「永劫回帰のパンドラ」 (Eigu Kaiki no Pandora)
“Pandora of Eternal Return: Pandora’s Box”

After last week’s relative blockbuster of an episode, this time Steins;Gate 0 is clearly in transition mode. That’s often the case with plot-heavy suspense series anyway, but especially so with ones adapted from VNs. In a sense they often remind of riding in a stick shift car when a gear change doesn’t quite go seamlessly – you can feel the “clunk” as the transmission signals its displeasure. But hey, you can’t drive around the neighborhood in 5th…

By all appearances, Okabe seems to have woken up in a worldline unchanged from the one he left before his latest Reading Steiner experience. I wouldn’t swear to that, because in this series the changes can be subtle – but Mayuri is alive, Amadeus is on his phone, the lab has been attacked in recent days. We also continue to see background mentions of earthquakes in Russia, with the media now speculating that it’s nuclear testing but that’s not going to turn out to the case. Also of note is that Feyris’ friend Nakase – who’s a side character if ever there was one – is in the same hospital Rintarou awakes in, supposedly suffering from a mysterious “new encephalitis”. And she seems to have been dreaming of the world line Okabe just visited – which is a bit of an unexpected twist.

Suzuha is not all happy about what’s happened, taking it as a sign that either the Russians or the Americans are getting close in their attempts to complete a time machine. In the real world of course it’s hard to imagine the Americans and Russians in any sort of adversarial situation as things stand, but the Moscovian Candidate wasn’t a thing when this series was released as a visual novel so I won’t hold that against it for realism points. I do, however, struggle a bit with Suzuha pulling a gun on Okarin and trying to coerce him into returning to July 28 – and then shooting it, grazing his cheek. I get her despair and desperation, but that seemed like a bit of a reach to me.

In any event Okabe has obviously decided that he no longer has the luxury of pretending his old life never happened and playing the good normie student. With the lab clearly under threat and reason to suspect very powerful forces are behind it, the safety of those in a position to know too much is paramount – Kagari and Maho (who Okarin stashes at Feyris’ luxury pad for now) primarily. He then seeks our Mr. Braun for some help in figuring out who might be behind it – and while Braun regurgitates a bunch of acronyms like DURPA it’s pretty clear some sort of shadowy secret organization (probably American) is behind all this.

Despite Suzuha’s unhinged behavior she is basically right – the clock is ticking if there’s anything to be done to forestall the terrible future she’s come back to prevent. The superpowers are closing in on success, the battery on her own time machine is on its last legs, and sinister forces know there’s useful information tying these characters together. The problem, however, is as Okarin says – it’s not so easy to change worldlines, and the change you do manage to foment may not be for the better. The universe doesn’t like to be manipulated, and when things change there’s always a price to be paid. Okabe knows that better than anyone, and no gun pointed at his face is going to make him forget it.


  1. I LOL’d at DURPA. It’s obviously a play on DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), just like SERN (CERN). The Americans are trying to find a copy of Kurisu’s time travel theory so that they won’t fall behind the Russians. Amadeus and Maho are obvious targets.

    The imaginary Kurisu helping out Okabe reminds me of Psycho Pass 2, where “Kougami” shows up.

    I do wonder why Maho doesn’t mention the laptop (with Kurisu’s username) to Okabe. The earlier episodes also show her trying to log in (by guessing passwords) and failing.

    Magnus Tancred
  2. I don`t believe in this geek. He`s the first man to travel through time god knows how many times, he challenges and conquers doom itself, and now all of a sudden he`s a pool of piss on the floor. What is his run in the original series if not a tribute to perseverance? What is his final choice if not a sad triumph?

    0 in face of this struggle is just gay.

    1. I know you’re just a troll but have you even watched the show before? Okabe has been faced with nothing but tragedy and painful choices since messing with time. It would effect anyone to go through the same stuff he has.

  3. I mean the only reason he persevere in the original show was because the Okabe of this timeline told him how to save Kurisu, otherwise he would have been in a “pool of piss” after killing the woman he loved the most

  4. When exactly will time run out? It’s already established that the Okabe in 10+ years will come up with a plan and develop Suzuha’s time machine. I always thought that this time line will lead to that Okabe. But it then begs the queation on what happens to the current Suzuha? At least from what we’ve seen so far, we know that Amadeus can aid them in developing Suzuha’s time machine from the Phone Microwave.

    Can’t help but notice they have LINE stickers of themselves. Never new Moeka had some drawing skills. Hard to imagine someone else making one, since she’s such an incognito person.

      1. I mean, how could there be a Houoin Kyouma sticker if in this timeline Moeka and Okabe only met recently for the first time?

        BTW I just noticed that one of the stickers is that frog mascot from Chaos;Head. :O

        Magnus Tancred

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