I haven't had good luck watching anime based on video
games. While a few have been okay, a
majority of the ones I've seen have been pretty rotten.
What's worse than a video game anime? Answer:
A sequel to a video game that's then turned into an anime, when
haven't played either game or seen the original anime.
How many strikes does that have against it
going in? I don't think I can count that
high, but suffice to say a lot. That's
why when Steins Gate showed up at my door, I was
prepared to dislike
it. I sat on the couch with plenty of
caffeine to keep me awake and my handy-dandy notepad to jot down
While the show does start off in a confusing manner, to my
surprise I found out that I didn't hate it.
As a matter of fact, I liked it.
A lot. Turn's out that Steins
Gate, despite its origins, is an engrossing and interesting show with
intricate plot that keeps viewers guessing.
Okabe Rintarou is a self-described mad scientist, and a
paranoid nut. He lives with a hacker
friend, Daru Hashida in a small apartment above a TV repair shop that
as their secret lab. Along with their
(female) friend, Mayuri, a cute and naïve cosplay fan who often stops
make up the Future Gadget Lab and devote themselves to making high tech
Things start to get strange when Okabe and Rintarou go to a
lecture by a noted scientist who is going to be giving the results of
research into time travel. Okabe
recognizes it all as a copy of the work of a mysterious person who was
on the Internet a decade previous, John Titor, and storms out after
professor a thief. He runs into Kurisu
Makise, who questions him on what he meant when he talked to her 15
ago, even though Okabe has never met the girl.
He thinks she's either crazy or part of the conspiracy that's
and escapes from her. Minutes later he
hears a scream and finds the girl dead in a pool of blood.
Shocked by this occurrence, he goes outside, sends Daru a
text about what happened, and... the world changes. The
science lecture never took place because
the professor had to cancel, which was a good thing because a satellite
from space and landed in the building where it was going to be held. Kurisu is still alive, and no one has heard
of John Titor. Just what's going on?
No one aside from Okabe realizes that the world has changed,
but it turns out that Daru did get the text message about Kurisu being
murdered, but he received it five days before it was sent.
Fiddling around with Okabe's cell phone and
the lab's hacked microwave oven, the trio discovers that they've
time machine that allows them to send information in the form of short
messages back in time. The only problem
is that every time they do that they change the past, which in turns
'present.' No one can tell that these
changes occur except Okabe, an ability he labels as a "Reading Steiner."
As they explore the possibilities of their time machine,
they run into a conspiracy theory that claims that SERN (the European
charge of the Large Hadron Collider) has actually created black holes
and that they're attempting to use them to make their own time machine. The paranoid Okabe wants to find out more
about what SERN is up to while at the same time resetting the world to
it once was.
This anime is built on an interesting premise that works
very well. The idea of a 20-something
mad scientist who builds a time machine out of his microwave sounds
stuff of comedy, but this is a serious show with some engaging premises. It's not often that you run across a show
that has something new to say on the classic time travel story, but
takes the old idea and shakes it up quite a bit. The
fact that only information,
electromagnetic waves, can be sent through time successfully is a nice
that works well in the context of the show.
One warning however... the show starts off in one of those
"what's going on here?" episodes that can be a bit confusing. The opening credits don't even show up until
nearly 10 minutes into the program which lead me to believe I had
hit the chapter forward button on my remote unintentionally since it
we were dropped off in the middle of an episode. Suffice
to say that just stick with it, but
the second installment everything starts to move in a more linear
This combo pack contains two DVDs and two Blu-rays in a
double width Blu-ray case. Each format
has the first 12 episodes of the show.
The case is housed in a cardboard slipcase that has room for
This set presents the show with the original Japanese Dolby
True HD 2.0 soundtrack or an English dub in Dolby True HD 5.1. While I really wish the Japanese track had a
Dolby True HD 5.1 option too, both tracks sound very good.
People who prefer dubs will be happy with
this one; the voices aren't artificially high for the women or filled
accents. The English actors did a good
job and brought their characters to life.
It's also more engulfing than the original language track. They throw some dialog to the rears
occasionally (when someone is walking out of a room or behind what's
shown on screen) and that's very effective.
The 1080p 16:9 image looks pretty good, but there is some
banding throughout the series which slightly mars the picture. Aside from that, which appears to be inherent
in the anime and not a problem with FUNimation's encoding, the image
fine. The lines were tights and the
colors were bright.
There are two commentary tracks with the English voice
actors and the English director. These
are on episodes 1 and 12. I have to
admit I'm not a fan of commentary tracks on anime by the people
the English dub. Unlike director or
actor commentaries on movies or even those involved with the original
of the anime, I just haven't heard any that add to my understanding or
appreciation of the show. I spot checked
a few of these and they generally left me cold.
There's also a clean opening and closing, a map of the area
where the story takes place, a series of previews for the show, and
This is an unexpectedly good series. The
first episode felt like it was being
strange for the sake of being strange, but after that the story quickly
rolling and sucked me in. Before I knew
it, I had to get up and change discs, then the next thing I knew the
was over, leaving me (at least metaphorically) on my knees, fists
sky, screaming that life was unfair. I
can't wait until the second set is released.
Check this one out. Highly
Note: The images do
not come from the Blu-ray discs and are not an indication of the HD