Genres – action, adventure, comedy, horror, supernatural

Steins;Gate Cover 2

Plot Summary: Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who believes that an international scientific organization named SERN is conspiring to reshape the world according to its own interests. He and his friend Itaru Hashida inadvertently create a gadget able to send messages to the past. The discovery and experimentation of this instrument become the catalyst of fundamental alterations to the present. Okabe is the only one aware of these changes because he possesses a Reading Steiner, the ability to retain the memories from previous experienced timelines. Oblivious of the consequences of their actions, Rintaro and his friends end up creating modifications of grievous proportions. He must then try to find a way to return as close as possible to the original timeline in order to save his precious lab partners.

Story -4.95

Steins;Gate is one amazing show. You have a great set of characters, who progress definitely, with an ever spiraling doom scenario for our Hero to figure out. The Psychological turns that an impending and unavoidable death comes with, with one of the best romances Anime has ever produced!

Steins; Gate has it all: the wit, humor, action, suspense, a fantastic romance, you name it; The show begins by seeing a near schizophrenic scientist name Rintaro Okabe inventing time travel using a simple microwave. Although his contraption fails to fully explain itself to our Hero at first, Okabe uses the opportunity to change events in the name of an alter ego he calls Hououin Kyouma.

Here is where the brilliance and splendor of Steins;Gate begins to unfold. As Okabe attracts lab members to his seemingly frivolous experiments beginning with Kurisu, he offers them one wish that he makes true using D-Mail (the ability to send information in the past via electronic messages). What he doesn’t know is that he has shifted the present to what is known as the Alpha Track, and dooms his friends to grisly deaths. So poor Okabe spends the rest of the show trying to get to the Beta line to undo his mistakes since he has a rare gift called Reading Steiner. I thought Reading Steiner was actually well thought out and allowed you to feel satisfied with the ending. But as to the changes Okabe has made, devilish twist that is! A nasty event happens which only Okabe is able to stop, but it seems like Alpha track will not let our hero escape its fate.

This Time Travel idea is the best one I’ve ever come across of. In a timeline you have many different lives that all collide in what is called a Alpha Track. This collision is kinda of like the main point in a story, so no matter how you differ some of the lesser events, it will not change the main timeline. So unless you find what those major events were, you cannot escape destiny. While this is a largely simplified version the show tells us, I believe you’ll find this is rather close to what time-travel would really be like if God allowed us to do so.

(Spoiler Alert) :

Seeing Muyari die over and over was really dark, and it drags you to deeper levels each time poor Okabe has to reappear at the same spot and listen to the same things in his house. As the writer knew, it’s not about the big bad ugly things that scare you, its the tiny, repetitious, and unavoidable things that do.

I must say, on a psychological point, this part of the show is a tear jerker. Even the little things like a god-father watch clock stopping just before Mayuri’s death gets very creepy. Such twists and turns might rip apart a normal show, but Steins;Gate shows no fear as it keeps everything together.

For all of our train wrecks in the form of wishes have an excellent point to them with Okabe around. Because our Heroe’s progression sees Okabe turn into a great and honorable character. He throws his power to help each of his friends, and when he must return to the Alpha Track, Okabe never forces any of his lab mates into giving up their desires. I think this loyalty and splendid honor of his is what makes all the wishes so powerful. Especially since they do cover some great points.

Ruka is quite the topic. First, I do agree with Okabe’s decisions in this huge arc. And second, I appreciate when Ruka’s is asked if he likes Okabe, he gives the honest answer of “well, I do respect you”. That it is really truth. For Ruka cannot love Okabe in the romantic sense, for he is not able to do so with any other outside of a woman. Why this comment? It is crucial you see. While it’s a high shame Steins;Gate does not see Ruka find peace, the story really isn’t about him. Its about Okabe. This parable is simply something that further shapes Okabe to not be concerned with how others think, but rather whether its the right thing to do. Because we all are humans and prone to weakness.

As it turns out, Ruka is not happy either a girl or boy. As the story plays out, it becomes clear that Ruka is his own source of misery, and the only one to blame for his problem. As it says in Proverbs, he who compares himself with others is not wise. I mean, Ruka isn’t exactly surrounded by the essence of manliness. He’s got a tall and skinny Okabe, and a short and fat Itaru as his comparisons, so what gives? Worse then all this is the fact that Ruka insists on wearing girl’s clothes, with a feminine hairstyle perfected by that flower, and yet insists on complaining to Okabe, upon first meeting him, about how people keep thinking he’s a girl…

Well duh, man…And even when he does become a girl, Ruka finds his lack of feminine physique to be a source of frusteration…in other words, we find that Ruka is always unhappy with how he is made and dresses like a girl to make up for that. Yet, as Okabe sees, we often think we know what is best, but God in the end is always right. Ruka’s disgust at having a wimpy body (he’s barely 15. sheesh.) and, ultimately, anger at his Creator spirals him into a never ending cesspool of misery and is exactly what causes his horrid self-deprication.

To our Hero’s credit and to the viewer’s liking, Okabe wisely tells Ruka that it isn’t about Gender. Okabe wasn’t his friend because he was a boy or girl, or even looked like either. Instead, it was because Okabe was interested in his soul as a friend. His encouragement of Ruka to be proud of who he is, only to have it fall on remorsefully deaf ears, was a very sweet and yet sad moment. Okabe’s response was the driving nail to cementing my respect of Steins;Gate, as Okabe hands Ruka that Katana, entering in that well-known scene of master and apprentice. As Okabe points out, he seeks to toughen up Ruka…in his hope that Ruka would grow out of his self-pity and truly begin to live. Because Okabe, his friend, is right there for him.

Let the reader understand the point of all this: It is not Steins;Gate’s premise that being Gay is good…because it is not. Instead, it sheds light on the core element of such a miserable person that they are not only their own source of misery, but also reminds us that such a person can never be satisfied in the end. And it is to Steins;Gate’s splendid honor that it deals with such a tender subject with all the empathy and respect one could ask for, as it lays out its conclusion.

Another great point in a show with a narcissist for a hero is seeing Okabe grow in maturity. In the midst of the constant horror, Okabe is starting to grasp and realize the vanity of his altar ego, as he admits bitterly to Kurisu he isn’t a mad scientist. He never forces any of the drastic decisions on any of the lab members, and of particular note is learning to rely on others for those really tough moments in life. And that’s how it was meant to be, since it is not good for man to be alone.

So what about Steins;Gate’s weakenesses? There is the couple fan-service scenes where we just get a brief vantage point at Kurisu and Suzuha, but those were mild to be sure. Perhaps the only real grief comes from the fruit jokes, but those hilarious scenes were presented rather innocently and, frankly, everyone knows Itaru is somewhat of a perv. The rest to say I leave for the proper section.

The former topics on Ruka and Moeka are exactly what makes Steins;Gate so brilliant. It is as deep as its constant twists roll forth. Even the ending itself is well thought out and gives a high amount of satisfaction to the viewer. I would speak more but I’m afraid to spoil it for the reader. As the reviewer Carlos Santos described it:  a “thriller masterpiece” and “one of the most addictive Sci-fi thrillers in recent anime history.” He concluded that it has a “well-researched time travel concept” and “memorable characters,” and that its “constantly surprising storyline” makes it “a supreme edge-of-your-seat thriller.  ^ Santos, Carlo (September 27, 2011). “Review: Steins;Gate”.

Emotional Draw – 5.0

Emotions are centerpieces to what makes us humans, and Steins;Gate clearly understands that. From great humor, to a fantastic budding romance, Steins;Gate doesn’t fail to deliver.

While from a technical stance I have to agree Steins;Gate isn’t a romantic show, in all practicality it really is. Move aside Twilight to what real Romance looks like!  You have it all: characters who’s chemistry with each other is as the voice acting is superb, drama that doesn’t kill your man from watching, and a realistic budding romance that includes so many great moments. Whether Okabe is on the roof spilling out his soul to an empathetic but worried Kurisu, or at the lab freaking out with her at his side, or that scene in the rain (classically romantic)…all without ever once breaking off from their characters or with stupid comments like “sssshhhhhhhh….your hurt.”

When considering some of the arcs, I must say, it seemed like Steins;Gate could do no wrong.

Consider Suzuha. Her search for her dad and seeing Okabe sincerely desire to help her was so sweet…up to the point you realize he causes Suzuha to lose focus in ways he never foresaw. Like the anvil crashing down on your dreams, it was so heart-wrenching the way we hear Suzuha cry “I failed! I failed! I failed! I failed…” over and over. Man, that was some good powerful stuff.

Moeka’s arc also did not disappoint. And in some ways was my favorite of the D-Mails (well, aside from the first one). The way Steins;Gate presented her was excellent, and successfully made the 360 turn from feeling pity to hating her guts (oh yeah you do!) to having all the empathy in the world for this heartless wretch. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better with her arc, meeting FB was so horrifying to watch. All I could do was open my mouth in horror as I’m led to the conclusion of Moeka’s desperation. Man this show is awesome.

Faris in turn was a sweet arc. I loved her comment to Okabe about him being “her Hero”. The sad, firm conviction she sees in Okabe in being requested to give up her wish melts her heart towards his wish, and I felt did a great job of translating that to the audience. Classic stuff.

I think when you add the truly tragic elements of the Steins;Gate universe, you get drama that pushes you to some strong, defined emotions. As I’ve already mentioned, the dramatic elements of Steins;Gate are quite excellent. Mayuri’s death, Moeka’s plight, Feris’ dilemma, Ruka’s frustration, all these arcs were done spectacularly. Anytime the show wanted to get sad or funny, it did so without any hitches. And like a true masterpiece, Steins;Gate knew how to get you in the mood beforehand, making a killing when each episode ended. Brilliant.

Now the humor in the show is equally great in both context and in presentation. As I’ve said before, Steins;Gate isn’t for kids due to the romantic and dramatic elements to the show, which are great, just a little mature. Early on you have that scene with the fruit jokes, which while normally might be thought a little obscene, I believe was innocently done and should be a source of a few good laughs.

When I say this, this is because there is a way to joke that IS obscene, and another way that is not. Of course, the words you use can play a huge role in this, so assuming your not being crass in description, you can offer something that is genuinely funny while maintaining an aura of respect for everyone involved or witnessing it. And that’s something Steins;Gate generally does a good job at threading the needle here. Let’s face it, the awkward and embarrassing scene is one of the best sources of humor, especially when it’s done right.

Plus, its not like that’s all the show had to offer us. We have a few scientists, and a mad one too, so there was plenty of witty humor throughout the show. And I believe humor in Steins;Gate is that much better, because it remains natural throughout the series, which maintains your interest and ability to be engulfed in the show. Well done.

Characters – 4.86

Okabe Distraught Okabe v1Rintaro Okabe – 5.0

  No one ever said being crazy was all bad, and Okabe proves this with unparalleled awesomeness.

  A man who invents his friends from his scientific research of time, Okabe’s personality is as strange as it is inviting. his constant fear of Sern and his mindless (but funny) jargo using huge words that rarely see the light of day. A very solid character progression made it really easy to get into our partially vain hero (although the ending we see a huge improvement from that).

The English version is frankly superb. J. Michael Tatum‘s chemistry with the other actors was great and helped push the envelope on the standard for acting in such a rush rush industry (English Dub has only a few months to do what the Origin had a year to do). His lines were very realistic and I loved so many of those witty comments he’d make at Kurisu. My favorite quote I think is still “I’m…uh…here to save your life.”

(trust me, you’ll understand when you hear it!)

_

Kurisu Intro Kurisu sad Kurisu Makise – 5.0

Ah, a brilliant scientist and a brilliant voice actress. The earthly but sensitive sound that Trina Nishimura worked very well with Okabe and I thought that much of the dialogue between the two felt as fresh as it did real. It was so easy to put yourself in her shoes and think ‘that’s what I would say’, which is always a good sign of acting.

Her character change is sweetly done, and her invaluable commitment to being there for Okabe comes off romantically superb. Great heroes and heroines make great shows.

_

Suzuha the Lab Member SuzuhaSuzaha – 4.9

A mysterious girl who “runs” into Okabe and later is a key element to the search or the Beta Track, ()’s performance was pretty good.

Suzuha’s love of bikes was endearing and I thought her usefulness later on the show not only makes sense but added a level of endearment at knowing a little about Itaru. he he. Solid character for a solid show.

_

Mayuri Dead MayuriMayuri – 4.5

Jackie Ross‘s dub version was fairly decent. there are times when she sounds either too much like an adult or just plainly flat, but I felt that overall she wasn’t a bad character.

Her simple naive outlook was sweet enough that seeing her die felt very sad. I did think that she might have made things worse for Ruka with all the Cosplay stuff, but hey. But as to her overall attraction as a person of interest, most of her lines were great, its just the consistency part was off somewhat. So in this case the reason for the high grade has to do with acknowledging the failure of the voicing, and not so much the character.

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Faris v2 FarisFaris Nyannyan – 5.0

Jad Saxton‘s classic, somewhat sassy performance was endearing as it was consistent. Like with Reki in Aria the Scarlet Ammo, Jad nails every opportunity she has.

Her cute moments with her cat ninja moves (well, as a guy I liked it), and her high character really have you thinking she’s a great girl. I especially liked the contrast you see from her after she got her wish, and I think it helped the arc hit great heights.

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Moeka intrepid MoekaMoeka Kiryu – 5.0

I wasn’t sure whether to hate her guts or feel sorry for her, but Steins;Gate does a great job of pulling off the emotions. Her wretched state you see later on was superbly done, and hit the nail on the arc.

Now I can’t go too far, as Moeka doesn’t exactly have a lot of lines (she usually just texts instead), but I think you’ll like her character. Voice acting was done by Jessica Cavanagh, and like the other characters had the right feel. Well done Jessica.

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Ruka Dude Ruka

Ruka – 4.8

The show makes him look like a girl, which is one backdraw for drawings, but I felt like overall that actually played well later on when he gets his wish.

Lindsay Seidel‘s performance of Ruka was okish, but not bad, and I felt casting her for his role probably was the better choice anyways. Perhaps it was a matter of opinion, since that big arc of hers was excellently done, and hit most of the moments when emotions arise. Weird character of the masculine persuasion. ha ha!

Creativity – 5.0
 
The whole show revolves around a few areas of the city , so there isn’t a huge difference from show to show. However, as you might have observed in your own life, familiarity is a comfort in itself, and that’s how the scenery plays. There are some great scenes speckled throughout the show (especially after Faris’ D-Mail) and in particular with Okabe and Kurisu. Splended stuff. Artisticly the characters are a little on the tall side, but I thought they meshed well enough together with the scenery.
I also thought the music played very well overall, and there were many scenes that tugged on your heart, in particular towards the end. Just fantastic stuff.
 
Grade Overall – 4.96
 
(Steins;Gate is truly a work of art, both in content and intellectually stimulating conversations that conclude with a highly Biblical viewpoint (and thus logically superior). Not too overbearing either in any of the latter, Steins;Gate also has a view of time travel that crushes the competition in its brilliance. I’m confident Steins;Gate will be in your top 5 favorite shows.

Seriously, it’s that good. A Masterpiece!)

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