Exploring the Popularity of the Steins;Gate Time Travel Anime
Remember, J-List is going to be at Phoenix Comic Fest May 24-27. This is one of our favorite shows, a great meeting of 80,000 fans or so that brings the best fans, the best guests and the best cosplayers all together. We’ll have lots of fun products, and I’ll be there too, doing a panel on Friday morning at 9:00 am (room 222AB). Hope to see you at the show and our panel!
I continue to enjoy the new Steins;Gate 0 (Zero) anime, which brings back all our favorite characters — Okarin, Daru, Mayushi, Faris Nyannyan, Urushibara Luka, Amane Suzuha, Mr. Brown — while adding some mysterious new ones. Like the original Steins;Gate game, the new story is well-written, with lots of twists and turns and sudden reveals that keep fans on their toes and me re-watching each episode multiple times to make sure I didn’t miss any details. I remember having a meeting with the president of Nitroplus in which he asked me why Steins;Gate is so eternally popular compared with the other games and anime in the “semicolon” series, like Chaos;Head, Robotics;Notes and Occultic;Nine. “That’s easy,” I told him, “It’s all about time travel.”
I’ve been a card-carrying fan of all forms of time travel/time dilation stories ever since viewing Escape from the Planet of the Apes, which reveals that the first intelligent ape was the son of Zira and Cornelius, who traveled from the 40th century to the present, which created a self-fulfilling time paradox that positively thrilled my six-year-old mind. It seems there’s something about how time travel/time paradox and related stories are resolved that creates two effects inside the brain: a strong shot of dopamine coupled with cognitive dissonance that creates euphoria. Moments like the dance-floor story resolution of Back to the Future, the complex time loop reveals in the Suzumiya Haruhi universe, and the final plot twist at the end of the Hyperion books (of which Haruhi draws a lot of its plot elements), all provide a similar jolt when we experience them for the first time. Subjectively, this feeling is not unlike when you solve a complex problem, like when I correctly answered a difficult kanji question on the JLPT test, or when I pondered over what the name Toradora meant, then figured out the (obvious, when I thought about it properly) answer.
So what’s your favorite time travel anime, or other type of story that involves time travel, time dilation, alternate history and so on?