Ah yes, time travel. If being lost in the timeline is the quintessential element of a sci-fi series, then any watch order is certainly bound to potentially confuse people without a context, and maybe even without a guide.
That being said, this isn’t Suzumiya Haruhi. The original writers of the visual novel and the anime adaptation never really pulled a 180 on episodic progression. So long as you see the correct number in an episode, the Steins;Gate watch order you are currently following is correct.
Again, traveling between timelines in Steins;Gate will mostly be a rails-on shooter game thing. There’s tons of stuff to see and do, but you only need to move the numbers forward. Well, you do need to remember the relative “area” of episodes whenever some point in time is presented, but the context will do very well to keep you guided much later on.
1. Chronological order
A bit of a weird term to use here, in this specific series. Because as a time travel series, being chronological is pretty much relative. The first timeline by itself, is complete. As in, the story progresses and wraps up pretty nicely without any outside information. The second timeline is effectively an “expanded version”, where we touch upon additional stories that serve to overcomplicate the plot might help explain other things in the series.
Steins;Gate (All 24 Episodes)
Egoistic Poriomania (OVA)
Steins;Gate the Movie: Load Region of Déjà vu
Steins;Gate (Episodes 1-22)
Kyoukaimenjou no Missing Link – Divide by Zero (Special)
Steins;Gate 0 (All 23 Episodes)
Valentine’s of Crystal Polymorphism – Bittersweet Intermedio (OVA)
Steins;Gate (Episodes 23-24)
Egoistic Poriomania (OVA)
Steins;Gate the Movie: Load Region of Déjà vu (film)
2. Release date order
Nothing too complicated matching up the year numbers. With the obvious exception, of course, of the feature-length film. While officially released in 2013, it is the final piece of both stories, a sort of long epilogue from the perspective of another character.
By the way, there were also other promotional shorts released in between these primary titles. You can safely ignore them, even if they have hints of being somehow related to the story.
Egoistic Poriomania (2012)
Steins;Gate the Movie: Load Region of Déjà vu (2013)
Kyoukaimenjou no Missing Link – Divide by Zero (2015)
Steins;Gate 0 (2018)
Valentine’s of Crystal Polymorphism – Bittersweet Intermedio (2018)
Plot of Steins;Gate
Okabe Rintarou is a college student with a somewhat weird quirk. He essentially has the chuunibyou syndrome, imagining himself as a mad scientist, thinking of his best friend Daru as his brilliant assistant, and being paranoid about some secret organization exclusively in his mind. He lives his carefree days in his apartment which he aptly calls The Lab.
One day, however, after sitting out on a spacetime physics lecture by some “dude” at the Radio Kaikan building with his childhood friend Mayuri, he witnesses something. A pool of blood, the dead body of a woman. And a strange, eerie, bloodcurdling scream. With the sight of it turning his stomach inside out, he rushes out of the building.
And then, the entire street in front of the building just goes silent. What happened? People suddenly remember different things than what you previously know. There’s also this mysterious thing that looks like a crashed satellite at the top of the building, which wasn’t there before.
Most bizarrely of all, the dead body that was supposed to be there, is alive right in front of Okabe later that day…
El Psy Congroo
Cleverly dropped information related to the mechanics of time travel itself. The fun in unraveling stories with such elements is in connecting the possible dots. Not the events we already saw. But events that are to unfold and diverge. Be warned, though. The build-up can feel very, very slow. Like, the anime adaptation essentially violates all rules of making a strong impression by the first few rounds.
But if you can get to that point, and you happen to dig sci-fi, then you’re in for a very wild rollercoaster sequence of events. Until at least to the point where you think that the story has already nicely wrapped up that it doesn’t need more stories any further.
Science fiction not exactly to your liking? Then you may want to check out our best isekai anime list instead!