Straight off the bat, I’ll own up and say that I’m a massive fan of Steins;Gate. In fact, thanks to bestie Neko, it’s now my favourite anime series. So it was with bated breath that I began to watch Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu hoping that it didn’t tarnish the memory I had of the original series. I was relieved when ten minutes into the film, I was able to exhale with relief, safe with the knowledge that I was in for a great time.
The film picks up one year after the events of the series and all the cast is back. Rintarō Okabe, Kurisu Makise, Mayuri Shiina and more are back for more time traveling adventures. The film revolves around Okabe suffering from memory flashbacks and dizzy spells which he can’t explain and still paranoid as ever, talking to imaginary people on phone. In amongst all this, Kurisu comes back to Japan for a conference and reunites with all her old pals. Rintaro realises that these flashbacks are memories from alternate timelines that he visited in the series. In the film, he’s living in the Steins;Gate world line where Mayuri and Kurisu are still alive and the time machine never existed.
Rintaro begins to blink in and out of existence resulting in everyone losing their memories of them and it’s up to Kurisu to work out what exactly is going on and why it’s happening. I don’t really want to go into too much detail in case I accidentally give away some spoilers but if you loved the series then you’ll like this. As far as animation goes, it still uses the minimal styling seen in the series which works to great effect as it leaves all the attention on the story without relying on pretty visuals to carry the narrative.
Suffice to say, I really loved this one and I’ve been really keen to see it. The only drawback and criticism that I would have is that it was just too short. The film with end credits comes in at 90 minutes so taking the credits out, that results in a pretty feature film. Having said all that though, it really does feel like an extended episode as the writing, character behaviour and general setting of the film blend in seamlessly with the series. Give it a watch and be prepared for a thinking time travelling journey through Steins;Gate and back again.
Final score: 8.5/10
*Thanks to Madman for the review copy*