Upon writing this review, I believe the series has delivered pretty well and is likely to change in a good way.
I had looked forward to this story simply because of the plot summary. Time travel was always mysterious and unproven so it allows the writers to roll with some imagination while at the same time adding logic and even modern events to the equation. Seeing a female and male lead I always hope for some sexual tension between the protagonists. I haven't played the visual novel and do not appreciate spoilers without warning so hopefully I can write this without giving away too much.
So far the plot has been very captivating with touches of light moments. There is a good balance to keep the viewer entertained. The beginning I seemed a little slow and therefore may lose some viewers because there is more focus on the characters themselves, but the plot picks up shortly after.
Art - 8
The characters weren't detailed as much as I would have liked but some of the scenery and imagery made up for it. I will say though, I did like the emotions conveyed in the characters' faces. Since the series contains time travel you can guess where the animators had to put the bulk of their efforts.
Sound - 8
I love the OP. I find myself listening to the opening credits. It matches the series visually and as you continue to watch the series unfold you'll find that it fits the mood as well. I didn't really notice the background music too much but it didn't distract from the story. ED is okay for now but it didn't strike anything special for me. Just my opinion. Who knows, it might grow on me later.
Character voices: I hear they are the same as the Visual Novel (Did not play game) so it's not like people should complain about so-and-so's voice being better. It was nice to hear Asami Imai again. I thought Mamoru's voice was perfect for his character.
Character - 9
I would have given this a 10 since there is very good character development and interaction. Introducing them in the beginning the way they did allowed me to invest in each character differently but some characters could have been given more background; others, less. Being 24 eps this season, I'm satisfied so long as the show continues to further unfold the characters.
Mamoru Miyano's voice is highly recognizable. His character....grew on me as the series went on and continues to grow.
Maybe some might not like the fact that things aren't spelled out for them but I like this series for that reason. So far I'm loving this series especially because it is both thought-provoking and entertaining. I think it's doing a good job putting us the audience, in the main character's shoes. I love the discussions and each episode has left me wanting more. I hope this anticipation continues until the very end.
Overall - 9
For a series that isn't finished yet I'm giving a fairly high rating. Based on where it is now, I'm anticipating for the series to pick up even more so from this point on.
What Steins;Gate does can accurately be described as pandering. It panders with such gusto that the anime has been confused with a masterpiece by a fanbase that is spellbound by being spoon-fed memes and eccentricity. People have heaped so much praise for this show that the glaring blemishes of its characters and pacing are neglected from acknowledgement. Time to attempt to change that.
The story's protagonist has about as much trouble picking a name as this show has picking a genre. Okabe "Hououin Kyouma, Okarin" Rintarou is a supposed mad scientist who operates in a quaint apartment, which he so endearingly calls a lab. Mayuri Shiina,
his personal sidekick, mindless husk, and jailbait also works with him, along with his fat hacker, otaku, and token pervert, Itaru Hashida. They call it a lab, the viewer can call it purgatory, because the next eleven episodes consist of listening to these characters talking about noodles, bananas, anime, and internet memes.
Anyway, somewhere amid mind-numbing dialogue, the maid cafe replete with cat ears, perverted jokes, and other hijinks, they invent a way to send text messages through time and change the present. Finally, what follows is the science-fiction thriller that was teased by the first episode. Still, this is time travel, so you basically know what to expect from the story: something that is relatively pointless as a whole, because time travel means no development is permanent. Unfortunately, while the pace does recover and redeem itself from its slog of a first half, its characters and setting do not.
Okabe, Mayuri, Itaru, and later Kurisu, a blatant tsundere, are the most transparent characters you can find in anime, not just because they're generic, but because they exist solely to milk the audience. Okabe is the least offensive of them, but for half the show he doesn't act like a human. He is a walking weird-machine, there only to bring a contrasting spirit to the otherwise extremely monotonous cast of characters. 50% of all dialogue scenes can be summarized in three steps: Okabe says something whimsical, Kirisu protests him, then Itaru puts him down sarcastically. More distracting than this obvious formula is that Okabe is really only there because anime fans tend to view themselves as eccentric and awkward geniuses, themselves. Hence, every time Okabe gives a villainous laugh or says something extraordinary it's because absolutely nothing else is interesting about the scene, not as a result of an emotion or thought like a human being.
Speaking of humans, why didn't one write a personality for Mayuri? Oh, because she's only there to be cute for the audience and to be harassed by Itaru, who's the most unforgivable sin of Steins;Gate and the sole reason the dialogue scenes are so unbearable. The writers must have gone down the checklist of demographics and saw they were missing a character who spouted memes, so they threw in a fat guy who just happens to be tech-savvy. Not only that, but Itaru's a pervert, as well. How convenient to have so many comedic cliches in one character! Unfortunately, fat, try-hard, obsessed virgins are extremely difficult to like, and comedy doesn't work when you've already heard the punch-lines, kind of like how tsunderes don't work when that's their only trait. Kurisu, who's a red-headed mate for Okabe, plays hard to get for the entire show until she decides not to anymore. Anime fans enjoy when an elusive, intriguing mate succumbs to their geeky charms, right? Her eyes are as empty as her character.
Did I say empty eyes? Well, that's the trademark art style of this masterpiece. Since the characters are empty, anyway, the artist apparently decided to give everyone in the show empty, soul-less features. Naturally, this extends to the colors of the show, which have all received the Harry-Potter treatment. That is, every last bit of color and energy has been siphoned from the show to make it more stylish. Everything is a pale blue or bright yellow, which gives Steins;Gate a presence of light and darkness, which works well when paired with the unique, doll-like appearance of many of the characters, but also makes things pretty drab to look at, too.
So, are you a nerd who needs to live vicariously through characters who do nothing but try to ingratiate themselves to you? Perhaps you're thinking time travel is cool, but you'd really like it in the form of a slice-of-life anime? Maybe you're tired of characters who have reasons for what they do, instead of just doing things because they seems wacky? Or maybe you want characters to talk nerdy to you because your anime club's been extra stinky and pretty full of hormones lately? Well, Steins;Gate might be for you. After all, it's certainly trying to be!
Ah~ Okarin! Tuturu!
Okay, first time I'm writing a review, even though this series is far from over.
As of writing this, I just finished the sixth episode.
Outstanding, this story is just awesome! Set in modern days, but also concerning time-travelling, something that might never be possible (as it would probably create a lot of paradoxes), explained in a very good way.
Not perfect, but certainly very good. It really suits the series well.
The opening theme is catchy, but there're not a lot of other sounds to be found...
Rintarou; the world's hippest 'mad scientist' is very well portrayed throughout the episodes that I've
watched thus far, not really the 'stereotype' I was expecting, which is good!
Mayuri; THIS. IS. IT. She's almost the exact opposite of Okarin, though they're very close friends. An airhead, but very cute... stuff... you know... She's awesome.
Kurisu(tina); she's the smartest one, a real 'prodigy', if you will. Also very honest.
Itaru; SUPA HACKA, 'nuff said.
If you are slightly intelligent (if you can open the fridge without having to consult a neighbour), I recommend you to watch this, I'm certainly enjoying it.
Not everything is perfect, though this is close, in my opinion...
Before I begin, I should make it clear that this review is not meant to promote an anime to those who haven't seen it, but rather, it is meant to evaluate a great title. Thus, be warned that there will be significant spoilers in this review, so do not read if you haven't already completed the show. With that out of the way, let's get started.
Who doesn't love the concept of time travel? Many scientists have been fascinated by the idea, yet there hasn't been any real progress on this field in today's world. Not only is our technology still lacking from accomplishing this feat,
but ethical consequences also remind some of us why time travel may not be "ideal". Putting this in perspective, think about what would happen if you were suddenly transferred into a future twenty years from now. You may meet your future child or grandchild and you wouldn't even know it. However, by meeting them in this way, you're also changing history itself, and that could have some serious implications on the present world you live in. Steins;Gate explores the interesting concept of time travel by taking the form of a psychological thriller.
Story -- 9/10
Basically, we have a group of college students who have discovered a way to send text messages to the past, and in doing so, they can alter the world. This ties back to what I talked about earlier -- should time travel really be attempted? Well, the group experienced first-hand just how incredibly wrong things went after they tempered with time. For each message they sent back to the past, the world around them has slowly, but gradually, changed. All of this eventually led to a secret organization named SERN, catching on to the group's experiments, and brutally murdering one of the members. From there on, the story took a serious turn, shifting genre from a normal Sci-fi/Slice of Life to a Thriller. The protagonist of the story is ultimately caught in a dilemma, between saving the life of his childhood friend (who was killed by an agent of SERN) and saving his new love interest from dying. For the majority of the second half, the protagonist travels back in time repeatedly in attempt to save his friend from dying. It is also in this second half that we can clearly feel the protagonist's pain and suffering, since he is the only character who retains any memory after travelling from one world line to the next. The plot has successfully constructed a "believable" thriller without too many inconsistencies, and it is subjectively very entertaining all the way.
Character -- 10/10
In my opinion, almost all characters in Steins;Gate are either well developed or just plainly likable. In fact, Steins;Gate wouldn`t be half the show it is without these characters. The group of college students I was talking about earlier get together in a shop keeper's basement, which sort of serves as their secret lab. Here's a quick run down of the lab members.
Okabe Rintarou- He is the protagonist of the story and the founder of the lab (which really isn't what you would call a lab... but I digress). Love him or hate him, you will definitely remember the guy. He introduces himself as a mad scientist and calls himself Hououin Kyouma (he actually prefers others to address him as Hououin or Kyouma, rather than his real name). From talking to himself on his own cellphone to giving other characters strange nicknames, you will probably think he's an idiot. Personally, I think he's part of the reason why this show works well; since the overall tone in Steins;Gate is dark, his character manages to provide enough comic relief to balance the mood. In a nutshell, this man is usually a goofball, and only becomes serious when it counts.
Makise Kurisu- She is the main heroine of the story and the "assistant" to Okabe. She often serves as the voice of reason to Okabe's whimsical decisions. Her interactions with Okabe are arguably some of the most enjoyable moments in Steins;Gate. On the surface, they would constantly bicker, but it's clear from the start that they have strong chemistry together. And as one would expect, she becomes the main love interest for Okabe. Thanks to Okabe, she has at least 8 unique nicknames -- the most common one being Christina. She can be best described as calm and intelligent. Also, she's one of the few tsundere characters I actually love with a passion.
Shina Mayuri- The other central heroine of the story. In a sense, her role in the story is just as significant as Kurisu's, since the actual thriller part of the story doesn't begin until she has been killed. She is the childhood friend of Okabe, and has an unusually cheerful demeanor. She often refers to Okabe as Okarin, and calls herself Mayushii.
Hashida Itaru- Usually referred to as Daru, he is the super haker, er, hacker, in the group, who does most of the technical works (e.g., hacking into SERN's system and learning about their secrets). When he's not busy hacking, he is a perverted otaku who likes to make dirty jokes in the presence of girls.
Akiha Rumiho- Normally addressed as Ferris, she works as a maid and has a habit of ending all her sentences with "nyan". Essentially moe personified.
Amane Suzuha- From the beginning we can easily see that she knows a great deal about time travel. It is later confirmed she is John Titor, the enigmatic time traveller who told Okabe to save the world. She feels insecure when around people, probably due to the fact that she lives in a dystopian future governed by SERN.
Kiryuu Moeka- A girl who is pretty much mute, constantly relying on text messages as her primary method of communication. In reality, she works as a spy for SERN.
Urushibara Ruka- An extremely effeminate boy who deeply respects Okabe. He wishes he was born as a girl instead, because other guys often made fun of his looks.
In short, all these characters have their own quirks and serve their purpose well in the story. Definitely one of Steins;Gate's strongest points.
Art -- 8/10
Animated by the relatively new Studio, White Fox (the producer of another great work, Katanagatari), the animation style is pleasing to the eyes for the most part. It isn't comparable to high budget productions of Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works, and Ufotable by any means, but it does serve its purpose for a thriller. The animation is pretty consistent for characters and backgrounds, with backgrounds being more pronounced. Character designs are sufficient enough for the average viewer to stay interested. Last but not least, I should mention that the visuals in Steins;Gate have somber colours, which work well in reminding the viewer that this is a Mystery/Thriller title with an underlying dark tone.
Sound -- 8/10
The Opening song, along with two other insert songs, are done by Kanako Itou, who, in my opinion, is a talented artist. The songs are pretty catchy and memorable. The original soundtracks are not especially awesome, but they do contain some great pieces, such as "Gate of Steiner", "Christina", and "Farewell". However, I can say that most of the soundtracks fit the animated scenes well, and effectively, accentuating the mood of those scenes. Moreover, the voice actors did a great job on voicing their respective characters. Miyano Mamoru, well known for his role as Yagami Raito in Death Note, did another fantastic job in his role as Okabe; his mad scientist laughs are spot on and effectively captures Okabe's [playful] insanity. Hanazawa Kana and Seki Tomokazu voiced Mayuri and Daru, respectively; both are experienced voice actor/actress's who excel at bringing out the best emotions in their characters. I have to say I have never heard of Imai Asami before her role as Kurisu, seeing how she isn't exactly a seasoned voice actress. But after her performance as Kurisu, I really think she ought to have more roles in the future, for she has successfully displayed emotions on a level I think only a veteran could have accomplished. Special mention goes to Tamura Yukari, who did a nice job on Suzuha's part. The voice acting is overall consistent and great.
Enjoyment -- 10/10
At this point, you should already know I absolutely enjoyed this show. There aren't many anime out there that have impressed me as much as Steins;Gate did. The first half of the series did well to introduce the characters through witty conversations and dialogues. It's light hearted and comedic at the beginning, then it gradually gets darker as the story approaches its climax. The transition from the light hearted, comedic first half to the more serious, dramatic second half feels smooth and natural. That isn't to say this show has no flaws, because every anime has a flaw in it somewhere. In the case of Steins;Gate, it left a few questions unanswered, along with some very minor issues with the first half's pacing. But that doesn't make it any less enjoyable for me.
Objective Score -- 9/10
Looking at it from an entirely objective standpoint, the imperfect story prevents the series from being a total masterpiece. However, the show's strong characterization, as well as its brilliant plot, more than compensates for the few flaws it possesses.
Subjective Score -- 10/10
If you only look at the overall enjoyability and overlook the minor issues, then it's a freaking perfect anime. If you're a fanboy, then this will probably be a 11/10 for you.
Final verdict? Steins;Gate is a gem among anime. A must-see for any anime fan, especially for those interested in time travel. It is a title to be remembered for many years to come.
Kill me if I do say that this anime was just what I had in mind of -- and so I guess I was hoping for a much better end.
Why an 8? I couldn't make up my mind at what kind of rating I was choosing for such an excellent played out anime. I have watched countless of science-fictional movies and TV documentaries that I think I may be a pro on just what I think is a very complicated plot, turns out to be an easy story line to catch.
I think I've doubted my predictions countless of times with this anime. After hitting off
with the 1st episode of Steins;Gate, I nearly dropped the show just because it was a confusing-messed up episode. I stayed with this anime "on-hold" for the next few months. After months of abandonment, my friend and everybody else started to say Steins;Gate was probably the most extravagant anime out there and I couldn't help myself but to think at how such an anime with such failure to start well be that great to watch. I gave a closer look at the anime's summary again -- "Time travel". That sure brought up everything to me. That word says it out loud and my expectations were laid down at the table and I thought 'I knew it!' Maybe my attachment to the movie, Inception, helped me guide the anime.
A group of guys sending text messages to the past and researching on time travel -- sounds like a typical sci-fi to me. What's amusing is how the anime plays out the scientific explanations but still contains a spec of realism in fate and destiny. Combining both of fate and science together is a very creative act that made the anime more puzzling. My use for some science predictions and some of its main components helped me most of the time to get to know the anime more. Likely an example of this is the Grandfather Paradox that I would always see in Discovery or in some sites. I'm a bit of a hype fan for complicated materials and my curiosity does build up as the story goes deeper. And knowing these kinds of paradox most especially in its importance in space and time helped me get to know this anime easier and without me knowing it I started to have great expectations and predictions for this anime's ending. An anime that made great dramatic outcomes needs a dramatic finish.
What do I say? The messy, blurry, magnifying, shaking animation (most especially in the Opening), made the art and the anime well-connected. There are lots of focused angles in the anime that just feels great for a video editor to edit. No problem with the art. It's plain simple backdrop that looked like the city we live nowadays already says a message. Scientists 'were' making theories and logical explanations on time travelling way beyond the 21st century started. They could have started creating a time machine already. You don't know. it could happen.. Anyway, I think the animation itself screamed 'science-fiction' to me.
The twitching sounds of the opening, the great band, the great singer's voice -- it was pure heaven. The opening made it clear that this wasn't just your normal anime. The ending song was more calm and I think it was great. After a 24-minute episode of pure suspense and mystery, the anime ends up with a warm music that tops off the episode like a cherry. The ending song was perfect for cliff-hangers -- that's what I think.
To be able to make an anime with this logical plot, a boring character has to be out of the picture. There was never a dull moment in Steins;Gate because the characters will either give you a laugh or let you know a personality you haven't discovered yet. I've known quite a well-rounded set of characters and Okabe Rintarou is one of them. Being an influential man who excels in his league of expertise and at the same time being able to instill a sense of humor, care and responsibility was one of the main reasons this anime was worth watching for.
My first impression of Steins;Gate during the 1st episode was very messy. And by the time the ending went by I had a "much" bigger expectation for such an excellent anime who has been making great cliff-hangers and scenes in every episode. I'm guessing an ending that would have left me hanging at the end of a sci-fi anime could have been a perfect ending for such a perfect plot. I just thought of how very "predictable" the ending for this anime was as it concerns more likely on time travel. A very predictable ending -- I mean we all know some Time travelling movies goes back in time because something horrible went wrong. It's a very typical "time travelling ending" and I knew it was going to happen. I mean almost all of the Time Travelling movies/shows have the same ending or plot going on. It just didn't bring anything new to the "time travelling" plot and especially not anything new to the science fictional types of show. More likely an ending like "Inception" that ends with your own intuition on what you think could have happened or a new type of information that could bring a much intelligent surprise. An ending that is more logical than the plot itself. But over-all, the anime was worth for the keeps.
Watching a sci-fi anime in my part is kind of a shock since I'm not that easily impressed. Steins;Gate showed me a perfect example of what seem like a logical plot can exhibit dramatic scenes and many turn of events. El Psy Congroo. Yup, I definitely miss that.
“He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.”
Time is everyone’s enemy – an unsaid truth that all learn one way or another. Whether that be through a lost love, an important event or just something you wish to savour forever, they will all eventually fade away and leave only an empty hole in their place. A harsh reality that stings the soul, begging the question to what meaning is there to love or desire anything in life if it cannot stay with us? Even memories and echoes of the past cannot remain unchanged so long as
the hands of time continue to turn. The present akin to a leaf floating atop of a river; it moves along with the flow from past to future, unwilling to break the current. After all, what could a fragile thing like that do to go against the natural progression we know of as time? It’s only logical that one would call it theoretically impossible… except theories are nothing more than words: accept what you’ve seen!
Steins;Gate is often touted as one of the most complex and engaging time-travel stories in recent memory; a sci-fi thrill ride that holds at its core, a tender tale of love and friendship that touched me. Originally a visual novel highly praised for the attention to detail, branching plot points and masterful utilization for the style of gameplay, the anime adaptation by Studio White Fox carefully blended these aspects from the game into a compelling plot traversing several timelines for a memorable experience unlike no other. Revolving around a makeshift lab group that serendipitously wound up inventing their own time machine, they explore the idea of “D-Mails”: messages sent back in time with the potential to change the world around them. But curiosity gets the better of them and they delve too far into the realm of time-travel, taking viewers on an enthralling journey filled with intrigue and upset. This journey starts with a more light-hearted approach to introducing characters and concepts that come with some pacing issues, before the series takes a drastic change in tone and stakes, turning into the emotional rollercoaster that makes Steins;Gate a masterpiece in the eyes of many. The consensus is this shift marks the point where the show “getz guud”, but what’s often left unrecognized is how essential the slower, witty earlier episodes were for the weight and tension to have such a profound effect.
Set amidst the sun-beaten city of Akihabara lies one self-proclaimed “mad scientist” Rintaro Okabe, the man with the plan to thwart malevolent strategies of the elite, an underground freedom fighter striving for justice. A seminar on time-travel has caught his eye, but only comes to find out it’s nothing more than plagiarism. After causing a ruckus and leaves he stumbles across something much more alarming – the dead body of a young auburn-haired girl. Disheartened he texts the news to a friend, and with the click of a button, the world around him changes in an instant. At first glance it all appears identical, but soon learns his memories do not quite match with his surroundings, most notably Makise Kurisu, the woman he thought dead appears before him alive and well. What follows is an uncanny chain of events that bring Okabe and Kurisu together as the duo along with the rest of the Future Gadget Laboratory seek to understand how such events came to be; the science behind it all. During this time the entire cast is introduced in some way, with adequate time spent fleshing out characters.
Okabe shines as star of the show, bombarding scenes with several bursts of ridiculous theories and conspiracies of a supposed “Organization”, even referring himself in third-person as “Hououin Kyouma”. The scientist is anything but lucid, coming off an enigma equipped with such comical prose that has all around him in awe. Or bewilderment. Nevertheless he keeps the level of intrigue at constant max. Next to him is fellow scientist Makise Kurisu, except she legitimately warrants the title as a genius neuroscience researcher, famous for many accomplishments at such a young age. She’s a firm believer in order and logical reason, making her a perfect opposite for our protagonist and has no problem pointing out Okabe’s bulls**t. Unfortunately for her, she’s also a tsundere – a trait Okabe often teases her for. The dynamic between the polarizing duo is always creative, playful and especially a treat when attempting to explain technobabble and scientific lingo. Makise acts as the level-headed, analytical shadow to back up Okabe’s imaginative and expressive mind, with the plot being a perfect environment to develop a relationship between the two over the course of the show.
Other members of the Future Gadget Laboratory consist of Mayuri, Okabe’s childhood friend and the most upbeat of the group, with her optimistic and somewhat dim-witted nature has her regulated to keeping team morale high. However, she becomes an essential part of the plot progression in the latter half. Daru, the sarcastic hacker of the group and a colossal pervert, but with a preference to a subtler approach, allowing for more glimpses of his good nature to shine past his vulgar behaviour. Suzuha, a tomboy that started working near the lab and is drawn towards their work, but constantly shows to know more that she should about the group. There’s also a woman that only communicates through text message, a maid with a knack for cat noises, a man with the mannerisms and voice of a woman… yet still a dude, etc. Steins;Gate happens to have a cast full of intriguing, quirky personalities with constant chemistry between them and a distinct script to match that keep the slow parts of the story worth the investment.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the writing in Steins;Gate comes from its concept of time travel and how it’s integrated in the narrative. Most time travel stories never go in depth with any rules or limitations that come when tampering with time; rather only use the idea as basic plot devices, but this is when Steins;Gate breaks from the crowd – it aims to give viewers a solid understanding of what is and isn’t possible, along with effects that come as a result of hopping through “World Lines”: divergent worlds that one can move to and from through time intervention. This is shown through using D-Mails to change Okabe’s reality; the only one with the ability to carry memories across when the timeline is altered, permitting viewers to witness the phenomena from his perspective; a fresh take on the common butterfly effect. It’s a unique, believable perception on the subject which works coherently with the narrative for the most part, giving the series an edge over other time-related shows. However Steins;Gate never gets bogged down in theories or tries to explain itself to the over-analytical; les not forget the original time machine is basically a phone connected to a microwave. It understands the strengths of being a piece of entertainment, effectively balancing hard science with fun hijinks. What I also find impressive is how the theories presented evolve proportionately as experiments are performed, to where the discoveries made are ground-breaking and immensely sought after by powerful organizations. Grasping the severity of their situation leads them to ponder how and if they should continue research, questioning what’s more important to them as a group – touching on topics I never expected from a show so deceptively comedic.
Sadly, as everyone who’s finished the series knows, this deception was not meant to last. Looking back, there’s a significant amount of foreshadowing sprinkled across this period, that something drastic was bound to happen. Something was coming, and no matter what choices were made, they were not going to stop what is now destiny…
“My watch has stopped.”
This is the point when Steins;Gate shows its hand, moving from the funny, well-written slice of life we knew to a darker, intense thriller that never looks back; as if the series took a shot of adrenaline where the rush of exhilaration is almost palpable. It still has its fair share of humour present, but now the direction of the show is clear; Okabe desperately trying to escape from fate’s clutches after countless time leaps all lead to the same predicament followed with the same result: death. Like the watch and hourglass show, the time for fun and games is over. The conflict of “Man vs Time” conveyed here was excellent, with time serving as an unforgiving, ubiquitous antagonist and a cruel reminder of the dangers that come from meddling with multiple world lines. Tension and stakes are raised to the heavens as Okabe must try and reverse all the effects of past D-Mails sent in order to return to the original timeline in a nail-biting thrill-ride if he ever wishes to reach happiness, whilst doing so allows for a greater understanding behind each character’s motivation for their personally sent D-Mail. Unfortunately some subplots, most notably the romance-driven ones with side characters can come of flat, tedious and even ludicrous, falling victim to common visual novel tropes that do more harm than good here. However Steins;Gate still holds up throughout thanks to Okabe and the tribulations he faces.
It’s easy to get lost in the world of Steins;Gate – the mostly smart plot, eccentric cast, striking visuals, beautiful music, etc. are all great pieces to the series on their own, but what makes the show so incredible in the eyes of many is thanks to Okabe. While originally established as an off-the-wall character whose oddities can come off strange or jarring, his actions and thoughtfulness keep him from becoming a mere walking ball of cringe and more like an actual human. But it’s not until Okabe finds himself in a never-ending cycle of despair where his outlandish persona is revealed to be just a mask; a façade to hide his true feelings. The incredibly wacky mad scientist is still a part of his essence, but that’s all it is, a singular part of the whole Okabe. His moments of compassion beforehand are only glimpses to his true self, and it’s not until his smokescreen is blown away when we are left with a near-painfully kind individual that longs to form bonds with others. At the heart lies a lonely man who finds difficulty in expressing himself, and when push comes to shove he can be deadly serious and sombre. The juxtaposition between his former idiosyncratic self and this broken man now is so brilliantly written that watching it all unfold hits hard, coming across a lot more empathetic and, dare I say relatable than what most people are comfortable coming to terms with. Pushing him so far down a desolate, agonizing state made him realize his disguise and reminded him what he really cares about most, urging him to rise against adversity and be the hero he needs to be, leaving viewers to experience one of the most suspenseful arcs in all of anime.
When looking at the technical side of Steins;Gate, there’s something alluring with the art used: striking character designs with uncanny, intimidating eyes and stark textures comes off expressive and engaging. Coupled with a high contrast, sterile pallet that adds to sci-fi and mystery elements, often giving a grounded, dreary feel that somehow manages to compliment the numerous antics taking place on screen. Speaking of, there’s a clear understanding of camera placement and shot composition present throughout, almost always feeling as though viewers are in Okabe’s head. The cinematography and lighting is used to maximum effect, never relying on animation to keep the story moving forward. The animation used is solid, but not particularly noteworthy and cannot compete with some of the best animation of its year, though this is never a problem as the overall presentation does a splendid job capturing the bleak setting with muted colour schemes and easily transitions between different atmospheres.
Regarding the sound, Steins;Gate always manages to hit the right notes at the right times. The soundtrack composed of piano pieces that when used consistently helped increase the impact of the emotional and powerful moments, with both “Gate of Steiner” and “Believe Me” standout tracks that were always a pleasure to listen to. But nothing compares to the anime’s opening, “Hacking to the Gate”, an iconic theme with some of the best use of concise animation, symbolism and subtle foreshadowing in recent memory, bound to get even the deaf excited for the show. The ED’s used are also very well done in their own right, but nothing is going to come close to matching the sheer hype of the OP. The voice-acting for both subbed and dubbed versions are outstanding, most notably for the main character, matching the witty dialogue with a magnetic tone and range that is rarely found in the medium. The only issue with the English dub is the slight changes in the script that can negatively impact on the immersion, but with a series like this I highly doubt that would be a problem for most.
Steins;Gate is like a puzzle that slowly and methodically comes together over the course of its run, combining pieces of a great time travel tale with gripping drama to bring us something special, doing so with grand flourish. Looking back there certainly are issues and flaws apparent, but they aren’t enough to stop the wonderful ride Steins;Gate takes you on: a journey filled with all sorts of emotions and intrigue that is nearly unmatched. What started as pure innocuous curiosity ultimately came down to Okabe having to choose between the two people he cares about most where he’s left with an impossible decision, making for an incredibly tragic climax. The ending does cheapen this highpoint and is poorly constructed compared to the rest of the runtime, but personally I feel Okabe and the series in general deserved the kind of conclusion it got – the true end emphasizing that getting what you want always comes with a level of sacrifice, but by enduring such, you have the power the overcome any obstacle in your way.
~ Everyone has Reading Steiner. Even if the worldline changes. Even if the past and the future are rewritten. Your memories remain. You've merely forgotten. All it takes is a push, and you can remember. The memories of those lost three weeks. The memories we made together. "Welcome back, my assistant, Makise Kurisu -- no, Christina." I reach into my pocket and take out the last pin. Nobody knows what the future holds. And that is why, just as this reunion demonstrates, the possibilities are endless. I place this pin in Kurisu's hand. I gently close her hand in mine. And, holding back my tears, I tell her... "This is the choice of Steins Gate." ~
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.
I almost feel bad not liking this anime as much as most people do, since everyone seems so passionate about it, but as an avid fan of science-fiction, I have to say this show's treatment of time-travel is a complete mess. There are so many contradictions, so many wild misunderstandings of real life ideas, and so many moments where I felt like saying, "But hold on a second, why can't you just ...," that I eventually gave up keeping track of the faults, and just pretended like the decisions the characters had to make, and the things they did made sense, and let the emotions
of the show carry me. Because this is truly where it shines. The chemistry between the characters is excellent and it's a pure joy to be in their midst for the while it lasts. So I wonder if by criticizing the sci-fi for its lack of coherence, I'm in a way not taking Steins;Gate for what it is. This is after all a show where CERN is an evil organization creating black holes with the LHC in order to make all of time a communist utopia, and the transfer of huge amounts of data through text messages can be explained by hacking into the LHC and compressing the data using a black hole, which is as absurdly hilarious as it is mysterious.
Even taking it mainly for its characters though, there are some issues, particularly in pacing. The first episode is very confusing, and it doesn't help that the crazy concepts abruptly being introduced come side-by-side with the main character being himself, who for the first half of the show as a joke keeps insisting to everyone he is a mad scientist and talks about paranoid theories he doesn't actually believe. One is left not even sure what to take seriously as for someone unfamiliar with the show, time-travelling is no more believable than conspiracy theories are. After this confusing first episode it then takes about five more before the plot is even established, the ones before mainly being used to set up the characters, and only in episode 13 does the show actually get properly serious. This structure makes sense when one considers the anime is based on a visual novel, and in a way it's admirable that they are seemingly truthful to it, but it does not make for good pacing for an anime. It's too unbalanced. Other than all that, the darkish visuals, and the music do what they are supposed to do.
Concluding, I would call Steins;Gate a fairly above average time-travelling thriller, but mainly for its amusing characters.
Every time that I go to the "recent reviews" section of MAL, there's two things that I'm guaranteed to find. The first is at least one review condemning one of the two seasons of SAO, and the other is at least one review explaining how Steins;Gate is a 10/10 masterpiece that reinvents the meaning of good anime. Funnily enough though, SAO and Steins;Gate have something in common: the reasons that both of them get such an enormous amount of attention is that they either fail or succeed on an extremely superficial level, making SAO a prime target for butchering and Steins;Gate into an object of
worship. Look at the MAL categories: Story, Art, Sound, Character, Enjoyment. Steins;Gate neatly ticks every one of those boxes and happily takes its place as one of the greatest shows of all time for meeting the criteria for what makes up a "good show" on MAL: it has no weak points. SAO takes all the hate because its weak points are obvious: it has poor pacing, poor character focus, obvious plot holes... a washing machine could discern these problems and exploit them. Then along comes Steins;Gate, and it doesn't have these things. It must be good. Now, I'm not here today to disprove this. I noticed a couple of inconsistencies and plot conveniences in Steins;Gate, but nothing that affected my enjoyment of it. The first thing that I look at in a show is not what it doesn't do, it's what it does do. Steins;Gate isn't good because of what it isn't: it's good because of what it is.
So what IS Steins;Gate? To put it simply, it's a well-thought-out cute whacky time-travel story. It's a lot like Doctor Who, actually, but with a little more grounded conflict and intelligent plot design (so like Doctor Who on a good day). If you go in with no expectations you'll be entertained, you'll ooh and ahh, you'll route for the over-the-top characters, and you'll get a nice dose a romance and a disney-esque ending (except more clever). I would have loved to have written a bouncy and satisfied review about how much fun this show was and how other people should get a group together and watch this, but that's not gonna happen. You see, the most important line of that above description was "if you go in with no expectations".
At this point, no one is going in without expectations.
This review is for those who haven't already seen the show. I'm writing this not because I don't think you should watch Steins;Gate, but because when you do I want you to not have to go into it with unrealistic expectations.
This show has had the crap hyped out of it. The MAL community has stuck it in the number 2 spot of all time for scoring, hundreds of thousands of people have favorited it, dozens of 10s reviews are written every day, and people keep on talking about how it "changed their life" or is "the best anime of all time". We've seen what happens when shows get this kind of popularity: a counter-culture arises intent on proving that this fame is unwarranted, finding the most obvious problems with the show and using this to destroy it. Bleach, Fairy Tail, Naruto, Attack on Titan, Sword Art Online: all have risen to astounding heights and all have been met with vicious opposition pointing out that they're full of fillers, or have shallow and cliche characters, or are melodramatic, or are repetitive. Well, Steins;Gate doesn't have these problems. It isn't superficially "bad", it's not entirely unoriginal, and it doesn't take itself very seriously which gives it a huge defense against anyone being nit-picky. There's no flaw you can hone in on. Sure, you can chip away at the edges, but that's not enough to justify writing a scathing review. It also feels like a pretty cool show, which makes people even reluctant to attack it for its tone or for being too sappy. What happens as a result is that we're left with no one espousing anything but praise for Steins;Gate despite the fact that, well...
Well, we'll get back to that. Time to for the review portion.
ART & SOUND
Not particularly relevant. The art is pretty standard aside from the color palette, which consists of a lot of greys, whites and blacks. This felt appropriate for a scientific show and was a nice reflection of how the characters felt about their lives. The opening and ending were both pretty solid, but nothing otherworldly. The OST left absolutely no impression on me, which I suppose means that it at least wasn't jarring.
Breaking up the elements of a story is a terrible way to review it. The story is going to succeed based on how well these elements work together, not how "good" they are on their own.
Steins;Gate is a time-travel story. While I wouldn't call it "groundbreaking", it definitely manages to use the elements of the genre in a way that is fresh and endearing. Steins;Gate uses most of classic elements of time-travel: time paradoxes, various timelines, the relationship between the past, present and future, but it does a really good job of establishing what the rules and limitations of time travel are and how it functions, and then sticking to them. Because it strictly abides by the rules of its own universe, it makes plot revelations related to time-travel very satisfying because you realize that you probably could have figured them out beforehand it you'd put your mind to it. The device used to time-travel in Steins;Gate is a toaster oven (the use of an absurd mundane object makes me think of Doctor Who once again) and it uses just the right about of obvious not-meant-to-be-taken-seriously pseudoscience to make this work. It was also refreshing to find that right off the bat the characters in Steins;Gate weren't trying to invent time travel because there was something they wanted to do or change with it, but instead simply because time travel is really f*cking cool and they wanted to see if they could do it. In addition, instead of just having one mad scientist Steins;Gate understands that science is not usually something that progresses that drastically at the hands of one person: it takes a team of talented and intelligent people to make progress, and it was the endearing dynamics of the Future Gadget Lab and its array of talented and untalented members that oftentimes made the show so enjoyable.
As the story develops, we start to see Steins;Gate make very clever use of its time-travel elements and begins to build a plot that uses many of the small details from its early episodes to make sense. It proves that it's capable of being dramatic and even occasionally a bit dark, but in the end it always comes back to its ridiculous roots and towards the end it shows that it can use its attention to recursive detail to craft some relatively hysterical scenes as well. The characters, with the exception of the main two, are all pretty standard archetypes who exist mainly to further the plot and add to the humor, but they are well-written and the jokes land more often than not. They don't feel forced, and they don't feel recycled even though the bubbly moe girl and the cute, nice, and generally flawless Nagisa-from-Clannad characters are essentially built on the same foundation as ever (along with others, like the romantically unthreatening best friend). The two main characters are original, well-crafted individuals with real depth and personality. They're also adults, which should not be such a big deal but this is anime so unfortunately it is. Both of them are definitely prime examples for standards of character writing, and they easily carry the show, adding a great deal of charisma and much-needed empathy for when the show decides to be dramatic.
But these are all things that have already been said. Everyone talks about this show all the time, and they use far more exaggerated hyperbole than I just did to sing of the show's many merits. It gets described as the most compelling, amazing, and important story ever written for the reasons I just described. But here's what I see:
1. Good time travel. Nothing genre-changing, but well-integrated and used smartly = clever
2. Good humor. Doesn't feel the need to draw attention to its jokes, creative with its laughs = funny
3. Good characters. Chemistry is present, well fleshed-out, elicits an emotional connection from the audience = cute
Steins;Gate is clever, funny and cute.
But guys, it doesn't redefine story-telling, it doesn't do anything exceptionally unique, and it really mean anything. At the end of the day, Steins;Gate doesn't do anything that exceptional. It doesn't provide any reasons that it should stand above anything else. Solid execution does not warrant a spot in the hall of fame.
It's a fun show: it's smart, funny, and touching. And if that's why you enjoy it, then that's great. It's good at that. But the expectations this show has at this point far exceed being "fun". It's supposed to be the story of the century, a life-changing masterpiece that will forever alter the way you see the world. I, for one, went into it being told that this was the case, both by the MAL community and by a few friends who had already watched it. The result? I was disappointed. What otherwise would've been a show I could have enjoyed exceptionally became a constant source of letdown as time and again it failed to really be anything OTHER than clever, funny and cute. The ending struck me as an all-new level of bad, not because the ending was actually bad, but because I had been led to expect Madoka Magica or even Evangelion and instead I got Disney's Frozen. It amazed me that people who had actually seen something like Evangelion were telling me that THIS was anime's masterpiece. Yeah, Eva has tons of things wrong with it. It's really easy to poke holes in the show's structure. But what it DOES manage to capture in the tumultuous internal suffering of its characters is TIMELESS. Regardless of how old Eva gets, people will be able to look back and find truth, meaning, revelation, and significance in the words of Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langely, Misato and others. For Steins;Gate, that just isn't true. It doesn't try to make you look at the world a new way. At one point, it has a very distinct opportunity to end. If it had, my opinion of it would have been slightly different. It would have somewhat told a story of accepting loss, learning that we can't undo our mistakes or the past, and being able to move forward because we are able to see the importance of what we do have over the sorrow of what we have left behind. However, the show happily threw this away in order to finish tying up all its plot threads and make that picture-esque ending happen. Time-travel fixes everything. Now we're back in Clannad: Afterstory.
Steins;Gate is overhyped. It cannot live up to expectations, which is a pity, because it's a pretty damn good show. What's more of a problem than this, though, is just how much the show is talked about. People discuss this show at an unimaginable frequency. The truth of the matter is, there just really isn't that much to talk about. Once the plot has been reconstructed by a couple of fans, all that's really left is to make fan art. There's no moral discussion, there's no philosophical aspect, there's no new way to look at story-telling or some original element that people can examine: it's just an entertaining journey that's difficult to poke holes in. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it! You have my full recommendation. But please, don't go into it expecting to have your perception of story-telling forever altered. You'll just end up being disappointed.
Initiating Operation Ragnarok - putting Stein's Gate into perspective.
2011 AD: Stein's Gate (SG) had a huge fan base
2012 AD: The popularity of SG has not faded. We see the epilogue (that in itself does not contain much substance receiving extraordinary scores) getting very much undue popularity.
2014 AD: The hype dies down. The fanboys (and girls) from the FateZero campaign take over. Some die hard SG fans convert. SG is no longer #3 on MAL.
I had BIG expectations prior to viewing Stein's Gate. This was especially since it was able to top other strong contenders in 2011 such as Puella Magi and AnoHana. I was
told that it was "well executed with a touching and deep plot that tackled upon darker themes". However, after completing the SG I couldn't help feeling disappointed.
Stein's Gate works with concepts of time travel and uses it as a foundation for its narrative. It's refreshing that they're including real life references such as the LHC and other theories to back themselves up but ultimately the explanations and techno jargon used to verify the plausibility of time travel did not prove convincing.
SG’s synopsis about a group of friends avoiding SERN is misleading. While this does occur, it is not the focus of the series. In fact, SERN remains a mysterious organization after SG concludes. Stein’s Gate is more about attempting to return to one’s initial world line. The series has a slow start but does pick up its pace later on. By slow start, I mean the first 10 episodes were mundane with a few comedic moments that were not that funny. The plot thickens at the end of episode 11. At this point I thought to myself “okay now it gets serious, way to pick up the pace”. It was entertaining for a while… but then came episode 14, and my expectations of SG were shattered. In general, the arcs following this subscribe to a similar format: The problem, problem solving and finally resolution and reflection. It doesn’t seem as if SG is ready to challenge itself and present its rather well thought out story in a different manners. While some argue that the use of arcs was ingenious, I think otherwise. Despite the direct relationship between individual arcs and story events, these arcs feel disjointed from one another and the series did not flow as well as it could have. Another problem was that each arc did not receive sufficient screen time. Often, the resolution/reflection part of things seemed rushed. In all honesty, these parts should have been given extra care especially when they dealt with the more delicate themes.
Throughout SG, there were also ‘unnecessary’ inserts. Special mention goes to the intro scene in episode 12. This serene scene is sometime referred to again in the show. But what does it mean? What is its significance? Is it a figment of Okabe’s imagination or an actual event that he remembers subconsciously like how other lab members recall events of different world lines? These questions like many others in the series remain very unexplained. The dialogue makes no sense in this scene. Original Okarin? Original Mayuri? If time could be traversed in both directions, the past, present and future should be undefined. As a result, how can one say that one, from a certain time period (presumably from the “original” time period which should not exist), is more authentic than any of the others? Moving on, what was the point of showing Okabe’s ‘timeshift-like fever’ when he was young? It didn’t tie any loose ends. It contributed to the poor time management of the series. But hey, it was nice to know anyways!
The twists in SG were not as great as people made them out to be. Admittedly, some twists were unexpected like the one involving Suzu and Daru or Moeka and FB, but like much of the show they were not given much significance. You shouldn’t give 5 minutes to explain the aftermath of a twist. It undermines any cleverness behind the twist. As a result, they seemed like afterthoughts. Other twists regarding the cause of Kurisu’s death were obvious a long time before the second last episode. This brings us to that fated scene that filled me with many questions; how does failing to rescue Kurisu allow Okabe to see the video from his future self? This is especially since he did not cause any changes to that past, how could the present have changed? Also why doesn’t Suzu help him at all? Why does Kurisu’s Dad flee from a half dead person pointing a knife at him? How does Okabe with 170+ IQ make such a mistake that forces him to improvise at the heat of the moment when he had all the time to prepare? How does Okabe, with that amount of blood loss, stay conscious? And finally, why does reaching Stein’s Gate cause everything to conveniently fall in place? That, my friend, is bullshit. If someone can fill me in as to why the SG’s story deserves anything more than a 7/10, I would appreciate it.
There are other issues with the story, but for length’s sake I will stop here.
The art in SG is clean and the animation fluid. Upon first glance, character art seems a bit awkward to look at. But after a while it does grow on you. Character designs were okay. The wardrobe was fine but the faces of some female characters were close to identical. If you swapped the hairstyle and hair colour between Ruka and Feyris, or between Mayuri and Kuruse they could pass off as one another. On the other hand, the backgrounds were very very very well drawn.
Despite the OP and ED songs not being catchy by themselves, they do fit the show very well. Voice actor/actresses also did a fine job in giving life to the characters. Track insert choices and sequencing throughout the show did not overpower or undermine key scenes; instead they improved the atmosphere. In terms of sound, SG excels.
As for the characters (note I didn’t include some supporting characters because their role in the show was minimal):
• Okabe: Great lead. Definitely fascinating and different from many others who fall into specific stereotypes. He undergoes good character development, which was one of the things that kept me from dropping the series altogether.
• Mayuri: Tuturu? She’s a burden. It’s not her fault. She seems to be an ‘airhead’ but she isn’t really… just a boring girl.
• Kurisu: Tsundere for the sake of being tsundere
• Daru: Perverted and otaku-like dude. He’s a decent guy when he’s serious but that doesn’t occur very much.
• Feyris: The try to be cute character nyan.
• Suzu: The active character who was unlike some others quite real in her reactions.
• Moeka: The quiet character. Everyone should hate her. Everyone will hate her.
• Ruka: lolwut? No comment here.
• Mr Brown: Caring father and the landlord for the lab. He has a nice backstory. Wish they elaborated. Might have made him a better character.
I think what we see here is a recipe for a harem. At times, the show does feel like a harem, especially since many characters seem to be attracted to Okabe for one reason or the other. Owing to the little bit of harem in it, the drama in character arcs felt wrong.
One of the biggest issues I had with the characters was their selflessness. It’s quite hard to believe that a normal person would surrender their dreams so readily (in a matter of days) to a claim that cannot be factually verified (Mayuri’s death). Is their trust in Okabe, who calls himself a mad scientist and is known for making up stuff, so strong? Any sane person would do away with such claims. But hang on, these parts show “true” friendship someone says, and man tears need be shed. No correction, if anything this illustrates that these characters are naïve selfless freaks. Another issue I had was how the characters strangely faded away after their respective arcs and seem to have been forgotten when they could be ‘selflessly’ helping.
Overall, SG really wasn’t bad but it most definitely wasn’t great either. “Deceive yourself, deceive the world”. You can make believe that SG is a masterpiece well deserving of a 10/10. With sufficient effort you might even succeeded in making it the rage of 2011. However, understand that even if you found the series magnificent it should be reviewed free from personal bias and according to its actual worth. That is a combination of its literature value, its ability to induce emotions, visuals, sounds etc. Stein’s Gate does decently when you assess it according to the criteria above, but it certainly receives no nobel prizes in any one department. Consequently, the series always felt like it was missing something.
When dealing with time travel in story-writing, one has to look out for many things as such a topic is highly prone to having many plot holes due to being so vast and confusing but then also being so interesting. Steins;Gate takes on that very topic for itself, but does it manage to present itself in a way worthy of such a theme ?
The story of Steins;Gate starts off a bit slow at first but doesn't take long to take off with a fairly complex plot filled with many twists and also presents the tale of the famous internet legend of 'John Titor' into the
mix as a large part of the story and manages to blend that with its own story in a great way. Nearly every step and action is well thought out and one can not help but notice the amount of effort put into the execution of this show.. But, nothing is ever without its flaws as Steins;Gate does contain a few plot holes and might leave the viewer with some unanswered questions.
Art and Animation:
The art presented in Steins;Gate is well detailed and very polished but not anything too amazing though. The character designs are nicely done and the art-style fits the atmosphere of the Anime well.
The animation is always fairly smooth, movements are good and character actions and expressions are animated well to bring out the personalities of the characters at their fullest.
The soundtrack of Steins;Gate does a good job at fitting the situations which further amplified the emotions felt by the viewer, the score was't exactly all that great all the time but did manage to get the job done when it needed to.
The voice acting presented in this Anime is nothing short of amazing, especially when it comes to the main character. All the seiyuus/voice actors did a great job at expressing all the characters to their full potential and drawing out their personalities in the best way possible.
This is the department where Steins;Gate shines the most. Every single character in the Steins;Gate universe is explored to their fullest. None of the characters ever seem bland, each and every one of them have their own personalities and are unique in their own ways . There is also ample amounts of character development as the show progresses and the characters slowly change as events unfold.
Steins;Gate manages to keep the viewer wanting more after each episode for almost the entirety of the show, although it did feel slightly repetitive during the second half of the show but that was a minor issue. The twists Steins;Gate presented were ever hardly predictable, it leaves you shocked every time and has you engrossed into the story even more. Some viewers though might be left with a few questions unanswered and events unexplained.
The opening and ending sequences are pretty good, the opening song especially was very fitting to the theme of the Anime along with being a good song on its own.
Conclusion and Verdict:
Despite having a few problems, Steins;Gate stands as one of the most well made Anime's out there, one that in my opinion does the best job at presenting the concepts of time travel. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting story filled with twists, engaging events and awesome characters, give it a go and what you'll find is no doubt an amazing show.
Don't play games! I know you're reading! That's right, freak. It behooves you nothing to ignore me. Take a good look. Quaff deeply from the trough of future shock. Allow that wooly brain to be stricken with envy. You're reading a work from Critic Member 001, anime lover, evil genius, and mad reviewer extraordinaire. 'Tis I... well, I'll think of an alias later. But for now... Steins;Gate. Seriously. Read.
Adapted from a 5pb and Nitro+ visual novel of the same name, Steins;Gate was directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki and Takuya Satou, scripted by Toshizou Nemoto and Jukki Hanada, and produced by White Fox, responsible for other works
as Jormungund, Katanagatari, and The Devil is a Part-Timer! Original and anime character designs were drawn up by Ryohei Fuke, otherwise known as huke, and Kyuuta Sakai, respectively. It's another day at the Future Gadgets Lab. Mad Scientist Extraordinaire Okabe Rintarou, otherwise known by his nom de plume Okarin and his in-character nickname Hououin Kyouma, Resident Hack and Cosplayer, Future Gadget #8 (Real Name TBA) and several nuked bananas later, we have Mad Scientist and Hack bickering in their university elevator about text messages and perceived anomalies, events that our main protagonist know occurred, yet, according to Hack, haven't happened. And then Genius Girl Makise Kurisu, a person he could have swore he witnessed dead in a pool of blood, alive or undead. In terms of visuals, White Fox seemed to opt for copious amounts of glare from whatever light source is present juxtaposed by duller tones, darker shades, and shadows to accentuate that uncanny feeling that something's off. This in contrast to other scenes utilizing a slightly richer palette to suck the watcher to be absorbed in the frivolity or sensitivity of the moment.
Barring the hook of Episode 1's ending, the show's 1st half is a slow build, a build that's an obvious detriment to those expecting an immediate climax into the action. When the shit finally hits the fan in the 2nd half and those who previously criticized the 2nd half's predecessor gets their long sought for release, I speculated whether or not that release would have felt more pleasurable had it come sooner. Would it? Yes, this is all one extended sexual innuendo, and no, it wouldn't. Whether one is conscious of the fact or not, without the 1st half, we would not have felt as strongly about what the cast goes through in the 2nd half. We wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to know the characters behind their stereotypes we put them up to and the facades they disguise themselves under, most poignantly so with Okabe and Makise. We wouldn't have a reason apart from the superficial to connect with them, and the time this characterization occurs allows these connections to happen organically, from moment to moment, rather than through one exhaustive exposition dump. And while messing with the fabric of time is the order of the day, this show also hosts one of the best examples of romance done right. No gimmicky external flirtations or forced internal confessions. Just shared, witty, and sincere moments that are natural extensions of their characters that, before you and they know it, culminate into something intimate, making the next few scenes after this intimacy is realized heartwrenching. This is not to say nothing significant to the plot progresses during this time, because all the while these moments occur, an oppressive atmosphere grows and expands, elucidating this, once again, uncanny feeling. And then a sound of thunder, or silence, or the thunder of one's heart, that dreadful moment you, in the back of your mind, were expecting, that's beyond your control, but uncertain of what specific form it takes. Then, like a gun shot, or a train wreck, or a car crash, it's all over, the pocket watch cracks, the hour glass is shattered, and things fall apart. Then it's a matter of re-piecing what's broken, fighting the good fight against fate. But can he? And if he can, what will he have to sacrifice to make it more than a possibility?
In addition to fate, the show attempts to integrate two different theories of time travel within its narrative: the Multiple Worlds Interpretation and the Butterfly Effect. To better understand the former, imagine this. Any person's past self decides on one act over the other, an act they wouldn't otherwise have committed if they weren't influenced by something sent to them from the future, a text message, for instance. According to the Multiple Worlds Interpretation, that decision results in a shift from one timeline, or world line, to another. Events and memories in this new world line, as opposed to the old one, are modeled after that different decision. The shift occurs only if a different decision was, indeed, made. Were I, for instance, to send a text message to the past such that it would cause the receiver to commit suicide, the world line would shift, or diverge, to a world where the suicide took place. Events and memories in this new world line would correspond both to the shock of the loss and the absence of that person. For more information on the subject, look up Hugh Everett's The Theory of the Universal Wave Function, Bryce DeWitt's The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, and the scoop behind John Titor. To better understand the latter, imagine this. Any act from the current future that would tamper with the past would cause a ripple and snowball effect that would alter what events happen and what memories are made in the altered future. The further back in time the tampering, the more drastic and seemingly random the outcome, regardless of how insignificant said tampering, such as the death of a butterfly, appears. For more information on the subject, read up on Ray Bradbury's “A Sound of Thunder.”
For casual watchers, the supposed utilization of these two theories working together makes for great drama, and indeed, Steins;Gate is able to pull off this drama quite well. There are, however, some bits of it that fall because of some theoretical misuse. For one, for all the misadventures and mishaps involving time that occur in the series, the Butterfly Effect is only effectively demonstrated twice, the soda scene and Ruka's sex. The rest can be conceivably chalked up to Multiple Worlds Interpretation, so that begs the question as to why the story to integrate the theory at all if it's barely used. The reason, in my opinion, was to provide a convenient safety net for drama and logic that wouldn't be dramatic or even logical without it. The Butterfly Effect as a drama device works properly if its fatalistic consequences, the loss of control over one's destiny, legitimately pervade throughout. When it's used only twice, and used lazily, then that tension, when looking from retrospect, falls flat. Then there's this point. For knowledgeable time travel fans or observant folk, these two theories are contradictory. Any tampering effect to the past, such as the aforementioned text messages, should result in a divergence, independent of whether or not a different decision was made. Reading Steiner, the ability for the mind to brave the memory overwriting shifts, lacks a solid foundation behind its existence, one that doesn't so much bother me as it has others. While Ruka's gender identity and transgender issues in general are certainly problems no one should take lightly, they feel out of place and immersion breaking in the swath of other events that are far more pressing. Lastly, while each cast member fulfills their role in the plot reasonably well and have a meaningful amount of depth, depth that was naturally coaxed out rather than artificially hastened, there is a definite depth inequality between some recurring characters over others, and an argument which I don't particularly subscribe to as a detriment, even if I bought it, wherein Okabe is the only person who gets any meaningful character development.
The OP, Kanako Ito's “Hacking to the Gate,” utilizes a series of staticky animation overlays, character clones, flash images, and hyperdrive blurs to excellent effect. Plenty is going on that I'd never get bored watching it, and indeed, new things seemed to pop out to me with each particular, and old things that popped out suddenly gained new meaning as the show progressed. To that effect, the OP is a masterful display of foreshadow, foreshadow to events and elements that the story would later introduce and explore. The music itself is a blend of Ito's natural vocals and techno synthetics that, like the visuals themselves, establish an energetically erratic atmosphere. Yui Sakakibara's “Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku,” translated “The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants,” is the ED for all but the last three episodes. Its visuals consists of a broken pocket watch, a shattered hour glass, and an exposed Makise, visuals which, again, lay subtle amounts of foreshadow to events and come and, once those events have passed, bitter reminders of those experiences. The vocalist, accompanied by a melancholy piano, a mesmerizing drum beat, and an intense guitar strum, is a passionate croon laced with mires of biting tragedy. Episode 22 ED by Takeshi Abo, “Fake Verthandi,” Episode 23 ED, by Kanako Ito, “Sky Clad no Kansokusha,” translated “Sky Clad Observer,” Episode 24 ED, also by Kanako Ito, “Another Heaven,” are all songs that have to be discussed in context to be fully appreciated. And because that context involves spoilers, I suggest just getting to those points in the show yourselves to experience them...
...and the rest of the narrative. Outside of some inconsistencies, Steins;Gate is an excellent show, something I'd recommend time travel junkies, sci-fi fans, anime lovers, anyone who wants to enjoy a great story with a great cast and doesn't mind the slow build to get there. Now's the matter of dubbing the name of this endeavor. Operation... shit, what name would go great for this from Norse Mythology? El Psy Congroo? No wait, that's Latin and Greek...
I find it incredibly weird that among all the people that suggested me this anime and/or talked about it positively on the internet, there was no one who even mentioned that at its basis Steins Gate is... well, a Harem anime.
Now, I say it's an Harem anime yet you don't see a towering two as my overall rating for it. "How come?" You'll ask, "Isn't this an anime where all female characters exist only to be attracted to the protagonist? And don't all of those characters lack in any kind of agency?"
Well... yes... to both questions... but... hear me out...
Steins Gate is pretty much a
mix of comedy and sci-fi thriller, in which a delusional "scientist" (or in his words: MADD SCIENTISTU) creates by accident a machine capable of sending texts backwards through time. Learning how to use the machine and the subsequent hi-jinx will lead him to meet a vast of array of trope-y girls (the sweet one, the tsundere, the quiet one, etc.)... and yes, all of them are attracted to him for no reason whatsoever.
The series though, despite following a lot of the harem tropes, seems to at least try to give these girl a wider scope in the thriller-y part of the plot, rather than just using them as waifu fodder. This is at least appreciable, despite the results being far from perfect (near the end the protagonist literally has to make each of the girls fall in love so hard that it puts time back together... lovely).
To be honest what annoys me most about the Harem-like characterization of the cast is that it actively hinders the emotional core of the story. The four "main" characters are in fact quite likable and interact with each other in a very enjoyable way... but then we have to be reminded that one of those characters MUST be a tsundere and everything falls down as the characterization steers towards the trope-y and nonsensical for a couple of minutes. Even worse, any other character they interact with ends up as seriously under-characterized and pretty much reduced to their one liner quirky concept (apart for maybe one of them, and even then it doesn't really turns around until the end).
This is obviously a huge problem as the whole first half of the series is pretty much dedicated to exploring the relationship between the characters. As the episodes go by though, the thriller elements will slowly come in, as the characters realize that changing the past can have enormous and unexpected consequences on the future.
By the 13th episode the series will have pretty much lost any comedic element, leaving us with a bunch of quite enjoyable pulpy-time-travel-schlock. This transition is handled quite well, as by then we will have enough connection with the main characters to actually care about their fate and be engaged in what happens to them as the world around tries to break them. Obviously this later half also has annoyances derived from the harem structure and a couple of stupid plot points, but overall it does its job competently enough.
Mind that I'm not talking about anything particularly mind-blowing or ground-breaking, but I personally am quite happy that it does not try to be so. The plot is laid up in a pretty linear way, it's easy to follow and it mixes well various approach to time-travel to create a story that manages to solve most of its mysteries in pretty straight forward and non-convoluted ways. To be honest, knowing how anime tends to be, I was expecting exactly the opposite, instead I've been pleasantly surprised by Stains Gate's down to earth approach to time travel.
So, yes, Steins Gates did at least manage to make me slightly engaged in the fate of its main characters, at the same time though it made me groan in disapproval and roll my eyes way more than it should be allowed by law. Not unwatchable by any means, in fact there is an ok pulpy sci-fi story hidden in there, but one does have to be able to endure quite a bit of shallow characters and visual novel tropes to actually enjoy it.
Steins;Gate is an anime that was recommended to me by a friend telling me that it was a brilliant Sci-fi anime with a thrilling plot. So I decided to give it a try and see what happens. This was one experience that I feel I will never have again.
Steins;Gate initially centres around the idea of time travel and the effects of the time travel and the way in which the machine works. Within the inner workings of the machine and we see the “science” behind how it works. All of this is very believable as it all seems rather plausible due to its lack
of flamboyance and its grounded roots in reality. However this scenario does not last for the entirety of the anime as the latter half shifts into thriller with time travel twist added in. In this latter half the anime becomes plot driven rather than being driven by the sci-fi elements that we were presented with in the first half of the anime and the pacing picks up to high pitch fervour which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
But throughout the anime the sci-fi elements are rarely the focal point of the show and it gives great emphasis on the character interactions and how they develop. This is where Steins;Gate becomes brilliant since it puts so much focus on these interactions it greatly increases our immersion into the fictional world. However there are some minor grievances that I have with plot of this anime is a couple of episodes in the second half of the series which focuses on two of the supporting characters detract from the overall immersion I had with this series. Also the pacing at the start of the anime can be seen as quite slow but I feel that it is necessary as it builds up lot character interactions which only add the immersion. Overall the story of Steins;Gate is original and quite brilliant with some minor hiccups along the way.
The animation for Steins;Gate is done the studio White Fox and I have to say that they have done magnificently well. The character movements are very well catered for as they are fluid and crisp and there is no moment where the quality drops. This is also true for the background and it recreates the vibrant atmosphere of Akihabara quite nicely. The animation style is quite unique in this day and age as all the characters have quite realistic facial proportions. However on some occasions they use zany animation styles and it is very effective as it perfectly coincides with the heightened sense of danger or urgency of the scene. On the whole the character designs are new and refreshing but there are a couple of instances where they do seem a bit bland and unoriginal. Also when the slow motions scenes take place the animation does feel a bit choppy. However these are minor flaws among what is an excellent visual display.
Sound- 8.65 (OST -8.1 Voice Acting-9.2)
The Soundtrack for S;G is very minimalistic and relies on ambient noises rather than musical tracks to create the atmosphere. This approach can lead to the lack of any atmosphere being created but in the case of Steins;Gate it is rather effective and suits the overall feel of the anime. However that is not to say that musical tracks are not utilised and when they are utilised they are very effective in setting the mood. Unfortunately none of the tracks are so good that they are memorable apart from one very special exception: The OP. The OP for this anime is truly brilliant and makes me want to watch the whole anime again just so that I can listen to it in all its glory. So overall it’s a very good OST with, at least for me, one very special track.
Fortunately I have had the pleasure of watching this anime both subbed and dubbed and while I can’t really comment on the voice acting of the Japanese, I can say that it does sound as if it has been acted with a great amount of passion and feels as if the whole cast had a blast whilst doing it.
The Dub is an entirely different matter. After watching the sub I can say that I was rather cautious when approaching the dub but all those feelings of scepticism that I had were left behind in the depths of the oceans as soon as I watched the first episode. The voice acting for this anime was brilliant from start to finish with each voice actor perfectly portraying each character that they voiced. Each emotion, ranging from exasperation to sorrow, was felt when they spoke and it was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. The only slight negative I could see was the script on one occasion did feel a bit iffy but apart from that it is truly excellent performance from everyone involved.
The characters in Steins;Gate are what I feel are the highlight of the whole show and without them this how would have landed flat on its face. To me, even though each character fits into some type of stereotype they never feel confined to that and expand and develop beyond those boundaries. Our MC, Okabe Rintarou, is quite a unique character and is possibly one of the most enjoyable characters that I have ever watched in anime. His quirks and ramblings are wonderfully entertaining but it is his interactions with our lead female, Makise Kirisu, which creates for some of the best moments in this anime. It is mainly my connection with these two characters that immersed me within this world and kept glued to my laptop for hours on end yearning for the best possible outcome. My only gripe is that a couple of the characters feel like an added accessory to the already very good cast but apart from that it is a very good showing in general.
I loved Steins;Gate from Start to finish. The earlier episodes may have been slow but they were still very enjoyable to watch especially the comedic moments and when the anime shifted to a more serious tone it kept at the edge of my seat for as long as I can remember. The time travel was still far enough out there to be sci-fi but close enough to home so that I could grasp the general idea that they were laying down in front of me. The characters literally sold me the show as it was my connection to most of them which was very enjoyable to have and therefore made the anime glorious to watch.
Steins;Gate is a different outlook on the time travel “genre” and gives an new breath of fresh air into what, at times, is a rather stale premise. The it builds upon this premise to give us a unique experience which relies on its characters rather than the plot to immerse you in its world.
Thanks for reading this I hope that this review has been helpful. And, as always, any feedback is greatly appreciated =D
''The universe has a beginning, but no end. — Infinity. Stars, too, have their own beginnings, but their own power results in their destruction. — Finite. It is those who possess wisdom who are the greatest fools. History has shown us this. You could say that this is the final warning from God to those who resist.'' - Okabe Rintarou.
There is no other word to describe this anime: perfection. It is the masterpiece of Sci-Fi that tackles time travel simply and accurately. Even so, it also encompasses other genres such as suspense, romance, drama and comedy (very good by the way).
Initially, it is basically the
story of a young "mad scientist" who, together with his group of lab members, accidentally create a time machine at the same time as they discover a conspiracy involving time travel by a super secret company.
The development of the characters is the key point. All of them are perfectly well developed, and so the suspense revolves around each one of them. Besides the fact that the protagonist is super charismatic with an extravagant personality, being responsible for the best moments of the anime. It is worth mentioning that initially, the first half of the anime focuses on character development and experiments with the time machine, which is not a mistake. This development is precisely essential for the elaboration of suspense and the shocking climax. Suddenly it becomes an emotional rollecoaster.The suspense is so good that it goes so far as to explode your mind (and the mind of Okabe as well), making you want to watch all the missing episodes compulsively .
Overall, it's the perfect anime. Everything, from the physical theories, is perfectly explained, which makes the anime convey all kinds of feelings to the viewer. Steins;Gate has a genial storyline, with great characters, shocking plot twists and a spectacular ending. It is undoubtedly the masterpiece of animes and that deserves to be watched by all humans of this and others worldlines.
In recent years, I can't help but feel that the realm of anime has hit a point of utter stagnation. True, there have been well-produced shows, but many of these fall into the background, overcome by the flood of the extremely-overrated (not to bash any fans, but a great example would be the Pokemon series. C'mon people, just leave it as a game) and constantly recycled. From mecha-animes with repeating themes of justice and revenge to supernatural-themed shows attempting to make something new by making it look more flashy and impressive. Let's be honest with ourselves, in light of a lack of creativity, we've enjoyed
(though perhaps not to a point where our jaws have dropped) constantly repeated genres.
Upon first spotting the artwork for Steins;Gate on several image boards, I was intrigued and looked it up on ANN and MyAnimeList. To be utterly blunt, despite being impressed with the art-style of huke, the premise of "an eclectic group of individuals who have the ability to send text messages to the past" had me a little skeptical. Based on that sentence alone, I concluded that it might just simply become another failed attempt at a sci-fi thriller. However, it piqued my attention when I found that it was ranked #2 on ANN's "Top 10 Best Rated" list (in both the bayesian estimate and weighted averages) with a very impressive average score of 9.17 out of 10. After that, I concluded I had to watch it to see what all the fuss was about.
Let me start off by saying that Steins;Gate is no normal anime in any sense.
The series starts early off with tongue-and-cheek comedy, playing heavily on the theme of nerds doing nerdy things with a self-proclaimed mad scientist who talks on the phone with no one on the other end, an otaku hacker with a hobby of visiting maid cafes, and a cosplaying girl with no care in the world. It may seem standard at the beginning, but the series picks up its pace as more characters join the motley crew and entangle themselves in a dangerous conspiracy that they would have never imagined themselves to ever be stuck in the middle of.
Perhaps some of the really impressive work comes into play when Steins;Gate jumps feet first into the hard-science that drives the anime for nearly half of the episodes. At first glance, all of the difficult chit-chat about physics and super-old super-retro computers might seem boring. Though this may be true, all of it builds up into a super-charged, edge-of-your-seat thriller that makes this 24-episode series into a truly exciting and entertaining masterpiece. By the time you reach the final episodes where the main character is racing to undo the damage he has caused, you won't want to stop watching until the end.
The overall character design makes the cast of Steins;Gate extremely memorable (however, like most animes, it would seem that they all have an endless number of copies of the same outfit). But, in the end, the clothing helps to define each character in their own unique way. The backdrops - based primarily in the mega-metropolis of Akihabara - are extremely well-done, reflecting an interestingly gray (yet strangely beautiful) urban setting,
Steins;Gate ended with a strong note, having a very-powerful punch for an extremely young (and recent) anime. It serves as a very notable (and wonderful) addition to the time-travel genre, paying homage to its spiritual sci-fi predecessors. Despite being rife with familiar plot elements found in films such as the Back to the Future trilogy, it exists as its own story populated by unique characters, mentally-stimulating twists, and a visual style that will undoubtedly keep you hooked.
By the time you finish Episode 24 and the timer reads 23:38, you'll want to build your own microwave-time-leap machine and (uttering the signature code words of Okabe Rintarō) relive the entire thrill all over again.
"No one knows what the future holds.
That's why it's potential is infinite, just as this meeting demonstrates.
This is the choice of Steins Gate."
What would you do if you had the chance to travel in time??
I'm pretty sure there's a lot of different answers to that, depending on the person. But there's always a particular thing that most people would do: "To fix a certain event of my life I'm regretting until now", or something like that. As life moves on and on, the decisions that we've made always have consequences that we may or may not have seen. Action-reaction patterns have always been a part of what makes reality to be possible. Time and Space are always built on our actions.
Before starting how about laying out the
following paradox to ourselves:
Say, you want to go back to the past, and tell your past-self that if you do "X", terrible things will happen. It turns out that your past self agrees, and you can go back to the future in peace. Here's the most logical outcome: The reason that you went to the past for, isn't there anymore, and therefore, your mind should not have memories of going into the past for X not to happen. We are now in a different timeline.
If this concept makes you curious, you will absolutely love Steins;Gate.
The story follows an excentric, self-proclaimed mad scientist, whose lifetime dream has always been the possibility to travel in time at will. Just out of curiosity, he devotedly investigates all the steps to be followed, as if he was in some sort of a game. When he finds out that it can be done, and it's easier than what he ever thought of, he starts experimenting with all of the possible outcomes, changing the past, and thus, the world he has always lived in. The story also has a certain tragedy approach, as it tackles the topis of frustration, efforts that seem vain and people regretting their own lives and actions.
Steins;Gate has a particular hook that you may see in many animes that have some sort of psychological or thriller approach, building questions and curiosity whenever it has the chance. Due to this, the series feels the need to take its time, and the pacing at the starting episodes feels really slow.
Although the pace of the first episodes made it seem quite boring, it progressively got better as it advanced. Time travel has always intrigued me, and in this anime, it was all over the place. It was a really amusing and satisfying watch.
Overall, Steins;Gate is one of the best anime out there. It has everything a sci-fi lover would ask. And more.
People will always ask other people what to watch, recommend me something, im so bored what should i watch. People will also say is there ever going to be another masterpiece like Brotherhood or when is something going to become as popular as Death note. What will have the sheer guts to move me to the next episode, to make me want to watch and not go to sleep. WHAT anime is going to be the next big thing and blow my mind for days, weeks, months and even years. well its two simple words and for people to know that
these two simple words mean nothing but everthing, Steins;Gate.
This Will be a classic anime in the years to come, people will still talk about great anime's like Death Note, Brotherhood, Code Geass and Suzumiya Haruhi, however they will be talking about Steins;Gate as well.
IF you watch 3 episodes of this you will not need a time machine to see how good this can be, will be, and is. The story revolves around Okabe Rintarou or the Mad Scientist. One day after seeing a certain predicament, he finds himself in a loop. The cause, a make shift time machine that will send his texts back in time. He then finds out the first message has altered the future in a big way. After that he then helps his fellow friends by making there dreams come true. The only problem is he will now have to skip between time lines to make everything right. He then finds out he is blessed with a certain power that helps him between jumps and after jumps through time. This stories base is certainly not that original, a time machine has been done in tv, anime's, movies and so on. The difference lady/gentle otakus, the execution of the story mixed with comedy and all together random moments. It has a serious plot line with comical sub plots that eventually tie the story in a nice little ball for all people to see.
This might just be me being biased but the art was great. It fit with the character designs and semi futuristic vibe towards the end and everything in between. Im not trying to say its spectacular or you need to watch this anime just for the Art, It simply fits with the overall masterpiece that is Steins;Gate. The Art goes from a little bubbly at times that fits with the nonchalant help my lab members to dark and twisted, with half trippy vibes you get from the time machine factor.
Im at a loss on what to say here, the sound just works. But out of all honesty you will be to focused on what is going on to even realize the shrills and bravado that is going on. I gave this a 9 based on the fact it works with the moods, character development and overall enjoyment of the show. Also because there was never a time when the music pissed me off and distracted me from watching which is hard to do in most anime's, the sound is either to loud, noisy, or just doesn't fit the bill with some bubble gum pop rock garbage. when you watch you will understand what im trying to convey.
It just has to be, it just does. i wont even say 1 episode it will only take FIVE MINUTES for you to realize this is a crazy cast of different types of characters all meshed into a group almost like how Durarara!! was. Lets start the Bar with Okabe, the main character. He is over the top shatter the mold "mad scientist", Feelings of ups and downs insanely crazy and moronic to insanely brilliant and sharp. solving different parts to the puzzle, piecing the facts together, live and death struggle and impossible choices that are choose impossibly well. CHRISTINA!!!! or Kurisu Makise. The zombie, and perverted genius girl celebrity. 17 years old and a genius. (she also looks good in a lab coat MUAHAHAHA) she is with out a doubt a huge piece of the puzzle she is the Glue to this anime. She is first seen in the first episode in a sort of "bad" situation. she makes this story possible. Next Do Do Do DO Mayuri. I said Kurisu was the glue... i might have to take that back, when the story starts out you seen her for who she is and when its finished its the same good hearted girl that you will come to love. Every time she was on the screen i could not look away, she fascinated me from start to finish with her bright personality and sometimes to nice of a person, she is one of the better better female characters in my mind and the sad thing is she is not the best girl in this anime as you will see. Lets review the previous characters and characters i haven't mentions in bulk shall we. mad scientist that is crazy, lazy, good for nothing, sane, brilliant good for the world type of guy. 17 year old genius tsunedere with alot to prove nothing to gain, then nothing to prove everything to gain, gain and loss type. bubbly cute, happily funny, adorable and nice Mayuri. a Fat NEET Otaku suuupppa hacka with a maid complex. A most of the time cross dressing man, some times not so gross dressing women/man who is a shrine maiden with a hard crush and sometimes Broken heart. Moe cosplay maid fancy rich girl who has nothing while at the same time has everything but would rather have one thing than everything. future girl who sometimes knows everything, looking for her father when he is under her nose. A average store owner who is not so average nice but hard on rent then mean and murderous. Ok take all that into consideration and try to put those characters in any other anime and make it work.... you tired and failed why, because it can not be done.
come on if you actually read this review thus far you would have a very good idea to why this was so enjoyable, and if you made it this far here *Gold Star*
Child Please! twist's and turns, abnormally fantastic character development, surprisingly simply and complex at the same time. At the end you will be thinking about what was said for weeks to come, it has been months since i have watched this and i remember it so very clearly. That is the sign of a great anime.
WATCH! or else there wont be any time machines in the future! and we all want time machines, this deserves its score, its not some hyper inflated anime that has been made up from hype. watch, listen, read, learn..... you must do it John Titor said so.
I was skeptical about this anime. So much praise. This couldn't be true. This has to be overhyped somehow. Somehow...? Maybe this anime was not juste an anime after all ? This changed my vision of the world around me. Despite not wanting to watch this, especially because the synopsis and reviews seemed to be bland in my opinion, I opened the pandora box. Was it worth it ? OH BOY, it sure was! So rewarding. Now onto the review. I'm here to open your mind and incite you to do so by watching this wonder.
Oh dear, how can I start?
You have to know
that this isn't some kind of anime adapted like crap as we become slowly used to (be it from mangas or video games). This was adapted from a succesful Visual Novel.
Visual Novel ? In short it's like reading a book, but YOU make your own choices and the story evolves based on them. So fitting for this anime in a sense... Coincidence ? I don't think so. The V.N often only include some still pictures for cutscenes, if you don't like reading and imaginating the events (to some extent) then it'll be boring for you. This V.N was released on Xbox, then PC/Windows and PSP, but, hey only in Japan =) If you can't read Japanese you don't have to worry about missing something here, the anime covers almost everything (well you have "good" routes and "bad ending" routes... And the anime covers only one ending logically)
Anyway, this sumed up where this wonder came from. Or did it ? In a sense, it's no wonder that the story is so well written. Visual Novels should mostly be based on the storyline. It's written and thinked quite some time in advance, contrary to weekly serialized mangas for example. But it's not just that. Other V.N have been adapted, and they were not as popular as STEINS;GATE.
Why is it so popular? Why?
It has LOTS of real life connections. Beware, if your mind is not prepared it will blow up. I warned you ! You'll spend countless nights dreaming about this... You'll see real town settings, drinks, computer, internet references, as easter-eggs. Coincidence? I don't think so.
This was all well prepared in advance in fact.
The story seems pretty bland at first. Okabe, Rintarou is the main protagonist. He seems really annoying and stupid at first glance. But he has some interesting motives: He's trying, along with his two friends Hashida, Itaru, a weird geeky hentai amateur otaku, and Shiina, Mayuri his childhood friend, to make some "Future Gadgets"...
First two or three episodes, you'll be bored. You CANNOT understand what's going on. It's because your mind is not ready yet. You don't know the truth. Yet it'll become all clear when you "clear" the story. That's one of this anime's feats of strength: its story has lots of details, and you can't grasp it all in only one watching. Thus the replay value is incredible. That is, if TIME TRAVELLING amazes you.
If you're into basic action shonen or romance shojo (yeah, I'm reducing those styles for the metaphor) you may or may not be interested in this story.
This story start SUPER SLOWLY, but will soon DELIVER to blow your mind. You HAVE TO watch at least FIVE EPISODES to get ready for this.
And thus started the RollerCoaster of Emotions... Get yourself a handkerchiefs box, it'll be needed. I cried more tears of joy and sadness than in the past 10 years. And I saw some stuff to tell you the truth.
Anyway, onto the characters themselves.
As I said, it starts like a boring slice of life comedy. But is it really only that ? HELL NO. Characters in here have some major developments. Nothing is left half assed. Every character has a back story, and important interactions with the main character, self proclaimed "Mad Scientist!". They are all interesting, touching, like real people you'd cherish, characters.
With this storyline and characters, you can expect some great moments of funny comedy, love romance and dramatic plot twists.
By now you should be pretty much excited to do this. You'll just have to bear the slow start of this anime, and get ready for the awesomeness that comes after that. You have to be worth it.
The music is fabulous, fitting EVERY situation. The seiyus are incredible, they seem so real you could touch them !
The visuals are stunning. The directing as well. Truely, nothing can be criticized. Nothing is done by chance here. This is a masterpiece.
Why are you wasting time reading this ? Come on, watch this opening, you'll get thrilled by now, and go watch this ! The future of this world depends on you!
Well, it's time to write a huge and no one interesting feedback on this title If anything, then there are no spoilers. He definitely went into my top 10 anime and definitely went into my soul, but let's start in order.
Story 9/10- It is interesting, it captures and is a bit complicated at the beginning, only after watching a few episodes begin to understand what's what. At the same time everything begins with fun and adventure, and then you watch 12 episode.... for the whole title I had time to experience many emotions and tenderness, and joy, and happiness, and shock, and pain, but despite
the last interest only increased. Of course, without story holes did not happen for example at the end you can find several her which seem to, be significant, but also not and yet we do not know much about the future worlds.
Art 8/10- In general, the drawing is good, given that the title is already 7 years old.
Sound 8/10- music is always on topic, the voices of the characters are very cool.
Characters 10/10- all the characters in action are revealed very well, the main characters, such as Mayuri, Main hero or Kurisu for example, very much empathize, to them you penetrate and you understand them. For their development is interesting watch. So you can see how throughout the title Okabe, Rintarou changes and by the middle it is not the same person, as it was in the beginning, well, and Kurisa top tsundere, they all have their own problems, and they all have to make tough decisions, in one word they are felt as alive, and not as a puppet doll. It is a pity that all this time was not enough time for Moeka, Ruka, and Rumiho, but even to them you have time to penetrate.
Enyoyment 10/10- Anime did not let go until the end.
Overall 10/10- Although someone complains that the beginning is stretched, but on the contrary it was fun to watch this atmosphere in that small laboratory- Masterpiece