Blu-ray Review: Steins Gate – Part 2

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It’s time to jump down the rabbit hole once again as we resume Steins Gate with the UK Release of the second half, but what does it offer and is it enjoyable as the first? Find out in our Blu-ray Review of Steins Gate – Part 2.

Synopsis:

Hack into the secrets of time travel! The microwave is a time machine. Okarin proved it. The self-anointed mad scientist nuked bananas into some gelatinous version of the future; or maybe it was the past. As refinements are made and text messages sent through time, the shifting timelines begin to attract unwelcome attention. Clandestine organisations of nefarious origins take notice, and the Future Gadget Lab is thrown into a deeper conspiracy than it has the resources to handle. Who are SERN? And what do they want with Okarin?

Our View:

I believe it is ‘near impossible’ to write a review for this half of the series without spoiling it, so those wishing to experience Steins Gate for what it is, an adrenaline fuelled scientific adventure into the unknown, then I’d recommend watching the series without reading (or watching) anything related to it, as put simply Steins Gate is just THAT good and you will enjoy it.

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Spoiler warnings aside Steins Gate – Part 2 kicks off where part 1 left off, with Moeka Kiryū and her gang of thugs storming into Okabe’s lab stating she is a rounder for SERN, during which she asks for all of the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory to be detained while a defenceless Mayuri is shot dead for being unimportant to the cause.  Suffering from shock and disbelief by the sudden death of Mayuri, Okabe is unable to respond or move, that is until Suzuha rushes in and causes a distraction, at this point telling Okabe to escape, instead he time-leaps into the past in an attempt to save Mayuri from her current impending death.

In reality this first episode sets the tone of things to come, with Okabe continuously time-leaping into the past in order to save Mayuri, however each attempt he makes still results in her death, whether it be by thugs, cars, trains, accidents – nothing will stop her death, as THE DOCTOR would say “it’s a fixed point in time that can’t be altered”.  Unable to solve the riddle of Mayuri’s constant death Okabe starts acting differently around the other Gadget members, by this time Kurisu notices the change and demands an explanation. From here the two protagonists decide that by un-doing all of the previous D-Mails it should save Mayuri, however this too even has its own repercussion as with each D-Mail being revoked new secrets surrounding close acquaintances are unveiled, each of which adds a new twist to the story and tougher choices to be made.

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One of these choices soon becomes apparent when Okabe remembers that his first D-Mail was sent in order to save Kurisu’s life, so now Okabe must make a harsh choice – save his childhood friend and leave Kurisu to die, or save his newly developed relationship with Kurisu and let Mayuri be killed. Whichever choice Okabe choses someone will die, something which he can’t live with – that is until a new opportunity presents itself that will not only explain everything, but creates a fantastic ending to what’s considered  one of the most plot twisting anime series of this year.

Extras:

While the series itself is highly enjoyable the extra features are still rather ‘scarce’ with only the different versions of text less opening and closing songs, English Cast Commentaries and a US Trailer for the series being included, most of which are located on the second disc.

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While the second disc does contain the majority of extras (pictured above) the first disc does include the English Cast commentary for episode 19, with the commentary itself providing an enticing insight into the English dubbing production surrounding Steins Gate.

Disc 1:

  • Episode 19 Commentary with Patrick Seitz (Script Writer & Jessica  Cavanagh (Voice of Moeka)

Disc 2:

  • Episode 24 Commentary with Colleen Clinkenbeard (ADR Director), Nathanael Harrison (Mixing Engineer) & Stephen Hoff (ADR Engineer)
  • Text less Opening (Hacking to the Gate – Version 1)
  • text less opening (hacking to the gate – version 2)
  • Text less ending (toki tsukasadoru juuni no meiyaku)
  • Text less ending (sky Clad observer)
  • US Trailer for Steins Gate – Part 2

As a whole it’s nice to see of all this content included with the Blu-ray release, as they could easily have been removed and while fans of the series will enjoy watching the text less opening and closing videos it’s the cast commentaries that will provide some useful insight. The first cast commentary (Episode 19) is a look at voice acting, which is useful for an audio commentary, however the second (Episode 24) commentary provides an in-depth insight into producing the English Audio for the series in terms of ‘behind-the-scenes’ mixing and editing – something which you don’t usually hear (or see) about in anime releases.

Specs:

Media: 1x 50GB, 1x 25GB
Region: B
Running Time: 3:33:53 (Disc 1),  1:36:32 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The second half of Steins Gate continues the story left-over by the first half, however while the first half of the series was about introducing the characters,  trying to get the IBM 5100 as well getting the D-Mail system working, the second half is about saving lives and rectifying problems that were created caused by sending D-Mails. The story itself could have been portrayed a lot quicker, however information (some of which may seem useless at the time) and character emotions would have been lost – something which makes this series unique as the story is ever flowing and never becomes boring, even if you don’t quite understand what exactly is taking place. Amusingly a fair amount of emotion becomes the centre of attention, not just for Okabe during Miyuri’s death, but for the female characters, as some nearly all of them start to share their own personal feelings with Okabe.

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Steins Gate’s charm isn’t only in the story or its characters either, as the series features a variety of cameo styled appearances or references, such as Maid Café’s, anime convention and games, there is even the odd Doctor Who reference (especially in the English Dub). As always some references are more noticeable than others, but this charm and the complex (but enjoyable) story provides a highly entertaining experience.

In regards to the Blu-ray itself it is similar to the previous ‘Part 1’ release with both English & Japanese Audio track and optional English Subtitles available on the disc, with disc 1 featuring most of the episodes. The set does contain a few extra features as well, namely English cast commentary, opening songs and a trailer, all of which are presented in full 1080p Widescreen high definition and look beautiful stunning on any HDTV Setup.

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The series as a whole is an adrenaline fuelled adventure whereby Okabe travels back (and fourth) in time to fix problems that have been created via his own devices, while  in the meantime trying to unravel the meaning behind it all. As for this second half it’s a continuation of that story whereby everyone’s lives are at stake and Okabe is the only one who can save them, but more importantly provides a perfect closure to a highly entertaining series that leaves you wanting more. If you enjoyed the concept behind Virtue’s Last Reward on the PS Vita / 3DS as well as time travel paranoia, then you’ll highly enjoy this series, but even if you don’t I recommend you give it a try as it has a lot of interesting ideas to offer to the viewer.

Score: review-stars-5

Steins Gate – Part 1 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 15th July 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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