Anime Review: Steins;Gate
This article was originally published here: http://www.gnerkus.com/2016/03/21/steins-gate-review/
“If that doesn’t affect you then your heart is already broken.”
Makise Kirisu (Steins;Gate)
The quote means little outside the context of the show. Within it, however, it is powerful enough to draw tears from your eyes. While Steins;Gate is a brilliant and exciting tale about a team of time travelers, it is also a tale of sadness and sacrifice.
Steins;Gate is about a self-proclaimed mad scientist, Rintarou Okabe, whose experiments lead him and his fellow lab members, Mayuri Shiina and Hashida Itaru, to the discovery of a device that can send emails to the past. The discovery triggers a series of events that compel Okabe to traverse diverging time lines.
The first few episodes are hardly as exciting as you’d expect given the synopsis. That is, until the discovery that the ‘Phone Microwave’, one of the team’s numerous inventions, can send emails to the past. This is leads to the discovery of an evil organization which was once believed to be a figment of Okabe’s imagination. From this point on the pace of the show picks up, mixing periods of great success and happiness with moments of devastating failure and grief.
A wonderful aspect of the show is its simplicity: the concepts of time travel explained in the show are easy to grasp.
The show’s characterization is an excellent blend of clichés and surprises. There’s a perverted nerd who’s dependable; a tsundere scientist who provides support to Okabe when he needs it the most; a flighty girl whose powers of observation are amazing; and a shy, svelte lady who…you’ll find out. However, these characters are not nearly as developed as Okabe.
As the plot advances, Okabe transitions from an eccentric, carefree scientist to a less eccentric, selfish person, almost broken by sorrow. Only the support of his lab members keep him going.
While the art is not spectacular, it’s as realistic as it needs to be and is easy to interpret. Sombre moments are rendered perfectly. Also, you never get bored of the settings even though there aren’t many of them.
It’s difficult to fault the background music of the show. Light-hearted melodies emphasized periods of happiness. But the tunes that played during the periods of failure were the most moving.
Steins;Gate is a thoroughly enjoyable show. I found it difficult to get into initially and even put it on hold for a few weeks. But when I returned to the show and resolved to finish it, I was rewarded with a beautiful anime and a few hours worth of crying. I’d suggest you finish the anime on a Saturday so you have the whole of Sunday to recover.
I’d recommend you see Steins;Gate. And while you’re at it, I’ll be trying my very best to wipe the show from my memory so I can see it again.