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Steins; Gate: Complete Series — Part One Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Discs: 4 (2 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 300 Mins.
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 9, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:3.5/5]

Steins; Gate is an anime adaptation of a visual novel from 5pb. and Nitroplus. Part 1, which is released here by Funimation, encapsulates the first 12 episodes. The series is a sci-fi thriller of sorts that is set in the contemporary world of 2012 Akihabara, Japan. It follows a young, and somewhat delusional, university student named Rintarō Okabe, who likes to call himself Hououin Kyouma the Mad Scientist and his ever-growing group of friends-cum-lab assistants, most of them pretty girls, who accidentally invent a time-machine microwave. Using the machine, he can send text messages into the past changing timelines, and somehow Okabe is the only one who has any memory of the changes to history. His research, assisted by a mysterious internet time traveling folk hero named John Titor, draws the attention of the nefarious, all knowing research group SERN, and things begin to get dangerous.

The animation in Steins; Gate is strong, especially the backgrounds and character designs of the various female characters who are all rather unique, distinct, and attractively done, especially the bishōnen Ruka, who will eventually become an actual female due to one of the various shifts in the timeline.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The image for Steins; Gate would look generally strong being absent of aliasing and having strong detail and color reproduction, but it does suffer from lots of color banding that is either in the original animation or a result of the compression process. It shows up in darker color fills and many times overwhelms the image to the point that it definitely becomes a distraction.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Audio is supplied in the original Japanese language with a lossless Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) stereo with literal English subtitles, and an English dub in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit). I always default to the original language track, and on here it offers clean and full dialogue with active directional panning across the two channels. The 5.1 mix is spacious with a lavish amount of atmospherics in the surround channels and extended low frequencies supported by the subwoofer.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The two audio commentaries offer the strongest additions to this set while everything else is just the usual tacked on fare.

The supplements:

  • Episode 01 Commentary
  • Episode 12 Commentary
  • Akihabara Map
  • Textless Opening Song – “Hacking to the Gate” (Version 1)
  • Textless Closing Song – “Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni No Meiyaku”

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Steins; Gate is a little hard to follow in this first part and it takes a little too long to heat up, but by the 12th episode, you will be in deep and definitely wanting to know more about the mysterious time machine, the shady characters behind SERN who are keeping an eye on the lab, and more. It manages to keep a good balance of comedy, sci-fi, and mystery going with its sleek graphics, atmospheric soundtrack, and unexpected twists.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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