Steins;Gate is one of the few anime I have been compelled to buy. It stands out not only as an anime but as a story involving time travel. In fact, it is probably the best story about time travel I have ever seen. It doesn’t use it as just a plot device, I’m looking at you Doctor Who, tack on events to continue the story, that’s aimed at you Back To The Future, or is wishy-washy on the details of events, I’m scowling at you Tomorrowland…but in fact has its timeline and its variations set and planned and referenced from get go. So with no time to waste here’s my review of the greatest piece of temporal science fiction out there.
Steins;Gate is perhaps the best critically acclaimed anime out there, MAL ranks it at second however given that it’s up against an anime that has major manga fanboys for support I think that makes my argument even stronger. A rag tag group of friends under the guidance of a mad scientist develop wacky and useless pieces of tech that hold no real world value…their latest one being a microwave that you can control via texts. By some insane coincidence they end up accidentally meeting the minimum requirements for a rudimentary time machine. Discovering this, the original trio find themselves caught up in a series of events …with people from the past, present and future stretching their mental states to the limit.
The anime covers two major arcs, though it could be argued there’s technically more. A group of three friends form Aperture Science Laboratories, a bankrupt company that makes pointless inventions and struggles to make ends meet…oops I mean they form Future Gadget Lab, easy mistake to make. When the mad scientist leader goes to a lecture on time travel, he feels a minor tremor and observes a machine of some kind on the roof, disregarding it he goes to the lecture where he calls out the speaker for plagiarizing, after which he is pulled aside by a concerned woman who claims to have spoken to him earlier, which he hadn’t. A few moments pass and then he sees the same concerned woman dead…in response he panics and sends a text to his best friend and coworker, and is suddenly struck by a painful headache. From there he has to hit the ground running as his perception of the world is about to change.
I’d really love to explore the plot more but if you haven’t watched it then it would ruin everything and part of what makes this anime so great is when the story begins to click into place.
The Future Gadget Lab is the center of the story, as it’s the one with the rudimentary time machine. However all the characters fluctuate and change personalities during the anime, with the exception of two.
Okabe-The main character, a man who puts on the front of a mad scientist that he was told about when he was much younger. He is the founder of the FGL and is member 001. He has the unique ability to remember events as they happened in his original timeline and not the one he is living in as opposed to everyone elses memories getting rewritten.
Mayuri-The young childhood friend of Okabe, who is quite ditzy and optimistic. While she doesn’t contribute to the science, she’s an important catalyst to the events that unfold.
Daru-Daru is a super hacker and Otaku, he completes the Future Gadget trio and is critical to solving the mysteries of the first arc.
Kurisu-Kurisu has bad first impressions with Okabe due to his bewilderment resulting from his ability to remember her from other timelines. However her curiosity gets her involved with the trio and she becomes honorary member 004, permanently tying her to the FGL’s fates.
The complexity of the plot makes this extremely hard to review, however I cannot downplay how much this is a must see. This anime does time travel right, and even justifiably explains its impossible ending. Every piece of science fiction should take a few notes from Steins;Gate on how to do it properly. I am planning on doing a breakdown of the plot, to a limited degree, that explains how the start of it links to the end. I can’t even think of a nearest comparison, inside or outside of anime. It’s such a unique marvel, with a vivid cast, serious tone, amazing jokes and roller-coaster of emotions.
After watching it you will feel as if something has been twisted, torn, stretched and soothed inside you. You’ll think yourself a better and wiser person because of it, and you’ll never want the feeling to end.
“The passage of time depends entirely on where you’re standing. Relativity Theory… it’s so romantic. But it’s just so tragic too.”