Steins Gate

I watched this quite a while back but went out of my way to see it, having heard a lot of praise for the series. I was well-rewarded by this intricately-plotted time-travel anime starring a nutty chuunibyou protagonist who goes around in a white labcoat and (deliberately) talks like a mad scientist. He takes some getting used to, but by the end of the series I regarded him quite fondly. That’s actually quite true of most of the characters, who tend to have… eccentric personalities.

The story is primarily set in the otaku Mecca, Akihabara, and there’s a great sense of place and identity generated – running around the streets, hunting down old computers, meeting above an electronics store, playing cardgames with idols, and surfing the net. In many ways, Steins Gate is a homage to otaku/geek culture.

The series begins with the characters screwing around for a while, tying into a real-life internet time-travel hoax (fictionalised for this story), before taking a sharp turn into pretty dark territory, revealing unpleasant sides of things and people you saw before. The resolution is pretty strong, though I wished for stronger comeuppances for the villains – who are more like troublemakers rather than true antagonists.

The main focus is on the time travel, and while I’m generally sceptical of its use in a story, there was a decent amount of effort placed into the development of the mechanism and I had no trouble with it in the end. I also really enjoyed the OP and ED, which communicated the sometimes bleak

Strongly recommended for sci-fi anime fans who understand otaku culture.

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