Why Steins;Gate is my favorite series of all time


(This post may contain spoilers for the following series. If you have not seen the series before, please exercise caution before viewing this post. You have been warned.)

I was going to do a Lasting Impressions segment of Steins;Gate, but I feel that my opinions would be too strong for a series I enjoy as much as this. Therefore, I have posted my reasons as to why I love the series as much as I do.

This is the protagonist folks.
This is the protagonist folks.

Some may wonder why I have such a fascination with the series Steins;Gate. After all, the main heroine is commonly used for purposes of my avatar or header. However, before I can begin on the amazing reasons as to why I enjoy Steins;Gate so much, I have to explain some details about myself.

I have always liked the concept of time travel, and even as a little kid I dreamed about traveling through time and controlling the concept of time. Due to this fascination, anything to do with time travel interests me. Of course, most mediums fail to capture an agreeable concept of time travel, such as the movie Looper, whereas some grasp the concept well by establishing rules and restrictions to actually create a story worth telling. Steins;Gate performed this task well, and greatly enhanced the reasons behind following the story.


At the very beginning of the series the rules of time travel are explained and set, leaving no room for confusion or error. While they aren’t explained to the viewer right away, little signs and warnings are set into place to show the rules are in place, yet not exactly explained. In addition, the way the series handles the concept is extremely well done, utilizing points and branches to demonstrate the travel of time and using a convergence meter to show what timeline we are currently seeing. What’s even better is the fact that these concepts were developed by actual scientists and the series merely borrows the concept to create a story. Steins;Gate uses an already developed theory on time travel and expands upon this theory, leaving only the development on the story and how well to tie things up in the air.

But he's a guy.
But he’s a guy.

While I enjoy time travel and the concept of controlling time, there are a few other ideas and concepts that Steins;Gate utilizes to appeal to me even more. Nitro+(Nitroplus) and 5pb(Mages) write fantastic stories that are often based on real life events and set in the present time. This allows someone watching the series within a few years of release to relate with the series even more, understanding the companies, events, and conspiracies that may be referenced in the series. In addition, the series often uses suspense to confuse and anticipate the viewer, which only adds to the greatness of the series. The story is never fully understood until the final episodes, where everything is finally explained and things start wrapping up.


As for the characters, it increasingly becomes easy to connect and understand each one. Okabe, the main character of the series, or rather, the protagonist, often comes off as crazy and comedic. However, once things actually start moving in the series, his true personality comes out as caring, compassionate, and lost. Mayushi often comes off as bubbly, airheaded, caring, and carefree. However, one can see that she does have worries and fears, and becomes a victim to later events. Kurisu can often be described as a typical tsundere, but she does keep her hobbies to herself to preserve her image as a scientist and a scholar. This often gets poked at by the others when she references internet memes and trends. Daru is the smart computer nerd of the group, used mainly for jokes and jabs at the NEET population and internet savvy user. Moeka comes off as unfriendly, unsociable, and self-centered. It later shows that she is alone and scared due to past events, and is merely following what she has been given to believe in. Ruka gives off

This is the supa haka, Daru.
This is the supa haka, Daru.

feminine vibes, yet is shown early on to be a male. Suzuha comes out of nowhere and seemingly doesn’t add much to the plot, save for the few moments of confusion she gives when her words appear to make little to no sense. Once her backstory is explained, however, things begin to fall into place and her true intentions pave the way for the later half of the story. Ferris probably contributes the least to the plot, only giving little appearances at the cafe and one little sub-story in the large plot at hand. Another reason why this series bodes so well with me also comes from the fact that every character comes into play at least once. While some characters don’t appear to have a greater significance, it’s later shown that there was more to said character than meets the eye.

Ferris Nyan Nyan Time!
Ferris Nyan Nyan Time!

Although the story and characters make up a large part of my admiration for this series, another key factor would be the art direction. I’m not going to go out and say that Steins;Gate had the best art of the season. However, I love the art style used for this series. This goes for both the Visual Novel and the Anime, as both have such a unique style that really contributes to the uniqueness and power of the series as a whole. The art direction works wonders, and really left an impact on me.

Forever Best Girl
Forever Best Girl

Of course, the series wouldn’t be as fantastic as it is without it’s awesome soundtrack. The piano tracks that play during the series are phenomenal, and I love the Opening and Ending song of the series. Kanako Ito is one of my favorite singers, and Hacking to the Gate is a lovely song. Speaking of Openings and Endings, the subtle changes between the Alpha Opening and the Beta Opening was a brilliant idea, and a neat way to change things up without being too obvious about it.

Overall, I feel Steins;Gate was an overall fantastic series. Would I consider it the best series ever? No, that would be implausible. However, Steins;Gate does fall under my favorite anime of all time, and for these reasons above, I feel that my reasoning is sound. White Fox adapted the Visual Novel amazingly, which after the Chaos;Head fiasco (Which, the VN is amazing, but the anime leaves much to be desired), was a breath of fresh air. I’m happy that they’re taking the series a little further with a movie, because the characters are unique and fun, but I do fear that they may ruin some of what the series stands for if they try to add more mystery to the series as a whole. I love the series because it wraps itself up perfectly, leaving little to no holes, and for fan service purposes, I’m fine with fun, extra adventures with the cast and crew. For all intents and purposes, however, Steins;Gate as a whole should be its own separate story, boxed up and independent from future endeavors.


Lasting Impressions : Hagure Yuusha no Estetica

Hagure Yuusha no Estetica (2012)
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica (2012)

(This review may contain spoilers for the following series. If you have not seen the series before, please exercise caution before viewing this post. You have been warned.)

Oh man, it’s great to actually have time to watch anime again. Of course, it’s only fair to start off with a bang, and begin my new batch of impressions with an awesome, kick-ass show entitled Hagure Yuusha no Estetica. Baring resemblances to Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou and Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, the show follows a hero who goes by the name of Akatsuki Ousawa as he leaves the world he was summoned to and returns to his home world. While most stories begin with the summoning of a hero to save the world, this story begins with his departure, and upon arriving back in his own world, it becomes apparent that ‘Heroes’ are summoned often, and while many do not return, the few that do are sent to a school called Babel, where they can learn to control their new skills as ‘Heroes’ and adapt to the world with their new found powers.

The Main Characters Ousawa Akatsuki and Ousawa Miu.
The Main Characters Ousawa Akatsuki and Ousawa Miu.

The general idea behind this series piqued my interest early on, and it only helps that there is more behind the story than just the setting. First off, the main character, Akatsuki Ousawa, isn’t just a returning hero. He is unable to use magic, but his overall skill level is tremendous. Second, he brings the Demon King’s daughter with him to his world in guise of his younger sister. From the beginning, Akatsuki already has multiple targets on his back, ranging from the kingdom he saved before the series began, to the Babel Academy Student Council. The main characters in the series then range from the Demon King’s Daughter, named Ousawa Miu, to class clown Chikage Izumi, to Vice-President Haruka Nanase. Together the cast encounter wacky hi-jinks in their daily abnormal high school lives.

Clearly the best girl of the series
Clearly the best girl of the series

Unfortunately, this series lacks in character development and characterization. While every character contains some element to personalize them, they don’t really stand out among the crowd and honestly, don’t evolve and develop as the series progresses. However, it can easily be stated that this series wasn’t created to cater to lore fanatics and well-balanced fights. Every scene is catered to demonstrating how bad-ass Akatsuki is, and how he can solve every problem using his power that never truly gets fully explained in the show. Each arc consists of Akatsuki wanting to prove his strength, playing pranks on all the pretty ladies, solve some problems by creating misunderstandings, and usually ends with a woman crying with him coming to their rescue. This isn’t necessarily a terrible situation, as the show does what it intends to do. It entertains and provides great feelings to those who want a good “feel-good” show to watch. In addition, it doesn’t help that the story doesn’t conclude with the last episode, with a huge cliffhanger ending that begs to be filled with another season. Why can’t shows end without cliffhangers anymore? A huge portion of anime nowadays end up unfinished because the companies don’t make enough money to add another season, and the show suffers because of these poor creative decisions. If this show fails to bring a continuation, which I highly assume it will, I’ll be disappointed yet again.

You don't want to make him angry. He's a scholar and a gentleman.
You don’t want to make him angry. He’s a scholar and a gentleman.

The artistic and musical aspects of this series are phenomenal. The art, while not beautiful or gorgeous by any standards, doesn’t detract from the show and doesn’t appear lazy. While there is an excessive amount of fan-service, considering the audience I don’t view that as a huge negative. In terms of music, there aren’t many memorable tracks, but there is a fantastic rendition of the main theme that plays during the ‘epic’ scenes with Akatsuki, and I love series that contain arrangements of the main theme as they give the scene meaning and signal an important event. However, this piece of music was definitely overplayed, appearing in nearly every episode. Speaking of main themes, the OP for this series really brought the mood of the series, generally pumping the audience up for the episode with action and rock. There was some surprising foreshadowing in the OP that really caught me off-guard, and really made me appreciate the OP even more. As for the ED, a completely different approach was used, but I think it fits. It uses a catchy little song and consists of material focusing mainly on Miu and her relationship with Akatsuki. Overall, the OP/ED aren’t the greatest, but they do provide the correct emotions and enhance the series as a whole.

They're brother and sister, can't you tell?
They’re brother and sister, can’t you tell?

In all honesty, Hagure Yuusha no Estetica gives a great time for those looking for a bad-ass main character, tons of action, and some quick laughs. There’s a lot of fan-service, and doesn’t provide the best storytelling, leaving some loose ends both in the middle of the series and the end, but provides some entertaining experiences for those bored of today’s moe overload.


Initial Impressions : JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures (Anime)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures (2012)

I’ve heard a lot about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures throughout my time, and now that the anime series has finally begun airing, I finally have the chance to view this spectacle myself. With all that I’ve heard, I really had no idea what to expect in this series. However, I really think that this series has many qualities that characterize this show, and I can see how this story fares so well due to its uniqueness and story-driven plot.

Dio’s just lovin’ to point.

After watching this first episode, I can honestly say I am fascinated by the series. The rivalry between Dio and Jonathan, the connections between the Brando family and Joestar family, and the amount of character development in this series is superb. Just in this first episode alone, you can easily see how a story was formed between these two characters, and the development Jonathan goes through to match his new “brother.” While I didn’t find Jonathan to be the best character near the beginning, as he appeared a whiny, unappreciative brat, I later found appreciation for his character as he grew and evolved throughout this episode. To develop a character in such a short amount of time just demonstrates how much detail was put into this series. I haven’t read the manga, but from what I’ve heard there was much more time to develop on that medium, and I can only begin to imagine how detailed and vast the manga must be.

JoJo tries to have fun…only to have it end in utter defeat.

Animation-wise, I can easily say I was deterred after viewing photos of the series. The unique characteristics the animation holds definitely give meaning to the name of the series, and while the story alone proves to be wacky enough, the animation definitely struck the nail in the coffin to the word ‘bizarre.’ While it took a few minutes to get into the animation, once the story began to rev up I was able to cast my doubts aside and appreciate the series for what it truly was.

This is how you make an antagonist. Learn animation studios!

The OP, which arose during the second episode, gave a wacky and zany impression on what was in store for future episodes. Just watching the OP gives me the ‘bizarre’ feeling implied in the title, and the ED, while not amazing, doesn’t detract from the series as a whole. In addition, the use of foreign bands to perform the songs only added to the experience, as the setting of the anime lies outside of Japan.

While the series has only just begun, the vibes revived from this series were phenomenal, and I greatly look forward to future episodes. If you were on the fence about this series, definitely give it a try and don’t laugh it off until you’ve finished at least one episode. There’s a reason why Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures has such a vast following, and if the fan-base doesn’t expand to unspeakable territory, I feel this series can hold its own during the upcoming season(s).

Lasting Impressions : Accel World

Accel World (2012)

(This review may contain spoilers for the following series. If you have not seen the series before, please exercise caution before viewing this post. You have been warned.)

As a big fan of virtual reality and anime that focus on aspects of virtual reality, I initially wanted to start this series and enjoy the great story behind it. Unfortunately, the main character put me off, and delayed my watching this series until the end. However, I can safely say I’m glad I took the time to watch this series, even if the main character was the worst part of this series.

Cast of characters (Right to Left) : Aqua Current(alias), Takumu, Kuroyuki Hime, Chiyu, Red King(alias), Blood Leopard(alias).

Accel World begins with a first year student who constantly falls on the lower end of the totem pole with others bullying him. Arita Haruyuki often looks down upon himself as a result of these events, and receives the greatest shock of his life when the prettiest girl in school takes the time to have a nice chat with him over tea. This opens a new world to Haruyuki, as he downloads the application to his virtual computer, Brain Burst. In the year 2046, people use devices to connect their everyday person to networks, which allows them to constantly be connected to others without any difficulty. These devices, aptly named Neuro Linkers, become a household staple and everyone in this time has one around their neck. Younger students, such as Haruyuki, often use them to play virtual reality games, and one such game is the newly downloaded Brain Burst. However, he later learns that this special program contains characteristics unique to this program. For example, this program allows the user to accelerate time and make actions and decisions much faster than a normal individual. In addition, this process requires Burst Points, which are earned through duels with other people who have installed Brain Burst, who are known as Burst Linkers. If a Burst Linker loses all their points through these duels, the program is forcibly uninstalled and the user forgets everything about the game.

Just…look how terrible he is. Why? Main characters should be amazing, not lousy and wimpy.

With all this information given to him by the “princess” of the school, who goes by the name “Princess Snow Black,” or Kuroyuki Hime, Haruyuki soon learns the horror behind the game, as well as its positives. It begins with the first connection to the global network, which leads to the first battle against another level one Burst Linker. While he loses this battle, using the power of being the main character, he later prevails and learns how to battle correctly against these players.

How does she fall in love with MC? It make no logical sense, and someone needs to be punched.

After learning the basics, our pitiful main character learns that Kuroyuki Hime actually loves Haruyuki, and although he ends up forgetting this often, through reasons I can’t explain because they make no sense, Kuroyuki Hime ends up in the hospital protecting Haruyuki. In the process of her recovery, a good friend of Haruyuki named Takumu reveals himself as a Burst Linker who wants to defeat Kuroyuki Hime and gather more Burst Points. Haruyuki fights to protect her, and as a result, gains his wings and becomes the first ever aerial Burst Linker. This ends the first arc, which leaves Takumu and Haruyuki to follow Kuroyuki Hime to beat the game known as Brain Burst.

Even in the virtual world, he’s a loser. Why would you be a pig?!

The second arc revolves around a new student, and Burst Linker, who defeats Haruyuki and steals his wings. This results in a long story of wits and guts to get them back and defeat this Burst Linker who has manipulated the game via illegal means. To make matters worse, Kuroyuki Hime travels on a school trip to Okinawa, and though this is the best part of the series, as her episodes gives reason to watch this series, this results in a long sequence of events that trouble Haruyuki and Takumu even more.

This is Ash Roller. I love this character, if only for their personality.

In a quick summarization, the story can be said to be fun and jam-packed. I really enjoyed the story, and all the characters save for Haruyuki are phenomenal. It can be said that I really dislike the main character, and this would be true as the episodes without him can be considered the best in the series. In addition, I absolutely detested the antagonist of the series, which only proves how good some of the characterization is. There are often characters that join the fray and play a big part in that arc, only to join the shadows and play minor roles in the future. One such character is Chiyu, a friend of the main character and Takumu, who plays a minor role during the beginning of the series. After the first arc, she, too, downloads Brain Burst and becomes a Burst Linker, and is assumed to help guide Haruyuki and Takumu achieve total victory in this game. However, her position soon turns, and this turn of events really caused my head to spin, and I have yet to forgive this character for her actions. Other characters include the Red King, who has split personalities, and Ash Roller, who helps Haruyuki throughout the show.

At least his Burst Linker avatar works better than the pig, but he’s still a lame main character.

In terms of music, I really enjoyed both OPs / EDs for this show. The soundtrack during the show also proves to be fantastic and memorable. The OPs often promote excitement and heroism, which rile the viewer up and generate anticipation for the episode that will come. The EDs close the series out well, often closing the episode with either a satisfied feeling or anticipation for the next episode. The in-show soundtrack really adds to the experience, and I often found myself getting excited over the battle scenes with their awesome BGM. If anything, the soundtrack for this series is superb, and excels as the music to this series.

Jealous Kuroyuki Hime is best Kuroyuki Hime.

In conclusion, Accel World reveals itself as a story-driven experience that contains decent characterization, and fails in few aspects such as the main character design. The music only adds to the experience, and I can honestly say I am glad to say I picked up this series. Will I watch the next season if there happens to be one? Yes, as I really hope the character development for the main character improves. In addition, this series really deserves a watch if you enjoy story-driven or plot-heavy series, and will definitely satisfy any viewer’s appetite for virtual reality gimmicks.


Accel World OP2