English Dub Review: Steins;Gate: The Movie “Load Region of Déjà Vu”

Find out if the Funimation release is worth the purchase.

Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu follows the visual novel and anime television series Steins;Gate. It’s a sequel to the series, and features an engaging narrative that’s driven largely by characters and dialogue.

It’s 2011, a year after the events from the anime series. Rintarō Okabe (J. Michael Tatum), a self-proclaimed mad scientist, founded the Future Gadget Laboratory. Okabe runs Future Gadget Laboratory with friends Daru (Tyson Rinehart) and Mayuri (Ashly Burch). Using a cell phone microwave, Okabe is able to send text messages to the past as well as travel across several “World Lines” or alternate versions of reality.

Okabe et. al are currently on the Steins Gate World Line, a reality where Okabe prevented the death of neuroscience researcher Kurisu Makise (Trina Nishimura) and Mayuri. However, Okabe disappears and when he does, his friends are unable to recall his name, prompting a quest to unlock the mystery and save Okabe.

For a film that’s about time travel, Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu remains relatively slow paced. That’s not to say boring, as Steins;Gate: The Movie is far from mundane. But it’s pretty light on action. Rather, dialogue perpetuates most of the story. It’s much more about conversations, often rather philosophical and existential.

Characters remain the driving force behind Load Region of Déjà Vu. Its narrative relies on emotional investment. After World Line hopping, Okabe battles paranoia and delusions, the fallout from jumping from reality to reality. Further, Steins;Gate: The Movie rides on the relationship between Kurisu and Okabe. Moreover, Load Region of Déjà Vu depends on audience emotional connection to the characters.

Banter is pretty cerebral, with lots of introspection and fewer action sequences. Both Okabe and Kurisu discuss weighty subjects like time travel. Okabe in one instance breaks down “Reading Steiner,” or being able to recall events from other World Lines. He explains that déjà vu is really just remembering doing something but in a different World Line. A few flashbacks, as well as conversations, probe the psychological ramifications of time travel. At this Steins;Gate: The Movie succeeds arguably more than any other show.

Voice acting and inspired performances largely contribute to the success of Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu. The dubbing is phenomenal, aided in no small part by taut dialogue. Daru at one point asks if Kurisu brought him a region 1 copy of a Primer Blu-ray, an excellent reference to a time travel movie classic.

Unlike other time travel works such as Twelve Monkeys, the aforementioned Primer, or even merely most series and films, there’s not exactly a traditional narrative structure. Steins;Gate: The Movie is methodical, and doesn’t seem to feature a climax. The movie simply concludes. Not abruptly, rather in a satisfactory means. However, it’s mostly an emotional ride. Notably, while fans of the anime series and light novel will likely appreciate Load Region of Déjà Vu the most, it’s well explained enough for the uninitiated viewer to still enjoy.

Animation is top-notch, with visuals that really pop. Flashbacks are well-defined looking a bit brighter than normal, and sequences where Okabe and Kurisu explain heady topics, feature coinciding images that illustrate their intellectual talk. While the supporting cast of Daru and Mayuri is enjoyable, these characters don’t quite get enough screen time. That’s not to say they aren’t important, as ultimately Mayuri and Daru are essential to the plot. But Steins;Gate: The Movie deviates to heavily concentrate on Okabe and Kurisu.

Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu is a refreshing departure from action-oriented anime. It’s cerebral, dialogue-driven, and an emotional ride perpetuated by character relationships. Particularly, the film offers arguably the best depiction of time travel side effects, so it’s a neat exploration of that sci-fi topic. Load Region of Déjà Vu is a superb follow up to Steins;Gate universe with its lovely voice acting and captivating story.

SCORE
8.5/10

Moe Long

Moe Long is a writer and editor based out of NC. In addition writing for Bubbleblabber, Moe is managing editor of htpcBeginner, staff writer at MakeuseOf, and runs his own website, Cup of Moe. When he's not hammering away at the keyboard, you can find him, running, reading, drinking far too much coffee, and listening to vinyl.

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