OP2: OP: “Fatima (ファティマ)” by Kanako Itou
「弾性限界のリコグナイズ」 (Dansei Genkai no Rikogunaizu”)
“Recognition of the Elasic Limit: Presage or Recognize”
Steins;Gate 0 returns after an inter-seasonal break. And as with Boku no Hero Academia, I feel as if it was a show that needed one, albeit for very different reasons. There, it was a matter of just coming off an incredibly intense arc and conclusion and needing a little recharge. Here, we have a series that was really stumbling in my opinion – after a very solid start, Steins;Gate 0 seemed to be rather adrift. A hiatus week isn’t going to do anything to change that in itself of course, but it does help one approach the next episode in more of an open frame of mind.
Happily, we did indeed get a fresh start here. If not a masterpiece of an episode, this was at least a recovery – and it’s no coincidence that it came with the swapping out of Kagari (mostly) for the “new” cast. Maho, Amadeus and Leskinen have been missed – there’s something quite tired about the returning characters without their presence (some of them comes from how mopey Okabe has become, justified though it may be). When Okarin narrated that Kagari had been missing for several months, my first thought was that it couldn’t have come a moment sooner.
Maho was always destined to return to prominence in “0”, seems to me, and that very much seems to be the case. Suzuha has pretty much convinced Daru that they can no longer wait for Rintarou to return to the fold and drop his resistance to any time travel device – but Daru is pretty clear that he can’t get all the way there with the phone microwave on his own. Maho represents the living link to the person that made it all possible the first time – and even if she is Salieri, no one knew (movie) Mozart’s genius in the professional sense better than (movie) Salieri.
It’s really going to sting when Leskinen’s treachery (maybe he’s even “the professor” that Suzu refers to as torturing her comrades) inevitably comes out, because he’s a lot of fun as a character. In fact he injects some of the same goofy exuberance that Kyouma Houoin did in the original series. He keeps turning up like a bad penny and being suspicious, though – like at the hospital, arguing with the administrator about private rooms. He’s a good actor, and maybe his joviality and Japanophile routine isn’t all an act – but he’s hiding who he really is and what he really wants for sure.
Suzuha, meanwhile, is the one who finally finds Kagari – when she realizes someone is staking out her apartment and lays a trap. That person turns out to be Kagari, but Suzu is no doubt right that this Celty is different from the one who attacked Team Okabe the first time. The “voice of God” is almost certainly her brainwasher, whether that be Leskinen or not, but she seems to be fully under their sway. This just convinces Suzuha – and Daru – that much more urgently that Maho needs to be brought on board. I’m sincerely glad she finally relented, and the story should take another uptick with her return to Japan – she’s been missed.
ED3: 「World Line」by (Asami Imai)