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Sep 13, 2011

Achievement Point

No stalling from me this time, no sir! Steins;Gate is an absolute must watch. The 2nd half of the series (minus 1 ep) is absolutely flawless. Each individual ep is a masterpiece of its own and together they produce a level of brilliance that is not soon to be surpassed. Drama and romance, suspense and surprises galore, Steins really has everything. But now I'll rein myself in so I can move forward with a more succinct review. Also, I guess I should say that while I'll bring up the 2nd half of the series a lot, that doesn't mean the 1st half was bad. Great anime of the 24ish ep length require the 1st half for in depth exposition and rising action and that is exactly the case with the 1st half of Steins;Gate. While it is certainly not as entertaining as the 2nd half it is vital towards the success of the 2nd half (and as such the series as a whole). So now, where to start is no small task, but may as well begin with simpler matters, so how about the music? The OP is incredibly addicting once you get into the series a bit and it fits the series beautifully. It's one of those memorable anime OPs where no more than 2 seconds in you can identify the series it came from and even already feel some of those emotions from watching the series. The ED complements the OP nicely as it has a more subtle impact and acts as a strong clincher for some of the more suspenseful cliffhangers in the series. For me it inspired contemplation after each ep which really what you ask for from an ED for this kind of series. The animation is nice as well. I don't like to go too above and beyond when describing animation design because I have no business being an artistic critic, but I always believe you know it when you see something you like aesthetically. The overall animation is very solid and critical moments of the series are complemented by subtle differences in lighting and other aspects of design. Now I'm really in a bind, story or characters? Either is a lofty subject. Well, the story I'll give a brief overview lest I go spoiler happy. The main character Okabe is a self-proclaimed mad scientist and it turns out that he accidentally created a machine that can send messages to the past out of a microwave and a cell phone. So Okabe and his lab member cohorts proceed to send several messages to the past, each seeming to alter the present more and more. Then comes the traumatic climax <gasp>. So Okabe and his assistant Kurisu have to try and make right what has gone wrong. How's that for a bare bones, no spoiler summary? Obviously the plot has great depth (otherwise I wouldn't score it this high) and there are several surprises in store including one towards the end in the 3rd to last ep. And a great complement to the overall plot structure is that the viewer was able to so naturally read between the lines in such a way that it provided even further depth without directly using air time. But possibly the greatest success of the plot is the character development and overall character integration. It's certainly a strong cast of characters and one might be compelled to say that they are more than a sum of their parts (as is usually the case with a larger cast of characters). However, this wouldn't be an appropriate description in the case of Steins;Gate because individually a number of characters shine. So a more appropriate description would be that while the characters individually are good to great (some are better than others of course) as a whole the cast is superb. The interplay while not necessarily huge in quantity is huge in quality. Even moments in the 2nd half of the series between Okabe and some of the minor characters are emotionally gripping. There is also a good scene about midway through between Daru (the 'super hacker' and otaku among the lab members) and another minor character. And don't get me wrong, there are some tremendous solo scenes as well and of course great scenes between the two leads Okabe and Kurisu. So it seems I've basically transitioned to the characters now. The cast of characters could merit a review all their own. I think I'm just gonna go down the line here systematically (I won't hit everyone), starting with... Okabe aka Okarin aka Hououin Kyouma was the perfect wacky-yet-grounded character to have played the male lead in this series. He is able to make the series playful yet keep the serious tone throughout. And his progression from a bombastic 'Mad Scientist' to a bombastic Mad Scientist (notice the loss of ' ') is quite an intriguing ride. The female lead role through the 1st half of the series or so is played by Okabe's childhood friend Mayuri aka Mayushii. Tuturu!!! On the surface Mayuri also adds a playful air to the series as well as a pure heart. But as the story progresses, you come to see the burdens she has to bear and the melancholic nature of her character both symbolically and somewhat literally. In truth, she's quite a deep character. The female lead through the 2nd half of the series is the 18 yr old genius Kurisu aka Christina. Kurisu's character is the one most positively influenced by the viewer's high level of emersion in the series. Most of her character comes through subtle cues until it is expanded upon in the last few eps. She is an incredibly likeable character although that may not be your first impression. Can't go into more detail sorry (spoilers). There is at least one more character that deserves notice here. However, if I were to reveal who, I'm afraid it would be a massive spoiler to the plot so alas I'm at a loss. But know there is more to the quality of the characters than just the three I've listed here. And a great success of this series is that almost all the minor characters contribute in some significant way to the main plot. Hmmm, what to say now? I'll give you one quasi-spoiler cause I just can't contain it. There's a great kissing scene in this series that for me was nearly the equal of the famous Toradora kissing scene. Watch to see who it is! Also, the ending is great. Ordinarily I go well out of my way to give praise to a great ending, but there was just so much to talk about with this series that I couldn't really fit it in there. But the last two eps are so exciting they seem to only take about 5 min each. The only minor complaint I might have is that the ending didn't really involve Mayurii which is surprising in that she seemed to act as a significant symbol throughout the series. But hey, that leaves some content for the movie right? So in conclusion, Steins;Gate is a 10 out of 10 no question. And this is one of the most highly rated series by category that I've reviewed. Does that mean it's a personal fav or even one of the Greatest ever? It's hard to say so suddenly, but it has that level of impact. And that should say it all.

9.5/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
10/10 overall
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roriconfan May 3, 2012

Use paragraphs, it makes everything look better. And I hardly call the show flawless when it contradicts its own themes, has useless characters, and ends with a reset.

damanisjon Sep 19, 2011

Just seen it all and its amazing. Watched it all in 1 day and I could not unglue myself from the screen. Some episodes are slow, or maybe appear slow only because of my eagerness in finding out whats going to happen next. Its good to see someone elses review with so much detail, which I also agree with profoundly.

El Psy Congroo.

kaosu Sep 13, 2011

I see you're good with hammer and nails.

(But Im sure youve heard this from other people, and indent here and there won't kill you lol)