The time travel theme has blown up over the years with the return of Doctor Who in 2005, the fresh new spin on the Star Trek movie franchise, the plethora of other time travel films like The Time Travelers Wife, Hot Rub Time Machine, and so on and so forth. At this point in my life I think it’s safe to say I have this time travel thing down. I’ve watched everyone from Jean Claude Van Damme to Guy Pearce to Sonny Chiba. At some point it’s become less about the time travel theme and more about the journey. So how does Steins Gate add up?
At first I was quickly bored with the whole time travel/parallel universe idea. Like I said, been there done that. It reminded me a lot of Source Code meets The Girl That Leapt Through Time with a splash of Back To The Future and Groundhog Day and 12 Monkey’s to boot. Really, the list of films Steins Gate borrows from is rather large. You can’t blame the creators though since, as I said, the Time Travel theme has been through the ringer as far as creativity goes.
Where Steins Gate does shine is using all of these familiar idea’s as a simplistic backdrop for something that is enormously complex and often times confusing. You really have to be on your toes when it comes to following this particular anime. You have time travel, jumps to and from parallel universes- multiplying the number of deviations from the last time line, plus the confusion of memory and the suspense of Rintaro’s mission. The amount of characters involved also becomes very tasking as you find yourself becoming involved with their plights as a collective and as individuals.
In the end I was more then satisfied with the series. It went where I thought it would go but it was a blast getting there. This is a real thinkers anime that isn’t afraid to lose you along the way so pay attention. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself hankering for some of those old Time Travel films that preceded Steins Gate and helped create idea’s that made this show so fantastic when incorporating them. Good stuff.
Steins Gate is a cerebral experience but also an atmospheric one that’s designed to bring the color and clarity scheme of the show in as a character. Outside of the main timeline and universe Steins Gate has a milky white hue about it that lingers far to often and saps color from the picture. It’s to let you know where you are, kind of like a guide, but it does become bothersome.
When the show manages to obtain a perfectly coherent picture we see bright vivid colors and magnificent line detail in the picture that lets you know if the creators had wanted to, Steins Gate could have looked pristine in every aspect. It’s fault is unfortunately a necessity in the grand scheme of things. In the end it was about an 60/40 balance between the picture suffering for its art and the picture looking pristine.
~Commentary on episodes 19 and 24