Last time on Steins;Gate, our idiotic heroes had finally burnt themselves playing with fire. Their beloved holy ground of Akihabara, transfigured into a mundane city of electronics. I guess there is only so much gross criminal negligence you can engage in before you finally hurt something you love. I suppose it’s part of the Mad Scientist code of ethics, that you must never think of the consequences when tinkering with phenomena beyond your understanding, but even a mad scientist shouldn’t be dumb enough to give their new earth-shattering invention to a girl they hardly know and let them play with it. I mean other than Makise Kurisu. And that quiet chick with the tits whose name I can never remember. And the crossdresser, although he was a dude, but that doesn’t matter, what are you, some sort of misogynist? Anyway the point is this goes beyond mad science; this is practically in the realm of the Open Source Software movement. Let’s see if they manage to establish some form of source control in episode 10 of Steins;Gate.
…thirty minutes pass…
The most ominous freakin' Jell-O cup you'll ever see.
Steins;Gate and Hanasaku Iroha are both continuing through the summer season, thank goodness, and I’m not sure which I actually like better. This episode was great, they’re bringing in more juicy time-travel plot elements to sink our teeth into, but still not neglecting the wonderful slice-of-life stuff like people cooking bad food or messing around with inventions of dubious technological merit. One thing I’m worried about for the future is that Makise Kurisu had character development that moved her pretty far down the sliding scale of tsundere, she’s willing to call Hououin her precious nakama now. Tsunderes are at their most interesting when they are about 75% tsun, in my opinion, and once they slide into majority dere you can pretty much give up on them. On the other hand… what was the event that triggered her character development? It was them being together in the dark after the circuit breaker tripped, right? Why did the circuit breaker trip? It was because they were messing around with the lab’s old Future Gadgets, right? Why were they messing around with the lab’s old Future Gadgets? It was because they were bored when the part-timer warrior didn’t show up, right? No, that’s wrong. It happened while they were cooking the food. Huh. Oh! But in the new rewritten past, Hououin wasn’t even in the same building while they were cooking the food! He was busy playing stalker. (Not playing hit indie Ukrainian first-person-shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but rather, behaving as a stalker in an unserious or halfhearted fashion.) So that character development essentially never happened and everything is wonderful. Hooray!
Maybe not, though. Hououin mentioned near the beginning of the episode that despite the destruction of Akihabara, their interpersonal relationships hadn’t changed. Now, maybe that was a throwaway line to say “yes, the writers recognize that this is absurd, just roll with it”, but maybe that’s a Law of Time Travel. I hope it isn’t, because that means interpersonal relationships are baked into the fundamental laws of physics, but this show started out as a visual novel, so in that sort of world maybe relationships are identifiable physical entities. If so, once Makise Kurisu has accepted Hououin as a nakama, that bond cannot be undone. Well, except through the mundane means of him being seriously unhinged and trying to grope his lab members/haremettes.