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Steins; Gate Review
Steins; Gate is a anime series which began airing in Japan about 2 years ago in early 2011, but I never got around to watching it until recently. I marked it on my radar roughly six months ago when I first saw the trailer, however life got in the way and before long I had forgotten all about it. Funimation restored that memory when they released the collective series in English dubbed format, henceforth I made it a point to finally watch and enjoy this fantastic anime.
The story of Steins; Gate starts with the basics, dropping us into the laboratory of college scientist/evil genius Rintarō Okabe, while he madly rants and raves about conspiracy theories, future gadgets, and time travel. This eccentric protagonist conducts his experiments in his so called laboratory, which is a code name for a small apartment built on top of a run down TV repair store, owned by his bull dog of a landlord. Okabe and his close friends Mayuri, and Itaru spend most of their waking time in the make shift lab, convinced they can build advanced technology and create amazing scientific theories in effort to fight what they refer to as “The Organization”. One day while attending a routine science conference, Okabe witnesses the death of a random stranger named Kurisu Makise, which puts him in a state of shock. Shortly after in his dismay, he sends off a text message to Itaru detailing everything he had just seen. This mysterious text message accidentally gets crossed with one of his experiments back home, and somehow ends up going back in time. This sends out a ripple through time, and inadvertently changes some events in the past, altering it so Kurisu survives instead of being killed. It all sounds crazy and a tad childish, but before long Okabe and his friends are wrapped up in a time travel paradox, with The Organization closing in and a possible future filled with war, its up to them to save the day.
The character of Okabe Rintarō has to be one of the most smartly designed personalities in recent anime, because of his enthusiastic rambling and seemingly mad thought processes, its all extremely entertaining to watch. We first see him as a simple display of childish humor, college intelligence and a bit of insanity, but as time goes on he develops so well into different things. Raw emotions like sadness and desperation run through this character time after time again. We see every heartfelt moment that he goes through, and its great to see it change him over the course of each episode. By the end of it all, we get a look back at how things began after seeing how they are now, and it puts everything into an incredible perspective worth watching at least one more time.
Okabe’s clash with the other protagonist Makise Kurisu is one for the books as well. She is as stubborn and as smart as he is, slowly becoming the backbone of everything he does, and the light in the dark for all that they go through together. Their constant arguing and childish banter creates a great look at how two people can come together, no matter how they act on the surface. We can see them slowly being drawn together over different events and hurdles yet their disagreements allow them to relax around each other. These two and their struggles are the true story of Steins; Gate.
The art style of Steins; Gate is actually quite drab and somewhat dull, but its meant to be to convey a certain feel. Many grays, browns, and whites make up the majority of scenes indoor and out. This establishes a very somber overtone, and seeing Okabe almost exclusively in his white lab coat and dark apartment completes the scientific look. Makise’s long blood-red hair gives her the fiery appeal, and the blue holographic of the computers and time lines make you feel like your in a mixture of The Matrix and something out of the Mass Effect franchise. The characters are drawn well, and everyone appears like they’re in their proper environment, and no one looks out of place. Okabe’s lab coat, Mikise’s hair and Itaru’s hat make up an exclusive look for each character, as anime often loves to do. It fits well, and its quite pleasing on the eyes. The colors might take a few episodes to get used to, but you’ll find out how it pays off and compliments the series as a whole later on.
I won’t go too far into detail to avoid possible spoilers, but this anime is must watch for anyone who is at all interested in anime, time travel, or both. I really enjoyed myself throughout the viewing experience, and quite honestly it changed my views on changing the past and future completely. This story is humorous and quirky, but stand prepared for a tear jerk and a pull on the heart strings. This anime is so good at telling its story that it will hurt you when it decides to, but make you laugh and keep you entertained at all costs.
Steins; Gate is available to watch online and available for purchse at Funimation.com