The Time-Trippin' ROSSMAN
I truly hope that you're not a simpleton of Forrest Gump caliber, because I really want you to watch the anime Steins;Gate, but if you can't add 2 and 2 and not get potato then this series will make your brain melt. This is pretty much the epitome of "smart science fiction." Have you ever seen the indy time travel movie Primer? Well, if you haven't you should watch that too, but my point is that this Steins;Gate is essentially an anime version of Primer, but with a lot more intrigue, more chaos, a shit-ton more blood, and oodles more sorting-time-shit-out migraines. It's not for morons.
So, what is Steins;Gate about, you question me like an altar boy asking an archbishop why Jesus would kill his puppy if he didn't make like a circus seal on a set of horns under the holy man's robes? It's about time travel. Really? You had to ask? You couldn't figure that shit out by looking at the title graphic at the top of the page? It features Marty McFuckinFly looking at his goddamn watch. Not only that but I openly told you in the first paragraph that it's about time travel too..... Jesus fucking Christ. Your mother should have just kept on going with that wire hanger, even if you were 10 years-old when she started.
Okay, beyond time travel Steins;Gate is about one lowly student scientist who gathers a few close friends around him while he tinkers with projects he calls "future gadgets" in his small tech lab that he's renting in Akihabara. Rintaro Okabe, nicknamed Okarin by his childhood friend Mayuri, is the self proclaimed "mad scientist" in question, and he's a little nutty (like a baby's diaper after the kid found the jar of Extra Chunky Jif in the pantry and tore into it the day before). He constantly pulls out his cell phone and talks to a make believe secret HQ on it whenever he's confused, nervous, or trying to act like a big shot. You know, the kind of actions that make an anime protagonist quirky and fun, but would make you call the cops after you mace him for 2 minutes straight if you ever met him in the real world.
Anyway, the "Phone-Microwave (name subject to change)" that Okarin is currently working on is a little too souped-up for its own good, and soon the Future Gadgets Lab finds that the device can actually send text messages into the past. This is pretty awesome to be sure, but apparently Okarin and his ever-expanding group of friends have never seen that episode of The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, where Homer learns that by stepping on a mosquito in the past that he turns the future into a dystopia ruled by Ned Flanders. See, as soon as Okarin (well, mostly Mayuri) starts blabbing to people what they have working in the lab, everybody they know wants to send a special message to the past, and each one alters the world in a huge way, with ginormous repercussions for all those involved. These consequences are so huge that bodies actually start piling up. Dead bodies. Mangled dead bodies. Oh, and Okarin is the only person who seems to be able to see when the world changes with each d-mail (what they call their time traveling messaging system) and remember the time he spent in each world before a change is made. Unfortunately this only ends up making him crazier.
Adding to that already sucky trouble is the fact that SERN (the European organization for nuclear research that created the world's largest particle accelerator [for sinister purposes]) is now after Okarin's ass for finding out a bit too much about them, and for figuring out a few science secrets of his own that they don't quite have worked out yet. And on top of all that there's a few time travelers, a redhead who once died (then didn't), and the repeated murder of an innocent girl over and over and over again causing Okarin to blow the last gasket of sanity he had left. The final result though is a pretty cut-ass rugged tale of deception, science, fractured time lines, murder, and insanity. I applaud it. I just haven't had the time yet to sit back and go over again all the changes to the present and the actual jumping of time to make sure it all fits together properly. I mean, I THINK it does, but Christ, I think you could write a full dissertation on every backward or sideways leap and still be confused (and not get a degree from any reputable university, because that would be one goddawful subject to pursue). But a good confused. Though honestly, if the plot of Back to the Future part II boggled your mind, don't even bother with Steins;Gate.
I loved all the characters (even Mayuri, whose low key personality was a little TOO laid back for me [to the point where I thought she had the Downs]), and was very impressed with the twists and turns of the story as it was told. The first half (where the gang tries to figure out the rules and regulations of their new d-mail system) is a bit slow, but nonetheless interesting, but it isn't until around episode 11 or 12 that this thing kicks it into overdrive, and starts swerving to HIT pedestrians. You'll never be bored with it, but it does take a little while for things to get really chaotic. That's all I can really tell you without any major spoilers.
One thing that completely surprised the hell out of me (when I found out about it after finishing this series) was that the same people who wrote the original scenario for Steins;Gate were the same fuck-ups who wrote Chaos;Head. Chaos;Head... A show so shitty that after watching it I completely forgot about it until a friend recommended it to me a year later... And even then it took me 2 full episodes to realize that I had already seen it and hated it. I had blanked it out of my memory so completely. Oh how I hate Chaos;Head. So, remember, Steins;Gate good, Chaos;Head baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Other than that I have to tell you that I really want one of those lab pins. So cool.
BOB FROM THE FUTURE
This is by far the closest any work of 20th or 21st century fiction has come to the reality of actual time travel so far. Well, the movie The Devil Breaks Free to the Year 3000 is by far the best, but that doesn't come out till 2045.
This Steins;Gate though, it is quite eerie how well they prophesied how even if you alter the time line just a little, you end up causing a horrendous and hideous death to the woman you're closest too. I have born witness to my darling Jessifer's brutal raping and savage murder over 3,970 different ways thanks to my duties as a soldier of time. I just blank it out now. It's like I'm watching somebody else's fiancee get disintegrated by a Zorgtron Death Blaster, or eaten by rabid sewer rats found in the bowels of Old New York, or even gang-banged by a group of hipster cyborg douchebags with 3-foot long laser penises before succumbing to massive internal bleeding. Maybe someday, when all my missions are complete Headquarters will allow me to search out one tiny reality where the love of my life hasn't been butchered, or maimed, or sexually traumatized into a bowl of mental pudding. There surely must be at least ONE alternate time stream like that... Surely.
KUNI, the Direct Descendant
Finally something I can sink my big brained teeth into! This animated television show from the island nation of Japan is one of the most intimidating, yet also one of the most titillating pieces of time travel fiction I have ever seen, heard, or read! It is truly a marvel of crisscrossing time paradoxes that caused more mayhem and mischief than I have ever witnessed in a simple televised tale! Oh ho ho! Imagine what another reality's me might be like! What if I sent a text message back in time to my mother's beeper and told her NOT to send me to that specialist at the MRI clinic, and he DIDN'T find that golfball-sized tumor pressing against the back of my brain when I was a small child of 3? Oh, what a dreadful, retarded man I would have grown up to be...