What do you do with one of the best science fiction anime of all time? Expand upon the universe of course! That is exactly what Steins; Gate The Movie – Load of Déjà vu does. This review will take you through both the good and the bad of this expanded universe movie.
Set on year after the events of the anime, Steins; Gate Load of Déjà vu reunites us with all the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory. Assuredly set in the “Steins Gate” World Line, Rintaro, Mayuri, and Daru are still living the dream and trying to get their air conditioner to work when Kurisu comes back from the States for a press conference. At a barbecue celebrating Kurisu’s return, she drunkenly admonishes and comes onto Rintaro, accidentally sending them toppling down the stairs. Back in the apartment, Rintaro tends to Kurisu’s injuries, before experiencing a vivid sense of déjà vu. This feeling has him convinced he has been transported to another timeline, and he panics before slowly coming back to reality. Afraid, Rintaro manages to shrug off the feeling so as to not scare his friends.
Things only get weirder when someone breaks into Kurisu’s hotel room the next day. The stranger – who locks Kurisu in her bathroom – tells her to remember three things: a cellphone, a microwave oven, and SERN. Later on, Kurisu goes to visit Rintaro to tell her about her own experiences of déjà vu, and how they’re all connected to him. Just as they discover Rintaro is remembering things from other World Lines, he disappears right before Kurisu’s eyes. In a race against time and her own fading memory, Kurisu must convince their friends of Rintaro’s existence and bring him back to their World Line.
I really enjoyed the style and pacing of this movie. Events were laid out at a solid and consistent pace, and nothing felt rushed. The animation also made me feel like I was watching a live action movie. Scenes would open focused on a minute background detail, and then pan out to the rest of the scene. It something you usually don’t see in animated movies. It typically costs a lot to ink and animate scenes that only provide ambiance. However, I felt like this added more detail to the scenes, and made up for a lack of a soundtrack. While there was a solid opening and closing theme, there wasn’t much else that was memorable.
Although seeing all of the characters again was nice, this movie almost felt a little unnecessary. It felt like the whole point was to establish and solidify a romantic relationship between Kurisu and Rintaro. Yet, this movie left their relationship status feeling very ambiguous and open-ended. I didn’t feel like there was a resolution. It didn’t feel like it was set up for another movie or series to lead to that resolution. Overall, if you’re content with the way the series ended, then this movie isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a way to see the crew of Future Gadget Laboratory again, definitely check this out.