Summary: “If you relish the idea of a gripping and thought-provoking anime, set against a mysterious and ominous backdrop, and spiced with humor and emotional moments, you could not go wrong in watching Steins;Gate.”
Steins;Gate is perfect. It is the epitome of psychology, the embodiment of intrigue, and the quintessence of written art. It stands above all anime which have come before it. It excels. It micrifies all of its predecessors in all mediums, be they novels, manga, anime, or films. It radiates brilliance. To say that anime actually existed before the rise of Steins;Gate is false. Everything in the future, nay, the future itself, will gaze with awe toward the pinnacle of beauty that is Steins;Gate and find inspiration and hope. Steins;Gate is a sufficient reason for one’s existence. If Shakespeare or Tolkien were to read the plot of Steins;Gate, they would see their first glimpse of true greatness and be humbled. Like a many faceted diamond, there are many brilliant faces to Steins;Gate: plot, characters, setting, art, character dynamics, humor, and theme; and none of these faces are anything less than perfect. Already since the creation of Steins;Gate, the world has become a significantly better place. Criminals are left with no desire to harm others. Governments strive toward newfound benevolence. All people love each other out of heartfelt generosity. Those who experience Steins;Gate reach a level of existence beyond that of anyone else. To not watch it is to be missing an aspect of your life. The story of Steins;Gate commands your attention by the sheer authority of its breathtaking development. Steins;Gate wins. It displays truth to a nearly matchless extent. It is a necessary part of the world and of life. Through all of these observations, one solid and faultless truth is found. Steins;Gate is perfect.
Glad to get that out of my system. Now, the objective review.
The plot of Steins;Gate is well thought out, creative, and captivating. Intrigue pulls you into the plot of Steins;Gate, and as you continue watching, you yearn to know what happens next as choices are made and mysteries dazzlingly unraveled. While some revelations are not hard to guess at beforehand, others leave you speechless. I have had several chills run down my back as I learn some of the amazing truths behind the original surface of the plot, whether the identities of certain characters, or the reasons for certain events. That being said, I'm also glad at where the author did not choose to leave the viewer guessing. For example, right from the start of the anime, you know who the enemy (organization) is. Also, it does not take long before the characters clearly learn how to achieve certain feats. But because of this, you end up wondering "what will the characters do with this? How will they escape the enemy?" These types of questions, though they don't leave you looking for hints or decrypting riddles, are mysteries of their own, and they keep you clicking "next" after every episode.
I'm a great fan of psychological anime. When I say psychological, I do not mean mentally torturous, as in mind-f or horror. I mean thought-provoking. Anime with choices to be made. Consequences for those choices. Themes running through actions. Steins;Gate excels in all of these areas; and it should, since the plot is built on a concept fraught with consequences - time travel. Nearly every episode in Steins;Gate, there are choices to be made. At first, choices are made quite easily, and great joy comes from the characters' actions. As the plot progresses, however, consequences begin to appear, and we learn that nothing is as simple as it seems. A tension appears between choices' benefits and their consequences. This tension progressively builds until it seems like saving some any hope or dream requires crushing others. The butterfly's wings are flapping.
The characters of Steins;Gate are fantastically creative and compelling. Several of them seem, at first glance, to exemplify certain anime stereotypes. But as you experience more of the story, you get to watch the actions of these characters, hear their opinions and thoughts, and realize that for each of them, there is more going on than meets the eye. This is especially true for Kyouma. As the story progresses, he learns more about the consequences of time travel, and he learns more about the other characters, and his enemies. You begin to see beneath his epically flamboyant exterior a thoughtful man whose joy is beginning to be sapped by the circumstances around him.
On the lighter side, all the characters are also really entertaining. Despite the overall serious nature of the anime, there are amusing aspects to each of the characters; from Kyouma’s spurts of “madness” to Daru’s perverted jokes and net-references, to Kurisu’s overt tsundere-ness. These fun aspects lead to many entertaining moments. The occasional romance also adds to the entertainment. Nothing definitive really happens, but there are plenty of amusing and sometimes meaningful moments between Kyouma and a couple of the others.
I never noticed much about the music of Steins;Gate. Looking back, though, that's just because it matched the scenes so well. There are definitely both intense and subtle moments in the music, paired well with the plot. The opening and ending also match the anime quite well, and have (to some extent) both an epic and meaningful feel to them. There's nothing ridiculously powerful like Tori no Uta or A Moon Filled Sky, but those both come from solely drama/romance-focused anime, and Steins;Gate isn't that type of anime, so it's not going to have those types of tracks.
I'm not a great connoisseur of animation, but the animation of Steins;Gate seems smooth and appealing. It's unique without being weird. Backgrounds are detailed and characters are portrayed well visually.
The plot of Steins;Gate is well thought out, creative, and captivating. The themes are deep and the choices complex and sometimes painful. The characters are entertaining and fascinating. The sound and animation suit the anime well and make it more amazing. If you relish the idea of a gripping and thought-provoking anime, set against a mysterious and ominous backdrop, and spiced with humor and emotional moments, you could not go wrong in watching Steins;Gate.
Note: This review is 1,058 words, about 1/60th the length of the average novel. Tl;dr.
I don't usually write reviews. I'm not very good at them, hence the reason why I don't write them too much. But, I'm going through my anime and decided I'm going to review all the anime I've watched. Why not, ay?
Steins;Gate is about an eccentric mad scientist called Okabe Rintarou and his two lab members, Shiina Mayuri and Daru formed this lab called the "Future Gadget Research Laboratory" where they make futuristic gadgets (obvious enough). However, all of their inventions are extremely boring and useless, and the only one that's even remotely interesting is the Phone Microwave which turns bananas into oozing green gel. But, when Okabe sends a text message to Daru, whose phone was connected to the phone microwave, he discovers that the phone microwave can send text messages into the past. And what's more, the words they send can effect the flow of time, and have unforseen, far-reaching consequences... consequences that Okabe may not be able to handle. Being a fan of science-fiction, and also time-travel fiction, this was the reason that made me watch Steins;Gate. So, if you're a fan of science-fiction, I'd seriously advise you watch this. If you're wondering, yes, I did rip off most of this from MAL.
I really love the animation for Steins;Gate. Just looks awesome. Well, anything above the year 2000 should look good, but there's just something about Steins;Gate for some reason that just makes it look even more awesome. I don't know, maybe I'm high when I watch Steins;Gate, so everything looks fascinating.
HAH! I put a .5 there! What you gonna do, huh? Anyway, the soundtrack for Steins;Gate is amazing, and the opening is also great. Everything to do with sound is awesome, aight? AIGHT MATE? Even their voices! FASCINATING!!!!!!!!!!!!
I like almost every character, well, main character, I'm not too sure about other characters, don't know. Anyway, every character is pretty well developed and there didn't have to be more work done on them. They were all pretty much developed perfectly. Okabe Rintarou's character development throughout the series is probably my favorite one. Favorite character, right there.
The anime had an awesome ending, the OVA was quite good, not too good, but it was pretty good and the movie I especially liked. This series has got to be one of my favorite anime series of all time and take note of the "one" because, that's important. I'm not saying "THIS FOCKIN' ANIME IS A MUST WATCH U STUPID FAGGOTS CUM WATCH IT NAO!!" I'm just saying it's one of 'my' best anime series of all time. But... it pretty much is one of "the" best anime of all time because it's rated pretty highly...
This is a spoiler-free review.
Steins;Gate/ ahh, this show. Simply put, it's a marvelous idea that was disasterously executed. This show goes up and down so much during its running that I almost feel like it's imposiblle to review it as a whole, and there are moments when it's great, and there are moments when it's tedious as f*ck and you can barely continue watching. It takes effort to watch this show, it needs a long time to pick up its pace, and when it does, you foolishly hope something is gonna happen when it only kinda starts repeating, same plot-only reversed.
To keep it short, stuff I had issues with this show:
1. Major plotlines holes and mistakes and the show self-condradicting itself, I felt my logic was being raped so many times.
2.The show builds itself by creating some mystery, only to have those mysteries answered by the sloppiest, laziest, most unimaginative writing I've come up to see on any anime so far in my anime watching years. The solutions also added major plothole issues and it seemed they were done that way only to not expand on the 10 characters the show was forcing all the time, even when their place didn't belong there.
3. Episode 23 and 24. It was like the show was shooting itself and destroying what it had already achieved.
4. THE FUCKING VEGETABLE/MEAT THING. Honestly, I wanted to throw all my medicine books at the screen when that thing happenned. That stuff is more sci-fi than time-travel. The writer(s) wanted to bring up an issue, kudos for that, but they butchered the character and desperately wanting to reach an effect, an end-result, they did it so by ignroing all the science of the world that the show was selling and basing itself on, suposedly.
However, some stuff was made top-notch, and I loved it. That includes:
1.The protagonist's character development. The writing didn't fail there. It was splendid.
2. The animation, especially on the first episodes. Loved the scenes when the characters were being reflected on the TV screens.
3. Suzuha Amane! I won't continue due to spoilers.
4. Episode 21 and 22. For all the lows and highs, these episodes were superbly done and captured the whole essence of the show. Okabe's interactions with Mayuri and Kurisu, and especially with Kurisu, were the highlight of the show. As I mentioned above, Ep 23 and 24 were a complete disaster and I'll try to forget I ever watched em.
All and all, it's an ok show, with moments of excellence, but I must be blunt, it doesn't deserve the rating it has, not even close. Hopefully, the ranking system doesn't disappoint me again as much as it did with this show. My expectations weren't at all fulfilled. But hey, you, reading this review, give it a shot, and tell me what you think :)
Steins;Gate (SG) is based on a visual novel by Nitroplus, which some years ago had also adapted into anime their Chaos;Head work and the result was plain horrible. Seems like since then they learned from their mistakes and improved the pacing and the character interactions; yet it’s still not masterpiece level as it is full of dead time and otaku jokes. I understand it is based on something of which 99% of the players are hardcore anime fans who demand some fan catering, but that is also what makes it rather hard to be liked by anyone who is not into that. I for example am a hardcore fan as well but the constant otaku jokes annoyed me. This is no Genshiken to excuse them in-story; they are there as plain fan catering and I find that to be a cheap method of attracting one’s interest. It’s not like the story can’t work without it; it is very interesting and I consider all the humor as nothing but an excuse to stall time and sell more to otakus. It takes away from the show instead of adding.
The production values are standard in artwork and animation but very good in aesthetics, combining various cinematics that really build up in atmosphere.
- The use of darkness, dementia backgrounds, cryptic dialogues and smart camera angles make it very eye-captivating.
- Voice acting is better described as perky (TUTURU!); the characters all sound like they have mental disorders and that gives them a colorful tone. The context of the dialogues is also semi-smart as it involves a lot of pseudo-science that needs attention to get the terminology; I must say it is very interesting.
- The soundtrack is also a weird blend of electronic music with guitar, pop, and trance, and again I find myself attracted to it even more. WHY COULDN’T CHAOS;HEAD BE SO GOOD?
- There are also many cute girls and otaku culture gags if you dig that but as I said I found them to be an unnecessary extra. What I mostly like about the girls is not them cosplaying or blushing but the way their eyes are drawn that makes them look like they escaped from some asylum, which is awesome.
The concept of story is also very interesting; it is about time travel in quite an unorthodox way. Or at least it was at first before they screw it up with a more commonplace type of method later in the story.
- You don’t travel physically; only your data does in the form of microwaves or memories. The application is very unstable with solid objects and thus it is safe to be used only for cell phone messages or transferring your memories. The protagonist spends half the show experimenting and learning how to link with himself in the past in an attempt to prevent future events.
- There are various twists to this as, for example, there are myriads of different timelines and thus each time-related event creates a different timeline (or as they call it, a world line). Every time they change something, according to the basic principle of time paradoxes you don’t remember making the change unless you have a supernatural ability to do so. Practically only the protagonist retains the memories while all the rest look at you without having a clue of what just changed; a very interesting concept. It even goes beyond that by stating that some events are destined to happen no matter what you do, unless you go back and do something world shaking, which will automatically rewrite history entirely.
- All these are amazing concepts, never used in such an elaborate way in an anime before. I mean, ok, Higurashi and Madoka are famous examples of anime that did something similar but not in such an elaborate way, thus Steins;Gate wins hands down. And mind how I still don’t consider it the best in using the concept properly; just the most complicating and seemingly plausible. I preferred the way Noein and Tatami Galaxy went with it; it wasn’t as cool there but they definitely used the concept in a more balanced and thought provoking manner.
The show also manages to do something very hard for most anime: To have interesting and memorable characters (TUTURU!).
- The protagonist is an interesting character, as he practically has the power to alter time and be the only one remembering the change. Being rather insane who constantly thinks he is being followed by a sinister agency and makes various weird actions in his lab as means of so-called protection , adds to his appeal to see how he will react to each situation. Having events he can’t prevent without rewriting history also offers a sort of heavy price to his awesome power.
- The secondary characters (all of which are conveniently cute girls) are also not just decorations. Despite seemingly being nothing than harem material at first, many of them end up having hidden agendas and gain roles which are crucial to the storyline. Meaning, they all eventually get some nice backdrops and are fleshed out.
- Of course eventually not all of them are plot-relevant as many viewers believe. That cat maid and the transvestite priestess are still nothing more but colorful side-stories, proof of which is how they aren’t even shown in the final episodes. And although some will say that they are still important for the protagonist to have someone to experiment time alteration upon, they still end up being closer to lab rats and harem flavoring rather than crucial peons to the main conflict. To put it in a different way, it is like all those random people the protagonists in Death Note or Code Geass experimented their powers on. They may have learned how they can use them but otherwise did not offer anything to the plot. And it’s not as if all that couldn’t be shown “during” the main storyline either (and this is why I mentioned those other anime earlier).
A problem with the show is that many of its parts are uneven; some episodes are way too light and others are way too heavy. Although this may help to maintain the interest from the viewer instead of making him feel bored by the constant same style, it still doesn’t do it in a great way.
- It takes for the show to reach midway before you even realize there is an actual conflict going on in there. Up to then it is mostly otaku comedy, light sci-fi, and it gets really stupid at times. At one time he tries to change the gender of a boy to a girl with a most improbable method. Another is spent at eradicating a life style from an entire area of Japan. Although these episodes are meant to be a steady build up for darker things that come along midway through the series, I was eye-rolling half the time. You could of course see them as means to get to know the characters as well as smoke screen for the darker twist later on.
- His fat guy assistant is a computer nerd and an otaku, existing to reveal stuff about the internet conspiracy, to provide with lots of otaku jokes and to appeal to a “certain” group of viewers. I could really do without him.
- The girls also seem to be there at first as nothing more than eye candy, as well as excuses for the hero to alter the past. It’s just like a date sim; they tell you their problems and you try to solve them as means to get into their pants.
- Although a few episodes would be ok to be used as nothing but introduction in the beginning, later on entire episodes are spent on changing the past just for kicks. It can be seen as plot-relevant, as experimenting on the d-mails and having an excuse for what to try to change is part of a trial-and-error procedure in doing it right. The problem comes when later on they use up another bunch of episodes just to undo what was already established. These constant changes are not even done with the mindset to benefit the world or prevent evil masterminds from accomplishing a catastrophe; they are just performed on a whim of cute girls rubbing it on the protagonist to help them, so again you get the feeling they are stalling time.
- One could even wonder more opaque issues, such as “What kind of a pervert would alter history just to please a chick?” And seriously why do they all have issues regarding ONLY their fathers? In fact, mothers don’t even exist; this is a completely chauvinistic story with lots of Freud psychology.
Eventually, despite the very interesting idea of the story the presentation remains quite light, even if one does not count the constant otaku jokes. Meaning, do not try to take the show too seriously.
- Just like any other conventional story with time travel or wishes coming true, SG is also using the trope as magic panacea to any problem and eventually exists as nothing but superficial entertainment that nullifies all sort of responsibility for one’s actions. It is overused to the point it makes everything feel possible yet unimportant for being undone so easily. It degrades to just a shallow plot armor devise and nothing more. I have heard how some excuse this as if the hero makes mistakes and learns from them in order to undo them, but let’s be honest, he doesn’t. The whole purpose of the story towards the end turns to how you will make yourself forget everything that happened, as if they never happened at all. How irrespincible is that and what kind of a morale message does it leave behind? “You have regrets about something in the past? Just change it with no cost at all. You don’t like the change? Go back and simply undo it. You don’t like the bad memories of it? Simply forget them. And don’t worry if you mess up a few times because you have infinite attempts and nobody else shares your power to try to stop you.”
This lack of actual danger killed my interest, since I know there is no way the hero won’t win in the end.
- Also, it is more than obvious that any alteration in the past is only changing a few details when in theory it should be rewriting everything. So it is hard to accept the characters still have the same hairstyle, the same clothes, and the same life experiences or are still the same team and in the same room no matter what change takes place. Shouldn’t they all look different every time he changes something? Shouldn’t there be different people in the room, talking about different things? At one point, the whole lifestyle of the city changes and yet they remain the exact same way as before. All these sound minor but it is an issue that comes up after awhile and damages the story’s plausibility.
- Even the excuse of “destiny” doesn’t save it; some events are said to be unable to be prevented yet even that later on has no point as he eventually changes even destiny events with again just minor changes for the world. Feels like a contradiction as well as a betrayal of the original concept.
- The protagonist looks cool at first but if he is supposed to be a mad genius he sure doesn’t try to be scientific. You barely see him talking intelligent or explaining how time travel works; most of that is done by his supposed less smart assistants. He ends up being nothing more than an eccentric shounen protagonist and all the chicks love him just for that. He is also quite inactive for most of the duration and the only reason he does anything is to fulfill the selfish demands of some chick. Furthermore, not even his romantic side matters much. If he does all that for love, he sure sidetracks a lot and ends up doing naughty things with all of them. So if his main goal is to save a girl he likes, he sure doesn’t say no to get some variety along the way. So what is the point of his undying love when he doesn’t even do it for the romance?
- Furthermore, it seems like every time he goes back in time, his assistants already know of the explanations regarding time travel when in reality they had no idea about them yet. His romantic side with them also feels off, as they seem to be fond with him even when he returns to an earlier timeline, at which point they were still nothing but friends. So it is as if all progress regarding time travel explanations and romantic developments goes back in time along with him and makes the whole thing look fake. But the problems? No sir, those get solved and nobody remembers them. Convinient or what? It’s like they are actors pretending they don’t know what happens next, when in reality they do.
Despite the good efforts to make the story smart, it is still full of plot holes and inconsistencies. I was enjoying the anime after the mid part kicked in, because it became darker and more threatening. But eventually towards the end it became almost of a mediocrity for just going back to the beginning and resetting everything, while at the same time simplifying the time travel method.
- Just like in every other anime with time travel and wishes, it turns predictable and mainstream despite its good shot at becoming different. I really liked how it was done with cell phones or memory transfer, yet later on changed to the usual physical way, meaning going in the past where there are two of you at the same time.
- Hell, and all of a sudden time is no longer an infinite amount of world lines and we are again back to the linear model. And even that makes no sense the way they present it.
Every time travel is supposed to be taking you to a different world line, thus not the same you were in before and excusing not meeting yourself from other time travels. There can be only two at most in the same time line. Which makes time travel useless if you are trying to change a past that is different each time and not the same you came from. You may end up messing with events that would have prevented the future events from happening in a natural way. Also, the whole thing is very convenient, as you go back to a different world line but always return back to the same in the future, with the time altered the way you please and no paradox of you being there at all. What if you, from that specific past world line, never time traveled because of your changes? How can you possibly be in a future you time traveled back from, if you never time traveled in the past because there was no threat to need it? See the paradox? The whole thing is a crock theory by modern pseudo-science and despite their efforts to make it believable, any person with my super advanced brain (bragging ftw) can easily see the whole thing as a bad joke.
And even past that detail, the actual storyline makes no sense in general as shown in this super image I made myself.
The first circle proves that A2 was created by itself, something which is impossible. The second proves that there should be three Okabes in the same timeline since time by then was linear again, or two without the third being heard screaming in the background. It is so simple, see?
I also didn’t like how the scriptwriter went for a last-moment plot twist by mentioning that the future threat was prevented, yet another threat took its place? Doing that a few episodes before the ending is just a lame attempt at good last impressions, when in reality it just ruins the solid ending and replaces it with a rushed and poorly introduced last moment event. This is all just random mambo jumbo after all.
1. Hell, he is the only one who time travels and still remembers the changes; what opposition can possibly stomp him?
2. Double the hell, his friends already know all the explanations even back in a time frame when they shouldn’t.
3. Triple the hell, the chicks love him just a few hours after they met, when in the original time frame this was a slow procedure that needed a dozen episodes to take place.
4. Quadruple the hell, he is supposed to be doing all for the love of his life when in reality he is just a crazy horny lapdog.
5. Five-fold the hell, his past selves conveniently don’t exist when he goes back in time, even when time is supposed to be linear again.
6. Six-fold the hell, if there are uncountable timelines then there is no point trying to change the past in one of them. By probability alone, there is bound to be a timeline where things happen the exact way you want them to happen even if you don't do anything. Which means, there is no point changing one timeline if there are infinite others where crap keep happening or occur exactly as you want to.
7. Seventh-fold the hell, in the ending he goes to a present which is not ruined, when his world is otherwise the same he travelled back and returned to.
Leaving aside all that I wrote above, it is an enjoyable show if you don’t think about it and just regard the whole thing as fan pleasing. The production values are very good in aesthetics and the story is elaborate and mysterious enough to keep most casual viewers interested for more. Its characters are also becoming memorable very easily and that alone is enough for most people to disregard the aforementioned hickups. It’s a bit blurry though if they like the date sim aspect or the otaku jokes. All those pretty chicks being there just for the heck of it was not fitting well with me at first; I was in for the mystery and not for the poorly executed romance. Thankfully all that changed in the second half and we get far more mystery and grim events, and far less comedy and otaku culture. I also know how many are watching the show for the exact opposite reasons I do, with the weird story being just an extra to spice the pseudo-romance that is all over the place. To them the dark turnaround will probably feel negative. Oh well, you can’t please them all; if it means anything, the show eventually just goes for the same old fuss in the end so these guys will be double-pleased.
The show is still above average and despite the very unorthodox way it uses time travel and nullifies responsibilities, it is still for mainstream view, as long as you can tolerate the retarded otaku jokes and don’t overthink the numerous plot holes and the inconsistencies I mentioned above. It will definitely be one of the most memorable anime the year it came out but I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece either. It’s silly. At the same time, I recommend other anime with a similar premise. Noein and Tatami Galaxy may have less captivating characters and plot, but they definitely approaches the exact same premise with a lot more maturity and without any convenient time resets.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 1/2 (not that great for the time it was made)
Character Figures 2/2 (memorable)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (very good)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 4/4 (great)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 6/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 2/2 (a lot)
Plausibility 0/2 (it tries but eventually fails)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (excentric)
Backdrop 2/2 (rich for most)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Historical Value 2/3 (will be remembered but it won’t be an all-time classic)
Rewatchability 2/3 (high because of its complexity; the harem parts will be skipped though)
Memorability 4/4 (you betcha!)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 8/10
Art 1/1 (looks nice)
Sound 2/2 (sounds nice)
Story 2/3 (mostly interesting)
Characters 3/4 (they are cool)
Whenever there's been literature about time-travel I'm always hesitant to get involved with it. Though I had no idea what Steins;Gate was about when I started watching it - mostly trusting in its popularity for approval - I was already compelled to renew an interest in the sci-fi niche. Steins;Gate's story is without a doubt complicated, if you're not paying attention that is. It lays out a world in which time travel is a very real concept invented in the upstairs apartment of the Future Gadgets Lab - a student work-space consisting initially of three members: the eccentric and self-proclaimed "mad scientist" Hououin Kyouma (real name "Rintarou Okabe"); a nonchalant high school girl, Mayuri; the genius hacker Itaru "Daru" Hashida.
By inadvertently discovering time-travel in the form of sending text messages to the past, Okabe is compelled to explore his curiousity with zeal. This becomes the main plot for the first dozen or so episodes, introducing new characters who all become members of the lab, often against their own knowledge. I can't say much about the time-travel mechanisms without spoiling the discoveries the characters make over the course of their experiments, so as I intended this to be a read-before-you-buy sort of review, I'll just say that for a skeptic of time-travel fiction, I was impressed.
Not only have they handled the concept remarkably well but they've adapted the traditional sense of time-travel into something original (you'll get what I mean). Sometimes the plot may become a little convoluted, and this is when you have to train your senses to keep up, particulary in the last quarter you would want to watch without distractions. I can say it is worth it though, for the elation I felt in the last two episodes was a great conclusion to Okabe's struggle with his opponents.
As I mentioned before, Okabe routinely defies his opponents with the time-travel mechanism, but perhaps his greatest opponent was himself. Again, without spoiling too much, Okabe forces himself to relive events over a short period of time that take a drastic toll on his psyche. This comes to a head in episode 23 when you get to see how a normal, albeit kooky, student finally feels the weight of everything on his shoulders. It is both heart-breaking and fulfilling from the audience perspective.
But don't let that discourage you, for Steins;Gate has a cast of amicable characters that regularly inject humour and joy into the season's 24 episodes. The on-going interactions between Okabe and Ruka, coupled with Okabe's obliviousness to personal space and comfort zones, reflects well in Okabe's general mischief that frequently puts him at the mercy of Makise Kurisu's anger. Though Kurisu is not the stereotypical tsundere she initially appears, she is an intelligent person responsible for the improvements to the time-machine, and her sentimental side is never forced or contrived. Her cold exterior is never really blockaded by the same lack of emotion other characters often suffer for no reason. No, Makise knows her cleverness but is humble about it, she places pride in her work but her desire to impress her - 'scuse me for saying, dickish - father often creates conflict with the idea that Okabe has made time-travel possible.
The other characters all deserve their notation, even minor characters like Mr. Braun and Moeka, whom I do hate, yes, but for personal reaons. Moeka is a finely crafted picture of mental instability, and it doesn't feel insulting to mental health in the way the writers created her. She struggles with her own demons and this could produce a sympathetic response in some of you.
While it does have a number of flaws at several stages, the animation overall compliments the style and tone of the series rather well. I find there are a few facial angles that stand out to me as irregular, but other than that it is fluid and well drawn.
At a science-fiction viewpoint there's not much to be said about the actual science behind time-travel, so don't go into this expecting detailed reviews of Einstein's theory of Relativity, you will be disappointed. It doesn't concern me either way because the characters are so great, and I had my emotions tested at times in the later episodes, that it's evident this is not a thesis on space-time. This is a character driven story that will make you care, time and time again, about their actions and whether they can find happiness.