- Title: Steins;Gate
- Produced by: White Fox
- Rating: M – Violence
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Number of Episodes: 24
- Review Rating: 9.5/10. Just amazing and gripping. A must watch.
Review by Karune Walker
Based off the visual novel game developed by 5pb and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate is a science-fiction anime that was produced by White Fox, a production studio that is up and coming and have done other works like Jormungand. The official English dub of Steins; Gate was produced and released by Funimation Entertainment, which stars the voices of J. Michael Tatum and Trishi Nishimura.
Story: Directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki and Takuya Satō, Steins; Gate is set in the Tokyo suburb of Akihabara during the summer of 2010 and follows the story of self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarō Okabe and his “Future Gadget Laboratory”, which is also consisted of his only ‘friends’ Mayuri Shiina and Itaru “Daru” Hashida. One day, Okabe and Mayuri decide to attend a science conference where Okabe discovers a woman by the name of Kurisu Makise lying in a pool of blood. As result Okabe sends a text message, causing him to suffer a strange phenomenon. Later that day, Okabe runs into Makise, who is alive and well.
If you didn’t pick it up, the story of Steins; Gate revolves around time travel, something that has been quite overused recently and is one of the most complicated story elements to make work. Thankfully, Steins; Gate not only pulls it off, it turns the whole idea of time travel on its head. I won’t say anything more (spoilers). I will say that the story does have quite a slow start. The first three to four episodes are mainly introducing the characters and establishing relationships, which can be entertaining for some (like me) but not for others and once past that point, the plot is just amazing and makes you want to continue watching on. No problems here.
Characters: So many characters, so little time. And spoilers. There are four main characters in Steins; Gate but describing one could be spoilerific, so I just narrowed it down to three.
Rintarō Okabe – A self-proclaimed mad scientist, Okabe likes to refer himself as “Kyōma Hōōin” and is the one who founded “The Future Gadget Laboratory”. He appears to exhibit a paranoid behaviour, with him believing he is being watched by the “Organization” and constantly records voice memos onto his phone regarding such things. When he isn’t paranoid, he reveals to be very arrogant but is very open to those he trusts.
Mayuri Shiina – A close childhood friend of Okabe, Mayuri has a strong love for creating and wearing cosplay costumes. She has a part time job at a local maid café and is a founding member of the “Future Gadget Laboratory”. Even though Okabe shows his scientific knowledge, Mayuri does not possess such intelligence, making her seem like an airhead at times, but she serves as an emotional base for Okabe.
Itaru Hashida – Also known as “Daru”, Itaru is an experience hacker and computer programmer, whose skills mainly lie with both old and new computer hardware, earning him the nickname “Hack” from Okabe, which Itaru strongly dislikes. Even though he and Okabe have been friends since high school, he is constantly frustrated with Okabe’s delusions and mad scientist behaviour.
Sound: That opening. Just. Epic. Seriously though, the opening song “Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Itō is the perfect intro to this sci-fi anime and is also very catchy. The soundtrack is also quite good, with a mixture of sci-fi and mystery embedded in the scores, making the plot all the more enjoyable. Kudos to you Takeshi Abo.
It’s not every day you find an anime that has both a good Japanese and English dub, but hey, Steins; Gate gave us both. The voices match the characters they are attached to and the voice actors carry through the emotions and feelings really well. And the lip syncing is perfect, thank you very much. If I had to choose one though, the English dub, purely so it is easier to follow the story.
Animations and Art Style: Rarely do you find an anime that doesn’t follow the stereotypical character designs and Steins; Gate is no exception, but where this anime shines is in the attention to detail and background art. Akihabara is vibrant and alive, reflecting what it actually looks like (yes, Akihabara is an actual place) and it is a nice breath of fresh air into the anime medium. As mentioned beforehand, everything is very detailed, from reflections in small puddles on the street to the details of the world passing by when one time travels. Overall, the art was very good and never turned me away.
The Verdict: The only flaw of Steins; Gate that I can think of is it’s relatively slow start and even then, its only four episodes out of twenty-four, so that’s forgivable since the story was just addictive the whole way through. The soundtrack (and the opening) is amazing and fits the anime perfectly. The character designs may be stereotypical but where it shines is in the background and details. Just an amazing anime that should not be missed
Out of 10, I rate Steins; Gate – 9.5/10. Just amazing and gripping. A must watch.