- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Sci-Fi, Thriller, Romance
- Airing Date : Apr 2011 – Sept 2011
- Producers : Frontier Works, White Fox, FUNimation
Steins;Gate Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)
Steins;Gate tells us the story of the 18 years old university student Okabe Rintarou, who calls himself Hououin Kyouma. Acting like and proclaiming himself a mad scientist watched by a mysterious organization, he is also the founder of the so-called Future Gadget Research Laboratory set up in a small studio where he spends most of his time with his fellow companions. His childhood friend, Shiina Mayuri, and the otaku hacker, Hashida Itaru. There, the two guys usually try to create revolutionary gadgets that turn out to be weird and kind of useless tools. All while Mayuri does pretty much all the house chores and takes care of them.
Their peaceful lives will be shaken down after Okabe discovers the dead body of Makise Kurisu, at a scientific meeting he was attending. Even more so by the fact that one of their inventions, the Phone Microwave, appears to allow them to send texts to the past. The experimentations with this tool will have more repercussions than they could have imagined causing fundamental alterations in the present, putting their lives at stake.
Who does Steins;Gate cater to?
Who would enjoy Steins;Gate? Well anybody that would be even remotely interested in time travel stories. Anybody that likes science-fiction and thrillers. Anybody that enjoys a great storyline with serious dilemmas and a complex development. Or just somebody that likes when an anime makes you laugh, but is also able to rip your heart... many times.
Steins;Gate is a masterpiece, highly praised and regarded by many as a model for any time travel-related stories. So basically, if you read this article until here and never watched this anime, I can assure you that it is for YOU!
What's so appealing about this piece of work.
Its time travel storyline, based on solid rules, differentiates Steins;Gate from many other time travel stories. Many of them just confuse you or have elements which don’t make sense, which causes contradictions between different periods of time. Yet in Steins;Gate, everything is well defined with the help of strict rules that makes the story easier to follow and perfectly fitting all together.
Added to that, the development of each characters showing proper characteristics and are all very interesting. You can especially find a believable love triangle, one that leaves you unable to know for sure how it would end until the very last minute.
To resume, this anime will lead you through a lot of various feelings between laughs and tears. It will also make you think about the impact you can have on the present by changing the past. As well as how much the time traveller’s sanity can be affected.
Steins;Gate anime trailer:
Steis;Gate Main Characters List
Voice Actor :Miyano Mamoru
Okabe Rintarou, also called Okarin by his two friends Itaru and Mayuri, is the main protagonist of the story. Self-proclaimed mad scientist under the name of Hououin Kyouma, he often appears paranoid and delusional, acting or believing he is watched by a secret organization by talking about it to himself on his mobile phone. He also shows lots of arrogance, but behind all of those traits Okabe cares a lot about his friends and would do anything to protect them. He is basically the kind of character that hides behind extravagant stories to avoid showing his feelings.
Voice Actor :Seki Tomokazu
Known as Daru by almost everybody in the anime, he is friends with Okabe since High School. He appears as a stereotype otaku, overweight, spending all his time in front of the computer playing games in their lab and loving all kinds of 2D or 3D girls. He often asks Mayuri or Kurisu to act like maids because he's a huge fan of Faris, the most popular waitress at the Mayqueen Nyannyan maid café. Besides this, he has excellent computer skills with both recent and old machines, and shows great hacking abilities.
Voice Actor :Hanazawa Kana
Mayuri is the optimist of the group, most of the time happy, smiling and talking in a singing way. Like when she announces her arrival with a “tutturu” sound. She is Okabe’s childhood friend and the one always taking care of the others. Even though she doesn’t really understand complicated theories, as she is kind of simple and naive, it doesn’t disturb her when people are fighting or sad. She also calls herself Mayushii (so yes, she talks about herself at the 3rd person) and works at the Mayqueen Nyannyan as a part-time job. From time to time, Mayuri suddenly points her arm towards the sky, which is related to the time she was spending looking at the stars with her grandmother.
Voice Actor :Imai Asami
Despite being only 18 years old, Kurisu is already famous in America for writing scientific theses often acclaimed in the news. She is a genius, specialized in neuroscience, and a research member in Victor Qondria University’s Brain Research Program. Even though she should still be in High school at her age. Acting cold and strict to not show any weaknesses, she often gets in fights with Okabe, mainly because of the nicknames he uses for her. As a proper scientist, she only thinks rationally and can’t believe in Okabe’s theories, though her very curious nature pokes her interest in some of those theories.
Where to start? First great point: as mentioned earlier, the time leap system is perfectly described, following a specific logic based on real and fictional theories, simplifying it for everybody to understand. It manages to convince even the most critical audience, including me, who is in generally very attentive to every single detail contradicting the time travel process and rules. The viewer will have a hard time finding such mistakes here. Everything works and fits together. This is probably the most difficult point in time travel stories and they nailed it. There might be just a few questions related to complex theories, like the 48 hours limit for a time leap for instance, but it remains believable and without obvious failure.
Second great point: the characters are all very specific. They distinguish themselves from common anime characters and from each other with their own well developed stories. Even though Okabe is obviously more often under the spotlight, each character gets their time with specific episodes which makes each of them more singular.
Now let’s talk about the story. Oh man this story was simply amazing! With the first half of the show focusing on the discovery of the D-mail and its impact on everybody’s lives. When Akihabara never developing the moe culture for instance. Then the second half describing the fight against the unavoidable death of Mayuri in the Alpha time line.
While the first half of the anime was friendlier and peaking our curiosity, the second half just crushed our hearts (or at least mine)! How many times did we see Mayuri die? It was already a shock the first time, but seeing it happen again and again, felt like there was really nothing to do. Well, there was, but it meant that Kurisu had to die. With Okabe making his choice and getting rid of the Phone Microwave, what a great end for this anime! I mean, the real ending with everybody alive on the steins;gate time line fits as well. It is also really nice as Okabe clearly deserved it and as everybody likes happy endings. Yet how tragic, and in some way, beautiful it would have been if the producers just stopped after episode 22?
Another cool thing I enjoyed is that many situations are based on reality. The SERN, which is actually CERN in real life and the IBN 5100, based on the IBM 5100 for example. There is also the story with John Titor who wrote many posts on time travel focused forums between 2000 and 2001. He stated that he was coming from 2036, and that the world would undergo a third world war, for example.
Last but not least, there is a theory that the whole story would have just been invented by Okabe. Being a paranoid schizophrenic who could've had a psychotic break triggered by the vision of Kurisu’s dead body in the 1st episode. The interpretation makes sense as Okabe displays several signs of paranoia. In the end, everybody can have their own opinion, but it definitely adds something to the show. This could give you the motivation of watching it another time, to see if there isn’t any clue that could confirm or refute this theory.
1. Time leap
The main highlight of Steins;Gate is the use of time leap machines that allows Okabe to have an impact on the past to change the present or the future. It's possible in different ways, with various machines. At the beginning, they can only send D-mail, which are texts sent via the Phone Microwave, to someone in the past. Then, with the time leap machine that permits the user to send his memories to himself, with a maximum of 48 hours back in time. Finally, the time travel machine developed in the future permits people to physically travel in time. However, the one built by Daru was incomplete and allowed only travels to the past.
2. The Future Gadget Research Laboratory
The Future Gadget Research Laboratory has been founded by Okabe Rintarou and is set up in their studio in Akihabara. It is the main location where most anime take place. At the beginning, it was composed of only 3 members: Okabe, Daru and Mayuri. But the team grows up throughout the story with 8 members at the end. Okabe decided to keep the number, 008, for Suzuha, as she comes from the future. The main purpose of the team was to build innovative gadgets, but most of the time it turned out to be a fail, or was just useless. Until Okabe and Daru discovered that their Phone Microwave can send text in the past.
Based on the real international organization CERN, which holds the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. The SERN (Société Européene de Recherche Nucléaire, which in English would be European Organization for Nuclear Research) is the main antagonist in Steins;Gate. They are trying to rule the world which they manage to do in the future of the Alpha world line. This organization is also conducting many time travel experiences that led to the death of every human subject. Moreover, it controls some mercenary groups such as the, Rounders, led by FB.
To conclude this review, I would say (again?) that Steins;Gate is for sure one of my Top 3 favourite anime, maybe even number one. Plus, it looks like I’m not the only one thinking that way since it got such good reviews. At least in the Science fiction/thriller genre. The characters are all interesting with great background stories. And most of all, it really affects you. From the feelings it triggers, to the curiosity it pokes in you; making you think about the whole time travel procedure and how to fix all the issues and unavoidable deaths.
In my opinion, even though it has been the centre of several debates, the movie Steins;Gate Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu released in 2013 added another plus to the story. And it’s worth watching. But that’s another story…
Now let’s see what Steins;Gate 0, the announced sequel can bring to the show!
While I have a few doubts about it, I’m really impatient! What about you?