"El Psy Congroo."
From the beginning of the story, we're introduced to a small circle of friends with their unique quirks who have nothing better to do with their time than to create zany inventions while passing the days by. However, one day, the self-proclaimed mad scientist Okabe Rintarou accidentally constructs the impossible while experimenting with his latest invention: a time machine that sends text messages to the past. Ecstatic, Okabe and his growing group of companions eagerly change the past to their whims, but unbeknownst to them, a shady organization closes in on their activities. Meanwhile, Okabe starts to realize the ramifications of changing the past, as he begins to experience love, despair and paranoia, over and over... and over again. Read more here.
When I say each character has their own unique quirks, I really mean it. Each character emphasizes a certain personality trait that's very noticeable from the get-go. I found a good portion to be entertaining and comedic, like a certain super hacker, or a scientist who tries (and fails) to hide their knowledge of internet culture. However, others were a bit bland and rehashed, with nothing that really stood them out from other stereotypes. What's nice is that in 24 episodes, they manage to actually give backstory for most (repeat: most) characters on why they act that way, or how they were influenced; they act that way for a reason. Okabe is the selling point here: you'll laugh at his antics, you'll empathize with his situations, you'll drop into despair when he does. Most of the character development, while it does unfold with other characters, you'll see with him and his assistant as the major factor.
I really didn't take notice of the art, as it didn't seem particularly unique, nor distinguishably horrible. That's not to say it's mediocre; what stuck with me the most were the expressions that each character displayed to show their reactions and emotions. When someone cried, you could almost tear up, too; when they were conflicted, you didn't even need dialogue because their thoughts showed on their face. I do wish they kept closer to the VN roots as far as artwork, but I'm particularly happy with what they've done.
Another reason I'm infatuated with this series. While each voice actor did an absolutely commendable job on each of their characters, Okabe's seiyuu takes center stage for having that memorable, maniacal laughter that'll be ringing in your heads every time you hear mention of his name. The dub is done quite well, too, but doesn't really quite catch the original feeling of each character. The opening and ending songs were extremely catchy as well, and by the time you're done watching, you'll definitely have the haunting melody of a certain track inside your head for quite a while.
Special mention to the conclusion, because I haven't been this giddy about the finale of an anime in quite a while. I'm usually left with a bittersweet ending when it comes to most, since I feel like they could have done a bit more with this, a bit less of that, or there's one or two loose ends. Not in here. I won't spoil anything, of course, but there's absolutely no loose ends, and it feels like you've gotten the ending you - and the characters - deserve.
An enticing story, a memorable soundtrack and a distinctive cast makes this sci-fi thriller stand out from the rest.
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