A thoughtful response to current anime.

Steins;Gate – Episode 14

Last time on Steins;Gate our hero found himself locked in an infinitely recurring tragedy.  OK, it only recurred three times that we saw, but everyone knows there are only three numbers: zero, one, and infinity.  Or, I guess, everyone knows there are only infinity numbers, because three isn’t a number.  Well played, mathematics.  The point is that Okabe has been having a real tough time saving his girlfriend’s life and it’s not immediately apparent why.  Presumably we will find out in episode 14 of Steins;Gate.

…thirty minutes pass…

Take up smoking, or get a tattoo or something. That'll show her.

Well, I was right that he only started making progress when he finally broke down and asked for help from people more competent than him.  Friends are important, guys!  The mechanics of Mayuri’s repeated death weren’t in my list, though, as near as I can tell.  Unless John Titor is playing some deep game and lying about how time travel works, but I doubt it. In my defense, the show’s reasoning is really dumb.  Maybe I should have expected that, it’s time travel science fiction, after all.  But really, it’s not totally unreasonable to require a change of a certain size, or a change at a particular time, to change the future.  I can buy that.  But we already know this isn’t the case!  People have changed the future all over!  The crossdressing dude is a chick now!  Akihabara is the Electric City!  The store had Dr Pepper in stock that one time!  So I guess what he really meant is not that you can’t change the future, but that you can’t change the fate of people’s relationships, like how Akihabara’s destruction didn’t keep them from meeting Feyris.  That’s scientifically unreasonable (it gives primacy of place to interpersonal relationships, that’s not how any other law of physics works), and it also seems exploitable.  Make some significant change in an interpersonal relationship, go back in time to before it occurred, and put a dynamo crank in the way of the significant change.  Watch as fate moves heaven and earth to turn that crank, and enjoy your free energy.  Problem?

Makise Kurisu died, in episode 1.  Now she’s alive.  Deaths can only be undone in very specific ways.  Ergo, one of these specific ways must have occurred.  Did John Titor travel from the future specifically to save her life?  If so, why did she spend like eight episodes glaring at her and calling her a CERN spy?  Seriously, what is John Titor’s deal?  There was the thing where she was gonna meet her dad, and then he didn’t show up and she got sad and disappeared and Okabe sent a note into the past to go stalk her and then… scene missing… and then she wasn’t sad or disappeared.  Doesn’t that count as changing interpersonal relationships?  That time message didn’t seem to meet the requirements.  Maybe a plot hole, but given how mysterious everything about John Titor is, and given that we never actually saw what happened, maybe not.  Maybe they got in a real time machine during the missing time and fulfilled the conditions to jump between timelines.


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