「軌道秩序のエクリプス」 (Kidōchitsujo no Ekuripusu)
“Eclipse of Orbital Ordering: The Orbital Eclipse””
Suspicious people gonna suspicious.
I must confess, watching Steins;Gate 0 I feel for Okabe Rintarou in a way I never quite did before. Don’t get me wrong – he’s always been a great protagonist. His charisma – fueled by Miyano Mamoru’s sizzling performance – has always been the spine of Steins;Gate. He’s a fascinating and likeable character who seems quite up the challenge of carrying this story whatever it throws at him.
Things are quite different with Rintarou in “0”, though, even as the series as a whole grows more and more to resemble its predecessor. The overarching sense of the narrative is of the past hunting Okabe down relentlessly, its tendrils reaching out to grab him by the ankles and pull him down into his personal Hell. This Okabe is a changed man from the one we knew – more sober, more restrained, far more cautious. There’s not much of Hououin Kyouma left in this Okabe Rintarou, and that’s when he could still try and convince himself that he’d left world lines and reading Steiner’s behind forever.
Part of that torture is Kagari of course. It’s not enough that talking to Amadeus is like talking to a ghost – now in Kagari, Okarin has to share the lab with a living and breathing reminder of what once was. It’s still to be determined just exactly what connection Kagari might have to Kurisu (her amnesia conveniently keeps that and other things about her a mystery), but Steins;Gate is not big on coincidences (that may be one of the biggest understatements I’ve ever written). Sadly for Okabe, Kagari’s appearance could be a coincidence and her presence would still be a dagger in the heart.
It’s a sure-fire sign that the hidden world is closing in that Okarin is having strange visions, after-images of other timelines. And all the characters we know to be suspicious (and some we didn’t) are acting suspiciously. Tennouji has “something he needs to do” on New Years, and sees strange figures lurking in alleys. Moeka is, well- Moeka. Even Leskinen and Judy Reyes are giving us strong reason to believe they’re up to no good – it’s possible the lingering camera shots of Reyes this week may be a diversion, but that seems less likely than the alternative giving this series’ proclivities.
We’re at the point in Steins;Gate 0 now where the illusion of safety around Rintarou is starting to crumble piece by piece, and it’t not pretty. When Maho takes a call from Amadeus at the New Year’s party, the cat is out of the bag as far as that secret is concerned. But there are much more immediate problems to worry about – uninvited guests are coming, preceded by a telltale malfunctioning of mechanical devices. It wouldn’t be a huge leap to take a guess at who they work for, and only a slightly bigger one at who might be in cahoots with them. But the most interesting question of the moment for me is just how well Okabe is going to be able to keep it together – because, as usual, it looks like everything is going to depend on the poor guy.