「無限遠点のアルタイル」 (Mugen’en-ten no Arutairu)
“Altair of the Point at Infinity: Vega and Altair”
We’re two-thirds of the way through Steins;Gate 0 now, and it’s been an interesting if somewhat frustrating series to follow. It started off pretty great, then frankly hit a long patch which I would have to be feeling charitable to call “inconsistent” – a couple of really good episodes surrounded by a raft of indifferent ones. This week’s ep certainly represented the best one in many weeks, and maybe one of the best handful of the entire sequel. But is it a sign that the show has turned the corner, or is it an aberration?
The divide with “0” seems pretty straightforward to me. The series works when it’s focused on the central plot, and sputters when it meanders down the garden path with side stories – something it’s done far too often. It begs the question – is there simply not enough core material to drive a two-cour series this time around? I haven’t played the VN but it wouldn’t necessarily be out of character for a VN adaptation to bite off more than it can chew and run into that problem. Maybe this show would have been better as one cour – but that’s something we’ll never know for sure.
Fundamentally, Steins;Gate is about the terrible dilemma that pervades everything – the intertwined fates of Mayuri and Kurisu, and what living with that dilemma does to Okabe-san. The new characters have provided a nice freshening up of that central plot (they’ve been one of the strongest parts of Steins;Gate 0 in fact) but those new characters have almost exclusively been tied into the main storyline and not the branches. The best episodes, like this one, have been the ones that embrace the tragedy inherent in the premise unreservedly.
Mayuri’s role in all this is certainly integral, because there’s a tragic element to her relationship with Okabe above and beyond Steins;Gate. She knows she can never be for Okabe what he is for her – and the fact that the woman who was is now gone, and that their lives are in effect a zero-sum equation, makes it all the worse. Yet Mayuri has always supported Okarin unreservedly, to the point where she even suggests that if having sacrificed Kurisu to save her life makes him eternally sad, perhaps he should never have done it.
What we know (and deep-down Mayushi surely does too) is that Okabe could be no less unhappy if he sacrificed Mayuri to save Kurisu. He simply isn’t wired that way, and besides he does love Mayuri – just not in the same way she loves him. What a sad cycle of self-reproach this is – Okabe and Mayuri each living with regret over the choices he’s made. But in addition to that Okarin must also live with the terrible memories of all the times he tried to beat the universe, and failed. That’s why no matter how sad Mayuri’s situation is, I think Okabe’s is ultimately even worse.
That’s why I can’t really blame Okabe for his steadfast opposition to any research into the telephone microwave, or even his violent reaction upon finding out that Daru (at Suzuha’s behest) and Maho have been working on it behind his back. It’s easy for Daru to reproach him and Maho to lecture him, because they haven’t seen what he’s seen or lived (over and over) what he’s lived. Maho may claim she understands, but her frustration at constantly failing to measure up (no pun intended) to Kurisu is in no way an analog to what Okabe has suffered through. Maybe he’s right to be so opposed to what they’re doing and maybe he’s not, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone in his situation would feel any differently.
With Suzuha’s time machine only having one year’s worth of fuel in it and the anniversary of Kurisu’s death coming up, Okabe is almost out of time for self-doubt – if he has any reservations about his staunch position on time travel, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Whatever you think the right answer is, unless Okabe relents Steins;Gate 0 really never gets out of neutral in its final third, so I think we all know where this is eventually headed. As long as it gets their fairly expeditiously and without too many detours up narrative blind alleys, I think the series still has a chance to end how it began – on a very strong note.
The thing with Steins Gate is that everything is part of a overarching plot. Daru/Suzuha fleshed out her character even more and made some of the viewers understand the viewpoint that she has, unlike other VN adaptations which might just chuck her aside like a one-note character. The side stories that you deemed insignificant/distracting? It might lead to consequences when everything ties up together in the final leg.
So far White Fox have been doing an excellent job at adapting the series, even giving us some major anime-only stuff e.g most of episode 8, or some adaptation of Steins Gate’s other minor novels/story that wasn’t in the actual SG0 VN such as Daru’s spin-off mentioning that he used a “moe-moe-kyun” confession.
DistantValhalla, one of the guys that did the translation for the original VN have a pretty decent impressions/write usp on the stuff that White Fox had added. Feel free to check out his Twitter when you feel it’s okay to.
This episode was necessary. Necessary that it came now instead of later. That way, Okabe can finally start working on his resolve and whatever resolve he’ll find to build the time machine with Daru and Maho, there will still be time in the series to show more of the conflict in the story between Okabe and whatever secret organization poor Kagari is mind controlled to work for.
Mayuri though… that was so sad. If even she is having doubts over her decision, then Okabe must really snap out of it now.
I don’t remember Suzuha killing herself?? What is Okabe talking about?
She hanged herself in the original Steins;Gate in one of the World lines after she failed do get the IBN 5100 in the past because she lost her memory.
I remember that being shown in the 1st S;G albeit a passing shot
In the original Steins Gate there was a part where Suzuha decided to time-leap to 1970s for the IBM 5100 computer machine. She managed to time-leap, but she lost her memories and wasn’t able to recall her mission. She lived on peacefully and grew older, but then one day she recalled it all and it was far too late, she was already too old and she can’t do anything else.
All these were mentioned in the letter that Tennouji, Okabe’s landlord handed to him. Elder Suzuha was only able to recall the stuff one year prior to Okabe receiving the letter from Tennouji and was full of despair and regrets.
“I failed. I failed. I failed. I failed……” this kept on repeating in the letter. “I’m sorry”. She died soon after penning the letter, most likely because of suicide reasons due to her despair. Before her death she passed the letter to Tennouji, who then inherited the current building where his shop and the lab is located from her.
This was part of Suzuha’s route in the original VN and I believe the anime adapted it as well. Hope that clears it up
This was shown in the 1st S;G as well
You know, that moment when Maho and Daru panicked over the banana skins on the table, I exactly knew what we were going to have.
Error. Banana is mismatch.
And boy I wasn’t dissappointed. The last time I thoroughly enjoyed a break down scene was Taiga’s rampage in Sumire’s class and Sengoku Nadeko’s outburst in her class. This episode won itself that merit.
The return of the @channeler… I miss Makise Kuristina
“You want a gell banana?! YOU WANT A GELL BANANA!!!??? I’LL GIVE YOU GEL BANANA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I just cannot resist NOT doing that. So many meme worthy screen caps here
Horray! They finally addressed the stupid elephant in the room, Okabe’s suffering and the loss of Krisu! All that pent-up feelings can finally come out like puss festering in a wound.
Okabe has to now choose save Krisu or don’t sacrifice Mayuri. If Okabe chooses Krisu does this mean Mayuri gets to go where her grandma is? Will Okabe get to keep two princess?
Well this is the Okabe that sent the video D-Mail to the Okabe of the first season. That Okabe seemed scarred by loss but was in a good enough place to confidently instruct his past self to pull himself together to save the girl.
Maybe this Okabe will get some sort of ending? 😉