Steins;Gate – 20 Question Anime Review

What’s the show? Steins;Gate (2011).

And what’s with the semi;colon? I don’t know; ask the author(s) 5pb and NitroPlus, all of their science-y shows use that to separate the two-word titles.

Science, eh? So not lolicon or siscon or whatever strange perversion you’re usually inundating me with these question suggestions? For the record, those aren’t my perversions, they just happen to be a recurring theme in the anime I enjoy… but yes this is a sci-fi, with an emphasis on the science.

So what’s it all about? Well. It’s pretty complicated, but our protagonist Rintaro Okabe is a kind of DIY mad scientist and he inadvertently discovers time travel! And so SERN (thinly veiled CERN analogue) gets involved and people close to him die, except they don’t because time travel and it’s all very dramatic and tense and emotional and genuinely one of the most unique, thought provoking and all round exciting anime experiences out there. To go into any more plot details would be a disservice to this thrilling ride!

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Wow, I’m actually interested in this for once. I’m waiting for the ‘but’ to ruin it all for me though, so please continue. No but’s, no coconuts, with the exception that the anime takes place in otaku central, Akihabara and one of the characters works at a maid cafe, it’s about as ‘casual friendly’ as anime comes, provided you’re into science fiction and the associated plot convolutions.

Well, this seems like it’s going to be a truncated blog, this is only question six and I’m already wondering what we’re going to talk about for the next fourteen questions?! It’s not flawless.

What? Well, it’s excellent, it’s a show I’d recommend above almost every other show out there, but it’s not perfect.

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So what’s wrong with it, in your estimation? The pacing of the first dozen episodes is all over the place, to the point where the show feels like it isn’t really going anywhere. It’s a doozy of a first obstacle, but once it’s cleared its pretty much smooth sailing from there on out. And…

And there’s more isn’t there? No, I mean, actually never mind… there’s nothing else wrong with it… just watch it, okay?

Hey, what’s wrong? You’re suddenly so down? It’s nothing, don’t worry yourself about it…

No, something is obviously wrong, just tell me? It’s just, I… I saw your death.

I’m sorry, what? I’ve seen the future, and I’ve seen your death, I’m sorry to tell it to you like this, but I’ve seen you die and it happens soon and there’s nothing I can do to stop it!

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Wait? What? No, you have to help me? I can’t die; I have so much more anime to experience second hand through you. I can’t help you, I’ve tried… so many times, I’ve replayed the same events over and over and every time you die and every time I’m too late to stop it! It’s useless… I’m so sorry.

No… it can’t end like this… okay, tell me when at least? So maybe I’ve got a chance to stop it myself. I can’t.

Why not?! Time fluctuations. Or paradoxes? Wibbly wobbly timey wimey…

Ugh, then at least tell me how? How do I die so I can avoid a situation like it? Well… you’re walking down a street; I don’t know what street, when monkeys appear… bloody thousands of them, and then…

And then? And then they start to throw their… excrement at you, it just keeps coming and coming and their aim is just so on point that they never don’t miss your mouth until you’re just so full of shit that you just die!

I die… because I’m full… of shit? Yeah… *slowly dabs handkerchief at eye* It’s truly tragic.

Screw you! I was actually worried about myself for a second. So you should be! It’s not normal for a human being to be that full of shit!

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Yeah, yeah, I get it. Up yours, final score or whatever, I’m out of here. Time travel is a powerfully problematic plot device, science fiction shows, movies and books of the past have made no stranger about this fact, what Steins;Gate does is find a flawless balance between the science and technology and the human element that’s oh so important in these kinds of stories. Hold my beer because I’m going back in time so I can experience this excellent anime again for the first time, 95 out of 100.

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4 comments

  1. I was very pleasantly surprised by this show. As you say, the first few episodes are a bit rough, and it’s easy to dismiss the show as another light nothing that just pretends to progress, but over time the show really matures into something powerful. It’s a bit of a hurdle, but like Shin Sekai Yori, I’m not sure they could have done it any other way without ruining what they accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, I am looking forward to Steins;Gate 0 this April, though I do worry for it. I have faith in the people involved it’s just it’s such a high bar to meet I think it could leave a lot of people disappointed. Shin Sekai Yori is on my list of things to watch soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh. I did not know about Steins;Gate 0 until just now. Thanks for the info. Shin Sekai Yori is another one of those “you have to sortof go on faith at first”, though it’s a bit…darker than Steins;Gate.

        Liked by 1 person

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