Hello Anime vice, it is I, M, again here to put on my lab coat, cook up some science, and review the Visual novel turned Anime, Steins; Gate courtesy of Nitroplus. Appearing sometime in 2011 it gained a good amount of popularity with close friends of mine, culmination in my desire to have a Steins gate marathon over the course of my weekend. So now that that’s over, how do I feel about Steins gate?
Stein’s Gate set in the modern 2010 this spiritual successor to Chaos Head though not entirely in its themes. The story is of 18 year old self described mad scientist ranking up there with Cave Johnson Rintarou Okabe, head of rang tag group of scientist including a 18 year old girl and brilliant neuroscientist Kurisu Makise, student and computer engineer Hasida Itaru, and lastly cute and honestly mildly autistic high school girl, Mayuri Shiina. They together have discovered accidentally that when you combine a phone with a microwave and add a little bit of a crt tv you get time travel complete with all the uses and consequences thereof. This, of course, attracting the attention of the unwanted in the process. Let me put it to you this way, if I have to say anything more than more than an anime about a bunch of college kids cooking up science and finding time travel through combining a cell phone and a microwave not only is this review not for you, but I feel the need to pose this question; what the hell are you doing on this planet breathing my air?
Steins Gate, man oh man, let me tell you. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an anime this good, hate to spoil the surprise, but it’s really good. I entered in with a high level of skepticism with Steins gate and rightfully so, the first episode is one of the most confusing and rather poorly done entry into anything I have ever seen however with every step Steins gate gets better and by the end, to be honest, I’m having a hard time figuring out to begin.
The show for all intents and purposes is divided into two distinct segments, the first twelve episodes are a excellent and pretty funny slice of life anime that basically deals with the development of time travel, the second section of 12 episodes are a very serious for lack of a better word adventure against time itself to stop some bad stuff from going down; that mostly deals with the applications and consequences of time travel. These episodes divided cleanly by a single one, episode 12, that has probably the biggest shit got real escalation curve I have seen in an anime to date. It performs with juggle of themes unbelievably well all while never breaking character for anyone.
Speaking of which, Steins Gate above all has a strong sense of character. It has a ridiculous cast while at the same time as managing them realistically. They react to things as people should; frightening things bring fear; if a character is hurt by another they react like they should. More so the conversations feels natural. Instead of seeming forced, relationships between characters seem sensible and even within their motifs these characters do seem more like people. Media has always had a problem with finding a way to bring a three dimension to a character without forcing melodrama or contrivance. In Steins Gate the drama while dramatic hardly seems melodramatic, unless the story itself address it as melodramatic, such is the case with many characters whose tropes are discussed and their tendencies to follow the trope are often the butt of jokes without necessarily breaking the fourth wall and demolishing seriousness with it. People are pretty funny to be honest and that’s what the humor is in Steins gate, people being what they are.
Most importantly there is the Science, Sci-fi is often one of the most underused or overly generic genres available sadly, so it brings me great joy to see Steins gate push for Science fiction in a semi-different way. While time Travel isn’t a new idea most of the implementation of it in Steins Gate is new enough. Using Time travel in ways that are unique without being completely insane. Admittedly some of the science is bullshit, but time travel is a new science to the characters and often enough they can only theorize why things are working more than knowing, the fact that a good portion of this show is simply a bunch of college kids performing weird experiments just to figure out how this new science works makes Steins Gate a little unique compared to its generic high school romance brethren that dominate the slice of life world or the space Mecha that dominate anime sci-fi.
I know this is turning into just rapid fire gush for Steins Gate, but I can’t express how much it deserves it. It’s not perfect for sure, the characters can be a bit much sometimes being so realistically socially inept as the story claims they are, a tendency to have plot twist with predictability up there with death and taxes, combined with its propensity to try to force information down your throat can turn away people early on. A main sticking point some might have is the small holes in the science of Time travel in Steins Gate, but to be honest every science fiction has a little space magic, mass effect has element zero, Star Trek has more small holes then the back of a gun range. Simply put if science fiction were entirely science fact, then all our microwaves would have a time travel setting.
Steins gate all around brings a package I can’t begin to express the quality of. Despite its imperfections I’m happy to give Steins Gate a very special place. In all the Manga and anime I’ve seen, a number well over a hundred by now, and of all I’ve only truthful been able to say two manga and four anime series have a 5 out of 5 ranking out of all that I’ve seen in my life. Something that hasn’t changed since the Mirai Nikki manga ended, but I’m happy to change that. So without further stalling; I give Steins Gate a impressive 5 time traveling bananas out of 5. Well that’s all Vice users, now I’m off to sleep, tomorrow me and the other boys are going to get together to all kinds of science stuff and make a podcast, see you later!