Steins; Gate Review

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Synopsis

A self-proclaimed mad scientist named Okabe Rintarou a.k.a “ Hououin Kyouma” saw Makise Kurisu, a teenage science prodigy girl stabbed to death, laying coldly in a room. Okabe then texted his friend, Daru about the incident. Right after he send the text, he experiences something abnormal and inexplicable. Several hours later, he is shocked to see that, Kurisu, the girl who he just saw (dead), is alive in front of his eyes.

He later finds out that he can send text messages to the past only by using a phone and a microwave. By doing that, he changes the past multiple times. Little does he know that his actions are leading to ‘dystopia’.

Review

The first episode hit me hard especially the last scene of the episode where Okabe finds out that the dead Kurisu is alive in front of his eyes. Well, reliving a character always captures the audience’s attention right? ( Or wrong?)

Right after Okabe finds out that he can send text messages to the past and sees Kurisu reliving all over again, you’ll naturally ask yourself “what in the world just happened?” and come out with your own theory to answer your own questions. However, your theories have flaws and you can’t answer most of your questions by using your self-induced theory. As the story goes for like 6 episodes or so, your theory still doesn’t make much sense and you still can’t answer your questions. This particular period is more relaxed because nothing much happens. They haven’t change the past at this point but they only manage to reveal that they are in fact sending texts to the past. The atmosphere feels like a slice of life genre. There are jokes here and there which I find very funny and entertaining. There is also enough time for the characters exposition so we get to know about their personalities deeper. I find it very hilarious whenever Okabe bickers with Kurisu. I love the chemistry between these two because it feels authentic. Whenever these two appear onscreen, I know that I will have a big smile on my face. Undoubtedly, these two has become my favourite anime couple.

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While I find the earlier episodes funny, relaxing and enjoyable, some find it rather boring, dull and tedious. I can understand that because I sort of feel the same way during my second watch. Because of that, they dropped this anime thinking it was bad. That is indeed a very bad decision. The latter part of the series is actually the best in which if you just be patient a little bit and go through the boring first half (you claim), you’ll never regret your decision.

The story starts to get thrilling when they actually manage to change the past. By this point, you’ll start to make a new theory to answer your questions as more information has been revealed. But you still can’t answer most of your questions because there are too many holes in your theory. However, by using your new theory, you could answer considerably many of your unanswered questions before which makes the story much more sense. Also by this point, you’ll be bombarded by the show’s theories which they, or to be more specific, ‘John Titor’ explains explicitly but you’ll never understand it fully unless you have seen the latter part of the series (or unless you have studied the time travel knowledge).

After all the time travel theories that no one understand (yet) keeps on running through your head, you get to the best part of the series which is the second half. During the second half, the series shifted from a relaxed slice of life atmosphere to a dark and intensed atmosphere. The change of atmosphere is not drastic but I can say that it’s pretty fast.

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Following Okabe’s journey on saving one of his friends is very painful. It shows how hard and determined Okabe is. He believes that his actions all this while contributes to the cause of all the bad things happening to his friends. Also, during this second half, you’ll be revealed to the real theories which makes sense to every part of the story and answered all your questions. You will also realize that most of your theories before are bogus or at least have an enormous amount of flaw. The thing with the time travel theories in this anime is it is very believable! It feels flawless and realistic. Even though I know it must have something missing but I just couldn’t find it. You will be revealed to newer and newer information until the very last of the series.

Now, let’s talk about the characters. We have the main character Okabe who is a self proclaim mad scientist delusional freak which I find awesome to watch. He has an alias name that is “Hououin Kyouma” and he is far from the typical generic kind-hearted male lead. Watching him having delusions (chuuni) and bickering with Kurisu is very fun. Talking about making fun of Kurisu, Kurisu is suppose to be a generic Tsundere but a genius science prodigy at the same time. What makes this character differ from other Tsunderes is her interactions with Okabe. These two always squabble with each other at the earlier episodes. While I find the atmosphere being typical (for a romance genre at least), I also find that the interactions feels genuine. Her Tsundere trait really fits in the in the role. I think if she wasn’t a Tsundere, the chemistry formed between them would not be that interesting. Well, Tsundere is my favourite archetype since I started watching anime, but of course I don’t like Tsunderes who violates her crush. Thankfully, this one doesn’t. One more thing about her, she is the one who often believes in Okabe and helps him multiple times to fulfill his wish. Their love for each other too feels rather unique.

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The two other supporting characters are Mayuri and Daru. Mayuri is a childhood friend of Okabe who is very likable. You’ll like her for her innocent childish personality. She doesn’t stand out during the first half but during the second half, she has a very large role to the story. I always find myself rooting for her well-being. She is also the only one who notices the changes in Okabe’s behaviour after he changes the past numerous times.

Daru is also Okabe’s childhood friend. He is a fat perverted nerd who always play visual novel and a… super hacker. He can hack into anything including SERN, a secret organization of the antagonist of the show. He too has a large significant to the story.

Actually, every single character in this story have their own crucial role to play. They all have their own reasons to be in the story. All of them are very important to the point that if you take out even a single side character, the story will change entirely. It wouldn’t be the same at all. I want to mention one side character which I find very funny and unique (or perhaps weird). He is a gender bender type of character and his name is Ruka. Probably one of the best gender bender jokes I’ve seen (the best is Hideyoshi from Baka to Test). But that’s pure joke. If it’s the plot, then he is the best gender bender plot I’ve seen. Well, I haven’t seen any anime uses gender bender type of character as a plot though.

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Now, let’s compare the dub and the sub. Knowing me, I always enjoy the dub more. I love the script in the dub because it makes this anime more epic! Yes, there are many dialogues changed from the sub but it only makes it better. Okabe really sounds like a mad scientist maniac in the dub version. His use of vast vocabulary whenever he speaks made me literally thought ‘oh, so that’s how people use vocabulary in normal conversation’. I like his dub voice a lot. His Japanese voice, well, I can’t really judge it. Does he talk using big words? Does he talk like a mad scientist maniac? Even though I can answer the second question objectively that is yes, I didn’t really feel like it because I’m not familiar with Japanese intonations and all. So, all I can say is to me, the dub is way better than the sub for Okabe. Also, I’ve come to a conclusion that whenever a person watches the dub first, the person will find the Japanese voice of Okabe extremely deep and vice versa.

As for Kurisu’s voice, I like both version. Of course, I like the dub version better mainly because of the script. Her Tsundere trait is less obvious in the dub than the sub but still, she can’t completely hide it. Mayuri’s voice in dub is surprisingly more annoying. In sub, her voice is rather cute. Amane Suzuha’s character (yes yes, I didn’t mention her before) in the dub is less predictable than the sub because of the script which is why I like it better.

I forgot to mention that I love the opening of this show. It gives me goosebumps whenever I watch it. The ending song, well, I skipped it most of the time. It’s not particularly bad but I don’t think it’s that great either.

Overall, the show is simply a masterpiece. I couldn’t find anything that I don’t particularly like. I love every second of the show. The first half is funny and relaxed, the second half is dark and engaging, the characters are compelling and lovable, the plot is amazing and the time travel theories are believable. What more could I ask for? For those who don’t like the slice of life-like first half, (I’m saying it again) I recommend you to be patient and give this anime a chance. I can assure you, you’ll not regret your decision. For the final score I’ll give this anime a 5 out of 5 star! (Obviously)

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