Unlike a lot of other series, Steins;Gate has this great combination between plot development and random goofing off. Here you have characters doing the laundry at one time, but you’ll never know when they’ll start talking about the plot again. It’s also a very good thing that the dialogue is really well written here: Hououin is getting more enjoyable with every passing episode.
On top of that, I love also these neat little details that this series keeps throwing in. Take for example that apron that the electronics store owns, which says “I Heart CRT”. A quick look into Wikipedia learned that that CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube”, or the thing that non plasma TVs used in order to display their images. They’re these neat details that seem random at first, yet somehow strangely fitting once you think about it. The laundry for example seems random at first, but 1) it shows that the lead characters are humans as well because their clothes get dirty, and 2) it gives Christina an excuse to bump into them again.
Overall, What really sets Steins;Gate apart from Chaos;Head at this point is its characterization: in Steins;Gate they feel alive and dynamic. In Chaos;Head, they were just plot devices. It perhaps doesn’t have the most exciting or heartwarming start, but I really consider it as one of the four most solid series of the season. (The other three are Anohana, Hyouge Mono and Tiger & Bunny for those who are curious).
My one point of criticism: the creators had better have a good reason for Mayuri’s dead [whatever]. Death in a series can be a powerful thing, but don’t go killing off people for the sake of giving your characters a sad back-story.
Rating: ** (Excellent)