Okabe has a theory about time travel, but is dismissed by everyone as a goofy mad scientist wannabe. After listening to a talk on time travel, he encounters a woman dead on the floor. Shortly thereafter, a satellite collides with the building. The next day Okabe spots the same woman alive and well. Surprised, he starts talking to Mikase, although she's less than enthused.
Mikase is a genius of sorts, and unimpressed by Okabe's nut job babbling. Things only get more convoluted when they work out a way to send cell phone text messages into the past, and how this relates to a conspiracy by CERN.
Stein's Gate looked like a sure fire hit with me, but it took a while to warm up to. That may be a contrast to the many reviews gushing over this show. This anime has a long wind up time, but is worth it if you hang in there.
First the bad stuff. The art design is very... pedestrian, further subdued with muted colors, and abundant dark shadows. There is also a curious lack of background music, making it hard to understand what the intent of a given scene is (comedy? serious?). The dry feeling of Stein's Gate could be countered with a soundtrack, vibrant colors, and improved artwork. Beginning episodes can feel tedious with dialog, the plot only seems mildly interesting, and the characters are only okay (at first). This was Stein's Gate: the anime everyone loves?
You can't understand how things go wrong until knowing how things were "right". Bits and pieces foreshadow future events which aren't utilized until later (especially with characters). It isn't until it unravels that it becomes clear what was built. By the middle, seemingly harmless time travel consequences accumulate into large problems. This pivot point is where "insignificant" things find their meaning. This also starts the true development of the characters. They are mostly introduced in the first half, then explored in detail as Okabe tries to correct their past.
While intelligent in writing, time travel details and science isn't the forte of this anime. Provided you can live through banging your head on your desk after hearing about "data compression via black holes", most of it can be overlooked. But don't expect this one to excel in flawless logic.
What I loved most about Steins Gate is properly doing a true time travel love story. Okabe faces many hardships which Makise helps him work through. Each time he jumps to another timeline, Mikase isn't aware of how she helped and or how they previously grew closer. Eventually Okabe falls in love with Mikase, even though from her perspective the relationship never started. This makes for a compelling sacrifice at the end, and I truly loved the ending. As far as plot or details in time travel, Stein's Gate isn't flawless but it's certainly has the best love story in the genre.
Highly recommended provided your patient enough to let it grow, and not too much of a stickler on details.
Makise: I've only been alive eighteen years, but I don't want to change any of it. It's my life, failures and all.
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