Cross stitch pattern of the pin given to the lab members in Steins;Gate. It doesn’t look exactly like the one in the anime, but it’s close enough for cross stitching. I chose the tarnished look from the show but you can switch around the colors to make it look more like gold. Download the PDF here: Steins Gate Pattern
Grid Size: 62W x 61H
Design Area: 4.29″ x 4.21″ (60 x 59 stitches)
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So, I just finished Steins Gate and it is fantastic. I love the unsettlingly harsh lighting and memorable character designs. I love how every character has distinct hobbies you could imagine them doing off screen. But let me gush about continuity for a second. And I’m warning you now, this review is going to be spoilerific, so if you want to see it, and you definitely should, go watch it now. Okay? There’s a lot of time travel in this anime so I assumed the writers would make a lot of mistakes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything lines up if you map it out. There’s a few episodes towards the end where Okabe is trying to save Kurisu from being murdered. Now before then he had been using the device that sends just his memories back in time, but during these episodes he switches to using Suzuha’s completed time machine. At face value, you might think that this is because the time machine is cooler and the director wanted to use it, but it’s actually because Okabe can’t use the memory headphones gadget because it was built by Kurisu and she’s dead in the world line he’s in so it was never built. The whole show is filled with little nods to continuity like this and it makes me want to watch the series over and over again to catch them all.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to make the connection between Steins Gate and a harem anime. There’s one central male character and a bunch of beautiful female characters… and Daru, but since he’s fat, he doesn’t count. The male character goes around solving all the girls’ problems until they all love him even though he’s kind of a jerk. There are a lot of parallels here. The part that really separates Steins Gate from other harem anime is the kinds of love he gains from interacting with these girls. He really only gains romantic love from Kurisu. Mayuri has familial love, so much that on my first viewing I thought they were siblings. As for Moeka, I’m going to call hers sexual because of that totally-not-rape scene. (Seriously that was so uncomfortable.) Feris sees him as a protector after he saves her. Ruka has a puppy love crush on him. Suzuha has a moment in the rain with him but their relationship is more like platonic respect. Okabe isn’t conquering these girls and building up a harem of lovers. He’s making varied and natural relationships with them. He doesn’t risk his life to save Mayuri over and over again because he wants to bone her. He does it because she has been a consistent light in his life, a take on the childhood friend/little sister trope that I want to see more often.
If I’m going to talk about Mayuri, I have to mention a bit of a gripe. Mayuri treds so close the the edge of too pure for this sinful world, that I feel a little manipulated when her deaths are directly played for drama. Watching her get shot the first time was heart wrenching. Watching a montage of her dying in multiple ways isn’t. This is one of the reasons why I hate the trailer for this anime, other than the spoilers. Though I did like how she wasn’t just a prop to be killed off. She was given some backstory, a job, and interests. Actually, she seems to be the only one of the original three who does work. I’ve been told by a friend that in the visual novel it’s explained that Daru makes money hacking and Okabe gets a hefty discount on his rent, so that’s how they pay for the lab, but it would have been nice to have seen that in the anime. As it is, it looks like both Okabe and Daru are leaching off of Mayuri’s meager earnings as a waitress and turning all her bananas into goo.
My second gripe is the missed opportunity that is Hououin Kyouma. Don’t get me wrong, I love Okabe’s alter ego, but I just wish it was used more effectively. Most of the time he slips into mad scientist mode as a joke, which makes it all the more powerful when he used it to calm Mayuri after her grandmother died. This personality that’s supposed to be funny being used in a serious situation drives home that Okabe might not be as sane as he pretends to be. But then that slipping sanity of slowly losing yourself doesn’t really go anywhere. My informant tells me there’s a bad ending in the game where Okabe becomes Hououin Kyouma completely and falls into madness, but I would have liked to have seen that threat in the anime too. There’s a few scenes where Okabe time leaps and needs to clear the room and cancel the party. He chooses to throw cryptic messages at his friends to just do as he says and not to ask questions. This would be fine if he was any other character, but this is Okabe. He has Hououin Kyouma specifically designed to shout random and authoritative commands at people. He could have easily slipped into his alter ego at these moments and made up some junk about Organization spies then forced everyone out. They could have even made a dramatic moment when he’s finally alone and drops the act only to show the terror of the situation on his face before he runs off to desperately try to change fate. This would have distanced his friends from him in a way unique to his character instead of just a cliched there’s no time to explain moment. You are a freaking time traveler. You have nothing but time!
There are a few things that confused me on my first viewing that would probably be cleared up if I watched it a few more times. Like, is Mr Braun FB in all timelines? Did Suzuha not find her father that one time because Okabe told Daru not to go to the meeting he was planing on going to? Who designed the pins? Won’t this whole series just be a stop gap until someone else discovers time travel or is Suzuha just banking on society being post scarcity by then? Who were those dudes with the neck tattoos? And speaking of the neck tattoo guys, this show does not to action well. I adore the slow emotional scenes of characters sharing their thoughts, but I can’t bring myself to care about any of these tattooed thugs. Their violence seems contrived just so that Feris has an excuse to pay Okabe back by deleting her D-mail. The one action scene I do like is the one where Mr. Braun kills Moeka, probably because it’s shot as a tense monologue rather than a gun fight.
I love how Kurisu is by far the most believable example of the tsundere achtype. She has good reasons to be guarded. Okabe is never shown to be the most consistently sane person. He often says things that aren’t socially acceptable, and I don’t blame Kurisu for protecting her heart from a guy like that. She is proud of her accomplishments and has learned to stand up for herself as a young genius who needs to prove her worth. Her father has been trying to undermine her research for a long time and she’s probably just not used to getting praise from Okabe. Learning that it’s okay to be valued can be a hard lesson to learn for some people. She opens up by the end, but her core character doesn’t change, which is fine because the story only takes place in a short amount of time.
Now for some quick pros and cons. It can be hard to tell what day it is because the time stamps aren’t clear and easy to read in the short time they are shown. I like how everyone has something they could be doing when Okabe isn’t around. I hate how the revelation of who John Titor is holds almost no dramatic weight. I like how Feris actually works even though her family is rich. I hate how Suzuha’s mom just kind of shows up and disappears even though she’s been foreshadowed for a long time. I’ve been told she has a bigger role in other media, but this is a review of the anime by itself. I love how all the pop culture pieces designed for the show, the little panda balls and the game Feris plays, are believable and help solidify the world as real.
I know I’m going to get some flack for this, but I love the dub. People point to the “I am mad scientist. It’s so cool, sonovabitch!” scene as proof that the sub is better, but then you would miss out on “Imma bust out some questions, yo, so holla at cho boiiiii! Word to yo mother.” In the original he responds with “so Japanese works, huh” and in English he says “well, that was nice and awkward.” Sub and dub Okabe are slightly different people, and I personally prefer the dubbed version if only because of how he slips into this subtle faux British accent when he’s Hououin Kyouma.
There is so much to like about Steins Gate that I have to recommend it to everyone. Okay, I guess if you’re the kind of person who watches anime solely for super powered fights, then you might not like it. The show is also pretty low on fan service even though most of the cast is female, so that might be a turn off for some viewers, but if those things aren’t a problem for you and you ignored my spoiler warning, then definitely check out Steins Gate.