What it’s about: Okabe Rintarou is a self-proclaimed “Mad Scientist”, living primarily on Ramen noodles and Dr Pepper while building wacky inventions with his otaku friend Daru. Things take a turn for the weird when he discovers that one of his stranger creations apparently functions as a time machine capable of sending messages into the past. And just when he thinks he’s beginning to get a handle on his new reality, things begin to unravel, leaving him racing to pick up the pieces before they’re lost entirely.
Why you should watch it: Steins;Gate is really two shows stitched into one. The first half is a fairly entertaining slice-of-life drama following a cast of larger-than-life characters bouncing ideas and banter off against one another. The second half is much darker, exploring the consequences of actions taken earlier in the story and driving towards a car crash of a conclusion.
Caveats: The first half of the show is fairly slow. Entertaining, but slow. It’s not until the half-way mark that things really start to pick up. Stick with it – the journey and the end are both worth it. The follow-up OVA and movie, however, are “take-it-or-leave-it”. They nominally progress the story a little after the conclusion, but everything was pretty neatly tied up in the show’s finale.
Similar works:Madoka Magica springs to mind for a number of reasons. Robotics;Notes is set in the same world and has many similarities, but it isn’t quite as good as Steins;Gate. The manga Murasakiiro no Qualia is definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed this.