“Turning Time On Its Head” – Steins;Gate (anime) – 10/10 Notebooks


Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. ~Jawaharlal Nehru

Genre: Sci-fi/Romance/Thriller

Review Status: Complete (24 Episodes/24 Episodes)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed and available for viewing on Crunchyroll

Art/Animation
: Very nice. The colors are vibrant, taking on appropriately darker tones in the appropriate places, though the art and character designs fairly standard. The animation is quite nice and fluid.

Dub Vs. Sub: There is no dub. However, since it has also been picked up for distribution by Funimation, one can be expected when it’s finally released.

Summary: Steins; Gate follows an eclectic group of individuals who have the ability to send text messages to the past. However throughout their experimentation process, an organization named SERN who has been doing their own research on time travel tracks them down. Now it’s a careful game of cat and mouse to not get caught and moreover, try to survive. (CrunchyRoll)

Review: This makes up for Chaos;Head in every way. C;H, infamous for being a terrible adaptation of a rather good VN, ended up being the benchmark for whether there could actually be a decent adaptation of a Nitro+ VN. S;G surpassed it in every expectation. Thankfully, you do not need to see or play Chaos;Head to enjoy everything about Steins;Gate.

Okabe Rintarou, Mad Scientist Extraordinaire, is attempting another one of his mad experiments- a microwave phone. Something just keeps going wrong, though. Things that they put into it turn into jelly-like approximations, chemically destabilized almost beyond recognition. He deems it a failure and goes on the trail of another crazy science experiment and conspiracy theory; Time travel. A shocking discovery, and an emergency cell phone call later, and Okabe feels the world change around him. Something is different, and he realizes that the girl that he had discovered dead is now alive. How? Why?

Recruiting her into his ragtag group of friends and their secret ‘lab’, Okabe discovers that time travel may not be as impossible as previously thought. It doesn’t quite work the way they thought it would though. By sending a message to people in the past, the present is changed. Only Okabe seems to remember the past, though, and each time the present is changed, he gets drawn deeper into the conspiracy that the organization STERN has planted around them. The eventual discovery of a horrific fate leads Okabe to try and return things to the way they were.

The one thing that you might want to look up on Wiki is “John Titor”. His explosion onto an internet board, with his claims of time travel and explanations of it, are somewhat important though not necessary to enjoy this anime. You do get the basics of it in the show. It provides the basis for how he is jumping timelines and changing fate.

This builds the story excellently. From who and what the STERN organization is, how and why people send the messages they do, to trying to escape the fate, to the knowledge of what the change will mean for Okabe and the girl he comes to love, there is really no wasted episode. It has some pretty good comedy and pretty heavy drama. The way it’s done, it doesn’t feel forced, and you come to like and care for the members of the group. The ending was very touching- and as much as I would love a follow-up episode, I think that this couldn’t be improved on.

Overall, for a solid sci-fi series that does what it does well, this is exactly what you’re looking for.

Recommended
: 13+. There are a handful of swears, virtually all in the first half of the series. The worst it gets is one instance of the b-word. No fanservice except for one instance where Okabe accidentally walks in on Christina and Makise in the shows- you only see their backs. A guy who wishes he was born a girl sends a d-mail to his mom, and she’s born a girl in that timeline (the one instance where I was made truly angry by the science here. There is no way that eating vegetables or meat determines the sex of your child). There is a decent amount of violence, but the use of discretion shots is prevalent. You never actually see the wound being given- you see the aftermath, such as blood trickling down a face, or shadows and some blood, or a limp arm and a broken watch. The worse it gets is seeing the body fall after the wound, or in Okabe’s case, the knife in his gut and blood falling to the floor.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Real Drive (anime)
Steins;Gate movie (anime) (not yet released)
Higurashi: When They Cry (manga, anime season 1 and season 2, and VN)
Occult Academy (anime)
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)
Future Diary (manga)
Time of Eve (anime)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (anime)

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hope_In_Song
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 00:27:04

    An excellent review of an excellent series! I instantly fell in love with the show and it's characters, how what appeared to be a slow show ended up so deep and intense, with some comedy here and there to not stay in a dark place. If I were to make a top 7 list, this would be on there! I am awfully curious about what Funi will do with it, in terms of a dub, since the seiyuu will be hard to beat! (I mean, Okabe's manic laughter….done so epically by his seiyuu!) I plan to have my review for the second half up on my blog eventually. I'm glad to see you enjoyed the series, too ^.^

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Best Anime of 2011 « Paper Chimes
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