Posted by psgels on 13 September 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Steins;Gate

There is one thing at which Steins;Gate is unrivaled at compared to anything else that aired this year: its plot. If it’s originality, creative twists and multi layers that you want, then this is a must-watch. This has a bit of a slow start, but as the series goes on its intricately woven plot about time travel shines like no other and this show is masterful at combining seemingly insignificant hooks into gripping plot twist. This definitely stood out as one of the most solid shows of the past half year.

Helping with that is a unique style of this series. The entire series is animated with dull and washed out colours, the animation is simple and only becomes really smooth when it really needs to (with great effects, by the way),and a lot of time in this series is spent on characters just talking to each other while the plot slowly progresses. It’s slow, but each episode has its purpose, even though this only may become apparent later on. The lead characters’ monologues in particular are well written, but on top of that this is a series that really did its research into time travel. It may not present the most logical way that time travel might be possible (I mean, there are still parts where you’re going to have to suspend your disbelief), but it’s very well researched.

The weakest part of this series is its cast of characters. Obviously they’re not bad, but they do have a few quirks that didn’t make them as interesting to follow as some of their counterparts. In particular, the acting of the main cast leaves things to be desired, in which they’re trying too hard to fit themselves into certain stereotypes. Daru, Kurisu and Mayuri are the biggest examples of this, which often makes them annoying to watch. The main character Okabe meanwhile just tries too hard: during the dramatic parts he tends to act too dramatic, and during the light-hearted parts he tends to act too over the top (which becomes rather repetitive after a bunch of episodes).

That’s pretty much what held this show back for me. Do not let that discourage you however, because there have been plenty of people who experienced the characters in a completely different way. Heck, at the beginning of this season I did not expect another series this year to come close to the amount of acclaim that Madoka Magica got. I personally did have these beefs with the characters, but even there there are still plenty of good parts about the cast of characters, in particular their development.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really knows how to deliver stunning plot twists. Has a unique and down to earth style and uses it really well.
Characters: 8/10 – Some annoying and forced acting was probably the thing that bugged me the most about this series.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very smooth animation is wonderful to see, though there also are many inconsistencies during the quiet scenes.
Setting: 10/10 – A truly excellent story about time travel and all of its intricacies. It’s creative and boldly written together.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Bokura no

33 Responses

  1. Addictd says:

    I loved the characters, especially the way Okabe was during the light hearted moments. But that’s just me. The plot of the show has to be one of the best I’ve seen, out of anything, anime or not. The attention to every little detail was just awesome, and I’m really looking forward to the movie.

  2. lostsage says:

    “(I mean, there are still parts where you’re going to have to suspend your disbelief)”
    I think your disbelief should have been suspended the moment time-travel is mentioned. But I see what you mean because there are some logic jumps you have to make.

    Regardless, it was an infinity entertaining show.

  3. Darklord says:

    Personally, this is the anime not only of the year so far but also of the last 4 years for me. I think the last anime that got me so emotionally involved was TTGL.

    By the way, I love how you always put Suggestions at the end of a show’s review. The best way to deal with withdrawal from a great show is to watch another great show similar to it – although this may result in an unfortunate comparison.

    in any case, I have always meant to watch Noein, and I think theme-wise it is the closest one to Steins;Gate.

  4. Pafiume says:

    I must agree with Addictd. I loved the characters. I dropped this series after the first episode because it seemed so boring. Then after reading what people said about it, and actually mostly because I wanted to see the trap, I continued on, marathoning up to where it was. I fell in love as I was watching, probably with the plot. But then as time went on I fell in love with the characters as well.

    Wonderful, wonderful series. So good I cannot even type correctly right now and have to correct myself every other word.

    Probably one of, if not just, my favorite series.

  5. meee says:

    The characters are one of the best parts of this series to me, I’m shocked you note them as a weakness. Okabe, Kurisu and Suzuha are awesome characters, even if the rest aren’t so great. However, Kurisu and Okabe more than make up for that with me.

  6. AKI says:

    Adding to the characters; don’t you think that the voice actresses/actors did an excellent job portraying their characters? Seki Tomokazu is his extreme nasal voice, come on, man, that’s very had to do. How about Saori Goto’s portrayal of a mentally unbalanced Moeka – that was some excellent voice acting.

  7. kat says:

    really going to miss this series, loved every minute of it

  8. Blue Bomber says:

    Very few anime make me want to watch them through a second time, no matter how good they may be, but this is one of them.

  9. Joojoobees says:

    Unquestionably a high-point of the year. Very few shows impress me as much as this one did.

  10. gandalf8 says:

    I quite liked Chaos Head, so when I heard that Steins;Gate, another of Nitroplus’s VN was going to be an anime, I was really excited. Nevertheless, one way or another I somehow didn’t watch the first episode, and as the weeks went by I just told myself I’ll probably watch it when its all over. Yet, just a few days ago, after seeing the past few episodes you rated as awesome, I finally succumbed to pressure and immediately marathoned it, and here I am now, after just finishing that last episode. In some ways I’m glad I did this, as Steins;Gate really had a lot wicked cliffhangers that I would probably have acted like a junkie waiting for his next fix after each weekly episode lol.

    As for the show, I can safely say that Steins;Gate will easily enter my top 20 anime list (if I ever get to making one). Its beguiling blend of scientific theories, conspiracies, tragedy and a dash of romance made for one really unforgettable show. Special mention has to be given to the science used in the series. Even though we all know (at least publicly that is) that time travel is currently impossible, yet this show managed to set up a convincing scientific background in the series world through the combination of real world science with the in-world science logic. I found myself engrossed in all the scientific theories, that although I can’t claim nor prove they are real, yet they made sense in the terms of what happened in the series world. Therefore I really have to applaud Nitroplus, especially the writers, for the extensive research they had to do to create the complex world of Steins;Gate. Bravo indeed.

    In terms of the characters, I do agree that they aren’t all really fleshed out, but I thought that the two main characters, Okabe and Kurisu were superbly developed and portrayed. They started as cliched stereotypes, but through the course of the series we see them mature and blossom into amazing characters. Especially Okabe, who at first was excited at experimenting with time travel with the phone microwave and d-mail, gradually learned the folly of playing with time, and learning that each action you make can lead to dire consequences. While Kurisu, who started as a typical genius science tsundere girl, grew into Okabe’s pillar of strength in each world line when Okabe sought to right his wrongs. In fact, the blossoming of their romance and chemistry with each other felt very genuine and real, so that even I had to hold back from crying my heart out when Kurisu told Okabe to let her die in the original timeline to save Mayuri. The other characters were noticeably less well developed, yet were adequate enough for the purposes of supporting the main characters. The one character that I would have like them to explore more though was definitely Mayuri, as the glimpses of her past really hinted at something deep and tragic behind her ever smiling and cheerful facade.

    Well as they say, everything good and bad will one day come to an end. There will be other anime series to watch, and in time I may never be able to remember much about it, but for now, at this time and this day, I can truly from the bottom of my heart say that I’m glad I could experience the story of Steins;Gate.

  11. Skoopman says:

    Great show and one of the best in years. I also have to disagree with you, the characters are great and I don’t think that Okabe is “trying too hard”, it makes him a special charakter and not yet another cliché hero.

  12. skyhack says:

    What a fun ride. This goes on the buy list, if it ever makes it here. Rock on, Okabe!

  13. Fadeway says:

    I also agree with some commenters, the characters were awesome – Okarin is unique, yet still incredibly well explored, and just about the only main character who didn’t get an in-depth analysis was Daru, quite likely because he was..normal, as far as a Supa Hacka can be normal.

  14. Frost says:

    What everyone else said… Im dumbfounded at how you complain about the characters here, but praise the characters in Blood C… WTF?! Did you get abducted by aliens?

    Steins;Gate is miles ahead of anything this year, and I cant even imagine why someone would rate it below 90/100…

    Oh well, whatever, your loss for not appreciating just how awesome this anime was

  15. Okarin!~ says:

    The ending was beautiful. We have followed Okabe to the future and all the way back, with everything in it’s rightful place.

    The most understated and touching moment of the episode was the final scene of Okabe and Kurisu meeting again. Which begs the questions “What does the future hold?” and “Can we decide our own fates?” It was a beautiful and deeply profound moment that I’m a little surprised you didn’t mention psgels. But regardless, brilliant series, definitely the best of the year (sorry AnoHana, but it’s the choice of the Steins;Gate!)

    El Psy Congroo!

  16. Rihan says:

    I really am amazed as to why you think the characters are so bad, although not all of them are fleshed out as much as they could be, they are still much better and much more interesting to watch than those found in other casts. In fact they are what made this series for me.I personally think Okabe and Christina were the best two anime characters of the year and the voice actors of those two deserve rewards for the brilliant performances. I also have to say the dialouge used in this anime was without a doubt the best I have ever seen.

    The other series of 2011 don’t even come close to Steins;gate.

  17. False says:

    You don’t come across many examples of time travel done right — but Steins;Gate is definitely one of them.

    While–for the most part–I quite liked the characters, I didn’t find them particularly well fleshed out. Although, Okabe is still a better protag than 95% of the other anime protags out there…

    I felt that the last six or so eps where kind of rushed and lost a lot of the atmosphere that the preceding episodes had. Still, Steins;Gate is the best anime I’ve watched this year.

  18. tk007 says:

    For those who like Steins;Gate’s plot, I would really suggest reading the VN Ever17.

  19. AKI says:

    Ever17 is pathetic.

  20. Blue Bomber says:

    For anyone who’s gone through the entire original VN, I’ve got a few questions. Just want to know if these are actually answered in the VN. The translation project is going well (if it’s for real), so I don’t want to be spoiled before I find out for myself. ;) A yes/no answer will suffice, or massive spoiler tags plz!

    1. Was that dream Okabe had, about being in a desolate wasteland with Mayuri, relevant to anything beyond being just a dream? Or was it only created by Okabe’s anxiety?

    2. I believe Okabe said he had the sensation of jumping timelines before the events of the series began (don’t remember if it was what caused him to get sick as a kid, or if it happened after he got over it). Is there any explanation as to what caused that timeline shift (maybe Suzuha as John Titor?), or for him to be able to tell the difference between timelines?

    3. Is there any more backstory for Mayuri beyond her just being sad that her grandmother died and having Okabe cheer her up? Feels like there’s something more to her than just what the path the anime took revealed.

  21. LilyGinnyBlack says:

    I disagree on the character department, at least when it comes to Okabe. I find him to be one of the best characters that came out of the Spring Season this year. The other characters had their up and down moments for me (this was mostly with Kurisu, who sometimes became so typical tsundere that I just rolled my eyes), but for the most part I thought the characters were really good.

    I do agree that the plot was excellent! I adore time travel, especially well done time travel, and Steins;Gate gave me a really good time travel story. So no complaints from me there.

    The only weak point that I can really see in this series is that some people may be turned off by the way it presents itself. Perhaps its mood? In other words, the slow character and plot building, the seemingly useless conversations, are definitely not for everyone and can really turn people away from the series as a whole. Since they may find it to be boring.

    Other than that, this series made me cry and laugh and be intrigued, so I enjoyed it a lot!

  22. Will says:

    It’s sad that the anime had to contradict itself for the sake of sweet emotional drama. Anyway, one of the better sci-fi of the recent years, that’s for sure.

  23. Tetsuo says:

    Great Review and thx for your wonderfull Blog, i allways wait for your Reviews bevore watching a new Show tbh^^

  24. jreding says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first half, in particular Okabe’s and Kurisu’s hilarious antics. Those ridiculous nicknames Okabe invented for everyone else (like “Celeb 17″) literally kept sticking in my head after some time. Both Okabe and Kurisu became well fleshed-out and likeable characters to me. I also liked Feyris, and I think Ruka would have deserved some more time. Insofar I disagree. The simple animation was somewhat made up by the atmospheric lightning and colour palette which you aptly pointed out in one of your episode reviews.

    The second half, however, was much less convincing for me than the first one. What bugged me most is that I found the plot unbelievable and full of holes. You write that in some parts the viewer had to suspend his disbelief. This worked for me as long as it was about allowing for the possibility of time travel. However, the world lines theory was not followed consistently. If you allow for this kind of time travel, no one had to worry about losing his/ her life, gender, parents or whatever when it is just Okabe’s consciousness that’s “travelling”. People wouldn’t even notice that “Okabe” changed his timeline. Kurisu at some point mentions this herself (I think in ep. 22). The revelation in ep. 24 that other people don’t have Reading Steiner but somehow vaguely remember their former/ other timeline was not convincing to me, either.

    In the end I still think it is a very good show for the excellent dialogue and the intricate plot. Even though I didn’t find the plot believable I still admire it for its construction.

  25. hoiut says:

    I’m scared of comment #25…

  26. IBN5100 says:

    I can only asume that you mistakingly placed Blood C’s “character paragraph” in this review. Seriously, the cast is perfect for the story. I can’t see the plot working without them. Episode 22, for example, could never deliver the emotion it had if Kurisu and Okabe’s relationship had been developed any different. I really disagree with you there. Overall, I must say this is my favorite anime of latest releases. Definitely worth watching again. ;)

  27. kura says:

    I have to agree that the characterizations are not that strong. Personally I did not like Okabe as much as most people do. I found his forced laughter and put-on persona somewhat annoying and childish. As for Kurisu, I could not warm to her at all. I think that it is mostly because of her tsundere personality and I never like those types. I do like Mayuri (surprisingly – I usually hate airhead types as well) but my dislike for Kurisu is not because I want Mayuri to be paired with Okabe.

    I feel that the romance between Okabe and Kurisu is unbelievable especially when there is little build up on Okabe’s side and all there was on Kurisu’s part was the tsundere blushing. They should have all stayed friends if there was to be so little development between them.

    That said, I did like the story and I’m glad I watched it.

  28. Vince says:

    It is an amazing anime but the tropes were certainly annoying for me that I had to hold off for a while by episode 8. The payoff was worth sitting through forced stereotypes and a little slow pacing on the first half. I’m relieved to see I wasn’t the only one thinking about that a little flawed characterisation.

  29. Kalem says:

    I really enjoyed this series, being one of those who dropped it after 6 episodes only to pick it up again and love it. The characters in the first half were terrible and two dimensional, falling for a load of anime clichés. But when the plot picked up it was amazing watching how each one slowly changed into such a more believable and well thought out person. Especially Okabe, while annoying at first, he became much more mature as his spirit shattered.

    There were a few plot holes that irked me, even though I am more than happy to over look them. One that immediately springs to mind is why there weren’t three Okabes playing out their roles over Kurisu’s death.

    Still, a fantastic series that I highly recommend.

  30. David says:

    i find some of your reviews quite bad frankly, and some are good . But Steins gate is highly praised , its ranked #3 on MAL

  31. Janfred says:

    I also believe that Kirisu and Okabe have cool personality and development, which can cover all its weak points ^^
    And yeah this is one of the best anime that I really love to repeat again and again ^^

  32. Janfred says:

    This is one of the Best of 2011 I guess ^^

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  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
    @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.

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