A thoughtful response to current anime.

Steins;Gate – Episode 13

Last episode on Steins;Gate, things had just gone completely to hell, marking a brutal transition out of the earlier happy-go-lucky slice of life section of the show.  The worst part is that because of Okabe’s cursed eye Reading Steiner, he’ll never be able to forget seeing her die, even if he manages to make it unhappen.  I wonder if Reading Steiner works by time-leap? It detects something going back in time, sneaks Okabe’s brain-pattern into the black hole with it, then once it gets to the new timeline sends the brain pattern forward into new Okabe’s head?  That would mean Okabe would have had to have had a chip or something implanted in his brain the time he got sick.  That’s entirely possible, though.  He wouldn’t necessarily remember it, his memories could have been overwritten.  It would require more advanced technology than they currently have, but with time travel “current” is not really something you can rely on.  It means time travel has to be detectable, but we know it’s detectable, because Okabe can detect it.  It would have to have been around 17 years ago to get the transmission from the crossdresser, but time travel makes this again not an issue.  The only question is motive, and I think we’ll have to get a lot further than episode 13 of Steins;Gate before they’ll tell us that.

…thirty minutes pass…

She's making excuses for not wanting to walk into the deathtrap? She's in on the conspiracy. Or maybe it's her father, he had an old computer for no good reason that one time.

Ok, the first time it happened, it was a tragedy.  By the third time, it has started to get a little farcical.  I think there was a movie, Final Destination?  About a person, or group of people, who were fated to die and so more and more contrived incidents would keep occurring to try to kill them.  It looked bad and got bad reviews and wasn’t anime so I didn’t watch it.  I guess Steins;Gate has that last characteristic on it, but I really hope this does not turn into thirteen straight episodes of the same three hours where Okabe tries and fails to keep his girlfriend from walking off cliffs.  There was that line in the ED about how you can’t fight predestination, that’s a little worrisome.

So what’s going on here?  I see six main possibilities.  1: That thing they mentioned about how their relationships stayed the same across divergent timelines is actually a law of physics.  Since his relationship was forcibly severed in one timeline, he can’t keep it from being severed no matter how many new timelines he creates.  2: That thing they mentioned about how their relationships stayed the same across divergent timelines is a side effect of Reading Steiner, whatever that is, and so the reason Okabe can’t save her is that he keeps going back in time himself.  If he can figure out who besides him is definitely pro-town, he can send them back to rescue her and everything will be copacetic.  3: It’s a coincidence.  Sometimes people just walk off cliffs, especially when you distract them by acting weird.  Twice in rapid succession is a little implausible, but not outside the realm of possibility.  4: It’s a conspiracy.  The conspiracy, for some reason, needs Mayushii dead, and so even when you change the initial conditions, they still act to bring about her death, just as a thermostat acts to bring about 72 F no matter the starting temperature.  This hypothesis has the downside of requiring Mr. Braun’s daughter to be in on the conspiracy.  Which would explain that scene with her earlier, but seems otherwise implausible. 5: It’s a conspiracy.  The conspiracy, for some reason, needs Okabe to keep going back in time over and over again.  Mayushii is in on the conspiracy, and knows that her death will prompt him to do so, so she arranges to die, knowing that she won’t stay dead.  I dunno that Mayushii makes a much more plausible conspirator than Mr. Braun’s daughter, though. 6: Mayushii is suicidal.  She was mentioning earlier (in a different timeline) how she felt she didn’t need to be Okabe’s hostage anymore.  Now with the flashback in this episode, we see that being Okabe’s hostage was the only thing tying her to this earth.  The suicidal will naturally have a higher rate of walking off cliffs than the general population!  I don’t think her first death makes sense as a suicide, though, so it would be a little coincidental.

Clearly Okabe needs to start actually enlisting some allies here, instead of just saying “run for your lives, I can’t say why”.  Maybe he doesn’t think he can trust these people, and maybe he can’t, but given that the part-time warrior rescued him, and Makise Kurisu gave her life to send him back in time, they’d have to be playing a pretty deep game.  Which is consistent with option 5, but option 5 is ridiculous.  And if option 2 is correct, he straight-up flat-out needs someone’s help.  And Makise Kurisu is smarter than he is, and the part-time warrior is both better-informed and better armed.  It seems like three heads should be better than one.


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