Steins;Gate is one of the most beloved anime within the community. Taking after the Fate series in the visual novel adaptation department, the anime takes the viewer across a variety of interesting choices, in terms of both actions and character relationships, that will not only come to define the franchise, but also what a consistent science-fiction series should be.
What really elevates this series is its consistent science-fiction concept meeting likable, realized characters, making the viewers both care for and worry given the ramifications of their time travel hijinks. It's at some points tense, introspective, and thrilling. At others, it's funny and lighthearted. For fans that have played the game, watched the anime, and have even seen the movie, here are a few recommendations to tie off that Steins;Gate hunger.
Erased draws the easy comparison to Steins;Gate in that they're both time travel anime. Running the connection a little deeper, Erased is also home to its own set of likable characters and time travel consequences.
However, it sets itself miles apart in how it uses those elements for an interesting murder mystery, as the main character must find a killer within his childhood self, traveling across a landscape of nostalgia, suspense, and childhood trauma. Moving past Steins;Gate's dark, gray nature, the consequences here are emphasized through more intimate connections and subtle beauty, as the series brings a closer look at the overlooked citizens of everyone's past.
9 The Tatami Galaxy
Shifting tones a bit, The Tatami Galaxy is not necessarily a time travel anime, but it does draw a closer look at the consequences of one's choices and behavior, doing so in whimsical, imaginative ways. Watashi is a young, college student who only dreams of having a rosy, easygoing college life, but is placed in turmoil through a fusion of his own arrogance and the mischief of his friend Ozu.
Each episode shows how his life may be different (even slightly) if Watashi were to make different choices in character relationships and club activities, as this series beautifully and humorously shows the exploits of eccentric characters and their delusions of grandeur.
8 The Monogatari Series
Pushing the sci-fi envelope a little more, The Monogatari Series provides more than its fill of fantastical, high concept adventures coupled with a wide cast of interesting, female characters. The Monogatari Series could be seen as a harem anime if not for its deep look at each characters' problems through larger than life mysticism and intimate dialogue that makes it so much more than a generic comedy (if it ever was one).
This series defines visual congestion at its best, as it throws everything at the viewer's eyes, as it also tries to get them to listen on discussions of physics, mythology, relationships, and the various choices that more-or-less haunt the human condition.
7 Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Often seen in a similar vein to The Monogatari Series, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai brings its own flavor of high concept character analysis with its quantum physics breaking "puberty syndrome." Each character is afflicted with the woes of growing up and have to face their problems with sci-fi manifestations of their teenage angst, such as sudden invisibility, memory loss, and even time loops.
What makes this series its own is that it doesn't delve into the gritty or surreal but rather focuses on the awkward drama of these characters, showing dialogue and relationships that are equal parts charm and quirky.
6 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
One of the biggest light novel-based anime, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a community staple in the way that it has deconstructed and defined the high school drama and shoujo and coupled it with a variety of sci-fi metaphors of its own. This series has everything to love about the personality of Steins;Gate from its look at moe-ness, anime tropes, and quirky characters to its larger than life, delusional leader. This series is home to an iconic movie as well as more than a few memorable episodes, such as its infamous "Endless Eight."
Gintama is sci-fi nonsense and character-driven quirkiness at its max. Given its vastly different tone from Steins;Gate, it's a little hard to parallel the two at first sight, but it more than makes up for it in personality and ambition. Gintama defines its place as the king of anime comedy through its vast pop culture references, jabs at otaku culture, and the high concept adventures and variety that its loose premise allows. If a fan is looking for the character and sense of adventure of Steins;Gate, then look no further.
4 Serial Experiments Lain
Bringing things tonally down once again, Serial Experiments Lain is Steins;Gate's senior in the sci-fi/suspense department. Taking place in a world dominated by technology, the series focuses on Lain, as her introduction to the digital world brings her to the seediness and abstractions that its interconnected landscape offers.
This series not only defines what suspense and grittiness could look like in anime, but it also a major defining voice in how many have perceived the digital age, going over the dependence, breaks from reality, and the conspiracy of it all, influencing the likes of The Matrix in the making.
Shifting away from the science fiction and towards the purer suspense/thriller side of Steins;Gate, Another is an anime that will scratch one's horror and mystery bug. When a girl from Yomiyama North Middle School mysteriously dies, the entire town becomes haunted, as people begin to die if a certain ritual is not followed.
The slow burn and reveal of information throughout the series is tense, as each reveal brings the show to different directions and each death making the viewer more and more tense of what the cause of it all really was.
Durarara!! has a lot of what to love in Steins;Gate. Is it a gritty/sci-fi/noir? Yes. Is its city full of comparably lovable and interesting characters? Yes. Are there various mysteries and consequences related to the immediate, ethically ambiguous actions of its characters? Yes.
Looking at the dark yet eclectic Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, Durarara!! brings the viewer into the intimate and complex histories and relationships of its characters, tying the identities and issues of its cast to the violence, horror, and growing tribalism of its city, making it a writing standout for anime as a whole.
1 Space Dandy
Ending this list is a cast of quirky characters that bring a new flavor of sci-fi ambition and animation. Made by the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe, Space Dandy shows the various exploits of Dandy and his crew as he explores space for new breeds of alien life, venturing across a variety of different science fiction exploits, each one coming out of the head of a different anime director.
If one is purely looking for an anime to meet Steins;Gate's likeability and ambition as just an anime series, then take a look at an adventure filled with boob zombies, memory stealing aliens, surfing through the stars, rock n' roll, and, of course, the pompadour that leads it all.
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