This is review number two hundred and fifty one. I’ll be reviewing a movie this time around. It’s been a while since I did one. I used to do movie reviews every tenth number but I spent the rest of the year rushing through the Summer lineup that I barely had anytime to watch some movies. I also find them lacking of a good challenge in terms of doing a review so I slowly focused on normal shows instead. I figured I’d sneak one though before 2013 ends. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Steins Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu or Steins;Gate the Movie: Burdened Domain of Déjà vu. It’s the movie of the very first anime I gave a perfect score. Is it as great as the series? Let’s read on.
This anime takes place one year after the events of the series. Okabe has succeeded in going through the 1% timeline and everything is right with the world. The movie focuses on the love story between Makise Kurisu and Okabe Rintarou as Makise realizes that the effect of the time travel that Okabe did has finally caught up to him and, in an instant, he just vanished from existence. Makise must now find a way to get him back and she’ll do anything necessary to achieve that. Yes, anything, even if she has to build a time machine and travel back through time unaware of the effects of time travel. Makise cares for Okabe a lot and she is prepared to go through hell to get him back.
Taking the Pants Off
You should know that I really love Steins Gate. I guess my own bias drove me to give it my very first perfect score. I don’t give out a lot of ten out of ten. Out of the two hundred and fifty anime I personally reviewed in my journey to 1000, I have only rated two shows a perfect ten. Steins Gate is a kind of anime that has a long lasting appeal. I can watch this show years from now and I’d still have the same emotions I’d have back when I first watched it. I’m sure anyone who has seen the series can understand the appeal of the show and why a perfect score is appreciate for it. I seriously don’t see a lot of show that has a strong story, powerful twists and engaging characters that comes together in one amazing anime. I consider the anime my benchmark of what a great anime should be so you can only imagine the excitement and sheer fanboyism when I heard that a movie of this anime would be released. If I can beam out rainbows from my eyes when I feel super excited then you’d see a huge one across the sky when I heard of the Steins Gate movie. I’ve been dying to watch this movie ever since I heard that a sub was out. I hesitated a bit though because it’s been so damn long since I tried my hand at a movie review. Apologies in advance if this movie review isn’t up to par to my usual ramblings. I forgot how my review structure for movie goes. Anyways, if you’ve seen the series and fell in love with it just like me then you should go and watch this show now. It’s one huge dose of an emotional roller coaster ride that is appropriate to end this spectacular series. I’ll tell you right now though that the movie isn’t as grand as the original series but I think most people understand that a movie cannot fully convey much compared to a regular running series. For this show, there is one bottom line: tying up loose ends the series wasn’t able to finish in its original run.
I remember the plot of the movie like it’s the keys of my keyboard. A man and his equally weird friends decided to invent a time machine using a microwave oven. They decided to send a text to the past and the machine worked. Intrigued, they decided to finish the machine and redo the success of the first text sent. The skeptical genius named Makise Kurise soon joined Okabe Rintaro and his two friends in finishing up the machine. Okabe soon discovered that you can send yourself back in time by simply sending your consciousness and never having any physical element to the process. He was able to travel back countless times and he was ecstatic. He was feeling generous that he even decided change some things in the past. He saved one of his friend’s parent’s life, convinced the mother of another to have a baby girl, and helped another convince herself to buy another cellphone instead of the one she owns. It was all possible as long as Okabe has the ability to travel back in time. Cause and effect applied to his changing of the past though and tragedy struck when he constantly changed timelines so much he ended up stuck in one where his close childhood friend dies. He tried to save her so many times that he witnessed her die countless times. This happy little experiment of theirs has now gone pear shaped and Okabe is forced to change things back to the way it was. Unflap the wings of the butterflies and go back to the time line he originated from. Sadly, this entails reverting everything he did for his friends. He convinced his friend to go back to the timeline where her parents are dead, convinced another that she is better off as a boy and stopped SERN from taking over the world. Along Okabe’s emotionally crippling journey, it was Makise Kurise that he confined to at various timelines. He connected with her on a personal level that she would believe anything Okabe would tell her. Okabe was close to his original timeline when it hit him that the original timeline he originated from is the one where Makise Kurisu dies. Okabe is now conflicted in saving his childhood friend’s life and the life of his potential lover. One man can only take so much but it seemed there was a way to save both and his future self was even willing to help. In the end, Okabe returned to the timeline both his close girls are alive in and he has sworn to never mess with time ever again. He never built a time machine, he was never involved in anything shady ever since and the anime ended with Makise and Okabe on the streets of Akihabara happily gazing into each other’s eye.
The movie takes place a year after Okabe’s time travelling journey. It opens with the members of the Future Gadget Club back to their old routine. Okabe is still sporting an awesome eight grade syndrome, Daru is still in front of the computer and Mayuri still goes “tuturu~”. It’s one heck of a nostalgia piece, I got to tell you. If you had a special connection with the characters then you’ll smile as well as you see things is happily back to normal and everything is right with the world. Anyways, there was one thing the series never really give closure to despite the well-paced progression of the anime. It never gives us any pay off on the brewing love story between Okabe and Makise. The movie’s main focus is exactly this. There is nothing complex about this show. It’s all about the cute love story between the tsundere with red hair and the man who loved her on different timelines. The first half of the anime actually indulged on this a lot. Makise has recently returned to Japan to reunite with the rest of the characters. Everything is just as we left it back except that there is clearly a development between the two main characters. There are a lot of cute moments in the movie where you feel really satisfied seeing the two act all shy. They still had their same old fights where Okabe would pick on Makise but there are also some great moments when they are alone. It’s really the pay off the series wasn’t able to give us. I was seriously smiling ear to ear whenever I see the two talk and act all sweet to each other. Of course, this movie is more than the puppy love story that the series built up on. Right around the second half of the movie, things started to get real.
Okabe has travelled over so many timelines that this has taken a toll on his mind and body until….he disappeared.
This is where the movie really started to get interesting. It appears that Makise is the only one that remembers who Okabe is. He vanished from the timeline and everyone he knows doesn’t seem to remember who he was. It was an effect of the time travelling he did a year ago and it finally caught up with him. Makise must now find a way to get him back. There are clues on how to save him and it seems that the good ol’ time machine re-enters the picture. Makise must travel back in time to before Okabe disappeared and figure out a way to save him. It’s a pretty straight forward story, actually. Since you’re familiar with how the series did it, you’re also getting a big idea on how the events of the movie will unfold. Some of the elements from the series are applied in the movie. Daru has once again hacked into SERN, time travel is done using the consciousness and a few characters from the future is back to help Makise get back Okabe. It’s a familiar feeling told all over again but in the point of view of Makise Kurisu. The tables have turned and Makise is now the one saving someone else from an unfortunate event that only time travel can fix. It’s a great way to truly test just how much Okabe means to Makise. I’m sure it’ll be one hell of a movie from this point on.
There is one important thing to note though. While the movie is delivering on the payoff of the love story we should’ve gotten from the series, it is also delivering on the supposed payoff of Okabe’s time travelling. He experienced a lot emotionally crippling things in his time travelling journey. We saw him breakdown countless of times in the anime. I still remember the time he just counted down the seconds before Mayuri dies because he just gave up at that point. It was too much for a guy like him and you never really see the effect of that journey on Okabe afterwards. Yeah, he transformed into this awesome person after all the things he went through but that was a temporary thing because he had a goal of saving his two girls. The actual effect of his time travel happens in the movie. Okabe just isn’t the same fun loving eight grade syndrome guy he once was and you really see a drastic change in his character as the movie crawls towards the second half. The puppy love story is just one aspect of the movie. It was also tackling the nightmare that was left on the poor guy that didn’t really know how much he f*cked up. He was always on edge and there seems to be a problem with his super power: the reading steiner that help him retain memories as he cross timelines. Now imagine this guy, who experienced every possible kind of horror just a year ago, suddenly discovered that the person he loves want to travel back in time and change the past. This straight forward time travelling story of a woman that wants to save the man he cares about the most just suddenly took a monkey wrench to the head. This was the main core of the story. As Makise Kurise, would you do everything you can to save the man you love? That’s simple enough. As Okabe Rintaro though, would you let the woman you love travel back in time and get hit by the butterfly effect that he experienced? Would you let her see someone die in front of her face, see people separated from the ones they love and see her whole world just shatter to pieces in the same way you felt it? It’s not simple anymore, is it?
This was the main appeal of the movie. It lured you in with the promise of a cute love story between two characters that look good together then straps you into an emotional roller coaster that taps into the special connection you have with both characters. I remember Okabe literally going crazy trying to save Mayuri so I can understand why he doesn’t want Makise to travel back in time. Even if he was to disappear, he would rather choose that than to have the girl he love go through a sci fi hell that he himself went through. In the series, Okabe was keeping everything to himself and you often feel Makise trying to reach out to him hoping he would just cry in her shoulders. I think the movie focused on that caring and helpless state Makise was in just like in the series. The best Makise can do was provide emotional support and exchange theories because Okabe was shouldering all the burden. It’s different this time. This time, Okabe is the one in danger and Makise is the one that can help him. The overly determined Makise Kurisu clashes with the Okabe that burdened it all. It comes to a point where if you really love someone, you’d respect their decision and that was probably the most painful aspect of the movie. It was also the most powerful because you are so heavily invested in them yet it feels like the movie is just trying to tear them apart. It f*cking hurts. It truly does.
While the show is emotionally rich, I did find it a bit predictable. I guess it’s among the restrictions of a movie. The anime series just did a too good of a damn job so I think anything paired up to it just wouldn’t be as awesome. I honestly found myself comparing the movie and the series so I guess I also had a high expectation of the movie even though I know it can’t compare to the series in any level. Anyways, I think it was because I was personally immune to the style of storytelling of the anime that I felt the movie was a bit predictable. The twist and surprises that the series is known for just didn’t feel as grand since you already felt that rush back when you saw the series. The movie was about your connection with the characters and the story just served as a device to make them look even better. Despite the familiar progression, I think the twists and surprises were still pretty damn effective. The movie insisted that you connect with the characters so that the twists would benefit the characters and the connection you have with them. It was pretty brilliant and it didn’t feel out of place. It intensifies the emotions you should’ve had for the characters after you sit through the movie. Besides the predictability of the story though, I think I also have issues with the pacing. Towards the second half, the show just slowed down significantly as it focuses on the main bulk of the movie. It was when the emotional train came running through so the story snail paced as it builds a strong case for the dramatic tension that arises in the situation. I think this was just me being unsatisfied with the events that transpired but I think the movie just played out a bit too straight forward towards the end. It was missing the craziness that made the series fun to watch. It limited itself to just two characters and the love between them so I guess I was just hoping the show would match the series. I appreciate the solemn love story but I believe Steins Gate was more than that and it’s that complex structure of the series that made me love it.
Keep in mind though. The show was tying up loose ends. It was ready to close the series and it did nothing more. I often had to remind myself of that so I wouldn’t feel indifferent with the movie. If you’re expecting the same energy the series had then don’t. The movie is different and a more focused thing than the series that made you want to watch the movie. If there is one thing that I am a bit bummed about though, it’s the lack of scientific element in the movie. The series toyed with the butterfly effect, parallel dimension theory, a plausible theory on time travel and even incorporated John Titor in the story. The movie didn’t have much of this component that made the series unique. Again, the movie is focused on one thing only. While it did provide a really awesome theory on Dejavu, it wasn’t enough. I was hoping the show explored the theory some more but it just didn’t have the time to do so. I feel a bit bittersweet about this aspect of the movie because I think this was the one thing I hope the movie would keep intact. It wasn’t as strong as the one in the series and that sucks a bit.
The characters are the same as they were in the series. It still had the same limited cast and they did all appear in the movie. They have very limited roles though because the main characters took up most of the screen time. Okabe Rintaro and Makise Kurisu was the main focus of the show. It explored their love story and the strong bond the two characters have. It also presented the lovely chemistry between the two. Okabe was interesting because he was still the same but also not the same person at the same time. I’m sure that made sense if you saw the series. He was still the eight grade syndrome guy but he also carries the scars of his time travelling journey. You often feel sorry for the guy because he can’t seem to win in this predicament he has been struggling with. Makise Kurisu was a wonderful character. She is still the tsundere character that we fell in love with but she also had this maturity in her that she develops as she gradually takes center stage in the movie. It’s also a bit refreshing seeing a more feminine perspective of the series. I think I was waiting for a moment in the anime to see things in Makise’s perspective and I admit that I love the movie because it made that wish of mine come true. She’s not as strong as Okabe and she has more vulnerable moments than the dude so it was interesting seeing such a unique approach to the familiar method.
The rest of the cast is pretty much the same. They mostly serve as a nostalgia factor for the show. In the first half of the show, there was a steady involvement with the side characters as the movie recreates key scenes from the series like hacking into SERN and Mayuri sewing clothes for that comicon thingy she went to last year. The first half of the show felt like a homecoming so the characters were all present. They slowly got pushed to the sidelines though when the movie entered the second half. There’s not much to talk about with the side characters. They had very limited role in the movie but they did make it interesting with how the timeline element of the show was applied.
This movie was really just a way to properly end the series and I think it was a really wonderful experience. The emotional aspect of the movie alone makes it one hell of a show. I have a really personal connection with the series and I am a bit sad the whole thing is now over but I am also a bit happy it had a really powerful closure. This show is really for fans of the series that wanted to see more of the awesome show. If you aren’t involved with the characters then I don’t think the movie will do you any good. The story was restrictive and it only served to make the two characters look great. If you do not like the characters then I’m pretty sure you won’t like the movie. If you’re like me though who was shocked when Mayuri died, felt sad when Okabe couldn’t save her and went cold when Okabe realized Makise had to die then you’ll really enjoy this movie. It’s all worth it just to see Okabe and Makise kiss, really.
Sight and Sound
Character design is pretty much the same. Huke’s character design is still as incredible as ever. I still love how they all look unique in their own way and it just screams visual novel because of the careful details given to each character. I am particularly fond of the small face he gave his characters. It’s a great way to make them look special and then you just add some great details on top like an expressive cute face and a wonderful outfit for each character. I love the way Makise Kurisu is designed. She just screams fan service while still looking normal. The way her red hair stands out is pretty amazing and her outfit is too damn awesome not to love. A coat over her sexy body that she doesn’t use to cover her shoulders thus accentuating the white shirt she has underneath coupled by a mini skirt and stockings combined with high heels is a great look that I think makes her a memorable character in every aspect. This was doubly true for the movie since she is the main character here. Every scene she is in just shines very nicely even if she is in her pajamas eating a cup of noodles.
The animation is pretty much the anime. This is a movie though so there is a notable high quality animation produced. Almost everything was fine tuned. From the way a character speaks, the eyes tremble in fear or tearing up about to cry to a character running, the frame rate is quite high and it gives the anime a really nice polish. The incorporation of CG and the bright color palette works great in the movie to give each scene a really amazing look. I am especially fond of the cute puppy dog love scenes between our main characters. The way they hug and the way the anime romanticizes the kissing scenes is just too damn perfect. White Fox proved once again that they know their stuff even if they’ve been flailing at the way they adapt questionable material. I also love how the camera uses a lot of distinct angles to give some moments a powerful punch. I love how it often switches to a first person view as it pours in more emotion in a scene. The moment where Makise found Okabe was told in her eyes and I think that was just perfect. Various time leaps and time travel also employ a lot of sophisticated angles to really enhance a scene and I love the fact that the movie considered it. It’s not much in terms of the overall presentation but it gives depth to a scene when the story fails to do so.
The movie’s OP is “Anata no Eranda Kono Toki wo” by Kanako Ito. It’s a decent song as it talks about time and the complications surrounding it. It’s a nice take on the spirit of the series. Kanako’s voice was the highlight of the song though as it gives the song a vibrant personality. It’s not as grand as I hope it’d be but the instrumentals certainly hype you up for the rest of the show. The OP sequence is simply the airplane that Makise rides as she goes back to Japan. The light trail the plane leaves behind gives us a cool artistic montage of a descriptive look at the timelines. It’s poetic in its own way. The movie’s ED is “Itsumo Kono Basho de” by Ayane. This is a really awesome song. It really the same as the OP but it conveyed the feelings you’d experience throughout the movie as it is passionately sung by Ayane. Her voice is amazing but I also love the catchy rhythm of the song from its verse all the way to its chorus. It’s very vibrant and comforting at the same time. It has a nice instrumental at the end that was also a nice touch. The ED sequence is the credits. It’s all just Japanese words scrolling up in a black back ground. Did I seriously just describe an ending credit?
7/10 “A nice closure to a much beloved series that features a love that travels through different timelines.”
This show was a nice way to end the series. It was grand enough to capture the appeal of the series. It was able to tie all loose ends and it focused a really interesting love story with a nice mix of the elements that made the series amazing. It does have a few weak spots that do hamper the enjoyment. The fact that you need to be extra close to the characters is a hurdle and the lack of a more defined story is a bit disappointing. If you loved the series then you should definitely try this movie out. If you love a unique spin at a love story then I think this show can do a nice job at it. It’s more straight forward than the series though so do keep that in mind.