Every time I visit home, my younger brother offers a new anime for me to review from his library of anime, which he collects. He has quite a collection of anime that vary in genre and style. This time he had me borrow “Steins;Gate”. Unlike some of his other choices, this one seemed somewhat interesting.
Steins;Gate is the story of Rintarō Okabe who is really just a loser who doesn’t go to college or has a job as far as one can tell in the series. And although he seems kind of out there, by telling people he’s a mad scientist named Kyōma Hōōin, and often making up wildly far-fetched stories about how other organizations are out to get him, we do find out later that he is relatively a bright young man.
Okabe, works on his mad science with the help of expert hacker Itaru “Daru” Hashida, who is just another looser and Mayuri Shiina who is his long time childhood friend. It is also obvious from the very first episode that Mayuri is not all there, and no, nothing is mentioned of it, she seems to have some mental disability, which is perhaps why Okabe is so protective of her.
The series begins with Okabe attending a science conference and having Mayrui tag along. At the conference, he runs into a teenage genius from America named Kurisu Makise, who makes mention of having just talked to him outside, confused Okabe goes to leave when suddenly there is a crash. Apparently, something has crashed into the building. Okabe goes to explore and then hears a scream. He instead goes to check on the scream only to find Kurisu murdered and laying in a pool of blood.
Frantic Okabe quickly finds Mayuri and heads outside as the building is being evacuated because of the crash. Very confused Okabe sends Hashida an email stating “I think Kurisu Makise was murdered”, just as he hit submit on the email it is as if time has changed and the next thing Okabe knows it is 5 hours before the conference, which has now been postponed due to something crashing on the building. Very confused Okabe goes down to the site only to run into Kurisu, which he insists was murdered earlier, only to discover the email he sent was received 5 days ago by Hashida, who thought it was a joke. But how is that if he sent it today, well what was supposed to be today, but didn’t happen.
A little crept out but very curious Kurisu, shows up at Okabe’s so-called lab and discovers that amidst all of his failed inventions, he manages to create a time machine that can send messages back in time. With the help of Kurisu’s super genius skills, Okabe begins to experiment more with their time machine, only to discover that messing with the past can lead to a horrible future.
As with most series that deal with time travel you have to keep track of events, especially as the series progress because all the changes Okabe ends up making will eventually have to be undone and so now certain events are happening backward. Each episode starts out with a date and time so you can try to keep track of where you are in the story, but at times that can also be a little confusing.
At first the series is a little more on the light-hearted side of things, but like with all traditional three-act story structures, half way through we have a lot of dramatic conflicts until we reach the happy conclusion.
The series although has a sort of sci-fi time travel theme going, it is very down to earth in its character development, there is even a storyline of a romance between Kurisu and Okabe, and like any good anime a bit of silly comedy as well. Though the drama in the middle of the series can be a bit heart retching at times, if you can keep up with all the timeline changes then I would recommend this series.