Steiner’s Gate & Beyond

Steiner’s Gate is a relatively young animated series about time travel. And I’m going to discuss it here. This shit better interest you or you’re going to have a very boring time.

Why don’t I have any friends that nerd out over this stuff like I do? It’s really not all that complicated, and at the same time, endlessly fascinating. On top of that, creating science fiction gives a fantastic opportunity to discuss (yes, all included in Steiner’s Gate) depression, dependence, gender identity, age, and the psychology behind things like regret, loss and even murder.

I hated the series at first. I started with watching the “season 0” episode, which I would recommend you do, as well. It’s actually an extra sequel episode that tells you about the love interest between 2 main characters (because of course), and pretty much informs you of the relationships between the 8 members of the lab without actually spoiling anything.

Trust me when I say, the humor gets better as you begin to understand it. Inside jokes are being tossed around, as well as random events that make no common sense at first, and it takes the first 2 episodes to catch on. I remember thinking, “If this next episode doesn’t explain what the hell is going on, it will be the last I see” and luckily my curiosity was satisfied.

Steiner’s Gate (from here on out abbreviated to SG) is about a man who can reverse the effects of time, and still running short on it. The poor bastard goes through the worst things, only to go back and live through it again in a shabby attempt to make things right.

If the logic of time is a mystery to you, you might not be able to keep up. The series tries damn hard to walk you through its reasoning, while at the same time making a mockery of our perception of a singular timeline. It occasionally contradicts itself too, by justifying one person’s death to save another, by saying “they’re still alive in another timeline” without applying that logic to person #2. A sort of destiny mechanic is also introduced, in an attempt to nerf the whole time travel thing but doing a piss poor job of making sense.

SG is based on the assumption that time travel exists, and spends much of its time experimenting with different scenarios (each of them telling character’s background stories in amazing ways) to unravel the mechanics and boundaries. But is time travel actually possible?

This might surprise you, but it is. It has been theorized by Albert Einstein and proven that there are, in fact, several ways to travel through time.

The first is nearing the speed of light. For you personally, time won’t appear to change, but once you slow down, you’ll find that the world around you appears to have sped up. People got old and died, while you remain the same. The closer you get to the speed of light, the stronger this effect. This has been proven using atomic clocks shot off in satellites and compared some time later. They were no longer in sync.

The second is to get near a gravitational well. A black hole is the perfect example because it has the strongest gravitation, but this is just as evident here on earth: Gravity isn’t just a dent in space, but in time, as well. The effect is strong enough to influence GPS satellites, who are further away from earth than we are, and experience less gravity. For them, time goes faster and engineers have to work in some compensation, lest their readings, which are heavily based on time difference, are off.

Also, you might not realize this, but you and I are time travelers. We travel forwards through time, day by day.
But why forwards? We can walk in every which direction, but time only goes towards the future. Even when getting near the speed of light (the maximum possible speed in the universe for anything with mass) you’ll still be older when you come back from your trip, not younger. One can only leap forwards through time, toward the future. Slowly or quickly, but surely.

This apparent directionality of time has been a big paradox among scientists and from the top of my head, hasn’t been explained so far. But what if this limit could be overcome?

Being able to predict the future and having the ability to change it must be the greatest super power of all. Even when certain things are truly destined to happen, you’d still have the ability to go back and enjoy eternity before it does.

The irony in SG is that the protagonist repeatedly runs out of time. Even though a clock is displayed before every scene change (might take a while for Europeans to figure it out but it’s worth the trouble), it’s hard to keep up with the time frame things take place in. When something is sent back in time, it is never specified exactly how long, and by the end it’s hard to piece together what actually happened in chronological order.
I don’t find this such a problem though, quite the contrary. SG doesn’t ladle in its information so viewers can follow, but instead throws it at you and challenges your understanding. I like not being treated like an idiot.

Fan service (butt close-ups lol) is there but kept to a bare minimum and while the series does bring up a few clichés (like the romance), it also leaves many other series in the dust when it comes to the substance in each character. Stuff doesn’t just happen, it happens because people are concerned, and they have tangible reason to be. Backstories generally don’t feel clumsily stapled on like they often do.

If any of the above interests you, I suggest you see Steiner’s Gate. To be honest, I’d be surprised if you’re still reading. Time travel is interesting, damn you! Science Fiction is, and I quote, “Very cool! Sonuvabitch!” The gates for social commentary, parody, and philosophy are wide open.



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