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.