Steins;Gate is the second part of the Science Adventure Trilogy by 5pb and Nitro+. While it is part of a trilogy, all three parts have very little relation other than the semicolon. The first part being Chaos;Head, came out in 2008. Robotics;Notes, the bookend of the trilogy will start airing in Japan in October.
The story of Steins;Gate revolves around a self-proclaimed mad scientist named Okabe. Okabe figures out how to send text messages into the past that creates unintended side effects. While some stories have issues with time travel, this series pulls it off nearly flawlessly.
Most of the time, Anime are usually based on Manga, but Steins;Gate was created as a Japanese visual novel. For the uninitiated, a Japanese visual novel sounds like a graphic novel, or a comic, but it isn’t. A visual novel is a work of interactive fiction. A video game. Steins;Gate was released in 2009 for the Xbox 360, and later ported to the PC, iOS, PSP, and PS3 in Japan. There is some discussion about it being released here in America by Nitro+ and JAST, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Steins;Gate is one of the best made anime that I’ve seen in years. It has many similarities to Serial Experiments Lain. Both anime were able to combine real history and science into a fascinating fictional story. Part of the story revolves around John Titor, who claimed to be a time traveler from the year 2036. He was sent back in time to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer to help stop CERN from screwing up the world. 5pb changed the name of the company they needed to stop from CERN to SERN in Steins;Gate (probably to avoid lawsuits), but it’s still pronounced the same way.
I was a massive fan of Serial Experiments Lain. I’d go so far to say that Lain changed my life, and views on science and religion. While I wouldn’t go that far in describing Steins;Gate, I would say it grabbed me like no other anime has in years.
You can watch the first 4 episodes dubbed, on Funimation’s website for free. The first half of Steins;Gate is being released by Funimation on September 25 as a Blu-ray/DVD combo. Unfortunately its going to be released at an MSRP of $69.98. Thankfully you can purchase it from Amazon for $48.86, but for just half of the series it still seems a bit steep. Despite my love for the series I might have to stay away for now. Thankfully I caught it via Crunchyroll as it was airing in Japan. Unfortunately it’s no longer available to stream from them.
It’s hard to wait for October to come, but I can’t wait for Robotics;Notes to get released. If 5pb stays true to form, it will be another great anime series.