Studio: White Fox
Publisher: 5pb., Nitroplus
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Release: S1 (2011), Movie (2013), Net Anime (2014)
Originally a time-travel and science fiction-themed visual novel for the Xbox 360, Steins;Gate has expanded not just in other platforms like Windows, PSP and iOS, but in anime and manga as well. The story is supposed to have taken place a year after the events of Chaos;Head– a good VN in and of itself, but has a horrible anime you should never ever watch. Here we go!
The main plot highlights the value of time and the choices you make via time travel scenarios, but it also goes with the reality that you can’t change fate no matter what you do- even if you can travel through time multiple times. Our main character would later on constantly and repeatedly battle the cruel destiny that awaits him– a somewhat similar recurring theme in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni.
Plot: Self-proclaimed mad scientist Okabe Rintarou, founder of Future Gadget Laboratory, attends a press conference with his fellow lab member, Shiina Mayuri. The event is held by a scientist eager to proclaim his theories on time travel. But it turns out, said scientist’s work was just plagiarized from an anonymous internet time-travelling scientist who goes by the alias ‘John Titor.’ Noticing the blunder, Okabe confronts him.
Probably to avoid causing a scene, a red-haired lady pulls him out of the room. But it was actually for another reason- the girl, named Makise Kurisu, wanted to ask Okabe what was it he was so eager to tell her 15 minutes ago. This was confusing for Okabe since this was his first time meeting Kurisu.
Maybe a time-travelling version of him was the one who approached Kurisu, no? Well, that’s for me to know, and for you to watch and find out! But anyway, moments later he finds a dead Kurisu lying on the floor- not to mention things getting trippy afterwards.
One of the interesting things I find in Steins;Gate its its fictional concept on world lines and the so-called Attractor Field Theory. “An attractor field is like a rope- it may look like a single line, but actually, many threads comprise it. The threads are the world lines. Each never touch the others, but they all go to the same place: a world where a certain event is set to happen 100%. But if the world line drastically changes from the alpha world line to the beta world line over the 1% barrier (a different rope), another outcome would occur.”
Simply put, Okabe is trapped in an attractor field full of world lines where certain tragedies happen. And it won’t change no matter how many times he travels to the past and try to prevent it- well, IF he could actually be able to time travel in the first place. Theoretically, he must find or trigger a world-changing event that will let him cross over the 1% barrier in the divergence meter and with that, he’ll be able to transfer to another attractor field where those fateful events never happen.
I’ve come across time travel-themed shows and movies that can’t be considered to have been executed in flying colors because of their being cliche and full of loopholes, but I;’d definitely recommend Steins;Gate to anyone looking for a decent mix of action, drama and comedy revolving around time travel bundled up with weird yet interesting characters, and a plot that will most probably keep you glued to the screen. Try out the first few episodes and see for yourself! This ain’t called one of the best anime shows in 2011 for nothing.