When someone thinks of classic anime series, a number of different series should be coming to mind. Anime series like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira, and more are worthy of claiming a spot on that list.
However, with the anime medium being a more recent entry in mainstream media or pop culture (in the west, at least) compared to other forms of media like film or comics. Now, there are also more modern classics in anime that have come out in the 2000s and the early 2010s, classics like Steins; Gate. This science-fiction anime cemented itself in 2011 as a hit in the department and here are 10 reasons why that is.
10. The Science Fiction
For those that see themselves as science fiction buffs and are fans of anime as a media platform, look no further than visual novel adaptation of Steins; Gate. First and foremost, the series is centered around the sci-fi concept of time travel. That alone should be enough to entice fans of the genre to at least check out the series.
The story centers around Rintaro Okabe and his friends and how they accidentally discover a way to send text-based messages back in time. Other interested parties take notice and chaos ensues. The science-fiction elements of the story are certainly what makes the plot the most thrilling.
9. Each Character’s Personalities
Any piece of media is nothing without the proper appeal of the narrative’s characters. And, thankfully, Steins; Gate satisfies in that department. The characters themselves are part of what drives the anime’s plot and overall narrative.
Rintaro Okabe is an egotistical and eccentric wannabe mad scientist with ultimately a heart of gold, Daru is the funny and all-around otaku fanboy with a perverted nature, Mayuri is the lighthearted happy-go-lucky friend of the group, etc. And there are plenty more personalities that each make the characters stand out and make the viewer love them all for who they are.
8. Character Relationships And Dynamics
Just like the personalities of each of the characters help to make them all stand out and help the viewer feel invested in all of them, these characters develop relationships with each other and interact with each other due to these qualities. If the characters themselves are part of what helps drive the thrilling science fiction and thriller narrative and plot forward, another part that drives the plot is the relationships between the characters.
This is especially true with Okabe’s relationship with each of the members and friends of the makeshift lab. For instance, his long, deep friendship with Mayuri plays a pivotal role in the plot of Steins; Gate. And that is just one of the character relationships.
7. Twists And Turns
While Steins; Gate is primarily a science fiction anime, it also doubles up as a thriller. And part of what makes a great thriller is a mystery along with twists, turns, and revelations sprinkled throughout the series’ run. This particular series definitely does not disappoint in this department.
There are a number of revelations spread throughout the series, like who is the mysterious John Titor and how does he know about the future? Why does Suzuha have a mysterious problem with Kurisu? How does this dreadful future come to realization? There are those and more.
6. The Art Style And Animation Hold Up
As with any anime, or quite frankly, any animated medium, the given art style, and animation have to be top-notch if it is to appeal to any viewer. While Steins; Gate is an anime that is eight years old, the art style is very clean and appealing to the eye. Everything down to the colors used is totally crisp. Just like with the art style, the animation quality is equally as high and holds up to this day.
While there are certainly much older anime out there with more impressive feats of art style and animation that still hold up now, see Cowboy Bebop, this is still important in Steins; Gate. Everything animates and moves very smoothly throughout and there aren’t any typical shonen-like fight scenes and actions, so the animation doesn’t need to do anything straining.
5. The Main Protagonist
While this list has touched on character relationships, dynamics, and personalities, the main protagonist, Rintaro Okabe, deserves his own entry. It is because of the combination of his personality and his individual relationships with each of the characters that this sci-fi thriller narrative is able to drive forward so well at the pacing it is at.
Rintaro Okabe is delightfully arrogant, egotistical, eccentric, all that help make Rintaro so endearing in his own way and have the ability to carry the weight of the plot on his shoulders.
4. It Has A Good Touch Of Romance
For those that like some romantic interests and elements sprinkled in your media (or anime), without making it an outright romance anime, viewers are bound to be pleased with the romance implemented in Steins; Gate.
Adding romantic interests to the characters in anime is a good way of getting the viewer even more invested in the characters and to care about them more and how their overall personal plot points unfold. In this case, there is a particular romantic interest that develops with the main character, Rintaro Okabe. This element of romance adds further stakes and emotional impact to the plot.
3. Worldwide Stakes On A Small Scale
Part of what makes the visual novel video game adaptation Steins; Gate unique is in how it tells its story and on what scale it does so. There is plenty of, not just anime, but any media of their narrative and overall plot be told on the basis of the characters having to overcome monumental odds and obstacles to overturn worldwide negative effects on the world around them. Steins; Gate also does this, but the difference is in how it does this.
Okabe and company must defeat the organization known as SERN by keeping time travel tech away from them to avoid an apocalyptic future. However, the story is told entirely from the small scale of the Akihabara district of Tokyo. This gives the story a more intimate and unique angle.
2. It Has The Right Amount Of World Building
This one might seem strange given the fact the story’s narrative takes place on such a small scale. But it is because of this small-scaled world-building that makes the story and the way that the characters interact with the world around them so great. First and foremost, the story is set in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.
This sets the primary stage that Steins; Gate takes place in by being in the technology and otaku center of Tokyo. A perfect setting for a wannabe mad scientist–and one particular otaku fanboy named Daru–to be in. But the next bit of world-building comes in Suzuha’s telling of the potentially apocalyptic future they are trying to avoid. This does well to up the narrative’s already high stakes.
1. The Modern Japanese Setting
Of course, realism isn’t something that is the primary premise of Steins; Gate with time travel being the center of the plot. However, for those that like a realistic and modern setting in their anime, this particular anime is a good stage for just that.
As already noted, the series takes place in the 2010 Akihabara district of Tokyo; so, modern enough, at least. Despite the overall science fiction flavoring of the series, the Akihabara district of modern Tokyo provides a great grounded setting for an otherwise thrilling aforementioned science fiction plot.