Steins;Gate is an anime series I discovered on Netflix. Whilst at first I found it hard to get into, when coming to the end of the series I ended up binge watching it, hungry for more! It is also interesting to note whilst I have read a couple of manga series now that have been adapted from anime or films this is the first that was based on a visual novel video game.
The story of Steins;Gate takes place in Akihabara (a district in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo) and follows a group of friends who customise their microwave so that it is able to send text messages to the past (Yes, that’s really the premise!) As they perform experiments using the device, an organisation named SERN who has been doing their own research on time travel hunts them. The manga adaptation of the story illustrated by Sarachi Yomi began serialisation in Media Factory’s Monthly Comic Alive magazine in 2009.
From first appearances the main protagonist Rintarou Okabe seems clearly insane and disillusioned. Even his friends question his sanity and try to rationalise his thoughts and feelings. Similar to other manga I have looked at the artwork is typical of other manga series and nothing really stands out in either a good or bad way. The character designs seem simple but again the way facial expressions are drawn emphasises emotion.
What I liked:
One thing that Steins;Gate does really well is defining the rules of time travel and what effects it has on the universe. For example, they can only send texts with a limited amount of characters and there are core events that cannot be altered like the death of a character. I also think the complexity of the theories regarding time travel adds to the credibility of the series.
So, they use the microwave time machine to send a pager message to Rukako’s mum when she is pregnant with him telling her to eat more vegetables so that he can become a girl… and it worked?!
What I disliked:
My only criticism for Steins;Gate was the complexity of the theories and really needing to concentrate to understand what was going on. [SPOILER ALERT] I also didn’t like the story arc that turned out Dar was actually Amane Suzaha’s father that she was searching for. It felt like such a cop out from having to introduce another character and still resolve her mission to find him.
I also found the end of the Steins;Gate manga ended in a weird place and didn’t seem to have a conclusive ending, however after a bit of research I have found various spin off manga series’ which may satisfy my need for more.
How did it compare to the anime?
The anime was a lot more satisfying than the manga as it felt like a complete story whereas the manga felt disjointed and didn’t have a resolve. We also see a lot more of the characters’ personalities and unique traits portrayed in the anime and the series is given a lot more time to develop. I also found the anime had a lot more personality of it’s own, it had buckets of humour which sadly was not always portrayed in the manga as it was a lot more serious.
Another thing I enjoyed was that most manga and anime series’ don’t seem to be able to pull off well is the love triangle trope but this is where Steins;Gate shines. All of the characters involved in the love plot are well developed and have unique personalities. When the arc comes to the end, we really feel the struggle to choose which adds more tension and drama to the story.
What’s not to love about a series that involves a microwave that can send time travelling texts?
Whilst I did enjoy reading the Steins;Gate manga I would suggest watching the anime first to get a better understanding of what is going on. That being said I wouldn’t totally forget about reading the manga and I’m sure the spin-off series’ give a much more satisfying resolution and only adds depth and breadth to the original manga title.
Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.