"Space has a beginning, but it has no end. —Infinite. Stars too have a beginning, but are by their own power destroyed. —Finite. Those who hold wisdom often are the most foolish. This irony can be read from history The fish in the sea know not the land ashore. If they too hold wisdom, they too be destroyed. It is more ridiculous for man to exceed light speed than for fish to live ashore. This may also be called god's last warning to those who rebel."
Being a Mad Scientist is awesome. Converting your microwave so that you can send e-mails to the past? Awesome.Being stalked by a secret organization doing their ownTime Travel experiments and dead-set on capturing or eliminating you? Not so awesome.Like many of his friends in the Akihabara district, Okabe Rintarou loves to tinker with different gadgets and inventions. However, he's taken this love so far as to declare himself a Mad Scientist who goes by the alias "Hououin Kyouma" and imagines himself fighting all manner of evil government conspiracies.One fateful morning- July 28, 2010, to be precise- he and his ditzy childhood friend Shiina Mayuri are attending a lecture when they discover the dead body of Makise Kurisu, a celebrated researcher. As they flee the scene, Okabe sends a frantic text message to his Playful Hacker buddy Hashida "Daru" Itaru... and suddenly everyone around Okabe blinks out of existence, only to reappear a moment later.Shortly thereafter, Okabe runs into a very-much-alive Kurisu, and Daru mentions a garbled text message he received one week earlier. Investigating further, the team of wannabe scientists discover that by continuously modifying and upgrading their microwave, they've stumbled across the secret of Time Travel... or at least, the ability to send text messages back in time, which is a starting point, right?Unfortunately, they're not the only ones interested in time travel. A shadowy organisation called "SERN" has been running their own time-travel experiments, and after they catch wind of what Okabe has discovered, they begin to close in...The Sequel to Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate is set roughly one year after the events of the previous game. Instead of the "delusion trigger" system introduced in Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate uses the similar "phone trigger": whenever somebody calls Okabe, he can choose whether or not to answer. Text messages include blue hyperlinks that can be selected to reply to the text. The player's choices determine what sort of path the plot takes.Two manga adaptations have begun: one by Sarachi Yomi is serialized in Monthly Comic Alive, while the other, by Kenji Mizuta, is printed in Monthly Comic Blade.A 24-episode anime adaptation aired starting in the Spring 2011 Anime season. Following the end of the anime's broadcast, a twenty-fifth episode was released straight to video and a theatrical film was announced. Funimation acquired the rights to the anime in 2011 and has dubbed it. The core 24 episodes are available for viewing on FUNimation's Youtube. While so far no news has been announced concerning the movie, it has been speculated that it will be dubbed sometime in late 2013.Other tie-ins include the Epigraph of Closed Curve and Pandora of Eternal Recurrence light novels, which continue the story of the beta world line. These novels are accompanied by drama cds.A sequel game called Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram was released in April 2013. Unlike the first game, the sequel is told from the perspective of all the lab members.A full fan translation of the game exists, but much like the case was with Chaos;Head, the translators took down the patch when JAST expressed interest in localizing the game. While nothing has come so far from the original agreement with Chaos;Head, JAST finally announced a US release for Steins;Gate at Anime Expo 2013.Robotics;Notes, the sequel to Steins;Gate, was released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in June 2012. An anime adaptation began airing in the noitaminA block in October of the same year.Steins;Gate: Burdened Domain of Déjà vu made its theatrical debut in Japan in April 2013 and takes place one year after the series. The DVD/Blu-Ray was released in December 2013.
Steins;Gate contains examples of:
A Bloody Mess: Averted. Okabe originally intends to use the red liquid inside a glow-in-the-dark lightsaber toy as part of his plan to fool his past self into thinking Kurisu's dead, but upon discovering that it's dried up and useless, he provokes Dr. Nakabachi into stabbing him so that he can use his own, genuine blood instead.
Accidental Pervert: After receiving another threatening message, Okabe rushes to his apartment, and finds Mayuri and Kurisu in the shower.
Before that: Okabe's attempt to confirm Ruka's gender after making him a her going wrong.
Adaptation Distillation: The anime cuts out at least half of both Faris and Ruka's arcs and simplifies the Moeka section of the story by cutting out a lot of elements that aren't directly related to the climax of the story. It also has a tendency to remove a lot of the science from the story.
Alternate Character Reading: Invoked with Okabe's name for the time machine e-mails, "Nostalgia Drive". It's written "time-travelling journey for nostalgia" (時を越えた郷愁への旅).
Alternate Timeline: Of an unconventional sort - world lines aren't ongoing continuities so much as they're potential continuities for a single world. Altering time is more akin to changing lanes or exiting a freeway than actually building a new one.
And I Must Scream: Okabe's attempts to save Mayuri during the middle of the anime series. Having to watch his Childhood Friend die over and over, no matter what he tries to do, taxes him heavily. It gets so bad that even some of the other characters, such as Kurisu, Daru, and even Mayuri suspect something is wrong when they know next to nothing about the events he's witnessed.
Another Dimension: Invoked but averted. There is apparently only one single timeline, but there are multiple paths it can take such as a world where you won the lottery or you didn't. Once you're on one path, the others fundamentally don't exist anymore and the world will still largely progress exactly as it would have otherwise. If you manage to make a truly critical change at a key point in time you can create fundamental changes the world, such as the noted ability to jump between the α from the β lines, but it's still fundamentally one single timeline. The other doesn't exist anymore.
Arc Words: Subverted. Okabe loves throwing around the words "Steins Gate" and "El Psy Congroo", but he himself admits that those words don't have any meaning whatsoever. At least until the ending, where "Steins Gate" refers to the perfect timeline, but both the present and future Okabe lampshade that the meaning is assigned. Ragnarok, Urd, and other Norse terminologies also deserve mention.
Big Damn Heroes: Just when SERN is about to capture the group, Suzuha saves them and asks Okabe to time leap.
Big Fancy House: Played with considering Faris's living quarters. It's not necessarily big, but it's a lavish living space on the top floor of an expensive building that reveals just how rich Faris is.
Bittersweet Ending: In all the character endings, a Bad Future is in store for the world no matter which timeline it is. On a personal level, however, the situation is still something of a mixed bag for everyone.
In Suzuha's ending she and Okabe journey together into the past, where they'll get brain damage and never see their friends again. Nothing significant will be changed.
In Faris' ending, Okabe loses all his friends except Faris. On the bright side, he does have Faris and Mayuri will live. Somehow.
In Ruka's ending, she and Okabe are happy together, but Mayuri is dead. The group stays together.
In Mayuri's ending, Kurisu dies and a lot of Okabe's relationships are lost.
DK. Pepper. Also, UNIQLO, but the bottom half of the logo's blocked out.
There was also fleeting shot of Prangles (Pringles, with the mascot mustache guy smoking a pipe).
Boom, Headshot: Several characters suffer this fate. Mayuri in episode 12, and later Yuugo does this to himself in episode 20.
Brick Joke: The movie revolves around the idea that "deja vu" is a result of another timeline interfering with the current one, and that remembering these memories is an indication that something happened from said timeline. Remembering too many of these timelines will force the person out of said timeline and into nothingness. Of course, the movie also likes to throw some gags in the movie itself, such as Kurisu thinking and reminding herself that Ruka is a guy and Suzuha wearing Daru's hat.
Broken Bird: Kurisu, Suzuha and Moeka. Mayuri was originally this.
Broken Pedestal: Dr. Nakabachi is Makise Kurisu's father, and she does everything in her power to impress him and rebuild their damaged father-daughter relationship; she even gives offers him a co-writer credit on a paper on how to construct a time machine, and he repays the favor by beating her and stealing the paper for himself.
But Thou Must: Most calls or texts can be ignored at will, but there are certain points where Okabe has to take some sort of action.
Butterfly of Doom: Multiple examples. At times, the things that randomly stay the same are even more bewildering than the things that randomly change;
If you change Ruka from a boy to a girl nothing changes regarding personality, appearance or relationships, but it causes the IBN 5100 to be broken.
In the anime, Ruka admits to Okabe that she broke the IBN 5100 by accident as a child. It's possible that in the timeline where she was a boy, her actions would have been just different enough that that wouldn't have happened.
In Faris' ending saving both her father and keeping Akiba the same somehow results in Okabe not knowing any of the people he's friends with. Not even Mayuri.
Butt Monkey: Okabe. Almost none of the cast takes him seriously during the first half of the story because of his behavior.
Call Back: Episode 25, that dude who was selling brooches in Japan is in fact also a taxi driver in LA. And another one which is much relevant to the plot, see Love Confession below.
Calling Your Attacks: Okabe and Faris are anime, manga, and moe junkies. As a result, they role-play in some of the more comedic scenes of the anime, which usually involves them revealing that they've learned a secret technique or two while punching the air or doing some dramatic motion.
The Cameo: Takumi is briefly mentioned by his pseudonym Knighthart looking for IBN 5100. He has no involvement in the story, however.
A huge TV airing FES's performance in Alpha timeline. Giving the right reply to Faris's mail earns the player Ayase's portrait and FES's music.
Even Seira-tan appears
Some of the characters from Steins;Gate have also found themselves in other media. Kurisu appears as a character spell in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2; Mayuri also makes an appearance as a summon. Kurisu's also a character in Phantom Breaker, as well as in Nendoroid Generation.
Can't You Read the Sign?: Okabe repeatedly uses his cellphone in a cafe while sitting in front of a "No Cellphones" sign.
Catch Phrase: Mayuri's "Tuturu~" whenever she greets someone as a phone wallpaper sent by Mayuri.
Cerebus Callback: There's an early running gag about how Ruka is incredibly feminine despite being a guy. About two third of the way through the story, it's not funny anymore when not only was Ruka finally given a chance to be a girl, but then she has to return. A clearly depressed Okabe repeats the lines in his head.
Cerebus Syndrome: Cerebus strikes in the middle of nowhere during the 13th when Moeka breaks in and kills Mayuri, sending the second half of the story into action.
Remember the Metal Oopa that Mayuri lost in episode 1? 22 episodes later it was revealed that the Metal Oopa set off the metal detector, prevented Dr. Nakabachi from boarding the plane that was fated to crash. As a result, the documents and research data of Kurisu was not destroyed in the crash, setting off the events for the dystopia.
Also - the empty/static mail Okabe recieves in episode 1? It's actually a mail from his future self, telling him how to solve the unsolvable situation and save Kurisu.
Those wacky inventions Okabe and Daru made ends up saving their lives. For instance, the remote control gun and the smoke bomb.
When the plot gets going, Okabe quickly forgets the important fact that in the world where Kurisu was killed, the 'satellite' time machine was on the roof but otherwise the same. Meaning Suzuha was in that world too. And who is Suzuha? John Titor. What did John Titor say would happen in the future? An apocalyptic world that leaves 2036 a radioactive wasteland. Not a bit of this is addressed until the true ending starts up, which doesn't start until after the credits roll after getting the ending that takes the longest to get.
Chekhov's Gunman: Mister Braun is a SERN agent and Moeka's superior and contact. When uncovered, he shoots himself to keep Moeka safe.
Close Enough Timeline: The Faris ending results in a world line where Okabe knows none of his friends besides Faris and the Future Gadget Lab (and thus time machine) never came into being. However, after he confirms that Mayuri does not die in this time around, he decides that he's willing to accept this.
Continuity Nod: Steins;Gate is officially a sequel to Chaos;Head, but the stories are almost completely unconnected. However, references are made to the ugly frog straps and even Takumi himself through his online avatar.
Cosplay Cafe: Mayuri and Faris both work at a maid cafe, which Faris has really embraced.
Cow Tools: There's a lot of junk lying around both literally and metaphorically. For example, the eight Future Gadgets aren't all used and are generally kind of useless and the plot overviews for RaiNet never amount to anything either. There are some things you need to pay attention to and a lot that you don't.
Death Is Cheap: Whenever Mayuri dies, Okabe time leaps back to several hours or days ago before her death.
Lampshaded and deconstructed when Okabe wants to keep time-leaping to try and Take a Third Option to avoid having to let Kurisu be killed; when she says that seeing Mayuri die so many times will destroy him, he notes that he's already gone numb to the experience. Possibly subverted, though, since Kurisu at least doesn't believe he could still have a heart and not feel anything at all at the sight; thus, she calls him out on it.
Okabe's Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory lets him accomplish things with time travel no one else can, but can also prove to be a huge liability, since he has very limited means to figure out how things are different. Even worse, altering the present too significantly starts to seriously alienate him as his surroundings and even his friends shift from what he knew in ways he can't comprehend. Mayuri even states such a fate (without realizing its this way for Okabe)—slowly and constantly separating from your friends as you know them—sounds horrible.
The latter half of the series deconstructs Set Right What Once Was Wrong by showing that undoing the alterations caused by time travel may reverse the bad things they caused, but it also negates all the good things, forcing you to let go of the gifts you got from time travel. And even if you go through all the trouble of reversing one disaster, that doesn't mean that others can't happen...
Decon-Recon Switch: ... but the True Ending makes a point that if you're smart about it you can Screw Destiny and avoid both without just causing something different but equally horrible.
Disappeared Dad: Faris's father, who died in a plane crash. This makes her use D-mail to save her father and causes Akihabara to become well-known for electrical appliances instead of otaku culture. In addition, her father saved her from a kidnapping incident by selling his IBN 5100 to SERN in the past.
Also, the fate that befalls Nae after her father's suicide.
The Ditz: Mayuri, who can suddenly stop at a place doing Stardust Handshake, much to the dismay of Okabe.
Downer Ending: In the Visual Novel, Kurisu's ending is the same as Mayuri's, except now Okabe is going to be a miserable wreck since he sacrificed the woman he loved. Furthermore, this timeline has the worst of the two potential bad futures: Nuclear holocaust. Fortunately, the True Ending follows up on this and makes it better.
Driven to Suicide: Suzuha, after she travels to 1975 using the time machine fixed by Daru, having lost her memories then recover it again 25 years later.
Several characters go through this actually. Moeka hangs herself in one timeline and Mr. Braun shoots himself in another. Even Okabe tries to kill himself at one point while trying to save Mayuri.
Dystopia: SERN's One World Order in 2036. John Titor describes is as a global framework of Communism with 19th century living standards where SERN has control of all scientific research, technology, and knowledge.
Easter Egg: If you send an email to the address firstname.lastname@example.org (aka future Okabe of the beta world line), you will receive a fake error message indicating that the address does not exist on this current world line as well as the same string of hex code originally sent to Okabe.
Elephant in the Living Room: After the halfway point in the story, Okabe eventually realizes that he needs to undo all the timeline changes he made. Though stressful, he succeeds along this path, occasionally remembering that the first and most important mail was the one where he said Kurisu died. Out of a mixture of stress and not wanting to think about it, he avoids realizing this until it's the last thing that needs to be done.
Fake-Out Make-Out: Okabe does this to Moeka when a neighbor comes to see what the source is of all the racket caused by their struggle, and gets bitten for his efforts. Luckily for him the neighbor failed the spot check for the resulting spectacle ends up looking less like a make-out and more like a rape in progress.
The lab has a direct line to SERN, but SERN isn't always aware of the lab, nor is it something that could have been constructed that quickly. Gee, it's almost like someone else in the building might have reason to be in close contact with SERN.
Kurisu gets rather wistful when seeing how much Ruka's father cares about him. Her own daddy issues come up about a week later: Her father became jealous and distant when she became better than him at physics during elementary school.
Early on, Okabe marvels at how convenient the IBN 5100 was to acquire despite everyone else looking so hard for it. Well, of course. Suzuha arranged things for him over thirty years ago based on what she knew of how they got it in the first place.
For Want of a Nail: Okabe finally prevents the World War III in the future of beta line by stealing the "Metal Upa" toy. If he hadn't done this, Mayuri would have gotten it and lost it, Kurisu would have picked it up, and then her father would have ended up with it when he ran off with her paper on time travel, triggering the metal detector at the airport, making him miss his flight, preventing the paper from being lost in a plane accident. Instead, Mayuri gets a non-metal Upa, which doesn't set off the metal detector, and the paper is destroyed.
Stage 4 of SERN's Z-Program involves human experiments.
Experiment Result: Human is dead, mismatch.
Mayuri's family name is Shiina. You can figure out the rest. Also, Kurisu is lab member number 004.
Fourth Wall Psych: Early on we see Okabe with his face pressed up against the screen, sneering at the other side of the monitor and proclaiming that he is the real one no matter what the observer thinks. He's actually talking to a piece of supposedly interactive software that won't react for some reason.
Full-Name Basis: Suzuha, with a few exception, calls people by their full name.
Gainax Ending: The movie, in the sense that it makes everything else have entirely different meanings. "Hououin Kyouma" was based on the Bad Future of Okabe that Suzuha was trying to prevent. This was taught by present Kurisu to a younger Okabe after the previous timeline had Retgoned older Okabe, making Kurisu the technical creator of "Hououin Kyouma" and, to an extent, older Okabe.
"Groundhog Day" Loop: Okabe invokes this trope on himself to Set Right What Once Went Wrong using Time Leap Machine. In Suzuha's route, he refuses to erase Suzuha's memory with the group, using Time Leap Machine to trap himself in a continuous loop between August 11 to August 13 before Mayuri dies. His heart almost dies before Suzuha saves him and asks him to time travel with her.
Happy Ending: The True Ending has Okabe manage to save Mayuri and Kurisu, avert both bad futures and keep hold of all the relationships he made, though they've all suffered minor setbacks. At first it seems it might have the bittersweet factor of never seeing Kurisu again but in the end she manages to find him and they reunite which Kurisu having some very vague memories of Okabe, hinting they'll get together. Ruka and Faris get to be closer to the group like the wished to be and Moeka is finally finding some grounding for her life. Finally, the ending special for the anime confirms most of the above and introduces Yuki, Amane's mother and gives some pretty unsubtle hints as to what will happen to her and Daru in the future.
He Knows Too Much: SERN is trying to silence Okabe and lab members for inventing the time-machine.
Heroic BSOD: Okabe, when he lost all his ways to save Mayuri and upon discovering that he is the one who stabbed Kurisu.
Heroic Sacrifice: Kurisu decides to sacrifice herself so Mayuri can survive. It doesn't help.
The Okabe from the alpha timeline was at least ready to do this (to fake Kurisu's death and to deceive the beta timeline Okabe), Suzuha saved him, though.
Heroes Want Redheads: Kurisu is Okabe's love interest and "most important person" in the route that leads to Chapter 11 and the Epilogue (aka the canon route). Essentially, she's the canon love interest.
Although in the original visual novel, she was a brunette.
Somewhat JustifiedWhen Daru was hacking into the SERN in episode 14, he mentions that SERN ports were already open as SERN had been watching the group since the first D-Mail was sent. It's somewhat justified that he would be able to hack into a system quickly that already has it's doors open into Daru's computer in the first place.
I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy: There is no good way to tell your best friend that they're going to die within hours and you've personally witnessed it countless times in your attempts to prevent it. So Okabe doesn't.
If It's You, It's Okay: As far as Daru is concerned, Ruka's just as ripe for Yuri Fan fantasies as any of his other non-Okabe friends, actual sex be damned.
Insane Equals Violent: Moeka totally loses it once she's accepted by FB, and kills Mayuri just because FB told her to.
In Spite of a Nail: While there can be surprising changes that come about as a result of D-mail usage, the world will fundamentally remain the same. For example, whether Ruka is a boy or girl will changing almost nothing in relation to their life or relationships.
It's All My Fault: Upon realizing that his invention D-mail machine causes all the troubles his lab members are facing.
Karma Houdini: Kurisu's father who does lose the paper that would have made him famous, but still seems to avoid any legal punishment for stabbing Okabe. Even worse in the other timeline where he was responsible for his daughter's death and then stole her paper, gaining fame and power.
The anime did not mention about Nakabachi's fate, but in the VN, he was arrested in Russia for his outburst and being a suspect for attempted murder in Radio Kaikan building.
Kill the Cutie: Mayuri is the first to go once things hit the fan...over and over again, thanks to the peculiarities of time travel.
The Lady's Favour: The only conceivable purpose for a handkerchief that Okabe knows about.
La Résistance: In the Alpha timeline future, there's a resistance movement founded by Okabe and Daru that seeks to overthrow SERN.
Laser Blade: One of Okabe's many inventions is the Cyalume Saber, which is pretty obviously Darth Vader's lightsaber.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Okabe tells Daru about his exploits in previous world lines, Daru jokes that it sounds fantastic enough to be the plot of a light novel.
A strange variety of this comes up when Mayuri gets Ruka to crossdress and Kurisu stares at him for a little bit (when she thought Ruka was a girl). Daru even notes how yuri it is with Okabe quickly pointing out that it's not since Ruka's a guy.
Lighter and Softer: Steins;Gate Hiyoku Renri no Darling, the sequel that focuses less on time travel conspiracies and more on fun and relationships.
Love Confession: A very bittersweet one from Okabe to Kurisu in episode 22.
And a very very manly one from Okabe to Kurisu in episode 25. Note that this occurs in the Steins;Gate world line. He (and the audience) are left hanging at the credits. However, the last thing Kurisu tells him is "Close your eyes," a direct callback to episode 22 that makes it pretty clear what her answer will be.
Okabe himself isn't very good at handling confessions. He gets a few, but he handles the one from the female Ruka worst: He freaks out so badly that he staggers home and time travels back a few days.
Love Makes You Crazy: Tennouji Yuugo (Mr. Braun) loves Nae very dearly, and as a result, SERN threatens him with Nae's death to get him to manipulate Moeka and other people into killing and stealing just to keep the IBN 5100 from reaching Okabe's hands.
Luke, You Are My Father: Suzuha travels to year 2010 to look for her father. After Mayuri reveals that Daru is Suzuha's father, Suzuha hugs Daru. However, Daru has no idea why Suzuha hugged him and is left feeling both glad and confused.
MacGuffin: Nearly half the series is focused around Okabe and SERN's attempts to get their hands on an IBN 5100.
Madness Mantra: letter written by Suzuha to Okabe, filled with despair on how she failed her mission to get IBN 5100 and her life is meaningless.
The Man Behind the Man: It's never focused on, but SERN is not actually in charge. They're yet another front for the Committee of 300 from Chaos;Head and even in the future that Suzuha comes from it's admitted that SERN really is just a research institution. In the present, it's not clear how much most of the normal scientists really know about anything.
Mistaken For Romance: Three main characters guess that Okabe Rintarou and Shiina Mayuri are dating, a suggestion Mayuri responds to with confusion, and Okabe responds to with a flat denial. Though things have potential to progress in that direction, at the respective times of the guesses, neither of them think of each other that way.
In another example...
Makise Kurisu: ...just what are you doing? Where are you? Okabe Rintarou: I'm at Kiryuu Moeka's apartment. Makise Kurisu: So it was a woman. You're the worst.
MotivationalHalf Truth: Beta Suzuha wasn't lying when she said that Okabe could save Kurisu's life. What she didn't say was he was required to fail first.
Multiple Endings: Suzuha, Faris and Ruka all have endings that end the story prematurely. Mayuri and Kurisu's endings take almost the exact same path to their conclusion and end at the same place with the difference mainly being in Okabe's grounding. Finally, if you follow the Kurisu ending but answer the final call properly, you proceed into the True Ending.
Never the Selves Shall Meet: This is obviously not a problem considering that Okabe uses Mental Time Travel, but it comes into play at the end of the series when Suzuha helps him alter the past with a "conventional" time machine.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By choosing to use D-mail to mess up the past, Mayuri will die, and SERN is dead set on capturing you.
Nothing Is Scarier: In the beginning, after Okabe decides to read an message from his future self, he suddenly gets transported to a place where there are no people, and everything is eerily quiet. It is explained in the movie that this is the "R" line, a place where he was successful to get Mayuri and Kurisu saved, but was falling under what was a paradox in the aftermath due to remembering too many timelines.
Not What It Looks Like: Dubious of Okabe and Daru's intentions with Mayuri, Kurisu asks her if they used bribery or blackmail to rope her into Future Gadget Lab membership. Mayuri's response does not relive her.
Mayuri: Nothing like that - it's just I'm Okarin's hostage!
Kurisu: ... That's it. I'm calling the cops.
No Time to Explain: Okabe tells this to every other lab member after Mayuri is killed and he time leaps.
No Waterproofing in the Future: Subverted. Amane's time machine is short circuited by rain and can't be repaired so they have to undo it being damaged in the first place. However, it is alleged to be air-tight, and Okabe speculates that it was water-damaged due to it being breached when it crashed into Radio Kaikan, rendering it open to water damage.
Official Couple: Kurisu is the main heroine and the story revolves around her relationship with Okabe, both romantically and otherwise.
Oh Crap: Okabe, every time Mayuri's watch stops, since it means that she's about to die again.
Once More with Clarity: All those oddities in the first episode were the result of Okabe's first attempt to prevent Kurisu's murder.
Open Secret: Okabe is very bad at keeping his time-travel experiments under wraps.
Many of the characters are otakus and almost all of them have elements of it. Suzuha is unknown due to her situation, but both her parents were otaku. Okabe only likes mecha anime but his strange personality can be considered otakuish. Kurisu is teased about it but she only have very minor elements. Faris, meanwhile, appears to be in a perpetual state ofLARPingBig Eyes, Small Mouth.
Parental Neglect: Kurisu's father keeps a distance from her, downright refusing to see her.
Phlebotinum Analogy: Okabe and Kurisu explain the mechanics of Kerr black holes and world lines to Daru and Mayuri through a more otaku-oriented lens. Kurisu's not amused when Daru starts making requests.
Daru: Can you compare it to an eroge? Tell me, oh erotic one.
Planning For The Future Before The End: In the second to last time loop in the Alpha world line, Okabe spends the last few minutes before Mayuri's regularly scheduled death discussing plans for next year's Comima and promising her that he'll cosplay next time around.
This becomes way more heartbreaking in Ruka's ending, where Mayuri attempts to discuss future plans with Okabe when he's given up on saving her, with him unable to bring himself to respond out of guilt.
Police Are Useless: Police officers only serve to interfere with Okabe's actions. They do absolutely nothing when Okabe and Faris are being hunted by a group of angry mobs all over Akihabara!
Poor Communication Kills: It takes Okabe ages to think of telling anyone else about what's going on once things start to go bad. And he never even tries to tell some people, at all, even when they'd logically have a huge amount to contribute and plenty of incentive to do so.
Pretty Little Head Shots: Mayuri's (initial) and Mr. Braun's deaths. The former only shows the requisite trickle of blood down the face, while in the case of the latter, there's no indication at all that that person has even been shot.
Pyrrhic Victory: In Kurisu's ending Okabe does save Mayuri, but he's a broken wreck and had to sacrifice the woman he loved for it.
Redemption Equals Death: Moeka apologizes for her other world line self killing Mayuri after getting stabbed by Nae.
Relationship Reset Button: While Okabe is able to prevent SERN's dystopia, avert World War III, and prevent both Mayuri and Kurisu's deaths, doing so temporally wipes out the relationship he developed with Kurisu, save for their first encounter. That isn't to say that Kurisu forgot it entirely...
Rescue Romance: This is how Ruka and Okabe met. In the timeline where Ruka is a female, she fell in love with him. And hinted that Ruka fell in love in the timeline where he's a guy.
This is actually a strange example since in the timeline where Ruka is a girl, this didn't actually happen. She was just getting memories from the other timeline. It is interesting to note that she stated that this was the moment she started loving Okabe, implying that may actually be what the male Ruka felt.
In one of the drama CDs, Ruka's feelings seem to be confirmed when pretty much blurts out his attraction to Okabe to Suzuha (who is currently the victim of a romantic misunderstanding.) However, it takes place in a separate world line, so take it as you will.
Kurisu to Okabe in the Steins Gate timeline, since the first thing he did upon meeting her was save her from her murderously jealous father. This prompts her to start looking for him on the streets of Akihabara to thank him, & eventually restart their relationship from another timeline.
Ripple Effect Indicator: The Divergence Meter, which shows the current world line's percent divergence and how close Okabe is to succeeding in returning to the beta world line.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Okabe's 'Reading Steiner,' the ability to retain memory of prior timelines. However, if their memories are prodded properly, other characters can remember other world lines; this occurs separately with Faris and Ruka. Later on we find out that Mayuri and Kurisu have both been dreaming of previous world lines.
Rock Beats Laser: The IBN 5100 is central to the series, despite being an antique computer, because it can translate the source code SERN uses in its computers, allowing its owner to hack SERN's computer networks with ease.
Rubber-Band History: Divergent world lines cluster together via Attractor Fields, meaning that most time alterations will eventually lead to the same outcome. Avoiding that outcome requires a world line divergence greater than 1%.
Sadistic Choice: Either undo the senders' D-mail, which cancels their wish and erase their memories, or choose not to and let Mayuri die and go to the respective sender's route. Taking a third option won't work.
Samus Is a Girl: Done a few times. John Titor is revealed to be Suzuha. FB, whom Moeka and Okabe assume is female due to her writing voice, is revealed to be Mr. Braun. Not to mention Ruka's first appearance is followed quickly with a surprising gender reveal.
Screw Destiny: Okabe's main goal is to save Mayuri from her fated death by undoing all the time traveling he did.
This is actually a bit of a weird variety since it was him screwing with destiny to begin with that all of this happened.
The latter half of the story deals with undoing all the D-mails Okabe's lab members did to save Mayuri.
After that, in the true ending, Okabe goes and abuses the hell out of time travel to create a world that avoids both dystopia and World War III by saving Kurisu and destroying her research after Nakabachi steals it.
Serious Business: Rai-Net. In one timeline, a group of Rai-Netters attempt to kidnap Faris and beat Okabe half to death just because she beat them in a tournament.
Daru, just about anything such as Super Hacker and Maid secret techniques.
Shown Their Work: In one timeline of their first meeting, Kurisu lectures Okabe on the impossibilities of time travel; the lecture is cut quickly to a picture of Okabe straggling out of the lecture hall absolutely mauled by Kurisu's arguments. In the Visual Novel, this lecture scene is shown to the audience and is literally Turned Up to Eleven, with Kurisu mentioning exactly eleven different theories of time travel, subsequently shooting down two of these hypotheses. That the creators took the time to explain the absurdities of theoretical time travel in a visual novel/anime about time travel shows something pretty special.
The OVA episode also shows a pretty good eye to detail about the geography of southern California, including reasonably accurate representations of LAX & the LA Convention Center as well as Freeway 15 going to Las Vegas. And a nod to how ridiculously overpriced hotels & motels are in the area.
On a more constrained scale, so is the Time Leap machine.
Someone Has to Die: Occurs when the attempts to avert Mayuri's fate put them on track for the timeline where Kurisu died, forcing them to choose between saving Mayuri or Kurisu. However, when they choose to save Mayuri, their decision gets turned on its head when that just makes things worse.
Something Only They Would Say: FB gave each member of the Rounders specific codenames that no other member knows. It also becomes the key to finding out FB's true identity. (See Episode 20 Wham Line)
Absolutely everything in the opening dictates the entire series in chronological order. It's just that it's too vague and pretty for it to look like there's any storyline. Also, the characters at the end of the opening vanish in a particular order. That and the exact reverse are how the timelines are set up.
The visual novel opening does little better and shows you Mayuri with a headshot and jellyman Mayuri among other things. There's even Mr. Braun about to commit suicide.
Stable Time Loop: In the True Ending you find out that the entire thing has been one long loop with multiple versions of Okabe jumping around to different points in time though there is always a very specific exit point in mind.
Stealth Pun: Presumably the joke behind the term "D-mail", an e-mail that is sent to the past.
The Stinger: Episode 22. Despite returning to the beta world line and letting Kurisu die as she originally did, it turns out that the Bad Future has not been averted, but simply shifted from dystopia to World War III. The episode also uses a different, instrumental ending credit track, presumably to entice the viewer into sticking around, since the series had no next episode previews and no real incentive to stay for the credits until this episode.
The DVDs/Blu-rays starts a new chapter right before the voice over.
Kurisu: I'm not crying! I definitely wasn't terrified by a guy screaming in my face, so I definitely didn't start crying from relief afterwards! That's not what happened! Okabe: So Daru, why is my assistant crying?
This is also an interesting moment because of the whole thing with her father later on.
Taking the Bullet: Kurisu blocked a stab from Okabe meant for Dr. Nakabachi, giving him a huge Heroic BSOD. Later, Okabe provokes Dr. Nakabachi into stabbing him.
In one of the timelines, when Okabe attempts suicide by getting hit by a car, Mayuri pushes him aside and gets killed that way.
Take a Third Option: Occasionally, Okabe considers taking one of these rather than deprive someone of their happiness outright. However, you are rarely given the choice to actually do so. The one time you do, Okabe does manage to save both Mayuri and Kurisu, but accidentally sacrifices his relationships with everyone but Faris, who is somehow his lover now. The Microwave Ophone was never invented and thus he is now stuck in this world. Which may or may not lead to the Bad Future.
The Teaser: Used more often than not in the anime.
That Came Out Wrong: Daru generally requests an immediate repeat whenever Mayuri or Kurisu accidentally make an innuendo or something that could be construed as one. Kurisu realizes what he's doing and quits rising to the bait, but Mayuri is too innocent to figure it out.
Theme Naming: Okabe tends to name endeavors "Operation (figure from Norse Mythology)". Lampshaded by Kurisu, and later by Okabe when she makes up her own Norse-flavored Operation. Daru tends to add meaningless version numbers onto their inventions.
Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: Discussed in the VN as a reason that the jellymen end up in such random locations. Also for that fact that, of the hundred or so tested, only fourteen were found.
Title Drop: "This is the choice of Steins Gate!" shows up from the beginning. However, the usual "this line obviously contains great weight by virtue of containing the title" version shows up near the end of the series, when future!Okabe uses "Steins Gate" to refer to the ideal timeline where both Kurisu and Mayuri are alive and World War III and dystopia are both averted.
Immediately Subverted in the second case, as the future Okabe says to the present one "You know why I named it that, right?" and both of them answer in unison "It doesn't really mean anything."
Tomato Surprise: The reveal that Okabe kills Kurisu in beta timeline in an accident.
You can change the cause, but never can you change the effect. I think this is more of the case here.
Trauma Conga Line: Okabe crosses this multiple times trying to save Mayuri and Kurisu.
Tricked Out Time: In the true ending, Okabe has to save Kurisu to prevent World War III. However, attempting to keep her from being stabbed by attacking Nakabachi has her Taking the Bullet for him, changing it from Nakabachi killing his daughter to Okabe doing it instead. The reason is simple: Kurisu has been observed in a pool of blood by the person trying to change things, so he can't make that not have happened. Instead, he has to engineer events so that his past self sees her lying in a pool of blood. With the primary observer fooled, her death can be faked.
True Companions: Being a Lab member of Future Gadget Circle is like being in Okabe's true companions.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Use the contents of a toy lightsaber as fake blood to fabricate Kurisu's death? Easy! Unless, of course, you discover just as you were planning to use it that it expired and solidified some time ago...
Verbal Tic: Faris often ends her sentence with "-nya".
Villainous Breakdown: Dear god, when Moeka loses contact with FB, she becomes an emotional wreck. Her situation is only worsened when Okabe steals her phone. In the world line where Okabe doesn't arrive at her apartment, Moeka eventually commits suicide in despair.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Kurisu desperately wants her father's acknowledgement, which he will never give, and downright hates her. In beta timeline, he steals her thesis about time traveling, planning to take all the credit himself.
Wham Episode: Anime episode 12, when the lab members are surrounded by SERN, led by Moeka.
Moeka: "Shiina Mayuri is not needed." *fires gun at Mayuri*
Yuugo: (to Moeka) "You sold us out, M4."
Suzuha: "You must stop World War III."-*EPISODE ENDS*
A minor example from episode 3:
"Human is dead: Mismatch"
Counts as something named the Jellyman report doesn't sound particularly serious, but causes Okabe to have a minor Heroic BSOD.
White and Gray Morality: No major characters in the story are truly evil. SERN is a definite black when it comes to morality, but the individuals making it up are generally troubled people who don't have any real choice. Dr. Nakabachi is admittedly a nasty piece of work, but he has very little screen time.
Woolseyism: Invoked Kurisu frequently drops memes into her speech, but since they would make no sense when translated literally the translators turned them into something more comprehensible to English speakers.
By the end, however, this is reversed, and those same lines sound downright awesome, and very convincing, notably at the end of episode 23.
You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: In the latter half of the story, Okabe finally begins addressing Kurisu by her real name instead of any of the half-dozen insane nicknames he's given her. She knows right off the bat that whatever he has to tell her is deadly serious.
You Can't Fight Fate: Once the world has decreed that something will happen, it's going to happen. No matter what you do, certain events will take place unless you remove their cause in the past. These tend to be the critical events that greatly shape the world such as the birth or death of a person or acquisition of an item that has drastic effects on the world.
Artistic License - Biology: Ruka thinks that if a baby's mother eats lots of vegetables, the baby will be born female. Okabe and Daru are somewhat dubious of his claim, but run along with it to keep him happy. At first glance it may seem that he's right, but in a series that deals extensively with the fallout of time travel it's probably not so simple.
You Have Failed Me: After Moeka helps Okabe track down FB, Braun executes her for betraying him. (Anime only)
It appears that he kills her more because, if he didn't, SERN would go after Nae. Executing her and turning the gun on himself may assure she will be left unharmed. (Anime Only)
Younger than They Look: Both Okabe and Daru are supposed to be in their late teens, but look like they're closer to their late 20's. Their tall stature and Okabe's lab coat may have something to do with it. And even though she's a Womanchild, Mayuri still does not look like a 16-year old.
Your Days Are Numbered: If the world says you're going to die, you're going to die. You have to make a massive change to affect this. Your cause of death won't always be the same, but if nothing logical comes up to kill you then a Diabolus ex Machina will ensue or even just dropping death if no cause of death can be manufactured.
Mayuri will die on the 13th, and then a day later each time Okabe resets one of the changes he made. She'll keep dying until he removes info from SERN's database about the call he made to Daru.
If this is done, then in the epilogue Okabe has to trick time into allowing Kurisu to live. He even kills her once himself on accident in an attempt to save her.
Similarly, Moeka and Mr. Braun will die after retrieving the IBN 5100. Either they will be disposed of or they will commit suicide.
On a more distant note, Okabe himself will die in 2025 and Daru some years later. This actually works to Okabe's advantage: You can't die before your time either. Of course, for all of these, if you can find the Steins Gate choice you can make it to a new world line with different outcomes for all of them.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Congratulations, Okabe, you managed to save Mayuri and all you had to do is sacrifice the woman you love, the happiness of your friends and your own state of mind. Cue the credits! Then, right in the middle of the credits in comes a call from Amane Suzuha but not the one Okabe knows. Turns out he forgot a few important things, namely that the time travel machine was on the roof even in the restored timeline and that John Titor predicted a devastating war that would kill over five billion people.