I adored what I got out of the first 12 episodes contained in the first part of Steins;Gate, but I have to honestly say that the final 13 within Part Two is a somewhat of a let down. After the events that take place that lead to the death of a Future Gadget Lab member, Rintaro Okabe decides to try and stop SERN from taking one of his friends and save the world at the same time. Along with the help of Makise, Daru and Suzuha, Okabe must find a way to keep his sanity, whilst hopping through multiple time lines in order to do what is right. Funimation has released this set on a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, that fits right into the collectors box that was included with Part One, with a fantastic English dub, some awkward video issues and enough extras that round out this release as a decent, but nothing extraordinary, attempt at time travel.
Even though I’m knocking certain elements of the series, Steins;Gate still delivers the goods, in terms of character development and strong writing in this set. Seeing Okabe descend into madness, as he relives the death of one of his closest friends, over and over again, makes for some incredible drama and an interesting character arc. The further development we get on Suzuha and a few of the other characters are also a nice touch and add a bit more gravitas to the overall series. The main concern that I had with the show is that in last half of the story, it felt as if it never wanted to commit to any of the major ramifications that it set out to begin with. Granted, I understand that this is a time travel show, where things are going to go back and forth and mistakes can be retaken, but the way that the first part went about telling its story and its approach showed that there was some severity and major consequences to be had for true time travel, as there would be. All of these great elements are truncated in the last 13 episodes, as they literally walk backwards and undo the major things that the first half interesting, in order for everything to be okay.
On the technical side, the discs contain some slight video problems, an amazing English dub and a minimal amount of extras that round out the set. The video on the Blu-Ray is presented in a 1080p, AVC encoded transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. There were some issues awhile back pertaining to color banding on the transfer of Serial Experiments Lain. While I never found it apparent on that set, it is very much apparent in these 13 episodes. With the series consisting heavily of dialog, I found it pretty hard to concentrate on what people are saying, when a good portion of their face is halfway distorted, due to the banding effect. I don’t remember this being an issue on the first set, but it is very prevalent here. The audio on the disc comes in a English dubbed, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and the original Japanese Dolby TrueHD Stereo 2.0 track. Again, the work done by J. Micheal Tatum, both onscreen as Okabe and off screen with his script, is full of wonder and a true gem for the series. ADR Director Colleen Clinkenbeard does an incredible job and coaxes some brilliant performances from the entire English cast. With the mixed also widened for the English version as well, it boasts a much more immersive experience audibly with the show and presents some great ambiences and effects strewn throughout. There are commentaries for episodes 19 and 24 with the English dub cast, along with textless intro and outros and trailers for other Funimation series.
While I would wholeheartedly recommend Steins;Gate to plenty of people, for the fantastic characters and strong writing, I have to say that I think the execution could have been handled much better in the final half. Recommended