Steins;Gate Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Price: $12.99
Creator: Yomi Sarachi
Format: 178 pgs., B&W, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9279-2550-8
Age Rating: 16+
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Widely considered one of the best sci-fi stories of the last few years, the manga adaptation of Steins;Gate has finally made it to this side of the Pacific thanks to Udon Entertainment.

In this series, a mad teenage scientist discovers a way to send text messages to the past using an old microwave and a cell phone which basically gives him free reign to change the past however he sees fit.  Unfortunately this leads to unexpected consequences and eventually gets the attention of people who want to do him and his lab members harm. How will he navigate the nightmare that he's created?

I personally got into the Steins;Gate universe pretty late but once I saw the anime based off the original visual novel I was hooked.  Sadly this first manga volume is a fairly pale imitation of the original work.

The biggest problem that this volume faces is that the artwork tries too hard to be cute in an effort to add humor to what is supposed to be a fairly dark series.  While there are moments of comedy throughout the story, this is a sci-fi drama at its core and should've been treated as such by the artist.

On the plus side, Steins;Gate works as a sci-fi story because it doesn't bog itself down with tons of jargon and science that the average person wouldn't understand.  While the basic principles of the time machine are explained, the specifics are still being figured out which makes this story much more accessible to people who have a hard time with science lingo.

While not perfect, this is still a solid story for fans of the genre.  It moves at a very steady pace and ends on a fantastic cliffhanger which will make fans want to pick up the second volume and keep reading to find out what happens next.

--L.B. Bryant