I was recently able to sit down with a few friends and watch Steins;Gate again with them. It was an enjoyable experience, and I thought it would be a perfect time to revisit my thoughts on the series. The only problem was that my previous reviews haven’t really changed. I still love the series and what I have noticed and felt on this second run through doesn’t warrant a full post. So after the cut here are some bullet point thoughts as I re-dive into Steins;Gate
- After the second time through, I am 100% certain that your enjoyment of the series is predicated on how much you enjoy the banter and relationships among the central cast. If you are even on the fence about Okabo, Kurisu and the rest, then chances are you won’t like where things go.
- Okabe and Kurisu still remain one of anime’s all time great romantic pairs. The ooze chemistry from every pore, and like I said in my character dive on the pair, they bring out the best in each other. There are only a handful of other relationships this good, but this still remains one of the best.
- The first half is very slow, but it is also completely required and makes the second half with all of its time leaping and chaos pay off. We get to see how they mess up the world lines and why. It’s a great example of scientific curiosity run amok, not out of greed, but out of pure knowledge.
- It is very clear to me now that Steins;Gate walked in the halls that YU-NO built. You can feel the fingerprints of that series all over this, and for good reason. I do think that Steins;Gate is the better time travel story (it’s just more tightly told), but it wouldn’t be here without the granddaddy itself.
- The English dub is absolutely superb, and gives so much life to the cast. Kurisu is sassy without being a bitch, Okabe is able to be deranged, but also handle his increasing trauma of time-leaping with gravitas and poise. If anything, I find that Mayushi at times is a bit too adorable, but it’s a small price to pay. Love me those chicken tenders!
- Steins;Gate is a show that rewards you for paying attention, but also doesn’t penalize you not paying attention like ReZero does. As much as I love that second season, ReZero isn’t a show that lets you breathe, and Steins;Gate doesn’t have the same problem. If you pay razor close attention you’ll pick up a lot of the foreshadowing, but if you miss something you won’t be short either. And man, does this show have a lot of foreshadowing. Everything is there for a reason and there is very little fat on the proverbial bone. There is little if anything that feels like filler or padding, even in the first half where much of the story is slow build up. Stuff like Suzuha’s weird comments about death squads and the like are great hints to who she ends up being, and are so subtle. Love it.
- Lukoa’s whole boy wanting to be a girl schtick is handled with respect and tact. A few jokes here and there, but that is to be expected. Had Steins;Gate come out now, I bet ‘the discourse’ would have torn it a new asshole though. So hey, bullet dodged.
- If there is one major issue the show has, it is that the last part with Okabe trying to prevent Kurisu’s death and World War III feels like an odd coda and add-on to the story. Everything seems to be really wrapped up before, and things seemed to have reached a good and proper conclusion. They spared Mayushi, and Kurisu and Okabe accepted her death, but not before confessing their love. Had the series ended there, I think it would have been just as effective, but it went on. What happens is not bad by many means, but it does feel upon a second viewing, kind of added on. Still, it’s a great ending regardless and does tie a nice bow on everything.
- I wish there was more backstory of Kurisu and her dad. They do explain it, but I wish there had been a few flashbacks. It would have painted a fuller picture.
- And the fact the anime adaptation is so good has still ruined the visual novel for me. You just can’t step back when the anime improves on almost every single thing.
Overall Steins;Gate is still the quintessential time-travel story of the anime medium. A gripping story that starts out slow, but rewards you every time, there hasn’t really been something like this since, and I don’t think there ever will be. If you haven’t given this show a try, I really suggest that you do. This is a true classic and lives up to the hype. Just go in prepared for a slow burn at the start, but trust me, it’s worth it.