In 2009, 5pb and Nitroplus released a visual novel for the Xbox 360 (and later for other consoles) soon after the visual novel was given an anime adaptation by White Fox. That anime is, of course, Steins;Gate.
After having watched the show a few years back, I decided it was time to revisit this spectacular show; so that is just what I did, and here is the review.
Note: Do not judge by the first episode. While interesting, it is a tad bit confusing without the next episode.
The story of Steins;Gate is a wonderfully complicated and beautifully intricate masterpiece. While watching the series through the first time is a wonderful experience, it seems the series shines even brighter when you re-watch it.
Steins;Gate builds intensity and intrigue like no other show out there. There is so much foreshadowing you will likely not even notice that it’s honestly pretty crazy. The story is extremely complex- but it is definitely in a good way. This series never feels like it is trying too hard to be smart like other anime often do; the intelligent conversations feel natural and there aren’t any obnoxious crazy logic jumps. Since there is no anime craziness in their intelligence, the show treats itself and its viewers like they can actually think; which helps the show feel much smarter.
The show has very little action in it. While that sounds like it could cause the show to be boring, it doesn’t. Steins;Gate is an extremely intense show; I actually have a hard time thinking of shows that manage to create the intensity like this does. Not many shows manage to bring the level of emotional impact as this anime does through its build up and events.
The pacing in the show is top notch, with the slight exception being two episodes toward the end of the series which delves slightly too far into two of the side characters. While there is a point to it, it’s still slightly drawn out; but even then it’s still an enjoyable experience.
-Time is a fragile thing-
Time Travel is a scary and complicated idea to deal with. With the rare exception, I usually find time travel to be an obnoxious bore which is usually used as a cheap cop out. Luckily, Steins;Gate knows what it is doing; the time travel aspects are handled better than any other show, game or book that I have ever experienced. Steins;Gate manages to make time travel a truly interesting and wonderful plot point that is excellently used when moving the plot along.
Not only that, but this anime fully dives head-first into the themes and consequences of time travel. Steins;Gate pulls no punches when showing the horrors or the joys that such actions can cause. If you watch this show, expect an emotional journey.
The visuals in Steins;Gate are pretty unique. Instead of trying keep the characters perfectly on model all the time and having super sharp visuals, the anime seems to put a lot of its effort into atmosphere. This is a unique choice, though not a bad one. With it, the show can build tension and change the mood extremely effectively, along with being able to build up upcoming events or even change the feeling of moments that would usually feel somewhat mundane. Luckily for us, the shows visuals outside of atmosphere are also pretty dang solid; the character designs are all simple yet memorable and are all rather believable for the type of personalities that they have. The color choice is largely washed out grays, silvers and browns and it actually lends to making the show feel more believable. Overall, the visuals are extremely well executed.
From the stark and atmospheric locals to the memorable characters, this show leaves a favorable impression. It never oversteps its bounds or tries too hard, there aren’t any in-your-face fan service or gratuitous shots, and Steins;Gate manages to have some of my favorite visuals in any anime as they are unique and interesting.
-In the end-
Quite simply put, Steins;Gate is amazing. Not many shows leave me pondering what went down- and even less leave me with no complaints. Steins;Gate is, without a doubt, one of the best shows I have ever seen.
If by some chance you have not watched this show, please go and watch it. It is truly excellent.