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113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2012
As I write this, there have been 5 reviews posted on Amazon. They have refrained from spoiling much of the plot, and I won't either. So far no one has really commented on the scientific knowledge base referenced in the series, so I thought I'd share that.

Steins;Gate falls into a relatively small genre of anime where many of the plot points are adaptations of some field of science, in this case "chaos theory." Other examples are Noein which is based on quantum mechanic philosophies, and Serial Experiments Lain which is based on artificial intelligence. About half of the titles of Steins;Gate episodes are direct references to concepts in chaos theory, most importantly the "butterfly effect." The butterfly effect quips that a butterfly flapping its wings in Texas can cause a typhoon 2 weeks later in Tokyo. That is the premise of the show, that by sending 18 character text messages into the past one can dramatically shift the future.

It's hard to go into particulars without giving some plot points away, but idea of a (strange) "attractor" also plays a key role in the story. Namely, no matter how much you perturb the timeline, some events seemingly cannot be escaped. Much of the plot revolves around the main characters' repeated efforts to avert those destinies, and much of the character development comes from the anguish of not being able to do so. The story also contains passing references to divergence, singularities, fractals, homeostasis...

Finally, let me applaud the writers for having a very realistic time-machine concept. Most stories have time-machines immediately invented that are capable of transporting humans through time. In Steins;Gate, the first time machine can only transmit data, and only 18 characters worth of it. If time travel is ever invented, it is much more likely to begin with us only being able to send small amounts of data through time.

As other reviewers have said, Steins;Gate is one of the best time-travel series ever made. It has an engrossing plot and well developed characters, with no mecha, ninjas, or fan-service. But it is also well thought out scientifically. I recommend it to anyone who loves anime or sci-fi, but also to anyone who wants a crash course in dynamics or chaos theory.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2012
Rintaro Okabe considers himself a mad scientist. He spends most of his time inventing useless gadgets and conceiving wild conspiracy theories. Through sheer luck, he and his friend Itaru Hashida actually create a machine that can send text messages to the past. Through their experimentation and tinkering with time, they keep changing their world, though only Okabe is able to remember the previous timeline. But playing around with something like time is bound to have consequences, as Okabe finds out all too well.....

I generally don't have much interest in time travel stories. But if the premise sounds interesting, I'll give it a try. The premise of Steins;Gate sounded vaguely entertaining, but I might not have tried it if it hadn't been streaming on Crunchyroll and had high ratings on AnimeNewsNetwork. The first few episodes were fun, but I wasn't really hooked until around 8 episodes in. That is where the story really starts. And boy, it doesn't let up until the end! The story it very intense and fast paced. It was a rather surprising change, after the laid-back, comedic first few episodes. I went from wanting to see more, to NEEDING to see more. In addition to a great story, this series also has great characters. Okabe is the most interesting, and most developed, since he is the main character, but the others each have their chance to shine.

This is one of the best anime series I've see in a while. Possibly the best Sci-Fi anime I've EVER seen. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting and well woven story. Anyone who enjoys stories that make them think a little. Stories that have wacky characters that you come to love, science fiction, thrill, or mystery. I'd probably recommend this series to just about everybody really :)

Since this is part one, and the run time is 300 minutes, I am guessing that it contains episodes 1-12 of the series (total # of episodes in the series is 24, though I've read that there is a DVD only episode, not sure if that is the Japanese release only or not). Amazon at this time claims that this is Japanese audio only, but then it lists the English voice cast.... To clarify, this DVD set includes both Japanese and English audio and English subtitles.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Steins; Gate is a truly original Anime. OK, no story is ever TRULY original now, I know, but the mix included here is.

The first bunch of episodes are happy go lucky, in a fun sort of way. Okabe is a mad scientist trying to build a time machine to fight against the "establishment." Along for the ride are his friends Mayuri and Haru. When he finds a dead girl at a convention, only to later that day be told he never went to the convention, we realize something is going on. Then when he meets the same girl at a different lecture, we know for sure something's up. As the story progresses we add more female characters (it's not a harem show, I promise!) and a LOT more drama. And they change the past (well, change the past, that changes the future...) with a MICROWAVE and email/text messages!

By the end of the first part of Steins; Gate things have gone terribly wrong, with Okabe fighting to retain his sanity and save dear friend.

Based on a "graphic novel" for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (Japanese only), the game was originally designed by Nitro+ and 5pb as a 99% science, 1% fantasy game. It's not difficult to see why they called it so. For those craving the game, JAST USA has announced that, through their partnership with Nitro+, they will be releasing an English localized version of the game on PC eventually.

I am reviewing everything below based on the Blu Ray edition of the set. I have not powered up the DVDs and have no need to do so.

Video:

AVC encoded at 1080p. Bit rates in the 20-32 range mean there is no compression blocking or issues. The only video concern I have is gradients. Sometimes the gradients used have harsh transitions. This is, however, part of the show and NOT a problem with the encode. Other than the gradients in some areas, this release looks fantastic.

Audio:

You have a choice of spoken English or Japanese on this release.

The English audio is mixed in Dolby True HD, 5.1. I don't generally watch Anime English subtitled, but I always watch an episode or 3 for review purposes to give a valid critique. The 5.1 mix, while good, doesn't go over board with mixing effects and putting you in a vortex of sound (which is a good thing!). Dialog from the center channel is crisp and clean. Sound directionality is also very good.

The Japanese audio is the original Stereo mix, encoded in Dolby TrueHD as well. The stereo directionality is very good and all dialog "appears" in the center of the sound stage, except when needed. Dialog is crisp and clean. Sound effects are good.

The subtitles aren't bad, though I did notice a few instances of a grammar issue (outside of the LEET SPEAK).

One thing I will note is the FUNimation seems to master their audio at levels similar to Hollywood releases. This means that I have to turn my volume up (NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL!). Sentai, on at least Infinite Stratos, seems to favor mastering much louder (or perhaps it's just these releases?). Neither is a problem, one I turn up, one I turn down and neither, when adjusted to a proper listening volume, causes any issue with the audio.

Extras:

You have clean opening/closing animations. Episode commentaries for eps 1 and 12 (English language commentary, not a Japanese in case someone wonders). There's a map of Akihabara. Trailers for other FUNimation shows.

It seems the only extra that didn't make it over from the Japanese release was a video clip from some Japanese event. This isn't a major loss in my mind, though getting all of the extras available, along with the nice English language extras, is always good.

Overall though, the extras are really not that amazing, which is unfortunate given how good the series really is.

Packaging:

FUNimation has given the show a little extra treatment by including a slip cover. The slip cover is... kind of pointless though, given the artwork and everything is the same as it is on the case proper. Oh well, it's a nice addition either way.

There are 2 DVDs and 2 Blu Ray discs inside. The Blu Ray case is a little larger than a single disc case, and all of the discs are securely held on to the hubs.

Overall:

Steins; Gate Part 1 is a bit of an odd duck. Odd in that it begins with some drama, but then falls into a weird comedy/drama sort of animal... that then morphs into the Groundhog Day/Terminator mix. And what makes it so odd is that it WORKS, and it works amazingly well.

If you are a fan of science fiction, this is a series made for you. If you're like my brother and hate time based Sci-Fi, where people are jumping from one time to another and so on, then this one won't be for you. For everyone else, however, this series is a must see.

Keep in mind before you buy, if you want to try the series out you can stream it on-line currently via FUNimation's streaming service or Crunchyroll. The free streams are Japanese language with subtitles.

HIGHLY recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2012
So you say you've been...back to the future? Traveled thousands of years across time and space via steam power? Or maybe you've just cheated and did a slingshot around the sun at warp speed?

Whatever the means, you haven't seen a time traveling anime or really...a show like this. Tute tuu doooooooooo!

Stein's Gate, from the characters to the ideas, to just the execution of each episode is a masterpiece. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will shake your fist in anger at the events that will transpire within the episodes of this series. If you know the old time traveler saying about "not stepping on anything." Then consider the danger of sending a mere text message back in time.

This takes a simple concept and completely fleshes it out revealing the good and the bad. How much can you change? What will change when the world line shifts? Each factor is brilliantly revealed and by the time the end credits roll, you will be crying out for your own cellphone microwave and white lab coat. Mad scientist voice is optional but highly recommended. Hopefully, as this seems to be Funimation release, it will have a stellar English dub for those that don't like subs. But really, you own it to yourself and to the anime world to watch Okabe in the original Japanese. I cannot imagine an English actor ever able to capture the essence of Kyoma.

Overall, this is not just a rent worthy series but a must buy series for anime fans or even fans of time traveling shows. You won't regret it!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2013
Steins;Gate is a very compelling story and yes it does start out a little slow but it is this development that makes the climax of the series so enthralling. Funimation did a great job dubbing this show to the point that it is even comparable to the Japanese which is also spectacular. The blu-ray looks wonderful. The dvd's are nothing to scoff at either. As for the special features they were lacking as basically they were commentary and a map, which in the blu-ray version is interactive. The commentary itself is almost as entertaining as the episodes they're superimposed on, in other words they're great. If you are a time travel fanatic then this is a must have. If you like anime in general this show is amazing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
This is one of the most beautiful, mesmerizing and at times heart wrenching stories I have ever watched. Part 1 moves slow for the first few episodes but don't give up. The story starts to pick up around disk 2 and it simply pulls you into it. Word of caution, you have to watch every second of it or you'll be completely lost. I advise also buying both part 1 and part 2 because part 1 does end on a cliffhanger. Just so you know there's no fan service, or big breasts or even nudity and the story is better for it. The best anime I've watched in the last 6 - 12 months.

All and all I highly recommend this to anyone who not just loves anime but also an amazing story. Simply en-grossing.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
In a shocking twist, Shiina Mayuri reveals herself to be a Rounder spy is killed by Moeka Kiryu. Now Rintaro must go through time travel to rescue Moeka but also tries to find out Moeka's true mission. Rintaro learns from one time leap that SERN has targeted the lab because Rintaro created a time machine and was publicly about to announce it.

Now knowing the truth that his creation has led to a friend's death, will Rintaro be able to prevent Moeka from getting killed? Find out in the last half of "Steins;Gate Part 2″!

VIDEO:

"Steins;Gate: Part 2″ is presented in 1080p High Definition. Although there are major animation studios who do a great job with some TV series, the fact is that they are busy doing several series at a time. But when you have a company who doesn't have so many things going on all at once, sometimes these anime studios put all they have into an anime TV series, making it so well-detailed, that you can't help but be impressed. My belief is that White Fox, the animation studio behind "Steins;Gate" put a lot into this series because it looks fantastic.

I love the amount of detail that goes into the character design but also the backgrounds. If anything, the cool look of what video gamers have seen through the "Steins;Gate" video games will notice the the high quality production with the TV series. There are scenes that are intentionally created to look soft, but colors are vibrant at times and if anything, the series looks amazingly robust and well-saturated on Blu-ray!

As for any problematic issues, I did see some banding mainly scenes that focused on Okabe but nothing terrible.

AUDIO:

"Steins;Gate: Part 2″ is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. As one would expect, the dynamic range for the English dub is much better and also noticed a good use of the surround channels for ambiance. A lot of bird chirping can be heard in this anime series but overall, lossless audio is very good.

"I actually enjoyed the English dub a lot more because of the 5.1 lossless soundtrack but the more in-depth sci-fi writing. But both are well-acted, it's just a slight difference of what was added to the English dub.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Steins;Gate: Part 2″ comes with the following special features:

Episode 19 Audio Commentary - Featuring an entertaining audio commentary by Patrick Seitz (voice of John Titor) and Jessica Cavanaugh (voice of Moeka Kiryu).
Episode 24 Audio Commentary - Featuring Colleen Clinkenbeard (ADR Director) and Nathanael Harrison (Mix Engineer) and Stephen Hoff (ADR Engineer).
Textless Opening Song "Hacking to the Gate" (Version 1)
Textless Opening Song "Hacking to the Gate" (Version 2)
Textless Closing Song "Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaki"
Textless Closing Song "Sky Clad Observer"
U.S. Trailer - (1:06) The Funimation trailer for "Steins;Gate".
FUNimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

"Steins;Gate: Part 2″ comes with the entire series on both Blu-ray and DVD.

JUDGMENT CALL:

More often, you see an anime's brilliance typically when you start off with an anime series. From the first half of a 24-26 episode series, you know what you are getting.

"Steins;Gate" is not one of those anime series. From its first half, you are introduced to characters and their crazy hijinks. But its when you get to episode 13 all the way to the end, you realize that "Steins;Gate" is not only fantastic, but perhaps one of the best anime series that you have seen in a long time.

In fact, I'll even go further and say that "Steins;Gate" is the one of the best anime series on Blu-ray for 2012! That's how much I enjoyed it!

As a big fan of science fiction, storylines of time travel have always been an interest to me. I love shows such as "Dr. Who", films such as "Back to the Future" and even the alternate time episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

So, prior to watching "Steins;Gate", what I did know is that it was a popular video game series and the fact that 5pb. and Nitroplus were behind it and that the series had a connection with "Chaos;Head", peaked my interest. But when I heard that the anime series was coming out on Blu-ray/DVD, I was excited because I know the series and the games have done well in Japan.

Watching "Steins;Gate", at first, I admit I was a bit confused. The protagonist, Rintaro Okabe, was a mad scientist with a maniacal laugh who was working on a time travel experiment. And I guess at first, I wasn't getting into his character all that much. But then when the series started to showcase character development and introduce characters such as Kurisu, Moeka, Ruka, Feris and Suzuha, I started to warm up to the series because a series solely about a mad scientist who is arrogant, was not going to catch my interest.

But then I realized how clever the writing was for the series. How each of these individuals that were introduced, begin to ask for Rintaro to use his invention to help them out. For example, Ruka is a boy who looks so much like a girl and believes that because his mother ate a certain food, he was born a boy instead of a girl. So, he asks for Rintaro to send a message to his mother, to eat a certain food and see if it changes time and Ruka is born as a girl.

But then we are introduced to the problematic situation of changing time. Once you start meddling with time, it can lead to disaster or situations that Rintaro never expected. And the interesting situation is that because he is the only person that can remember a change in timeline and no one else, his ability can also be used improperly if the invention is in the wrong hands. But also, because he is a person that doesn't have much in terms of social skills, no one knows what to expect when he does meddle with time.

In "Steins;Gate: Part 2″, Rintaro, who has made great friends and brought people as lab assistance for his time machine is taken for an amazing emotional ride. When Mayuri is killed by Suzuha, who reveals herself to be a Rounder, he escapes being killed and tries and tries to save Mayuri's life, but the end result is the same. She dies.

But as he tries to figure things out himself, he knows he needs to bring in his friends, especially Kurisu, who is just as intelligent and the only person who knows about the hypothesis of time travel, that can help him save Mayuri.

Unfortunately, having used the time machines to change the life of Kurisu (who died in the first episode but manages to thwart her death), for Ruka (making her a girl instead of a boy) and for Feris (saving her father who died in a plane accident as he tried to apologize to his daughter), he learns that by changing time, he unfortunately changes time enough to where Mayuri is dead because of his time machine and people want access to the technology.

But as he changed the lives of the people he cares about, in order to bring Mayuri back-to-life, all things must revert back to the way it was. But will he make that call?

And just when you think everything is over, a new twist happens at the end of episode 21 (right after the credits), which sets up the final three episodes.

As for the Blu-ray release, we are treated with two audio commentary tracks and as for the series itself, "Steins;Gate" looks amazing on Blu-ray, while the lossless soundtrack is clear and features good ambiance. Especially the voice acting on both the Japanese and the English end, with the English dub getting a thumbs up for writing but the acting is really fantastic for this series.

Overall, "Steins;Gate" has turned out to be one of the most fascinating, smart yet fun, science fiction anime series that I have seen in a long while. But after watching "Steins;Gate: Part Two" and seeing these final 13 episodes, it left me feeling that I have watched on of the best anime series yet, and possibly as a nod to FUNimation, one of the best written and best acted anime series that they have done so far.

"Steins;Gate" the overall series... not only is it highly recommended, it is on my list for "Best Anime Series on Blu-ray for 2012″!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
This show has one of the best plot's for an anime that I have ever seen. The voice acting is amazing and the humor is superb. I have recommended this show to all my friends who have gone on to only say other good things about it. The show starts out with a lght sense of humor and a great cast and by the second half the show becomes increasingy dark when problems arise as the main character Rintarou creates a time machine accidently which leads him to mess around with time trying to figure out how it works which causes problems that he must undo to save his loved ones.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
Rintaro Okabe considers himself a mad scientist. He spends most of his time inventing useless gadgets and conceiving wild conspiracy theories. Through sheer luck, he and his friend Itaru Hashida actually create a machine that can send text messages to the past. Through their experimentation and tinkering with time, they keep changing their world, though only Okabe is able to remember the previous timeline. But playing around with something like time is bound to have consequences, as Okabe finds out all too well.....

I generally don't have much interest in time travel stories. But if the premise sounds interesting, I'll give it a try. The premise of Steins;Gate sounded vaguely entertaining, but I might not have tried it if it hadn't been streaming on Crunchyroll and had high ratings on AnimeNewsNetwork. The first few episodes were fun, but I wasn't really hooked until around 8 episodes in. That is where the story really starts. And boy, it doesn't let up until the end! The story it very intense and fast paced. It was a rather surprising change, after the laid-back, comedic first few episodes. I went from wanting to see more, to NEEDING to see more. In addition to a great story, this series also has great characters. Okabe is the most interesting, and most developed, since he is the main character, but the others each have their chance to shine.

This is one of the best anime series I've see in a while. Possibly the best Sci-Fi anime I've EVER seen. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting and well woven story. Anyone who enjoys stories that make them think a little. Stories that have wacky characters that you come to love, science fiction, thrill, or mystery. I'd probably recommend this series to just about everybody really :)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2012
I love anime and have been watching it for years. If your like me and watch a lot of anime you understand that you go through a lot of decent and okay series and movies before you find the one you have been truly desiring. I started watching Steins;Gate thinking that it was going to be just another anime, as you can already tell by the 5 stars, I was very wrong. This series blew me away from start to finish. Usually when people hear "anime" they may think giant robots, super powers, fan service, over the top everything, but that is not the case with this anime. Characters and story is what this show is about. From the first episode you start to feel for the characters, you feel warmth and happiness and as the show goes on and the plot starts turning left and right, your hart turns with it. The story is also one of the greatest I have ever seen. If your interested in time machines/time travel your in for a treat. If this show didn't have any science fiction in it it would still be amazing because of the wonderful characters, but it does and it makes the show that much better. You really need to watch this series, you will not be disappointed. If your not sure about putting money out to watch it, there are a lot of websites where you can stream a few episodes for free, but even if you do that I'm sure you will want to buy it and watch it in better quality. Hopefully this helps you make a decision.

El Psy Congroo.
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