are several attempts in different series that attempt the main character to act as a comic relief; Okabe accomplishes this attempt with ease such as characters from Gintama would capture attention. Albeit, the Engrish and Kurisu jokes could get old for some(I personally never get tired of his Engrish due to the excellent voice acting by Miyamo, Mamoru,) he has his frequent moments where you can’t help but to burst into hysterics. Besides the comic relief, he also has the strongest human quality. He shows a unique dynamic in such a way that nobody would expect: at first he is a seemingly arrogant college student that is a flamboyant conspiracy theorist, then later on he develops many different states of mind and expresses a diverse range of emotion/mood, finally he resets back to his normal self and shows empowerment. Okabe is by far one of the strongest characters I have ever analyzed in an anime title.
Ah, a fan favorite: Makise Kurisu. She is as tsundere as they come—in a good way though! The presentation of her tsun side definitely shows the dere in moderation; they definitely kept this cliché at an appropriate level—making her, in my opinion, one of the better tsunderes in the anime world. As a main character, she too has a dynamic personality that develops as well. Even the tsundere part of her personality supplements her character development, like all “dere” types should accomplish. Her dynamic spectrum is unique to the tsundere type: she appears at first to be a stubborn know-it-all, and then they utilize the tsun-tsun personality to such consistency that later on it makes sense that she’d eventually show some weakness. She too later becomes an empowered character and my respect for this is inexpressible.
Tuturu~! Mayushi is certainly the clearest example and definition of “cute”. Hit-or-miss, give-or-take, you can’t really get pissed off at her character mainly due to the fact that she can be anybody’s friend at any cost. Being the role of the “childhood friend” of Okabe, she shows an excellent example of exactly what friendship is. She is always so happy and optimistic, and then becomes somewhat of a push over because of her pure maiden self—always too kind to really voice herself unless it was urgent (this exact point here is what drives the plot for half of the series with Okabe.) Lastly, she shows her dedication to keep true to her friendship to motivate a depressed Okabe and return him to his original character with her traits alone. Head-to-toe, inside-and-out, she brings joy to all viewers at some point.
SUPA-HACKA DARU!!! Itaru fills in the role of the typical otaku, with the twist of being a super hacker. He is a fan of another main character Feiris NyanNyan and shows his otaku qualities through his worship of her. The majority of his character is utilized as comic relief. He is, however funny and loveable. Outside of his perverted sense of humor at times, he does express emotional value at times such as: shock, sadness, and even shows constant determination as technician and hacker.
Here we have Suzuha Amane, a fun and high-spirited girl that would never seem to have anything mysterious about her until after the plot develops. Simple words I can say to describe her is that she is a curious character. She is a tomboy in all aspects, she rocks the look and has the swag and cuteness factor to pull it off. She too has her human qualities: she is viewed with this enthusiastic persona, then is an ever so weary and shows threatening body language, then shows the same determination that Daru has, then becomes stressed, and then back to her normal self. Here we start to see a trend of the characters all returning to their normal states…
Feiris NyanNyan~ She is simply the other moe factor alongside Mayushi and plays the role of the ever-so cute neko girl. A fun, energetic, cute, lovable, and playful girl puts the sugar to the spice in this show. Her trend for personality is less dynamic than the rest of the characters: starts off as a cute, playful neko girl, then begins to break down emotionally and falls in love, then returns to normal later on.
“Urushibara Ruka. The mannerisms and voice of a woman... No... More feminine than any woman. But he's a guy. Taller than Mayuri, but so very thin... But he's a guy. Looks great in a miko outfit... But he's a guy. It's already twilight And yet, it's so hot. The cicadas are crying. But... He's a guy.” –Okabe. Okabe pretty much hit the bullseye on Ruka’s entire character—the dangerous bishonen. The moe factor is deceitful, yet so powerfully cute. He is kind, shy and awfully self-conscious overall. There are slight dynamics for Ruka such as playing shy, later sucking up and becoming a bit brave for once, experiences heart break, then follows the trend of returning to normal. A bit flatter than the rest of the characters, but still is a very entertaining character.
Moeka is the last person I wanted to cover, note my sarcasm. She is the fan base’s least favorite due to her involvement in the plot. She plays the role of the popular pretty girl, although it seems as though she acts like a mute… odd combination there for sure. She is easily and reasonably a hate-able character because of her total structure and involvement, just everything about her can give her hate—yet this is why she receives so much attention from the fans. She is interesting; however, that she has this psychological issue from the obvious attachment to her cellular device. Even she can receive love from some fans due to her “emo” part of her. Her human qualities are a bit odd and she could come straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe tale: she comes off as a dandere at first, then turns absolutely insane, then goes back to her dandere self. It’s a bit bland compared to even Ruka, but she receives the right amount of attention anyways from her demograph.
The character designs are well done, original and very contemporary. The movement and flow of the characters are flawless as well as the background and scenery. The concept illustrations of world lines and such are presented with amazing touch without the use of any computer graphics. Over all ten out of ten for art.
The voice acting is excellent, emotionally moving, adorable, and unpredictable with the dialogue alone. The emotional drive that comes from the voice actors at certain parts are so well done, that their contribution to the entertainment is one of the key factors of a superb feeling a viewer may get while watching the show.
I noticed that most of the time, the music is either very low or non-existent. I find this to be appropriate for this show and not some cheesy xylophone sounding music during casual moments. During the softer, more melodramatic times they sound a piano piece that utterly captures, raptures your attention and emotion and manipulates the atmosphere and feel of the moment. The score is excellent and consistent.
The opening song “Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Itou is an anime masterpiece in of itself. Here’s why I say this: the beats are set at an acceptable tone/volume, the guitars are kept at a constant rhythm that gives a good name to J-Rock for those who are especially unfamiliar to the genre, the vocals are pretty good (the vibrato isn’t heavily used in her voice, her tone and pitch are stunning, and she has a very powerful voice—I think I just became a fan of hers.) The ending song “Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku by Yui Sakakibara” is another appropriate song for this series that starts off with a soft instrumental that should really get you on the tip of your chair, awaiting for something epic. It is a mellow song and interesting at the same time.
Funny how the genre of Steins;Gate is “thriller”; I was thrilled in the sense of utter excitement. My eyes were literally glued to the screen as I, while doing my usual Otakuthon, watched each episode with the suspense one would have when receiving X-Mas presents. There were many moments where I would burst out into laughter, rewinding those parts obnoxiously. There were times where I simply balled out crying, tearing up so much that I had to pause the show in order to finish crying up a river. There were also times that had me blush for how utterly cute and adorable some of the scenes were—be it romantic or moe. Even as a guy, I found a lot of the material awesome.
There is my full criticism and review of Steins;Gate. I gave it a ten-out-of-ten status mostly because of the emotional roller coaster I had with it. It isn’t about “how believable” an anime may be no matter how close to reality it is trying to resemble. We all watch and seek entertainment simply to be entertained. Albeit there are many, upon many things that needs criticism. I just didn’t feel that this particular show deserved hardly any criticism, so my overflowing hormones force me to over look some of these in-depth details. Can’t wait for the specials and many more things to come along from this series! El. Psy. Congroo.
It completely changed my views about anime, and even life in general.
'How can an anime change your life?' You must be thinking. 'Is he completely mad?' You must be asking.
If you think the above, this is probably because you simply didn't watch Steins;Gate.
This review will cover my reasons why you should watch Steins;Gate for those who still did not. It will also hype Steins;Gate through the roof for those who already watched it and want another view about the show.
Alrighty, then. Let's get started.
The story starts out slow, boring and uninteresting, as expected from a story that starts on a small
scale. What else can you expect from a story that starts with a small group of friends of a hot summer in Akihabara, in a small cramped place they gather called 'The Future Gadget Laboratory', with nothing flashy, no boobs, no high budget shounen battle scenes?
The first episode will confuse you, even bore you because of that.
You might even want to say... 'Hey, I'll just drop i-'
Don't. Don't be fooled.
It might start out on a small scale of a simple happy going slice of life anime. But the fact it's no shounen or doesn't have any boobs is plus, and will serve as the form for the great things to come.
You might even think, 'Episode 2. Boring. Episode 3, Boring. Episode 4 Boring. Episode 5, BORING. Episode 6 Boooring. Now lets just drop i-'
But after episode 6 is when the things are going to start super entertaining, intriguing and even funny at times with some nice portions of light hearted-ness. The comedy will be funny, the characters will finally start fleshing out, and the story will progress in a steady pace with no filler moments, nothing to distract from fully enjoying a truly good story.
ARE YOU STILL NOT ENTERTAINED, going to episode 7 - before the ending of 12?
If you think like that, then this anime is about to change your life, just like it did for the millions who watched it already.
Keep watching, and be amazed. Keep watching, and thank me for creating this review. Keep watching, and add it to your favorites after that. Keep watching... and be prepared for one of the most epic journey ever done in TV shows, movies, manga, games, in the past, present and even in the future. Nothing might even not come close to the experience that Steins;Gate will offer you. I consider Steins;Gate story to be White Fox, Nitro+ and 5pbs true masterpiece. A true life changing Sci-Fi Thriller about Time traveling and everything that beautifully ties into that concept. I don't want to spoil you the story any further.
Art & Animation: 8
The weakest point of Steins;Gate, is truly the art & animation, as it isn't a really high budget anime with amazing animation, beautifully drawn boobs or 200 episode long fighting scenes like in your Typical shounen anime. But it takes out the small budget it has, it uses up every single ¥ out of it. The art in the visual novel in which the anime is based on is done by Huke, and is truly the most surrealistic, most atmospheric and most artistic art I have ever had a chance to lay my eyes upon. The fine fellows in White Fox anime studio said: 'HEY, that art is fucking awesome! But we don't have enough yens to fully transcribe it into a TV series with everything moving like it's alive. So lets take a solid take on the art, which will be much less flashy, but will do the trick'. And so they did.
The final product however, is a bit full of QUALITY in times, and doesn't look really beautiful like in the visual novel.
It looks like a standard realistic art in anime, and while there are some weird hair colors like in your most anime series, this art still helps fleshing out a believable story.
In the beginning of the anime, you will mostly hear the sounds of cicadas chirping, with barely any BGMs present, and that's why my score was downgraded from a full 10 to a 9. While it feels atmospheric, it can also bore alot of new watchers who are searching for masterpiece first episodes with bombastic Star-Wars like symphonic soundtrack. Later on, there is much more soundtrack, Done by Abo Takeshi who did the soundtrack for the visual novel too, and by Murakami Jun. The soundtrack is different from the visual novel, while there are some tracks present from there fitting to some scenes. My favorite track is 'Gate of Steiner', which is basically the opening title menu music from the visual novel, but is present at the best shocking and thrilling scenes.
Itou Kanako, that I consider as the Goddess of J-pop music after her songs in various Steins;Gate visual novels and ports, has made the opening music, 'Hacking to the Gate'. I think I listened to this track and to the animated OP more than I watched the whole series and read the visual novel, and considering that I rewatched the series many times and the visual novel is about 50 hours+- long, means that I listened to this track alot. A fuck whole lot, even. It's that good.
Sakakibara Yui has made the ending song for the anime. The song is a pretty sad track, and is a perfect closure to every single ending of every single episode. So perfectly, it fits like a glove into a human hand. A great choice.
Lastly, the SFX are believable in every single scene, and help you feel the tension in the thrilling scenes, laugh your guts out in the funny scenes, cry like a motherfucking wounded animal in the sad scenes. White Fox have them pretty fucking awesome SFX.
Characters: 11/10 (MAL fault for having a faulty grading score, not me):
Okabe Rintarou (Nicknames: [Self Proclaimed] Mad Scientist, [Self Proclaimed] Hououin Kyouma, Okarin) -
My favorite protagonist of all times. This dude is like fucking anime Jesus or something (Nope, not Jesus from Saint☆Onii-san). For those who didn't watch Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, you might confuse this dude as Schizophrenic, and not as a guy with a simple case of Chuunibyou syndrome.
He helps carry out the shocking scenes with 100 percent enhancement, and his Chuunibyou personality is so addicting and cool, that I can't help to take out my closed cellphone and say "OREEEEEEEEEEEE DAAAAAAAAAAAAAA' and "KIKAN' etc etc.
When shit will get realer than real , his mask of the Chuunibyou will break, and his true layers of his caring personality for his friends will show. He will be sad, shocked, everything you'll expect from a protagonist stuck in a Sci-Fi thriller.11/10 Protagonist, right here. I want to be him. Where can I buy some Dr Pepper in my country, BTW?
Makise Kurisu (Nicknames: Christina, Assistant, American Virgin, Perverted Genius Girl , Celeb 17, The Zombie [MAN THATS LIKE 1K NICKNAMES OR SOMETHING]) -
The main heroine of the series. The best heroine with a tsundere personality, no contest. At the beginning she will act all tsun-tsun, later on when shit gets real, dere-dere. She will help Okabe in the toughest times, and the two will be the perfect combo in them shiny white Lab Coats. 11/10 Heroine.
Shiina Mayuri (Nicknames: Mayushii) -
The mascot of the show who keeps saying Tuturu - and you will too, and a main plot device. No further spoiler allowed, so sorry.
Hashida Itaru (Nicknames: Daru, Perverted Gentleman, Super Hakar; Robotics;Notes - DaSH, DaSP) -
A fat super hakar- I mean hacker, that without him the main plot won't even budge and will still stay on a small slice of life scale.
Amane Suzuha (Nicknames: Part-Time Warrior, Suzu) -
;_; (This is probably my third review I'm doing the same description for her, but you can't stop me.)
Akiha Rumiho (Nicknames: Faris Nyan Nyan) -
Moe character that keeps saying Nyan and has cat ears. How perfect can she even get?
Kiryuu Moeka (Nicknames: Shining Finger) -
I liked her introvert personality at first, then hated her to death, and then liked her when the story came to a closure. You will do the same.
Urushibara Ruka (Nicknames: Rukako) -
I want to tap that trap (Or is he really a trap even later...?) And I'm perfectly straight. Blame anime for that.
Tennouji Nae (Nicknames: Sister Braun [In the visual novel]) -
Even such a small girl minor character like her as her secrets and awesome scenes, some both different in anime and visual novel. Appears in Robotics;Notes as a full grown sexy lady.
Tennouji Yuugo (Nicknames: Mr. Braun and another [spoiler to tell]) -
Where can I buy a braun tube? This old guy's speech later in the story is so fucking awesome. Share his secrets too that unfold later on in the story.
Dr. Nakabachi - Oh man. I'll skip talking about this guy, you'll just see.
Enjoyment : 10
Never before have I enjoyed a series like Steins;Gate. It will change your views on anime and life in general, just like myself.
It's time to for me to go so I can't write any further. Just.. watch it. That's all.
It's got a cool art style, mildly funny humor and some attractive girls.
But... that's pretty much it. It starts off decently, if a bit slowly. I'm a sucker for stories involving time travel, particularly if they've got an interesting and plausible take on it. And that's what Steins;Gate starts off with.
But around the halfway point, they completely ruin it. But did they just kinda warp it a little to allow for some marvelous bit of storytelling? No... they completely shatter it with a hackneyed subplot that utterly destroys the whole idea of "Cause -> Effect". I
won't go into specifics, since the review guidelines say not to write spoilers.
A lot of people seem to eat this hackneyed subplot up for some reason, probably due to the "emotional weight"... which conveniently allows the show to get away scott free with it's complete paradigm shift from "Cause -> Effect" to "Cause -> 100% Pure Unexplainable Magic -> Predetermined Fate Unless You Undo Butterfly Effect Which Results In The Unexplainable Magic That's Causing Predetermined Fate".
It's undeniably cool and it's occasionally funny, but it's not a great work of storytelling. I give it a 7/10 and recommend it, but... It's not the 3rd best anime of all time. It's not even the 3rd best anime of 2011, or of time travel.
Before watching this show, i was amazed by it's high scores, big fanbase and critics puting it to a pedestal. I had high expectations and was going into it thinking it would be the second time Jesus would step on earth. But as always, there's nothing worse, than diving into the hype.
What else should i say? Steins;Gate has everything a mass consumer needs:a concept about time travel, sci-fi theme coupled with unique characters and....a poorly written story. How did something like this went wrong? I can't imagine, since the production values were high enough to hire a good writer. Not only
the first half of the show, specifically the first 12 episodes do absolutely nothing, and i mean NOTHING. They are painfully boring, painfully slow, painfully killing every good aspect the show initially put into it. After that it gets better, but i didn't have the desire to watch it, because if half of the show is shitty, there's just no helping it. But i still forced myself through the agony. And.... it still didn't pay off in the end.
Now about the characters, they all seem out of this world. I mean an 18 year old guy invents a time machine? Or an 18 year old girl writtes scientific articles, is a research member and somehow she surpasses her own father? and a few other characters also seem unrealistic. The only real character is maybe the owner of the office where the cast was spending most of their time.
Only the art is good, but even then, the setting is very strange, the sun is somehow to yellowish, i don't know, some colors where too bright.
Overall, i didn't enjoy Steins;Gate as i would have expected. It represents very well the hype that never justifies itself and that Steins;Gate is a second class, no, a third-class show. It is slow, dull and weak.
Steins;Gate. One of the most popular visual novels of 2009. When I first heard it would get an anime adaptation, I was both psyched and worried. We all know VN to anime adaptations don’t work out that well most (read: almost ALL) of the time, and we all know that ChäoS;HEAd’s anime was absolutely terrible, especially if you compare it to the obviously superior source material, but even because of all this I was incredibly hyped for it. I had only heard great things about the VN, and I was getting my hopes up really high.
I didn’t want to get them too that high
though, because I was bound to get disappointed, right? Right?!
Well, guess what. I didn’t.
Steins;Gate is an absolute masterpiece. The first episode is incredibly confusing, and the rest is some light-hearted story about a group of friends developing a microwave that is able to send text messages to the past. The story does get more dark and thrilling along the way, and when you're half way into the show, shit gets real. As in seriously, it gets effing real.
Steins;Gate then turns into a science-fiction thriller with twists and turns that almost every viewer did not see coming. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and almost every episode ends with a certain cliffhanger, which made watching this show while it aired extremely painful, but also an amazing experience. The story is very good, and the plot development has great pacing; it is neither rushed, nor slow.
The show’s characters are great. They’re all loveable, and almost all the supporting characters get 1 or 2 episodes dedicated to them, which develop them more than most of the supporting characters of other shows. And what’s even funnier, almost all of the female characters are kind of stereotypical. We have the tsundere, the cutesy maid, the childhood friend, the silent and shy one and we even have a trap! And I can tell you, that all of these characters are absolutely great. We all hate the stereotypes that IS: Infinite Stratos and almost all of JC Staff’s latest crappy anime give us, but guess what. These girls are amazing. I started watching the series with not really liking everyone, but I ended this series with loving almost every character. They’re beautifully written, have great personalities, and they all end up way less stereotypical than you’d think they were at first. There just isn’t a single thing that you can hate about them. It’s like the complete opposite of School Days’ characters.
But the absolute star has to be our “MAD SCIENTIST” Okabe Rintarou. His personality is great, and he isn’t like every single other anime’s male main character: he isn’t dense, he isn’t afraid of girls and he doesn’t take shit from anyone. I mean, hell, how long has it been since we’ve had a guy like this?
Along with Steins;Gate’s awesome characters, we have beautiful performances of very talented seiyuu. We all know Miyano Mamoru is a great seiyuu, but his performance for Okabe has to be one of his most amazing ones to date. Miyano and his superb voice for Okabe will leave you laughing for several minutes multiple times. Imai Isami plays the tsundere for Steins;Gate, and she’s fairly good at it. She has a nice voice, even when she’s mad, but it’s better when she’s being kind. Hanazawa Kana does a great job at portraying the seemingly brainless Shiina Mayuri, but I have to admit, I’m kind of getting sick of this voice of her. I prefer she’d do some different roles now and then, like she did in Kannagi.
Kobayashi Yuu gives an outstanding performance as the show’s trap, but we’re used to that. Her ambiguous voice does its job once again. And Tamura Yukari definitely deserves an honorable mention, since she has delivered an absolutely amazing performance as Amane Suzuha. During one of the episodes, she expressed so much emotion, that I got all teary-eyed. I mean, I shed some manly tears.
Steins;Gate’s soundtrack is nice, it fits the situations perfectly. It excels at giving amazing background music at the show’s most suspenseful scenes, and I’m sure it’d be a lot less enjoyable without it.
The bad thing about Steins;Gate is its sound effects. They sound INCREDIBLY dated, it’s like White Fox cut them straight out of a 90’s anime and just pasted them at the last moment using Windows Movie Maker. The most simple sound effects were horrible, like hitting someone or smashing a door. This annoyed me at times, but it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment this show has given me.
And now, the show’s opening. I’m an avid Itou Kanako fan, so you probably could’ve imagined that I went rabid when I heard the show’s opening theme song. It’s amazing. I can’t stop listening to it. And the opening animation fits the song perfectly. Props to the person that directed the opening, it’s a great start to an amazing episode of a superb anime.
The ending theme song, sung by Sakakibara Yui, who also voiced FES in ChäoS;HEAd which is also a singer in that anime/VN, fits the anime perfectly, whether it ended happily, with a cliffhanger or with something incredibly sad.
The animation was, sadly, disappointing. Especially after 5pb’s producer told us through twitter that Steins;Gate would feature movie-like animation. Some of the scenes are beautifully animated, but when a scene has zoomed out characters, they’re drawn very ugly and you just can’t refrain from pointing out the errors and laughing at them. It also features awkward zooms on the characters’ faces at times, which do work out most of the time, but sometimes it just looks plain bad. The anime also has dark and grey backgrounds, which feature no life at all and are mostly boring to look at. But well, that was expectable, since most of the anime takes place in a small room.
I know that I’m only naming the bad things right now, but Steins;Gate’s animation is pretty good. Let’s just say it works most of the time, and some of the scenes feature a peculiar style of art, animation and camera angles which look great.
Steins;Gate’s original character designs were handled by Huke, and he did a great job with it. It’s a pity that the anime production staff decided to not keep the VN’s original art choice, but it’s would’ve been difficult to adapt that in a moving animation, so I do understand their choice. I do wish that they had kept the VN’s eye designs, since they were beautiful. And I thought they kept it too, after looking at several promotional images of the anime and seeing that they featured the VN’s awesome eye designs. Sadly, they weren’t there in the anime adaptation. But now I’m just nitpicking again.
Steins;Gate is a suspenseful ride that you will not forget any time soon after you’ve finished watching it. It is so incredibly thrilling and it has so many plot twists and mind blowing events, that you’ll hold your breath or scream at the screen multiple times. It features amazing voice acting performances by talented seiyuu and a great soundtrack, including the opening and the ending. You will end up loving all of this show’s characters, since they all of their own charm and they’re all incredibly likeable.
The animation is fairly good, and the sound effects are incredibly dated, but don’t let that scare you off. Steins;Gate is a masterpiece. It will twist your emotions in multiple ways loads of times. It’s an absolute must-watch, and it’s definitely one of THE best thrillers in the history of anime.
When you walk the streets of Akihabara, you’re bound to run into many weird things. As the mecca of the otaku world, this district isn’t just a major electronics shopping center. In addition to supplying you with anime merchandise for all ages(and I do mean ALL ages, including those quite a bit older than 18), you’re also likely to find cosplayers, concerts, maid cafes, an entire AKB0048 theater, and enough sexual imagery to make anyone not used to the culture believe they had fallen down the rabbit hole into a perverse misogynistic wonderland.
And yet even the people who have been used to this
atmosphere their entire lives have no idea how to react to one of it’s most strange residents, the self-proclaimed mad scientist HOUEN KYOUMA! By all outward appearances, Kyouma... Or, Okabe Rintaro by birth... Is an 18 year old man-child who refers to himself in the third person and always talks as though he’s unveiling his latest diabolic trap for Superman. They think he’s delusional, but little do they... Or even Okabe himself... realize just accurate his claims are. As crazy as he may sound, Okabe has, through some miracle of science, accidentally created a time machine capable of sending text messages to the past. Will this inexplicable invention be his ticket to the fame and notoriety that he’s always imagined, or will it be the greatest mistake he’s ever made?
Steins;Gate was produced by a relatively new animation studio called White Fox, and out of the dozen shows that they’ve put out, I unfortunately have only seen two others. They did The Devil is a Part Timer, which I highly recommend, but they also did Akame Ga Kill, I show I dropped after seven episodes. Both shows looked good despite having low budgets, and the same can be said of Steins;Gate. It’s not a very expensive show, which is fine, because it doesn’t need to be. The vast majority of it is dialogue heavy, alternating from people standing around talking to people walking around talking... Or, in it’s cheapest moments, people standing around thinking or brooding. It uses a lot of framing and perspective tricks to make these slower moments look less dull, and while I’d normally call a show pretentious for doing this, Steins;Gate never comes close to as bad with it as most Studio Shaft productions can get.
When something other than talking is going on... Say, during the more exciting moments of the show, of which there is a generous amount... There isn’t a spike in the budget, like there would be with most shows, but they use a lot of clever editing tricks so the movement on screen appears more fluid than it really is, which I really appreciate... After all, a well-managed small budget will almost always impress me more than an unrestrained big budget. The character designs, while somewhat simplistic, are memorable enough. The characters don’t exactly look realistic, but in the anime medium, they’re about as grounded and non-cartoony as you can get, one weird moe-girl aside. The color scheme is dull, but it plays very well to the mature aesthetic of the series.
Aside from the really quick and beautiful animations that happen whenever Okabe time travels, there’s nothing really special about the look of this series, distinctive and unique though it might be, but it works perfectly in context, and any more movement than it has would have just felt unnecessary.
The music is also barely noticeable, skulking around in the background of scenes as it does it’s job accentuating the tone of the show without ever standing out. If you’re actually listening for it, the instrumental portion of the soundtrack is comprised primarily of soft piano pieces, although it’s not afraid to get loud and bombastic during it’s more intense scenes. In terms of both music and animation, Steins;Gate never gets more awesome than it does with it’s opening theme, Hacking to the Gate, one of my favorite openings of the decade so far. Having said that, this is one of those rare moments where I wish the series had split itself into two different openings, as Hacking to the Gate, with it’s fast pace, explosive tune and clock-related imagery overlaying unhappy characters in a way that makes them feel hopelessly trapped in time feels way too intense for the first half of the series. Nevertheless, it’s pretty damn awesome.
The English dub is a Funimation effort, which is normally a good sign... Except for when they hire J. Michael Tatum as the script writer. I ragged on him really hard in my Heroic Age review, and I still stand behind everything I said... He’s a pretentious writer who thinks he’s better than the material, and makes a lot of really bad choices because of it. In spite of this, his style is more or less perfect for a show like Steins;Gate, whose dialogue poses, tries to sound smarter than it is, and panders to the audience just as hard as Tatum does. It made incessant references to Sci-Fi and nerd culture in the original Japanese, and Tatum clearly had a lot of fun Americanizing these references, throwing in nods to Star Trek, Doctor Who, and internet memes that fit well in context... Mostly. There are some quotes... For example, a Leeroy Jenkins reference in the final episode... that feel so out of place that you can’t help but notice Tatum’s giant wink to the audience.
His passion for over-writing also finds it’s home here, as a character like Okabe can only improve as his dialogue becomes more stilted and over-the-top. There are a few moments that do go way too far, one of the worst of which is a confrontation that Kurisu has with her father, who’s lines were so bad that the actor himself doesn’t sound comfortable reading them. Aside from that, it mostly works, and there are only a few moments where different characters sound the same(Mayuri and Dabu both using the phrase “Interwebs,” for instance. Stop trying to sound cool, Tatum).
Fortunately, the acting in general is above par. Tatum actually sounds slightly better in the lead role than Mamoru Miyano did, which is a real feat when you consider just how awesome Miyano was with the character. Being able to both write and act as an over-the-top melodramatic nut-job like Okabe was clearly a huge inspiration for him, and he takes it to gleeful extremes. The only actor in the cast who really surpasses him is Trina Nishimura in the role of Kurisu, the show’s only truly scientific-sounding character. She plays her with a reserved dignity that smooths out any tsundere edge that the character may have had, and she pulls off Kurisu’s emotional nuance flawlessly. She’s the rock of Okabe’s team, and Trina makes you believe it.
Jad Saxton and Cherami Leigh do wonderful jobs as usual. They’re both basically playing characters that they’ve played several times before, so this is well-known ground for them, and their veteran instincts carry them through. Relative newcomer Jessica Cavanaugh had a disproportionately tough job with the character of Moeka, who spend the majority of the series speaking quietly and delivering very few lines, but then suddenly having to scream hysterically at the top of her lungs in her big episode, so I have to give her props for pulling it off. As for Daru and Mayuri... Well, let’s just say the actors did the best they could to make them less annoying.
The characters are acted well over-all, which is a good thing, because the sad truth is that they’re not written very well. There are a handful of good or likeable characters, but there are only two in the main cast that I didn’t have any serious problems with... Moeka, the cell phone girl, and Suzuha, the part-timer. They’re both tied very tightly to the plot, and while they initially meander for much of the first half, they don’t disappoint in the long run. Also, neither one is after Okabe’s dick.
The two main characters, Okabe and Kurisu, are really likeable. Okabe is an interesting and highly dynamic character, and he has a great developmental arc throughout the story, but he’s not believable. He represents two of Japans more recent social issues... He’s a NEET, or “Not in Employment or Educational Training(at least in the anime),” and he’s also a chuunibyo, or an adult who can’t let go of his childhood fantasies. And yet, his weird and socially inept ways are justified by the fact that he’s made one of the most important inventions of all time, and he has three very attractive people so in love with him that they’re willing to do horrible things to themselves just because he asked them to. Hell, he even has a best friend who’s a complete skeezwad otaku just so he can look dignified by comparison. He’s the perfect self-insert fantasy for the very people he’s representing.
And Kurisu? Yes, she’s awesome, but she’s supposed to be awesome. She’s awesome by design, and I don’t mean that in a good way. She’s a nerd’s perfectly idealized girlfriend. Even if it weren’t for her cool head, high tolerance level for absurd people, and laid back personality, she’s still that unrealistic fantasy girl who’s willing to look past your awkwardness and terrible first impression just because your differences from other people are charming to her. I firmly disagree with anybody who calls her a tsundere, as she only acts abrasively towards Okabe when he deserves it for antagonizing her, but she’s still basically a magical girlfriend without the magic.
Then you have Faris and Ruka, whom... And I’m sorry to say this... The show would be better off without. Their only two purposes in the story are to extend the plot by a few episodes and be Okabe’s other two love interests, and they’re both very problematic in their own ways. With Faris, we never find out exactly why she has such a high opinion of Okabe... I mean, if she was just playing along with his BS because he’s a customer, that would be fine, but we get no indication of that. And the idea of a teenage girl being indirectly responsible for the development of Akihabara’s moe culture is a whole other can of worms.
And Ruka... Well, anime normally isn’t kind with it’s portrayal of LGBT characters, but this one crosses a brand new line. He... Well, she, I guess? She’s a biological male who identifies as a female. She uses the time machine to change her gender to the one that feels right, and while her character does involve some ignorant stereotypes, it doesn’t really become a problem until Okabe asks her to change herself back for plot reasons, to which her response is basically “Sure, I’ll go back to my old miserable life in order to prevent a greater tragedy from happening... If you go on a date with me!” Holding the greater good hostage just to spend some time with our favorite awkward adonis. And of course she’s also in love with him when she’s a boy, because stereotypes.
I’ve already mentioned in Okabe’s description what Daru’s role in the series is, although I do appreciate the attempt to develop him further through his relationship to Suzuha. But Mayuri is the worst. No, let me rephrase that: Mayuri is THE WORST, all capitals. She’s a doe-eyed infantilized moe blob, or basically a toddler with big boobs. Aside from humanizing Okabe, her purpose is to make the viewer feel like she needs to be protected, thus adding more emotional stakes to the second half of the series.
If you haven’t seen the show, but have heard a lot of word of mouth about it, you’ve probably heard something along these lines; “The first half was really slow, but when the second half kicked in, it became the most awesome thing ever!” Or something of the like. I don’t personally agree with that assessment... The pacing of the first half never bothered me, and the second half had more than enough problems that I’ll get to in a minute... But what I do take issue with is when people refer to it as one of the smartest shows they’ve ever seen. Now, I’m not saying Steins;Gate is a dumb show... It knows what it’s doing, and to that end, it never falters... What I’m saying is that it’s full of shit.
I can’t say much about it’s time travel logic without giving away too many spoilers, but it does cheat towards the end and go in the Back to the Future direction. What I can talk about is the huge turning point that everybody loves so much. Halfway through the series, a tragic event occurs, and Okabe starts using the time machine over and over again to try and prevent said tragedy, but his efforts prove futile. This is fine at first, until it’s revealed that even when the cause of the tragedy is completely removed, the tragedy still happens in all of it’s Final Destination glory. Frankly, if you can get through this story arc without even once saying “Oh My God, They Killed Kenny!”, then this show has you by the short and curlies.
Since Steins;Gate is a Sci-Fi story, there are a lot of things it doesn’t need to explain... It is, after all, Science fiction, not science fact. It doesn’t bother to explain how a Microwave can send texts through time, but it doesn’t need to, because no time machine in the history of fiction has ever been fully explained. They give you a few details and you just take it on faith. It never explains how Okabe got his Reading Steiner ability, or the ability to retain his memories from alternate timelines, but it doesn’t need to, because Okabe’s the main character, and he needs to have some element of chosen-ness in order to be special. As far as these two details go, everything’s fine.
But if you’re going to insert a giant game-changing plot twist into the middle of a story, it has to follow some sort of in-universe logic. The tragic event I mentioned earlier does not. It never gets explained as anything other than an accepted repercussion of time travel. I guess the best way to describe it would be to imagine that you’re stacking dominoes, and you have a pit of lava in your living room. I don’t know why, just go with it. No matter where you aim the line-up of dominoes, the last one will inevitably land in the lava, regardless of what room it ends in. Now, a normal person would be curious... Is Chell playing a joke on you? But Okabe and Kurisu are not curious. They immediately accept it as a scientific inevitability, and immediately jump to possible solutions, probably to save the writers the effort of coming up with a reason for this conflict that still smells like the place they pulled it out of. Hell, even a stupid explanation like “Okabe’s meddling with life and death pissed off the Grim Reaper” would have been a better explanation than no explanation.
And if that’s not bad enough, the idea of other people retaining their memories of past timelines through flashbacks is bullshit. There are several moments where characters that Okabe’s interacting with have visions of their past lives to corroborate with what he’s telling them, and of course, it only ever occurs when it’s convenient for him. He tries to explain it by saying that everybody has Reading Steiner to some degree, but this makes no sense whatsoever. I can think of any number of characters who, if they retained certain memories from past timelines, would have been able to screw Okabe and his friends over six ways from sunday.
Now, I know I’ve been very negative in those last few paragraphs, and that’s because I was saying things I haven’t heard often, and that I felt needed to be said. But the truth is, Steins;Gate does more right than it does wrong. It’s adapted from a light novel/dating game, which is a notoriously hard source to adapt from, and while it’s attempts to build stories out of two of the side characters’ romantic paths does make for some infuriating filler episodes, it still weaves a better story than any other light novel based anime that I’ve seen. I haven’t played the original game, but from what I’ve heard, they left a lot of the more ridiculous content by the wayside.
I also appreciate the slow pace of the first half a lot more than other people I’ve talked to about it. Steins;Gate did a great job slowly developing the story and dipping it’s characters further and further down the rabbit hole, dropping subtle clues about the disaster to come when the story gets serious. The build-up is fantastic, and the relationship between the characters and their interactions with each other kept me from ever getting bored. Yes, I said the characters are calculated and unrealistic in the way they’re written, but the friendship and chemistry between them does feel real, and it comes from a very believable place, so I can’t completely write them off. Not most of them, anyway.
Nor can I write off the overall story. I don’t think it’s the work of pure genius everyone else does... Sorry, I don’t... But it’s still a pretty damn good mystery, with enough build-up and payoff to keep you on the edge of your seat from episode to episode even after multiple viewings, noticing small, seemingly insignificant details you might have missed on previous viewings. It’s at it’s best when it’s focused on this mystery, and to that effect, it’s executed really well... And even when it’s not, it’s emotionally resonant enough for it’s flaws to be largely excusable. But as a sci-fi time traveling show, it really does make shit up as it goes along.
Steins;Gate is available from Funimation. It was originally released in blu-ray/DVD combo half-packs, but it has since been released as one product in the Anime classics format, and for a much more affordable rate than before. The original visual novel has been released stateside for several formats including the PS3, with the text actually translated, but I haven’t played it and probably won’t for a while. The 2013 movie, Fuka Ryoiki No Deja Vu, has not yet been released stateside, but it has been licensed by Funimation, and good news: It’s not a cash-grab movie! It’s an actual sequel! A sequel series named Steins;Gate 0 has been announced, and appears to be set in an alternate universe that Okabe left behind.
You can love an anime series while impartially acknowledging that it has problems, and that’s the camp I find myself in with this series. Steins;Gate doesn’t really live up to all of the hype, nor does it deserve it, but it’s still a pretty awesome series. It’s well produced and cleverly directed, and it’s original enough that I can honestly say I’ve never seen any series like it before. I guess it kind of reminds me of Angel Beats, insofar as the fact that it works far better emotionally than logically, but that’s pretty much it. The comedy and drama are blended well, but it’s just too problematic for me to give it the high mark it’s clearly aiming for. Just like all of Okabe’s friends, I accept this show and all of it’s weirdness and pretense. I give Steins;Gate a 7/10.
"It's an intellectual drink for the chosen ones." -Okabe about Dr. Pepper.
Well, where can I begin? Too many things can be said about this anime.
I didn't play at the VN, so there some things that I don't know.
Okay, let's resume the story first. All the review may contain spoiler, especially one part.
Okabe Rintarou, also known as Hououin Kyouma, the auto-proclaimed mad scientist. That's the main character. His laboratory contains three members: him, Daru also known as Super-hacker, and Mayuri (Mayushii). In this laboratory, they developed what they've called "Future Gadget", all a bit strange, with epic names.
At the beginning, they met Makise Kurisu, a
young clever scientist.
One of the machine developed by Okabe is the phone microwave [name subject to change]. They do some experimentation on this machine. In fact, they discover something. This machine is a time machine.
Here begin the story, a fight to change the future by altering the past, more or less.
Now I'll explain one or two things that seem to be weird in my mind. This part contain spoilers.
As a lot of anime, Steins;Gate put some rules. And he does it very well. For example, a D-Mail is used to alter the past, and it will have the following effect: changed the actual worldline. Okabe have the reading Steiner, so when we switch between two worldline, he remember all the things about the old worldline.
To cancel the effect of a D-Mail, and so return to the initial worldline, they have to send another D-Mail, to the same person, and tell something opposite at the first D-Mail.
Okay so here's the plot hole. At the episode 22, they have to cancel the last D-Mail, which is in reality the first one: "Makise Kurisu has been stamped". They do that by using the IBN 5100, hacking the CERN, find this message, and... Delete it by pressing enter! Here we are. How the action of deleting the D-Mail in the present can have effect on the past? It can't, if we follow the rules of the anime. I can agree that it change the future, but it means that Makise Kurisu should be dead, and the worldline shouldn't change. The fact that we see the animation that indicates a switch of worldline isn't logic, and it's for me an inconsistence.
All others inconsistencies can be resolved in the way that it's an anime, and there's some things that we just have to admit. For example, I read on the net the following thing: when Okabe send the first D-Mail to Daru, we can’t know if the door of the microwave is open, that is necessary to get the effect of the D-Mail. Honestly… I don’t even care. We don’t see it, so I trust that Daru do some experiences on the microwave, and leave the door open. Who cares?
But this one can't be resolved in an easy way as this. They put rules and not respect it.
Anyway, that's why I put 8 to this anime, because it's the only thing that I was disappointed.
From Okabe to Mr. Braun, all the characters are interesting in my mind. We have a great casting in this anime, a mad scientist, the girl who don't know anything about the science, but just follow Okabe (Mayuri), Daru which is more interested about 2D girls than 3D, Kurisu who is the little highbrow, and all the other are well defined, Suzuha Amane the "Part time Warrior", Moeka, ect...
For example, when Mayuri see Okarin, she always said "tu tuluuu", and I found it so funny!
Steins gate was published in 2010, and for this date the graphics are really good. And just the global graphics universe is... Wow I don't know how to said, but it fit really well with the theme of the show: a little bit dark when they are in the lab, even the street where the lab is, it's like the lab is a secret place.
Here’s the black point. I think this anime is the anime the most constructed that I see. You can check all the dates when Okabe change worldline, it's coherent. You can't say that the story is bad. You maybe be able to not appreciate it, but don't tell me that it's a bad story.
I don't put 10 because of this inconsistence that I underline higher in this review. And I think Steins Gate excels in the story because it's a really really big anime, with high budget. Every people have high expectations when they start to watch this anime. And there's only one inconsistence, and maybe, I search everywhere an explanation of this inconsistence but I didn't found one, but maybe there is one explanation.
The more you make something with high budget, and well wait by people, the more the public will be exigent. And Steins gate satisfy a lot of people, so they did well I think.
I'm not really an expert about the sound in anime, so I just put 10 because I like the show. But I never heard a bad music when I watch it. The openings and the endings are also very good for me, so I have no reason to critic it.
Even if I found a black point in the story, I really appreciate to watch this anime. It's one of the shows I enjoy the most. Everything is well constructed, and when I start to understand what's going on, you just want to know more things about it. There is a funny part in the anime, which is really really good because it give to the show a bit of humour.
If I have one advice: watch it. You HAVE TO watch it.
Just a horrible anime. This is the anime equivalent of Inception. It tries to disguise itself as being complex and cool when it's really simple and stupid. How it managed to fool so many people into believing it is the former is beyond me.
The story is just a complete mess. Even the very premise of the anime would not have ever happened had the so called time travel expert followed the very basic concepts you learn from any time travel story. Not to tell everyone about your time machine let alone let people screw around with it. The show basically makes you watch as
the main character repeatedly make this same out of character mistake you've seen 100 times before over and over again until he finds out that doing so screwed up everything up. GASP! What a shocker! He then spends the rest of the series struggling to try and undo everything.
All the characters are walking over the top anime stereotypes. They can all but summed up in their entirety in about a half dozen words if even. The silent girl that always texts. The he that looks like a she. The moe girl. The computer nerd otaku. The tsundere. That's not oversimplification, there's really not much else to get into about these characters. They are really that shallow.
I'd give it a pass if it was some harem joke anime, but for a story driven anime, this is just unacceptable. The only one that seems to get significant character development is the main character. A mad scientist, which the writer seems to think is a valid excuse to have him do the most out of character ridiculous nonsense all the time. This makes him completely unrelatable which leads you to remotely stop caring about any of what he goes through.
While you're struggling to try to piece together all the plot holes, to understand why the time travel expert keeps blabbing about his time machine to every person he meets on the street and to make sense of dumb concepts like how a banana that is somehow reduced to jello but still retains it's shape so you can identify it after traveling through time, don't be fooled. It's not because it's a really deep well thought out story that you're having trouble understanding everything. It's because it's
Let me start with some back story and then the actual review will follow.
About four years ago two Japanese video game companies, Nitroplus and 5pb., started a collaboration to make the world a better place with some neat visual novels. The first project came out of it was ChäoS;HEAd with its scenario written by Hayashi Naotaka-shi, a guy who worked on Remember11 and Memories Off series, if this means anything to you. In general ChäoS;HEAd turned out to be rather average novel and it lost most of its good parts in its anime adaptation; however, ChäoS;HEAd still has enough impressive ideas and nice concepts to
be memorable. And thanks to it I took my interest in Steins;Gate anime adaptation, when the word about it got out.
So, Steins;Gate, the second fruit of Nitroplus & 5pb. collaboration’s labour, is again written by Hayashi-shi. (I haven’t read the original novel, so I won’t reference it in my review.) The story revolves around a group of people who remodel their microwave into a device capable of sending text messages to the past. The first part of the series is dedicated to introduction of various characters and showing them fooling around with the microwave — standard stuff. The enjoyment here mostly depends on how much sympathy do you have for the characters, so let’s take a quick look on the roster.
Hashida Itaru, a fat geek, otaku and “super haker”. Calm, lazy and perverted, but won’t go as far as stealing woman’s pants to wear them on his head, which in fact makes him one of the most well-written geek characters in modern anime.
Shiina Mayuri, a moe girl, cheerful, merry and voiced by Hanazawa Kana-shi. Since I hear her a lot nowadays, her voice doesn’t sound as cute as it used to be a year ago, but still she does a nice work singing “tutturū” on this role.
Makise Kurisu, a science genius and tsundere. She can be a bit cliché because of her character definition, but becomes more complex and deep character as the series progresses, so I find her rather likeable and interesting sort of person.
There are, of course, more characters in the series and these three are not all of the important ones, but I can’t spend all my review listing them like some Wikipedia, so let’s proceed.
“But hey, wait, Tsunekicchi!” Some of you can interrupt me. “That’s okay to skip some of the characters, but you said nothing about the protagonist!”
Yep, right. That’s because I consider him so important that I’m going to give him a whole paragraph.
So, Hōōin Kyōma, or Okabe Rintarō as some humie humans tend to call him, a lab-coat-wearing self-proclaimed mad scientist and, as I already mentioned, the protagonist of the series. Very original and distinctive, one can call him “a parody of parody mad scientist characters” with all his feigned paranoid behaviour and maniacal laughter. For me most of the fun in the show was delivered by Okabe’s interaction with other characters, his exaggerated reactions and fanatical devotion to the chosen stereotype. Of course, he is not there just for comic relief since he’s the protagonist, so you’ll see another, serious and caring, side of his person. Personally I think that at least one third of its success Steins;Gate owes to this guy. (He shares my fondness for Dr Pepper, an intellectual drink for the chosen ones, so I can probably be a little partial while describing him. Just saying.)
Another great share of success is obtained by the second part of the show, where the pace of storytelling speeds up and most of plot twists happen and where the characters you probably grew to like face the problems their invention caused. And allow me to tell you, Steins;Gate is really good at drama. It’s been a long time since I last felt that way while watching anime, as this series is capable of triggering a lot of complex emotions, especially if you empathize with the characters.
Overall the stylistics of Steins;Gate leaves a nice feeling with all its culture references ranged from Back to the Future films to Large Hadron Collider, and with all its “make-believe science” and technobabble. Well, there are some things hard to swallow (compress 3.24 terabytes of data into 36 bytes using a black hole… no, seriously, what the hell, Makise?), but as I always thought, the moment you’ll start taking all fiction seriously your life is ruined.
Animation is rather nice and good looking. And regarding the soundtrack, it’s wonderful. Both the opening theme by Itō Kanako-shi (who appears in pretty much every Nitroplus-affiliated project) and the ending theme by Sakakibara Yui-shi (who I remember as seiyū of Kishimoto Ayase, my favourite character from ChäoS;HEAd) sound magnificent and it was a pleasure to listen to them.
Okay, Steins;Gate is definitely worth watching, if you still hesitating. I will really miss this series (and looking forward to the film, of course). Steins;Gate is an impressive and influential piece of fiction, and one more thing I appreciate in it is that it brings back one of the classical sci-fi themes — the rules and problems of time travel — which is not common in modern anime. Plus Steins;Gate made me remember my favourite novel by Mr Isaac Asimov, as it has similar dénouement and triggers similar thoughts. Their plot is much different, however, but I still don’t want to mention the title of the novel for spoiler reasons just in case.
Phew, guys, I like a way too many aspects of Steins;Gate to rate it anything lower than 10 points, so nothing can be done here. Well-earned 10 points. El… Psy… Congroo.
P.S. Looks like Robotics;Notes, the upcoming third visual novel by Nitroplus & 5pb., deserves to be looked forward to. And it has story that deals with something like fighting games and robots. Ah, Japan, the Motherland of Ridiculous Plots!
This is what should be considered as art, not what is considered as art nowadays. Sadly, nowadays among the majority of people, Anime is just considered as nonsensical and childish trash. It is drawn, so it is immature. This is what the majority thinks, and this is why it is normally difficult to find any Otaku living in near of you. It's a shame actually, that they will not experience this awesomeness, and obviously I am looking at Steins;Gate when I am saying that. Ironically, I've recently been pretty much the same, like, two or three months ago. But I tried Anime and was
amazed. I hate myself for disliking Anime in the past because I thought it was immature, especially when Anime like Steins;Gate exist, which includes an immensely clever and emotional story. I love this Anime from the bottom of my heart, and really, I will slap the one who thinks that Steins;Gate is immature.
The plot of this Anime is really creative and clever as well. In fact, I have never seen something like this before. It's about a 17 year-old scientist, named Okabe Rintarou, who is highly intrigued of time travels and believes that they are possible, and meets a 18 year-old woman, named Makise Kurisu, who does not think so. In the beginning, he has three laboratory members. Hashida Itaru, also known as Daru, and Shiina Mayuri. During his research of time travels, he obtains more laboratory members due to the oddest situations. Once, in a scientific building, he saw the corpse of Makise Kurisu. He sent a E-Mail to Daru, and oddly, it says that he sent it one week ago. Confused, he concludes that the E-Mail was sent to the past, and right after his conclusion, he saw Makisa Kurisu alive, although he has seen her corpse.
Steins;Gate has done something none of the Anime I have seen so far has done. The story is absolutely consistent, it is totally flawless. Some parts of the story are really difficult to follow, and although the story is so complicated were mistakes are easily done, Steins;Gate did it perfectly. Even if haters were supposed to find a mistake in the story, they would fail. The story is absolutely flawless, and then it's even brilliant, too. The only thing I failed to understand is how everything that is written in a D-Mail will automatically be realized. In the past, it would have the same effect as a E-Mail, so that fact should be clarified, but maybe I just missed it. Nonetheless, you can dislike the story, but never say it is a flaw.
The story is interesting all the way, but you will easily get lost, so when you are watching Steins;Gate, make sure you do not turn your brain completely off and concentrate in order to understand the story decently. If you understand it, you will see why it is so clever, and it is actually really interesting, too, especially how the time travel theories would actually make sense, even though it is impossible to do. It sounds like it would actually work, which is quite interesting.
While the pacing might feel really slow in the first twelve episodes, after you watched them and look back to what happened, you recognize that they have actually accomplished more than it feels. If the creators would try to make the pacing feel faster, it would probably end up horribly rushed, so actually, even if it feels sometimes the opposite, the pacing is perfect. This Anime gives you the feeling that it will always go on like that, but it would end up having 12 or 13 episodes, would not be dramatic at all, wouldn't be as popular as it is, and SERN would feel completely out of place. The plot-twist in episode 12 was definitely surprising, but it was amazing. It feels like now it would get deeper in the thriller genre and comedy will totally be left out, but it is interesting how Steins;Gate does actually never loose its comedy. It doesn't feel out of place and it's actually really hilarious as well.
There is one aspect Steins;Gate lacks at immensely - the character development. Actually, only Okabe Rintarou and Makise Kurisu are developing slightly, but their personalities never change. To be honest, character development in Steins;Gate was not too necessary, though. It is always refreshing to see how the characters are always the same, and it is good that the only existing character development in this Anime doesn't change the personalities and the comedy. Every character has an unique personality, which is cool and/or hilarious in various ways. Okabe for instance, gives everyone odd nicknames (including himself) and has odd habits, but is serious when necessary. No secondary character feels actually out of place and plays a fair role, and most of them hide a certain secret as well.
Every character has an unique appearance and seems to never actually change its clothes. Okabe wears always his laboratory coat, while Mayuri wears always the same hat and dress. Kurisu always wears her pullover so, that it doesn't cover her shoulders, and Daru's clothes are pretty much Standard. Mayuri's eyebrows look strange, but I guess it has a purpose. As far as I know, "mayu" is Japanese and means "eyebrow" in English, so that is probably their intention. The animation is usually not bad nor good, but there are situations where the animation is wonderful. In Anime the animation tends to be occasionally particularly fluid, and Steins;Gate is no exception. The art is a true eye-candy. It looks truly outstanding. The eyes look a little bit strange, but it is tolerable. The backgrounds are mostly detailed create a decent atmosphere.
The Seiyuu cast has done an amazing job. Okabe's voice fits just perfectly for a mad scientist, and Kurisu's voice sounds great and fitting as well. Mayuri's voice is also amazing and fits perfectly, too, not to mention Daru's voice. They definitely made proper choices and they do not sound lifeless or emotionless at all, they have an accurate sound and even emotional scenes were well done. The sound effects are greatly done as well. In this Anime in these special situations, the sound effects are of course special, too, but they sound logical.
There is only one opening, while in the last two episodes have, the opening was modified with the lyrics of the full version, which sound better in my opinion and is a great idea. Nonetheless, the opening is probably one of the most amazing ones I have ever heard. The singer has a great voice, and the same applies to the ending, too, though in the last episodes there were different endings, too. Episode 23's ending is definitely one of the best songs I have ever heard. The lyrics are decent as well. As for the background soundtrack, it's definitely one of the bests out here. While most of the tracks do not sound really particular, which are always the comedy and science background musics, they fit pretty well and do not sound bad, too. The important themes are those which are used in emotional scenes, and nobody can complain about those themes, since every single one sounds utterly amazing.
This is so far the best Anime I have ever seen. You do not have to be into Sci-Fi to like it, it is actually for everyone. It has a really brilliant and emotional story, decorated with wonderfully executed comedy moments, which were simply genius and made me laugh every single time. The characters are definitely the bests I have seen so far as well, even though the character development was missing, but every character was hilarious and cool. No character is actually annoying and even the secondary characters give a fair input. Everyone has to watch this Anime, simply everyone. What you will see in this Anime is awesomeness on the highest level, and in all seriousness, I could describe this Anime almost as a drug. I can not get enough of it. I want more, more, more and more. I seriously can not wait for the upcoming movie and I will make sure to review it as well.
I guess I just need to state why Steins;Gate isn`t the greatness thing of all time
Lets start with some good points
Time Travel is one of the hardest things for Sifi shows to handle correct. Why because there is to many things that can go wrong and once something is changed you need to keep that paradox or the change could never have happened.
This show handles that correctly.
The plot is pretty good not completely original but done well.
The art and sound are fine.
I guess its time for the negatives
It has a slow start. I know you
can't judge just on how things start but I should not have to watch 4 hours of something before I get into something. It just doesn't connect with the viewer, to make them feel like they should keep watching. The reason why I kept watching is that I was curious, to know why people love it so much. That is not a good reason, its my reason but not a good one.
That leads to my second point the show drags, and trust me it drags out everything or nearly everything. It does not like to get the point it wants to keep you thinking. Some people might call this creative writing, doing this sometimes is creative, doing this all the time is Dragon Ball Z Fight scenes.
There is a episode if I remember right where it is just the same thing over and over and over.
Characters this one is a little bit more personal obviously.
The Protestant is uninteresting, he is boring, he is ridiculous, and I don't understand him. In saying that the other characters are more interesting but still a little bland. A pervert, A kindhearted unintelligent girl, a genius, a mystery none talker, a what should be a girl, and an energetic girl.
Even though the characters themselves are not all to interesting the relationships with each other can be. There back stories are OK somewhat generic, so not all that great.
I'm just going to go ahead and say its overhyped to hell. Its not that it's a bad show, it was a enjoyable experience. But certainly not without its flaws as its ratings or most reviews would suggest.
My biggest gripe with Steins;Gate is that, as an engineering student, at no point was the suspension of disbelief at the science in its science fiction, or the logic of its plot (or the soundness of its explanations) effortless. It is a good show, but not as science fiction. I don't want to include any spoilers but I will say this, at times I couldn't help myself audibly
chuckling and saying "bullshit" after hearing long-winded explanations of its in-universe sci-fi. There are quite a few glaring plot holes in the show, and the series relies on deus ex machinas on more than one occasion to dig itself out of dead-ends its written itself into. THAT SAID, none of that matters if you can overlook it. Do not go into steins;gate for Sci-Fi and that still does not qualify it as a bad show. For story I would rate it good(7), but only because it was at least original and did have some really great moments and twists.
In every other department however, Steins;Gate excelled. In hindsight, it really is something that this show took such a hilariously varied and mismatching cast of characters and managed to make them so believable and mesh together so effortlessly. The interactions between them were endearing and well written; full of charm, wit and chemistry, taking you through the full spectrum of emotions. You can't help but grow attached.
The show's relied on its cast so much that for long lengths of the show, nothing really progressing the plot happened at all, yet it still feels unfair to call it filler. In these parts the show doesn't seem to try at all, the events portrayed being completely laid back and banal, yet still infinitely interesting and hilarious. The comedy of Steins;Gate is facile in manner and doesn't even seem forced even when referencing internet memes and otaku culture, which is not an easy thing to do. Houoin Kyouma and company would definitely find a place in any list of favourite characters of mine. For cast, Steins;Gate recieves a solid 9(Great)
The art of Steins;Gate was gorgeous, the character designs unique and refreshing and the animation was fluid. You could at parts tell there were budget constraints but overall, what they managed to do was more than adequate easily deserves an 8(Very Good).
The voice acting was superb, and even in the english dub, it was hardly disappointing. In fact, I'm going to even go far enough to say that FUNimation and their VAs put their whole heart and soul into this dub and managed to produce something very quality. I personally have heard both and can't find myself being able to choose one that is objectively better.
The music was very minimal in Steins;Gate and the OST does not consist of many songs. At the moments, it does though, it stands out and is brilliant. "Gate of Steiner" and "Believe me" being my favourite tracks. The ED was also very appropriate and in-general a good song. I personally didn't like the OP very much though, but that is my opinion. For sound, I give it a 7(Good).
For total enjoyment, I give Steins;Gate an 8. It definitely is something worth watching.
This show can be described with one word: Brilliant. My 9 rating is deceiving however. For me, I tend to enjoy almost any show I watch. Some more than others. You will be hard pressed to find me giving a show anything under a 5, but at the same time it's not like I hand out 8 or higher rankings. Anything above an 8 for me is truly a remarkable piece of work and a must watch. once you get to the 9 ranking, the anime has blown me away in all aspects and is a true masterpiece. A ten... well that is territory
that only a true otherworldly anime can receive. For me, this show is more like a 9.5 than a nine (which obviously says a lot). But enough with my rambling, on to the review!
Now, Steins;Gate is yes, a time travel story. But, unlike most other shows, this anime doesn't just use the time travel as a plot device, but instead, time travel IS the center of the plot. Because of this, and the well written background behind the time travel concept itself, the plot is truly intriguing. We follow a self proclaimed "mad scientist", Rintarou Okabe, and his fellow members of the future gadget lab as they accidentally invent a time machine that can send texts back in time, and thus, alter events in the past. Obviously, by changing the past, they change the future, and must in the end try to fix it. What makes this seemingly cliche story unique is how our main character is the only one who seems to remember the "world line" before AND after they have been altered. Because of this, he is the only one who can fix the mistakes that they have made. Watching Okabe struggle through a multitude of timelines, repeating things over and over trying to get them right is fascinating. Now, the first few episodes are just plain ridiculous at first, and will make absolutely no sense until, you watch further into the show. I was inclined to drop the show after the first episode because it made absolutely no sense, however, if you stick through it, it will all piece itself together to become a brilliant storyline. Although many of the plot twists are very predictable, how they are dealt with is not, and will without a doubt keep you on the edge of your seat. To go along with the suspense, there is plenty of comedy, romance, and sadness too mix it up. It isn't the best at any of these other areas, but the show does a very good job with these areas none the less, and they are mixed in well with all the suspense to keep you from having a stroke. The show is somewhere between over the top, and not crazy enough. The setting is in an average city, primarily in a small apartment, and its not like random characters are popping out of nowhere like in some other shows, but at the same time, you are dealing with a very complex time travel plot. I really feel like words can't do this shows story justice, so just watch for yourslef!
I found Steins;Gate's visuals to be good. The character art is all borrowed from the visual novel, and looks as modern and up to today's standards as any anime. Movements and other animations were fluid and seemed natural, same goes for the lip movements. My only complaint is that the characters seemed to all only have one outfit each. It's not a big deal since many anime have this problem though so it is easily overlooked.
The overall sound of the show was great. My one complaint was that damn cricket noise that seems to be in every anime I watch. It's in like every show and annoys the crap out of me... Anyways, the music during the show is kept at a low volume most of the time or made more for ambiance to set the tone of the show. All of the trAcks fit the scene perfectly and although subtle, they still evoke suspense/curiosity/sadness, in the scene. The real star of the ost though is the opening, "Hacking to the Gate." This is definitely my favorite opening song to an anime and is catchy as hell. As far as voice acting is concerned, in the dub version I found all of the voice actors to have done a great job. I don't really see any weak links and think that Okabe was voiced brilliantly.
The characters in Steins;Gate are an interesting bunch to say the least. We have the crazy, but not as crazy as he thinks main character. The genius girl from America who argues with the main character all the time. The cute, innocent childhood friend. The fat, perverted, anime obsessed hacker. The cool, mysterious girl. The cosplaying waitress girl. The absolutely crazy girl who likes to text. And that's about it. On their own, each character isn't that special. But the interactions they have with each other, particularly those between Okabe and Kurisu Makise, bring out unexpected sides from the characters and really make you enjoy watching them. The intriguing plot line, and time travel element only enhances the strength of the characters as well because you get to see them remaining true to themselves even as (unknown to all but Okabe) the worldliness are changing around them. My one gripe is that the back stories of most of the characters aren't well developed, but really when the plot is about jumping around in time, adding another time period into the picture could complicate things beyond the writers' control.
Between Okabe and Makise's exchanges, the brain frying complexities of time travel, and the suspense of the story, there was never a moment after the dreadful episode 1 that I didn't thoroughly enjoy myself. By the second half of the show I was on the edge of my seat for each episode. This show made many laugh plenty of times, and although the show didn't manage to make me cry, i was still VERY sympathetic to the characters as they dealt with hardships. However, what made this show so enjoyable was the suspense and the intriguing story that gave birth to it. Steins;Gate made me actually care about what happened in the plot, and made me want to see everything work out for Okabe.
It doesn't matter what kind if show you think you like. You will love this one. This show wasn't perfect. But it was pretty damn close. It had almost everything you could ask for in an anime without overdoing anything. Action, drama, comedy, suspense, oh god suspense! I feel kind of guilty for not giving this anime a 10. I have been changing my mind over and over on whether or not it should be. I decided since that because there was a small bit of doubt, I would give it a 9. Perhaps in another worldline, myanimelist allows the use of decimals in user reviews. Howeverm in this world line they don't, so I will have to leave this anime with a "mere" 9. If I could though, I would give it a 9.5.
Fantastic. A show that will keep you on the edge of your seat while your brain fries like an omelette. A must watch for everyone.
+ Brilliant story
+ Concept and use of time travel actually works
+ Greatest opening song ever
+ Suspenseful as f**k
- Minor flaws in character development and art
- Some minor, barely significant plot holes are left unanswered
If you liked Steins;Gate, watch...
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica:
It's hard to get too into why they are similar without spoilers, but trust me... both of these shows are brilliant and can be extremely similar at times when it comes to edge of your seat excitement in a dark form.
Clannad After Story:
If you enjoyed the romantic aspect of Steins;Gate, do not hesitate to watch Clannad. Regardless of what you like, I recommend Clannad, but there were definite similarities between these shows in terms of the tragic romance department.
Who knew physics, that story boring as hell taught by our high school fat teacher would be so cool?
No, my little friends, I do not hate physics. In fact, quite the contrary: I have always been fascinated by the crazy theories that modern physics has brought us, especially in the areas of Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology. It was due to this personal interest that led me to seek Steins; Gate. Incidentally, let us say in passing, with great delay. Another one joined the list "Animes that should have watched before."
The major plot of the anime is nothing less than the big taboo popularized by
Einstein: Time travel. Yes, for those who are unaware of it or find it funny, time travel is theoretically possible, we just do not have such technology. Yet. Perhaps this is one of the most fascinating things in the anime.
The story of Steins; Gate takes place in a laboratory Akihabara, having as protagonists physicists Rintaro Okabe, the self-proclaimed Mad Scientist Houin Kyoma and Makise Kurisu, a young prodigy who is in japan passing.
We have as great antagonist anime none other than the SERN! Yes, you've heard? The SERN, or European Organization for Nuclear Research does exist. It is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, famous for having developed the LHC in 2007, an instrument that would try to collide particles at the speed of light, much feared by their risk of eventual generation of a Black Hole, which once created would expand indefinitely to suck our planet and everything in it orbits.
Warning them of the forehand: you will find the beginning of the anime a little confusing. But do not worry, it's normal. A tip that I give you here is simple: do not worry about understanding the story in the first episode, but try to remember the details displayed on it, because later they will be resumed.
With 24 episodes, the anime is divided into two parts: the first, in which the pair of scientists, together with team mates from the laboratory is focused on the research and development methods of time travel, very light and funny, practically a Slice of Life of a crazy guy doing scientific experiments. Incidentally, here's one of the great successes of the anime: Steins; Gate can have a really clever comedy and very good, without having to resort to clichés resources like little songs, beatings, moe and other inductive methods to laughter. In the second part of the anime it changes dramatically: turns into drama, become sad and full of action and suspense at the same time.
If you've seen the movie The Butterfly Effect, will definitely familiarize yourself with the second part, since the anime also addresses, in a much more evidently that part of physics belonging to Chaos Theory. And it would be impossible not to talk. It's practically a consequentialist logic: changing certain fact already accomplished generates thus a Butterfly Effect.
Steins; Gate is an anime for those seeking thrills: is an anime to laugh, cry and even gasp with certain events that happen throughout the episodes.
Do not miss it.
*Sorry for my bad english, since it is not my native language.*
Time travel is an overwhelmingly, infamously difficult concept to build a work of fiction around, as many stories centered around the idea can't help but eventually succumb to a vicious cycle of increasingly-obvious plot holes. You rarely see a work of this sort that's not only able to logically explain its world, characters and conclusions, but also able to make the viewing of such a winding, complex narrative clear, concise and, most importantly, enjoyable. It's just so easy to either fall into the trap of creating a time paradox or to fill your story with so much scientific exposition that the characters and pacing suffer
because of it. However, every once in a while a story is created that somehow manages to strike a wonderful balance between storytelling and scientific logic, therefore producing an intelligent, mind-bending thriller with lovable, exceptional characters to attach to along the complex journey. Despite some minor flaws that hold it back from true excellence, Steins;Gate, studio White Fox's 2011 anime adaptation, is once such occasion.
Our story takes place in modern day Akihabara, Japan, focusing on the life of Okabe Rintarou, or, as he would prefer, self-proclaimed mad scientist Hououin Kyouma, an insanely eccentric 18-year-old college student with a flair for the dramatic. He spends his days alongside his childhood friends, the adorable, innocent Shiina Mayuri and the ever-sarcastic Itaru Hashida (Daru, as he's called), as he works to brainstorm new gadgets and gizmos in hopes of defeating what he refers to as "the Organization", a group that may or may not exist and that he believes is always conspiring against him in his various scientific exploits. His main interest, however, has always been the concept of time travel and the adventures of the enigmatic time traveler John Titor, a man who claims to have come from the future but only appears on internet chat forums. This leads him and his friends to meet Makise Kurisu, a 17-year-old prodigy scientist from America who, when giving a lecture at his university, persuasively argues against the concepts of time travel, claiming it to be scientifically impossible. The two argue back-and-forth on the topic for days as they become more acquainted with each other, but all debate gets thrown to the wayside when the unthinkable happens: through the use of a microwave and a cell phone, Okabe and his friends inadvertently discover time travel. Together they work to elaborate on their discoveries while simultaneously attempting to help improve their friends' lives by sending text messages back in time, thereby changing the present for what they assume to be the better.
That's as far as I'm willing to go with a general plot synopsis without giving anything away. If the story seems complex, that's because it is, especially once you add in the other significant supporting characters like the mysterious Moeka Kiryu and, my personal favorite, the energetic Suzuha Amane. However, it's never once unintentionally overwhelming, and that is a testament to one of this show's major strengths: the characters.
You'd be hard pressed to find another cast that feels as real and lovable as this one that didn't come from a show with Bebop in its title. Okabe in particular is one of the most fascinating protagonists you'll witness within the anime medium, beginning the show as a hilarious, clumsy goof and slowly transitioning into a more serious, hardened youth to match the narrative's increasingly dark tone and events. Yet through all the hardship he struggles through, he never loses his charisma, effectively keeping his eccentric personality intact while allowing him to mature. His growth is subtle, complete and matches the show's progression perfectly without sacrificing the initial identity of the character that allows you to grow so attached to him from the very first episode. As far as anime protagonists go, it's tough to name one as unique and likable as him.
That's only the tip of the iceberg, though; Steins;Gate wouldn't be the show that it is without the incredible supporting cast that it creates, nearly all of them experiencing a similarly effective growth to Okabe's. While there are varying degrees of success here, almost everyone goes through a quality coming-of-age arc in some sense, most notably Makise Kurisu. Her role as a foil to Okabe's strangeness is needed early on as she's the one who is able to explain the scientific jargon concisely without losing the attention of the viewer. Not only that, but, as she's the most "normal" one among the main cast (and I use that term lightly), a lot of the comedic relief relies on her reactions or responses, and she suits this role perfectly while providing enough wit of her own to add to the humor even further. She could have been a boring, dry character used for nothing but exposition, but instead she shines through as one of the main strengths of the show, almost stealing the spotlight from Okabe when it's all said and done.
Makise and Okabe are the headliners that drive the show for the duration, but that's not to say the others don't serve their roles admirably. Daru is a sarcastic, somewhat-perverted hacker, not exactly an original for the "best friend" archetype, but he's consistently quick and witty and plays a role in the plot that makes him more than just comedic relief by the end. Suzuha is an immediately likable and compelling presence whose secrets are extremely satisfying to unravel, becoming arguably the most useful supporting character by the show's end, not to mention the coolest. Moeka may seem off-putting at first, but she plays a huge role in the plot's progression and her backstory is eerily gripping. And Mayuri is, quite simply, the heart of the show who is quintessential for the plot's progression and the motivation of our protagonists. Plus, if you don't think she's one the most adorable characters ever put to animation, I honestly don't know what to tell you.
Unfortunately, not everyone's a winner. Two of the side characters, Ruka Urushibara and Rumiho Akiha (Faris) initially are decent comic relief, providing a temporary break from the dry wit in favor of some more overt moments (one running joke involving Ruka is particularly absurd, and therefore fits perfectly). But when the story starts getting really serious starting in the second half of the show, their inclusion transforms from passable comedy into unforgivable filler that completely halts the story's progression. Unlike the other side characters who get their own arcs and backstories, Ruka and Rumiho's past and present are pretty much irrelevant to the overall story, and while Ruka is likable enough (if a tad pathetic), Rumiho is downright annoying and completely uninteresting. There are two episodes, 17 and 18, that focus solely on Okabe's relationships with these two characters, and it's just so boring to watch. The show was finally getting extremely intense, keeping me on the edge of my seat, but then it abruptly stops for 45 minutes to shed light on characters that don't matter and who I don't care about. Considering how smoothly the show could have escalated towards its impressive finale, I find these two episodes to be entirely unnecessary and personally believe they really damaged the pacing of the show.
While we're on the topic of pacing, that's something that Steins;Gate struggles with throughout its duration, not just in the middle of its second half. The first half of the show works well for growing the characters, explaining the scientific concepts and foreshadowing future events. In fact, after re-watching the series multiple times, I've concluded that this show might just have the best, most subtle foreshadowing that I've ever seen from any story, not just in anime. But as good as the world building and the set up for the second half are, that doesn't change the fact that really nothing much of significant interest occurs within the first 11 episodes outside of the discovery of time travel. Episode 12 hits and changes everything, but that's still asking quite a bit from the viewer, as that's half the show down the drain before the first major plot twist. To clarify, the first half of the show is in no way bad; the characters are goofy fun which sets them up well for more serious progression, the dialogue is consistently hilarious (seriously, this is probably the only anime to ever make me laugh out loud), and the concepts, while very intellectual, remain interesting and easy to keep up with. I just think the show could have gotten to episode 12's bombshell a bit sooner, which, again, calls into question the inclusion of Rumiho and Ruka, as they both take up significant time in the first half of the show as well.
That being said, the plot's brilliance still more than shines through despite the pacing issues. I mentioned at the beginning that it's rare to find a time travel oriented story with no plot holes to speak of, but I certainly couldn't find any here from start to finish. Furthermore, they don't take liberties with the established logic or throw in any random events to achieve this impressive feat. Like I said before, the foreshadowing in the first half of the show is incredible; it's present enough so that guessing the events is plausible, but subtle enough to ensure that almost nobody will, and that's a very, very difficult thing to do and where many other shows have faltered. The excellent dialogue, as well as the aforementioned characters that speak it, accomplishes another daunting task: explaining the scientific reasoning behind the concepts of time travel without bogging down the plot in exposition. I was never bored or overwhelmed, only more invested in the world and concepts that the characters were exploring. Furthermore, adding another layer of depth to the plot, the theories at play here actually exist in the real world. Seriously, you could go Google anything found in the story and you'd be reading about it for days. Taking those heavy concepts and condensing them down so that the average viewer can simply comprehend them is hard enough, but working it into an excellent narrative seems almost impossible. The fact that Steins;Gate pulled this off so elegantly is a testament to the excellent writing. Oh yeah, and on top of all of that intelligence, the show is absolutely hilarious, which strikes a perfect initial tone between serious and comedic, evolving naturally along with the events and characters.
In terms of production value, the show really isn't anything special, but it also doesn't really need to be. Despite including strikingly original art for the character designs, everything else is muddled in less exciting, if more realistic grays and browns. This would be much more of a problem if this were an action show or if it needed to display flashy animation, but the story and characters don't lend themselves to that. There are occasional moments where something more happens on screen, such as the flashing of a timer or the electricity emitted from the microwave, which sort of make you wish they had put more effort into the character animations themselves in order to further envelope you in this world. But as it stands, the animation is passable, doing its job and occasionally a bit more.
The same can't really be said for the soundtrack, although you really can't say much about the soundtrack whatsoever seeing as it rarely pops up. The occasional background tune or lament to play during a darker scene works to create ambiance, but there's nothing here that you're going to be putting on your iPod anytime soon. I wish there had been a bit more here, actually. Steins;Gate already has the ability to make you emotional, but those scenes could have been punctuated even more with a truly mesmerizing soundtrack. But alas, despite disappointing a bit, the soundtrack does its job.
A quick mention about the opening song, however: there are many openings that I treasure and that get me excited to watch a show, but "Hacking to the Gate" is easily in the top five of all time. It's almost as if the entire animation and soundtrack budget went towards creating this gorgeous two-minute introduction, and I'm certainly not complaining. The vocals are beautiful, the animation is fluid, and there's very good symbolism within it. And yes, there's even a bit of foreshadowing. Seriously, I usually skip an intro, but I never once did here. In fact, I occasionally rewound to take another listen.
Steins;Gate is a rare show, not only because it's an anime involving time travel, but it's a time travel story that's so masterfully written. The characters, especially Okabe and Makise, are just to die for, and the tone escalates naturally and effectively, transforming from happy and goofy to dark and serious. But it never sacrificed the initial integrity of its characters in order to accomplish this task. The foreshadowing was mind-blowingly well executed, and it never devolved into a show about scientific exposition; it always kept its heart, and that's why the second half was so emotionally effective. It's just a shame that some characters felt superfluous and the pacing just wasn't up to par at points, as well as the lackluster production values. Even with those flaws, though, Steins;Gate is a show that everyone should watch, even non-anime fans. It's easily in my top ten anime ever created, and while it can't quite be considered a masterwork, it's definitely something special.