Steins;Gate takes place in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. On July 28, 2010, Rintarō Okabe and his friend Mayuri Shīna was heading towards the Radio Kaikan building for a conference when Okabe finds a girl named Kurisu Makise lying in a pool of blood.
As Okabe sends a text message about the incident to his friend Itaru, he experiences a strange phenomenon where everyone starts to disappear around him.
After later running into Kurisu (who is strangely alive and well) and discovering the message he had sent to Itaru had arrived a week before he sent it, Okabe soon deduces that the ‘Mobile Microwave’ he and his friends had been developing is, in fact, a time machine capable of sending text messages to the past.
Steins; Gate is an anime that demands interest and patience as it challenges you to think and make deductions throughout the story. For an anime that was hailed as one of the top anime in 2011, the incredibly slow pacing at the start of the story may disinterest viewers at first. Perhaps it was for the best as during this period, we see Okabe and his group hacking into SERN, and experimenting with time-travelling concepts such as ‘time-leaping’ and ”D-mails’.
Things swiftly become interesting when Episode 9 comes along as we begin to witness some interesting character developments between Okabe and Kurisu. It soon leads us to the first of many tumultuous and thrilling twists of Steins; Gate – we see corporation SERN finally taking action to retrieve Okabe’s time machine. After a disastrous incident, the commencement of a difficult journey for Okabe begins as he must undo the effects of previously sent D-Mails in order to return to the Beta timeline.
As the story cleverly goes full circle by revisiting most of the earlier events, it slowly unveils character motives and background stories for all characters – some of which will definitely shock you. Okabe and his friends are unique in their own ways as each character brings something forward to the table whether it is innocence, humour, geeky-pervy habits, stubbornness and tsundere qualities.
However, all eyes are on Okabe as he is very intriguing to watch. Voiced by Mamoru Miyano, Okabe is a self-proclaimed mad scientist who gives off the appearance of being delusional; frequently talks to himself on his own phone; and engaging in fits of maniacal laughter every now and then. He even gets a few English scenes which is always highly entertaining to watch, making Steins; Gate very modern when compared to its rivals.
In terms of the overall story, Steins; Gate‘s storytelling and time-travel concepts are told in an exceptionally suspenseful and engaging manner. Despite this praise, we wished the series could have ended better as there wasn’t enough interference from SERN, and that we weren’t able to get a glimpse of the year 2025.
Overall: Steins; Gate is a time-travel masterpiece that only comes by once in awhile, and is undoubtedly worthy of its critically acclaimed reviews.