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Steins;Gate 0 – 09 »« Steins;Gate 0 – 07

Steins;Gate 0 – 08

「二律背反のデュアル」 (Niritsuhaihan no Dyuaru)
“Dual of Antinomy: Antinomic Dual”

It’s episodes like this which make me wish I had a better memory.

Steins;Gate is a series which offers a lot of options to the viewer. Truthfully, if one is going to fully embrace the experience they have to encyclopedically understand the mythology and the specifics. And if you’re not a player of the VN, quite frankly that’s a lot more work that I prefer to have to do where the activity is watching anime (or anything else). But there’s always been a level where one could enjoy this series simply by treating it as a conventional drama, too. I distinctly remember feeling that the experience of the original Steins;Gate (which was a genuine cultural phenomenon for anime) was actually more fun for new viewers, because we could enjoy it without having to compare every tiny detail to the VN and try to dissect every event to its molecular level.

We’re at one of those nexus points now – of of those “convergence/divergence” eps that act as lynchpins for an entire season of S;G. I certainly remember enough to understand what I consider the most pertinent point – Okabe is forever faced with an impossible choice. Kurisu or Mayuri – the girl he loves like a sister or the girl he’s in love with. I don’t know what Okabe did to have this burden of the Reading Steiner thrust upon him – if you’re a believer in Buddhist Karma you’d have to assume he did some pretty terrible shit in a past life.

For Okarin, returning to an Alpha timeline is just another cruel reminder that no matter what he does, he can never truly be at peace with the choices he makes – no matter what those choices are. If Amadeus was a painful reminder of what he gave up, a day with the real Makise Kurisu is an even more agonizing one. In this world line Mayuri has died of a heart attack, and Kurisu seems to be the only one who still comes to the lab much. Both Okabe and Daru went off the rails after Mayushi died, but Okabe – blaming himself, as always – far more so. In fact it seems Kurisu installed a GPS tracker just so she could make sure he didn’t try and kill himself (at least that’s how I interpreted the scene in question).

What else do we learn in this brief field trip to Alpha? A brief cutaway to a TV showing “more quakes in Russia” certainly seems relevant. Kurisu confirms that Amadeus exists in this world line too – and more or less confirms that it will have the design for the cell phone microwave (name subject to change) within its memory (which is obviously hugely relevant). And not to be forgotten, Kurisu has rebuilt said device despite Okabe having wrecked it after Mayuri died (much to Daru’s irritation).

Mostly, though – and this ties back into that whole idea about Steins;Gate being best when you don’t dissect it (like gossamer and cartoons) – this episode is about the emotions behind it. The mythology is secondary for me to the elemental existential crisis Okarin suffers every time this happens, and the obvious love he shares with Kurisu. It should be pointed out too that while I’m not normally a fan of a string-driven soundtrack as forward as this episode’s is, it totally works in setting the mood without being too heavy-handed.

Kurisu knows exactly what she’s doing in taking Okarin to Mayushi’s grave – and that’s sad as hell for both of them. It’s a powerful scene, with wonderful close-ups of both faces. For Kurisu, kissing Okabe the way she did is probably a selfish act under the circumstances – but who can blame her? The message they choose to send back in time epitomizes just what a tragic mess this is for all the principals. Always in Steins;Gate, it comes down to to fate – just how hard it is the change one’s fate, and how hard it is to accept it. No matter how he retreats into himself Okabe can never be free of the burden he carries, it seems – and whatever he did in that past life, for the man he is in this one that seems heartbreakingly unfair.

June 1, 2018 at 3:10 pm
11 comments »
  • June 1, 2018 at 4:33 pmyoloalchemist

    https://randomc.net/image/Steins%20Gate/Steins%20Gate%200%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2030.jpg
    Kurisu, you idiot. Right after you asked Okabe to forget all about you, you kiss him?! Don’t you know that kisses get imprinted into the brain’s hippocampus, making them hard to forget?

    I thought Okabe was gonna say something along those lines, as I’m sure he heard it from her before. He might still say it later, but right at that scene it would’ve been a powerful callback. Missed opportunity, but no biggie.

    • June 2, 2018 at 9:29 amtheirs

      The electrocution might help in that regard. Maybe the promise was giving a solution to the problem? XD

  • June 1, 2018 at 7:04 pmboingman

    “It’s episodes like this which make me wish I had a better memory.”

    Yeah, the end of this episode was confusing to me as I didn’t remember that this apparently was a scene that happened in episode 22 of the original series. Will have to give that episode a rewatch.

    • June 3, 2018 at 5:41 pmsealouse

      So did that message even work? How was it supposed to change the world lines exactly? I feel like they left out some explanation for that or something.

      • June 4, 2018 at 3:28 pmShrubbery

        I’ll try to explain. In the first season, Okabe eventually undoes the first D-mail and returns to the beta worldline in this last scene. What I think happened in this version of the alpha worldline he ends up in this episode is that Kurisu rushed in just before Okabe send the D-mail and probably says she loves Okabe, causing him to not send the D-mail. With the D-mail Kurisu sends in this episode, she delays her entry just by a few seconds, just after Okabe sends his D-mail in S1.

        There’s a bit of a paradox here, which I probably shouldn’t be thinking into too much since it involves different worldlines. The Okabe that we know in S2 did send this D-mail and returned to the beta worldline, after which he didn’t succeed to get to the Steins;Gate (as shown in OVA 23-beta). But for that to happen, this episode had to have happened for him to get back to the beta worldline, effectively creating a paradox. But it can probably be explained by his return before S2 being a slightly different timeline than the one we see in this episode.

        I hope what I wrote isn’t too confusing. I certainly blew my brains out when I tried to decipher this right after the episode.

  • June 1, 2018 at 7:20 pmRenaSayers

    How long…it took two season widely years apart to see this scene. A long awaited kiss

    https://randomc.net/image/Steins%20Gate/Steins%20Gate%200%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    • June 1, 2018 at 9:50 pmRiku1186

      They kissed in the original anime

      • June 1, 2018 at 11:22 pmCass

        Yeah… multiple times really, if you count the OVA and movie.

        There were two in the movie, one HEAVILY implied at the end of the OVA, one here, and another in the original series.

  • June 2, 2018 at 9:37 amMagnus Tancred

    Between the heaps of soul-crushing drama, this episode manages to sneak in a few chuckles:

    https://randomc.net/image/Steins%20Gate/Steins%20Gate%200%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    The mention of Hiyajo-san sends Kurisu into a tsun rage, realizing that Maho-senpai might have divulged some embarrassing stories about her. :D

    https://randomc.net/image/Steins%20Gate/Steins%20Gate%200%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2028.jpg
    ~and I’ll stab an electrode into your hippocampus~

    That’s yandere Kurisu territory right there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOFkctKYQWQ

  • June 2, 2018 at 1:22 pmhjerry

    Wow, this one ripped my heart out.

  • June 3, 2018 at 5:45 pmsealouse

    It was quite difficult to watch this. Isn’t it the first time we could see the aftermath of Mayuri’s death and how it affects everyone after a while? Such sadness.

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