Before i officially begin this review I would like to expound on one of my favorite words, that i discovered on my Ipod several months ago. The word is weltschmerz.
I cannot think of a better word to describe the empowering feeling that this show leaves you with. Weltschmerz (pronounced like veltshmerts) is a german word, that is made by the joining of two words, welt - meaning “world”, and schmerz - meaning “pain”. Weltschmertz is a type of emotion that is almost viewed as a natural depression, or a natural sadness, that enters one’s self when comparing ones current life with the life one wishes to have; a sadness that is needed to have been experienced in order to move on in life; a depression that makes you motivated to strive forward; a needed sorrow.
For those who have seen this show, I think you can understand exactly what i’m talking about, and for those who have not seen Steins;gate, don’t turn away from this review thinking the show is for that kind of person who at a party, will stay in a dark corner huddled in the fetal position, applying eyeliner, and mumbling just loud enough to be stared at across the room. No, this show is one of the funniest Anime’s that I have seen in a long while. Probably the most balanced Anime I’ve ever seen, and easily one of my all time favorites.
Steins;gate is an Anime full of immaculate character development, a storyline that’s a plot-equivalent to an M.C. Escher illustration, an emotionally congruent soundtrack, breathtaking shots, and great personalities.
Storyline is the most important aspect of an Anime, in my opinion. and more specifically, it’s the plot, and character development that I consider the most critical when making a high quality Anime, movie, book, or whatever form of story you want to think of.
Look at a picture of "Escher's relativity", and that is what the plot line is for this Anime- crazy awesome and mind-blowing. It’s hard for me to say it, but as for plot, this might by one of the best that I’ve ever digested. I’ll let the picture represent what else I would say regarding the plot. because if I went any further I would start writing a synopsis rather than a review.
The pacing of the show might be considered slow, but that’s because you need a perfect foundation to start an architectural masterpiece. Imagine that for the first 12 episodes, you’re walking along a serene nature trail, noticing the pretty trees, a mountain lion might cross your path and lay on it’s back, wanting you to rub it’s tummy. You’re thinking, “Whoa! this is cool”. Then the last 12 episodes of the show come in, and now, the mountain lion is the size of a horse, rocket engines attached to it’s sides, and you are sitting in the saddle strapped on it’s back. - get ready, cause you’re going to have the ride of your life.
The aspect of the story that I loved the most about this Anime is the character development. Character development can happen in one of two ways. Either the character learns about themselves by the challenges and experiences given to them. Or the viewer learns about the character by the challenges and experiences that character is given in the story. The prior is the most common, and least challenging for a storyteller, the later is rarely - if ever, perfectly mastered. If a storyteller is to do the later technique, you must have characters that know things about themselves that you don’t, and they have to have tendencies that are overlooked, but not unnoticed. It’s another game entirely. Steins;gate has done the best character development that I have yet seen in an anime. that’s why it gets 9.75 in the story aspect of this review
The animation in this show is beautiful. The color palette, and washed-out feel of this anime gave it unique appeal. Almost like watching a mirage on film. Screenshots of Mayuri reaching out to the stars in an afternoon sky, and beautiful still shots of an inner-city river reflecting the amber sunset above it, are going to stay in my mind forever. I caught my jaw dropping every so often in amazement by what I was seeing.
The character designs impressed me as well. Higher quality, I liked the facial structures as well. As I was telling my good friend. I don’t usually find myself the kind of Anime fan that would like to have an anime figure. But if they ever make one of Kirisu, I would want one. She is one of the most visually appealing characters I have seen, it might just be the color of her eyes, or the way her hair color stands out among the pastels surrounding her- I don’t know. All I can say is that they did a great job.
A good way to tell if an Anime has a good soundtrack is if you don’t notice it at first. because if it’s bad, you’ll notice it very quick in one of three ways. either by the lack of it, an overabundance of it, or the emotional in-congruency of it. I didn’t even care about the soundtrack till I was about half way through it, and then I started realizing how great of a job the music was accomplishing with some key moments. I became a big fan of it.
Also I enjoyed the ending and opening themes. I find myself a rarity in the Anime world. I love watching the ending and opening themes. It’s always a fun game of trying to figure out the plot lines while seeing what is represented in them. You see what aspects of the show the makers thought were important, which characters created the most impact, and many times you can see how the creators feel about the characters. While watching this anime, I would want you to have seen each theme at least once all the way through, you might catch some stuff you hadn’t before.
It’s always a battle for me to decide where character development belongs in a review. Is it under characters, or storyline? for the moment I believe that character development belongs to the story, because plot line and character growth often go hand in hand. What makes a character is how they act, not what they go through.
Rintaro Okabe is the main character of this anime, as he is introduced, you see him as an insanely eccentric, egotistical pest....and for the most part, that aspect doesn’t change. I think it’s the viewer who changes the most. Okabe starts out as a character you hate to love, the trials, and experiences laid before him, and the actions he takes to correct past mistakes make you see beyond his eccentricities. Showing a man who has almost no concern for his own well being, and a sacrificial devotion to his friends. The relationships that are developed between the characters are what I wish every Anime had; the kind that you are jealous of. I think everyone could use a friend like Mayuri, and a verbal-combat rival/assistant like Kurisu. Even the minor relationships with the secondary characters are 3 dimensional and intriguing. Every character shown in this anime has a purpose, every single one. If they aren’t introduced by name, they aren’t important.
It was a pleasure watching this anime, I was intrigued, and then enthralled with what White Fox productions threw my way. To those who have seen this anime, thanks for reading, i hope I did ok. To those of you who haven’t seen this anime, I kept you in mind, I hope I gave you something that intrigued you enough to watch this anime. Please do, I believe you’ll be pleased with what you see. And to all those who read this review, remember what I said about weltschmerz, i really think that’s a perfect word for this Anime.