We’ve all heard it before “the book is so much better than the movie.” Yes, yes we know. The allotted time of a movie can’t include every detail of your 400 plus page novel. This goes the same for visual novels to their anime series/movies counterparts.
Does Steins Gate fix that problem? No, of course not. A video game should be different (a.k.a. having the choice to experience different endings) from a season of anime.
But, I’ve never been more satisfied with two different iterations of the same story. Steins Gate is a masterpiece whichever way you choose to dive into it.
Almost immediately after finishing Steins Gate for the PlayStation Vita I craved more. I had the anime on my shelf and didn’t need much coercing to experience the story again. I wanted to know how it would play out in an episodic format. The game had chapters so maybe that’s how they would separate the story.
I convinced my little brother to watch the show with me the following day.
There comes a dilemma when starting to watch an anime, sub or dubbed? Do I watch it in the original Japanese voices or do I watch the dubbed over English voices? Now I had just played through the game on the Vita and had the Japanese voices in my head. Neither of us are ‘anime purists’ and if the voices in one version strike us over the other, we go with whichever one we prefer. I wanted to experience both versions. We choose the English dub and man was I pleased. J. Michael Tatum’s portrayal of Okabe is impressive. He embodies the Japanese version perfectly and takes his own lovely spin on it. I’m intrigued to find more of this man’s work.
So we watched. And watched.
This is what I’ve concluded…they’re both amazing. It’s a complete package either way you experience it.
Some quick notes.
- Animation is astounding in the anime. Not to say the visuals in the game version are bad, they’re different tonally. And its nice to see fluid and full animations of my beloved characters in action.
- Same Japanese voice actors for the game and anime is a nice bonus.
- The anime has an extended ending compared to the game.
- A new character is introduced on the extended ending episode (interested to see if they keep that character for the sequel Steins Gate 0)
- The anime left out a story arc that I sorely missed from the game.
- Some of the music can be found in both versions, which means more emotional ques tied to music.
- Both versions hit the correct emotional ques – I think the visual novel did it just a little bit better, but this could have been hampered because of my second iteration of viewing.
Let’s talk about the two main differences that I noticed in further detail.
First the extended episode/ending of the anime (spoiler free).
This last episode was unexpected. I liked where the visual novel left us. Things were vague, but we could connect the dots on how it all worked out. This was getting a little more in depth and I wasn’t sure if I wanted that. We get a new location, a new character, and new insights on how things would have played out from the ending moment of the game (which is almost spot on in the anime in the previous episode). As the episode progressed I kept telling my brother, I don’t like this, I don’t want this, I liked my other ending. A lot of things happen in this last episode, but what is at the very end of the episode is much similar to the other ending – except I enjoyed the final line even more. Getting an ending correct is hard. Steins Gate nails it in both versions. I happen to be big on final lines and the anime hit me in the feels a titch bit more than the visual novel.
Onto the missing story arc from the visual novel (this part contains spoilers).
All right – Nae, oh where is my psychopathic little girl from the game? It was one of the more interesting twists of the game. Albeit there are a handful of twists that keep stacking up – this was the one that was most unexpected. It also gave us insight to Okabe’s future. More tidbits of the doomed future is always a good thing and how Nae fit in was fantastic. The scene where Okabe confronts her after the death of her father is stunning to say the least. I squirmed during the scene, because of how descriptive the writers went with Nae torturing Okabe. Between the sound effects and the voice acting – it painted a ghastly scene in my head as well as on screen.
Once I noticed that they changed the location of Mr. Braun’s demise – I knew that that scene was lost. It’s a shame, because it adds to the experience. Yet I wouldn’t dismiss the anime entirely because of this lost scene.
NO MORE SPOILERS
So if you find yourself bored with nothing to do.
Pick up Steins Gate for the PlayStation Vita or PC.
Or watch the anime.
Either version you try – they both encapsulate a story that needs to be experienced.
Well done Steins Gate, well done. El Psy Kongroo