It Will Change Your Life
By: Head Writer – J.R Tafoya
Hello again Giga-Friends! I hope you’re doing well on this fine Monday! You may (or may not) have noticed that I was slightly absent last week. But, I wasn’t! I was doing my patented and world-acclaimed anime season-end review articles! I covered a lot this time around and even harkened back to my older writing style where I do a quick 2-paragraph blurb on my personal thoughts on the show. It was a fun way to kick some free time around and, honestly, the writing style gave me a little bit of nostalgia.
Speaking of anime though, I had the pleasure of watching Steins;Gate recently! A little late to the show . . . five years . . . but, no worries! At the behest of a LOT of my friends, I ended up grabbing the Blu-ray during the most recent Cyber Monday. I remember the anime airing back in the day, some six years ago, and watching about one episode before absolutely forgetting to keep watching. This, my friends may have been one of the greatest mistakes of my life. As of now, I can definitely tell you that Steins;Gate is easily one of my Top 3 anime of all time. And believe you me, I have seen a plethora of anime in my time.
Steins;Gate revolves around Okabe Rintarou (aka Hououin Kyouma), a self-proclaimed “Mad Scientist” who doesn’t have much to his name other than a few failed inventions and a microwave that can turn bananas into gel . . . Useful, right? His one prime objective in this lab is to master the art of time travel. To become a master of time and to bend the concept of “fate” to his whims! Though, hampered either by his lack of funds or his very chuunibyou behaviour, Kyouma is finding his research slowing almost to a halt. You see, Kyouma has this strange . . . quirk . . . yeah, that works. Kyouma will constantly blurt out the first conspiracy to pop into his head, consistently reminding people that “The Organization” is after him and his work. Though, people like me would argue that’s some of the more fun parts of the show!
While attending a science lecture one day, Kyouma runs into a world-renowned scientist named Makise Kurisu. A young woman of 18-years who had already been published in her scientific fields of study. As an awkward meeting ensues between the two, Kyouma heads to his lecture only to laugh his professor out of the building. While killing time with his close friend Mayuri, he hears a scream that shakes him to his core. Upon checking out the source, he sees none other than Kurisu lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. Panic-stricken and unable to think, Kyouma sends a text to his fellow lab member, Daru, telling him that the young scientist had been killed. As the text is sent, Kyouma feels something strange, as if he’d be stricken with Deja Vu. When he walks back into the lecture hall, he sees the previously deceased Kurisu standing upright and fit as a fiddle.
This leads us to the story’s core: Kyouma had accidentally invented a microwave that could send texts backward in time allowing him to alter the timeline itself. Also, the microwave can still turn bananas into gel, that’s still important.
While it sounds strange at a glance, I can guarantee you that this isn’t “just another time-travel” anime. To put it bluntly, in the words of my friend David, “Kyouma gets severely punished at every turn for trying to anime-trope his way out of any situation”. He begins to mess with the bonds of time, throwing the world he knew into disarray and while everyone around him acts as normal, Kyouma remembers every single detail of every time skip he makes. This not only brings together a strong core plot, but an emotional one on Kyouma’s front as you start to wonder how sane he really is as he devolves into a muttering fool from the shock and trauma he’s had to endure.
Starting as a silly almost slice-of-life about a “Mad Scientist” with a fetish for conspiracy theories and Dr. Pepper, the story takes a hard turn down a dark alley and explores how time can be seen, and how it is viewed by others. Bittersweet in it’s taste but sweet to remember, Steins;Gate is definitely something worth everyone’s time regardless of likes or dislikes on anime. Never before have I seen something so beautifully pieced together and very rarely do we see the pieces fall back in to place when the story hits its climax. It tugged at my heartstrings at almost every turn and watching an asshole scientist devolve into a raving lunatic only to crawl his way back up to become an almost decent human wasn’t just exciting and thrilling, it was damn life-changing.
The final episode itself was just a “cherry on top” or “the icing on the cake” kind of feel. The show didn’t need it, but it worked beautifully anyway. And the final line spoken by our beautiful heroine, the irreplaceable Kurisu, was just magic. The kind of magic that crept its way into my dreams. The kind of magic that makes you remember an anime for several years to come. The kind of magic that moves you.
For those of you wondering, the voicing in both English And Japanese is absolutely stellar. While I watched most of the show in English, I do know the Japanese cast went above and beyond for their parts. That’s not to cast a shadow over the English cast though. J. Michael Tatum, Okabe Rintarou, did such an outstanding job of playing up the “Mad Scientist” role while adding a tinge of condescension to his conspiracy ravings made you love to hate, and hate to love the guy. I highly suggest checking out both sides if you have the chance, both casts are definitely deserving of your time and devotion.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I absolutely adored Steins;Gate. I only wish I’d watched it sooner rather than waiting around for several years like a complete moron. If you like anime, if you like things that are good, and if you want your faith to be restored in the anime industry, you have . . . NO! You NEED to watch Steins;Gate. Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a favor and you’ll love how every episode is crazier than the last, and love it even more when all the pieces fall in to place.
Love with me, live with me, cry with me, and hurt with me. All the emotions we should when we watch a great anime. I know for a fact it will make it into your “anime I suggest watching” list as it instantly went into my Top 3 as soon as I finished.
P.S Makise Kurisu is a National Treasure and you will treat her as such!