「存在忘却のパンドラ」 (Sonzai Bōkyaku no Pandora)
“Pandora of Forgotten Existence: Sealed Reliquary”

I think we sometimes forget with multi-cour series that a season is still a season. They don’t all do it, and as far as I know Steins;Gate 0 isn’t taking a break so it doesn’t need to, but most series seem to stage an intermediate conclusion at the end of the first cour. To say that there was a sense of that with this episode is understating the case – the feeling of transition was so distinct as to almost seem like finality. We’re certainly transitioning from one phase of the story to another – what exactly that means in an adaptation of a VN that’s not especially linear even by VN standards is not yet clear.

Maybe it was that sense of finality, but on balance I think this episode broke Steins;Gate out of a mild stall it had been in for the last couple of weeks. I think this version has worked best when the sense of pathos has hung heavy in the air, and it certainly did here. And a lot of that surrounded Kurisu’s laptop, which is in the hands of Daru – who turns out to be the trustworthy anonymous expert Maho has hired to hack and analyze it. He’s less surprised than Maho and Okabe are when they walk into the back room of that cosplay shop – Daru had pretty much figured out who his client was as soon as he saw whose computer he was given.

Someone is being tracked here, and my guess is it’s Maho, and that some sort of tracking device was planted on her when Prof. Reyes saw her in Akiba (I’m too lazy to check, but I seem to remember there being a hug involved). That doesn’t make complete sense (obviously Maho has changed her clothes since then, and she doesn’t seem to regularly carry a purse or bag), but it’s being strongly hinted that Reyes is the Celty lookalike who keeps raiding Okabe’s hideouts (though Yuki is also being implicated by inference, I think that’s a feint).

I’m also not 100% sure why the Russians – if indeed that’s who it was – would destroy Kurisu’s laptop rather than take it after ambushing whoever it was that ambushed team Okarin at the cosplay shop. Even if it had already been severely damaged by their gunfire, you’d think they’d grab everything they could find rather than blast it into even tinier bits. In any event that laptop is at the center of pretty much all the drama here – both in terms of plot implications and what it means to Maho. The complicated nature of her feelings for it reflect the complicated nature of her feelings for its former owner.

Okarin is certainly the tragic figure of “Zero”, but one can’t help but feel badly for Maho too. Just like Okabe, she’s a prisoner of Kurisu’s memory – both of them have so much unfinished business with her. The Salieri metaphor is an apt one, because it’s clear that Maho considers herself a hack scientist compared to her old friend. But Maho takes it so literally that one wonders if she – unintentionally or intentionally – may have had an indirect (or even direct) role on Kurisu’s death. Her obsession with Salieri and her overall bearing suggest there’s something more specific and concrete involved in her feelings about Kurisu’s death than simply the regret at losing someone she cared deeply for.

Professor Leskinen and Maho are heading back to America, certainly – and so is Judy Reyes, for that matter. But are they really out of the picture for a while? Maho has been one of the best things Steins;Gate 0 has brought to the mythology, and her absence (and that of Leskinen, too) would leave quite a gap in the narrative. But one gets the idea that this series is ready to enter a new phase, and with the two most important new characters shuffled to the side for now, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that might herald a return to something more like the original Steins;Gate in terms of style and substance.


  1. Kurisu’s father is seeking asylum in Russia with the ‘real’ Kurisu’s paper with him. Russians already known the theory to build time machine. They have been testing it (as shown it past ep.)so they don’t want to let anyone else have the same knowledge.

    1. Exactly. Guardian Enzo seems to have missed that, since:

      I’m also not 100% sure why the Russians – if indeed that’s who it was – would destroy Kurisu’s laptop rather than take it after ambushing whoever it was that ambushed team Okarin at the cosplay shop. Even if it had already been severely damaged by their gunfire, you’d think they’d grab everything they could find rather than blast it into even tinier bits.

      Magnus Tancred
    2. That makes sense, sure… But wouldn’t you want that laptop since it’s right there for the taking – just in case there’s something on there you haven’t seen? Why destroy it when you’ve already routed the enemy?

      1. I think it’s safer and faster to destroy the laptop, as they can lose a guy or two just trying to retrieve it. I do wonder why none of them had suppressed/silenced weapons though.

        Magnus Tancred
    3. @enzo hmm i think the russians wanted that laptop too, but seeing that they lose the iniative to the “stratfor?”

      The russian rush out then made an ambush by using the van but they incidentally shot the laptop.

  2. I keep wondering, when Okabe finally achieved the Steins; Gate world line at the end of the original Steins; Gate anime, and then we had one OVA and even a movie set afterwards, why wasn’t Maho in any of those? She certainly cared for Kurisu very much, and she doesn’t mind making new friends according to this season. She’s not a time traveller like Suzuha and Kagari, so that’s no excuse for her absence. Did Kurisu just forget to invite her over for the gatherings? Is that one of those weird effects of hopping between different world lines? Or is it just as simple as maybe Maho as a character wasn’t conceived by the authors by the time those 2 works were released?

    1. Probably because Steins;Gate was so tightly focused on the “core” group of characters and to introduce a new one as the story was about to wrap would have been a bit difficult.

      1. She also appears briefly in the Episode 23(β) divergence episode in a cameo role. It was an alternate ending meant to link the first season to the Steins;Gate 0 anime. It was more a blink and you’l miss it scene though lol.

    2. The movie came out on 2013 while SG 0 VN came out on 2015, so White Fox won’t be factoring any of the new characters into the movie plot. Then again, the movie isn’t canon so don’t think too much into it anyway.

  3. I’m 90% certain that Ms. Reyes is the one that took Maho hostage, but there’s something fishy with the cosplay trio.
    It’s the second time she got an injury when the girl in black got injured. Then there is the situation when one of the other members of the trio passed out at the same time as Okabe. If a similar situation happened to the third member, I’ll be keeping an eye on them. Doesn’t help that they hardly showed up during the original series. Always thought that Daru’s future wife will show up much later in the future.

    For a moment I thought it was a feint for one of the cast members, but I don’t think it’s in Okabe’s character to suspect her. Even if she heard about it, there’s no way that Suzuha will suspect her own mother. Hard to think of anyone else taking notice for that matter.

  4. If Okabe really is set on letting Kurisu stay dead he should consider starting a relationship with someone else and move one, unless it’s just simply too early for something like that. There’s just so many possible candidates.


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