February 20, 2012
Steins;Gate is set in the summer of 2010, approximately one year after the events that took place in Chaos;Head, in Akihabara.

Steins;Gate is about a group of friends who have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN, who has been doing their own research on time travel, tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.

(Sources: VNDB, Wikipedia)

The genre of Steins;Gate, from what I observed, was Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Drama. The demography reaches out to both Shonen and Seinen crowds. The concepts of time traveling, time paradox, time looping, time leaping, and the butterfly effect were all presented very well. They were explained with a fluent, consistent logic and the concepts are supported by using time lines (in the show they call it world lines, when really it’s almost saying “parallel universe”.) Some may criticize Okabe’s ability to retain his memories through his “Reading Steiner”, which I personally choose to ignore for reasons I will say at the end of the review.

The setting is in modern day society and the conflict is between our main characters and a secret organization called SERN. The whole SERN conflict shows this kind of Terminator-feel to the overall plot and Okabe is basically John Connor in retrospect to the beloved Terminator series. Overall, the story is greatly supported by the several types of conflicts and plot progression being utilized all throughout the series. Steins;Gate also consists of addicting suspense that supplements the story with a fluent, chain-linked consistency that makes you crawl back for more—a well done job.

Characters are usually all too static in anime, rather than dynamic such as those you find in some Hollywood produced dramas. Here in this particular series, there is a gold mine of dynamic-range for personality and human-quality. A lot of the characters share this quality and all have some elements that any one person could relate to somehow.

Let’s start with Okabe Rintarou. He is just this loveable, hilarious mad scientist that starts off as a comic relief by acting as a mad conspiracy theorist. There are several attempts in different series that attempt the main character to act as a comic relief; Okabe accomplishes this attempt with ease such as characters from Gintama would capture attention. Albeit, the Engrish and Kurisu jokes could get old for some(I personally never get tired of his Engrish due to the excellent voice acting by Miyamo, Mamoru,) he has his frequent moments where you can’t help but to burst into hysterics. Besides the comic relief, he also has the strongest human quality. He shows a unique dynamic in such a way that nobody would expect: at first he is a seemingly arrogant college student that is a flamboyant conspiracy theorist, then later on he develops many different states of mind and expresses a diverse range of emotion/mood, finally he resets back to his normal self and shows empowerment. Okabe is by far one of the strongest characters I have ever analyzed in an anime title.

Ah, a fan favorite: Makise Kurisu. She is as tsundere as they come—in a good way though! The presentation of her tsun side definitely shows the dere in moderation; they definitely kept this cliché at an appropriate level—making her, in my opinion, one of the better tsunderes in the anime world. As a main character, she too has a dynamic personality that develops as well. Even the tsundere part of her personality supplements her character development, like all “dere” types should accomplish. Her dynamic spectrum is unique to the tsundere type: she appears at first to be a stubborn know-it-all, and then they utilize the tsun-tsun personality to such consistency that later on it makes sense that she’d eventually show some weakness. She too later becomes an empowered character and my respect for this is inexpressible.

Tuturu~! Mayushi is certainly the clearest example and definition of “cute”. Hit-or-miss, give-or-take, you can’t really get pissed off at her character mainly due to the fact that she can be anybody’s friend at any cost. Being the role of the “childhood friend” of Okabe, she shows an excellent example of exactly what friendship is. She is always so happy and optimistic, and then becomes somewhat of a push over because of her pure maiden self—always too kind to really voice herself unless it was urgent (this exact point here is what drives the plot for half of the series with Okabe.) Lastly, she shows her dedication to keep true to her friendship to motivate a depressed Okabe and return him to his original character with her traits alone. Head-to-toe, inside-and-out, she brings joy to all viewers at some point.

SUPA-HACKA DARU!!! Itaru fills in the role of the typical otaku, with the twist of being a super hacker. He is a fan of another main character Feiris NyanNyan and shows his otaku qualities through his worship of her. The majority of his character is utilized as comic relief. He is, however funny and loveable. Outside of his perverted sense of humor at times, he does express emotional value at times such as: shock, sadness, and even shows constant determination as technician and hacker.

Here we have Suzuha Amane, a fun and high-spirited girl that would never seem to have anything mysterious about her until after the plot develops. Simple words I can say to describe her is that she is a curious character. She is a tomboy in all aspects, she rocks the look and has the swag and cuteness factor to pull it off. She too has her human qualities: she is viewed with this enthusiastic persona, then is an ever so weary and shows threatening body language, then shows the same determination that Daru has, then becomes stressed, and then back to her normal self. Here we start to see a trend of the characters all returning to their normal states…

Feiris NyanNyan~ our neko girl. She is simply the other moe factor alongside Mayushi and plays the role of the ever-so cute neko girl. A fun, energetic, cute, lovable, and playful girl puts the sugar to the spice in this show. Her trend for personality is less dynamic than the rest of the characters: starts off as a cute, playful neko girl, then begins to break down emotionally and falls in love, then returns to normal later on.

“Urushibara Ruka. The mannerisms and voice of a woman... No... More feminine than any woman. But he's a guy. Taller than Mayuri, but so very thin... But he's a guy. Looks great in a miko outfit... But he's a guy. It's already twilight And yet, it's so hot. The cicadas are crying. But... He's a guy.” –Okabe. Okabe pretty much hit the bullseye on Ruka’s entire character—the dangerous bishonen. The moe factor is deceitful, yet so powerfully cute. He is kind, shy and awfully self-conscious overall. There are slight dynamics for Ruka such as playing shy, later sucking up and becoming a bit brave for once, experiences heart break, then follows the trend of returning to normal. A bit flatter than the rest of the characters, but still is a very entertaining character.

Moeka is the last person I wanted to cover, note my sarcasm. She is the fan base’s least favorite due to her involvement in the plot. She plays the role of the popular pretty girl, although it seems as though she acts like a mute… odd combination there for sure. She is easily and reasonably a hate-able character because of her total structure and involvement, just everything about her can give her hate—yet this is why she receives so much attention from the fans. She is interesting; however, that she has this psychological issue from the obvious attachment to her cellular device. Even she can receive love from some fans due to her “emo” part of her. Her human qualities are a bit odd and she could come straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe tale: she comes off as a dandere at first, then turns absolutely insane, then goes back to her dandere self. It’s a bit bland compared to even Ruka, but she receives the right amount of attention anyways from her demograph.

The character designs are well done, original and very contemporary. The movement and flow of the characters are flawless as well as the background and scenery. The concept illustrations of world lines and such are presented with amazing touch without the use of any computer graphics. Over all ten out of ten for art.

The voice acting is excellent, emotionally moving, adorable, and unpredictable with the dialogue alone. The emotional drive that comes from the voice actors at certain parts are so well done, that their contribution to the entertainment is one of the key factors of a superb feeling a viewer may get while watching the show.

I noticed that most of the time, the music is either very low or non-existent. I find this to be appropriate for this show and not some cheesy xylophone sounding music during casual moments. During the softer, more melodramatic times they sound a piano piece that utterly captures, raptures your attention and emotion and manipulates the atmosphere and feel of the moment. The score is excellent and consistent.

The opening song “Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Itou is an anime masterpiece in of itself. Here’s why I say this: the beats are set at an acceptable tone/volume, the guitars are kept at a constant rhythm that gives a good name to J-Rock for those who are especially unfamiliar to the genre, the vocals are pretty good (the vibrato isn’t heavily used in her voice, her tone and pitch are stunning, and she has a very powerful voice—I think I just became a fan of hers.) The ending song “Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku” by Yui Sakakibara is another appropriate song for this series that starts off with a soft instrumental that should really get you on the tip of your chair, awaiting for something epic. It is a mellow song and interesting at the same time.

Funny how the genre of Steins;Gate is “thriller”; I was thrilled in the sense of utter excitement. My eyes were literally glued to the screen as I, while doing my usual Otakuthon, watched each episode with the suspense one would have when receiving X-Mas presents. There were many moments where I would burst out into laughter, rewinding those parts obnoxiously. There were times where I simply balled out crying, tearing up so much that I had to pause the show in order to finish crying up a river. There were also times that had me blush for how utterly cute and adorable some of the scenes were—be it romantic or moe. Even as a guy, I found a lot of the material awesome.

There is my full criticism and review of Steins;Gate. I gave it a ten-out-of-ten status mostly because of the emotional roller coaster I had with it. It isn’t about “how believable” an anime may be no matter how close to reality it is trying to resemble. We all watch and seek entertainment simply to be entertained. Albeit there are many, upon many things that needs criticism. I just didn’t feel that this particular show deserved hardly any criticism, so my overflowing hormones force me to over look some of these in-depth details. Can’t wait for the specials and many more things to come along from this series! El. Psy. Congroo.

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