Steins;Gate – 16

The theorizing and postulating and guessing and spoiling is going to be gangbusters after this episode – it’ll happen in blog comments and forums and everywhere Steins:Gate is sold. I’m not going to ignore it by any means, but the main point I want to get across here is this – that was an absolutely fantastic and emotionally powerful episode.

I liked Suzuha right from the first moment we met her, but she steadily grew on me all through her time in the series until by the end (for me) she was one of my favorite characters. It was hard saying goodbye, and the scenes leading up to her departure were some of the best in any series I’ve seen this year, never mind just this one. It’s only fitting that it was Mayushi who put it all together – like I said last week what she lacks in book smarts she makes up in perception. Ironic that the badge that proved the first big clue, even though Daru thought he was only doing it as a kind deception. It was the name of the time machine that gave it away, which was a pretty clever bit of deduction by our Maysuhi.

The fact that this seemed like a strong possibility didn’t take away from the emotional power of the reveal. It’s a testament to how much we’ve come to care about these characters that the hug between Daru and his daughter-to-be was such an emotional crescendo. But from that heart-warming moment, the series took a dark turn. Rather than coming to meet the lab members in 2010 as a 54 year-old, she sent a heartbreaking letter – posthumously, through her old friend Mr. Braun. And not only had she died, she’d died a suicide – condemning herself for failing in her mission to change the past. This physical time travel is tricky, as it turns out – it’s a one-way ticket, for starters, and when Suzuha awoke in 1975 she lost all her memories for the next 24 years.

What happens after that is the subject of much uncertainty. Okarin apparently sends a D-mail to warn Suzuha to go straight to the past after the time travel forum rather than let Okarin delay her, thus getting her to the machine before it’s damaged by rain. This clearly has an impact, as Mayushi is no longer killed at the lab and Suzuha – while still deceased – died of an illness rather than suicide. But just what changed, and by how much? The fact that Suzuha was still dead implies she – like Mayushi – was “fated” to die in that time stream, and things didn’t change enough to from an “A” to a “B” line. Indeed, the divergence meter has increased, but is still less than 1. Apparently, she didn’t leave a letter for Okarin either. Does that mean she never regained her memories at all? If so, how did things change enough so that Mayushi survived? And most ominously, Makise was conspicuously absent when Okarin raced back to the lab.

My theory on that is this – I think somehow, by sending that D-mail, Okarin reverted things back to the original Alpha timeline – the one where Makise died in episode one, but Mayushi isn’t fated to die. And Suzuha, in that line, is destined to die in 2001. But honestly, that’s just a guess, and there are better guessers than me out there.

What’s more interesting to discuss, for me, is just how great this show is at developing these characters. Their reactions to the news of Suzuha’s death were heartbreaking – and a reminder that all of them are still basically kids, no matter how smart they are. Okarin looked like an 18 year-old for the first time in the series to me. And what must it be like for him to be the only one who carries all these memories with him – the only one who will even recall the time they spent with Suzuha and, potentially, Makise? That’s the sort of thing that could eventually drive a good man mad – not many could cope with that kind of loneliness.



  1. M

    "Does that mean she never regained her memories at all?"
    AFAIK, the second time she time traveled she didn't lose them. The reason she lost her memories the first time is because the storm damaged the machine and the repair job was imperfect.
    As to why she didn't leave a note, my guess is she probably didn't feel the need to report a success, since if she had succeeded it would become obvious (and on a personal level, she wasn't as close to the cast since she left early).

    Just like you, I think Kurisu might be dead in this timeline. Her absence at the end of the episode and in the preview is unsettling. The first episode proved there is no need to switch between alpha/beta to save one life (a misconception I've seen a lot, the divergence number didn't reach 1% that time). This doesn't mean the information Suzuha provided is false, only incomplete.

    I hope this isn't leading to a scenario where the only way to reach timeline beta is for Okabe to sacrifice himself, since his death would probably have the biggest impact.

  2. Indeed, I was having a chat with Divine at RC last night and I suggested that if the theory that Makise is dead is correct, there are 4 possibilities for the ending – and one of them is for Okarin to sacrifice himself as the only way to say both girls.

    What you're saying about Suzuha makes sense – she wasn't as close to the lab in the timeline after the D-mail, so she saw no need to leave a note.

  3. l

    Arrgh, this is so sad. Seeing how suzuha will be forgotten or the event of getting close never even occur in the first place. It seem to me there will be a bad end one way or another. Getting an all good end seem like a pipe dream now. Not only that somehow i get the feeling that the world is going to be very peaceful if okarin was never born( just like the show butterfly effect). Frankly I hope that will never happen.

    Immediately I type the above, did I only read the comment on top of me. Somehow we all seem to get to this same conclusion. haha. Anyway I thought it somehow weird that time traveling(including how okarin get back to time) does not change the divergence number but sending D-mail change. I mean if somehow the D-mail influence the past character to act differently, then wouldn't sending someone back will drastically change the past. As weird as it sound, it seem that sending D-mail will trigger time shift. While going back to time will only trigger paradox, meaning whatever must happen will happen(e.g death, bomb , etc)

    @Everyone else

    To those that read the wiki or played the game itself, could you please not put any sort of spoiler at all.Not even hint like something(oh you think this is bad, then you in for a surprise). That is how I figure out Mayuri will die without reading the spoiler, the mood of the writing gave it off.

    As you all know, as much as hard working Enzo is he just can't add a spoiler feature that the blogger doesn't even have. Seeing how the lack of spoiler tag, it will be considerate of you to not put it in the comment.Other people and I frequently check this blog,and if somehow something is spoiled(well it just less fun).It fine to speculate if you didn't know anything.

    Final note: Tutturu!! , I missed that.

  4. If the theory that as of now, it's either/or with Makise and Mayushi is true, I see four possible endings here, based on S:G as a "Rebirth" plot (see "The Seven Basic Plots in all of Literature"):

    1. Good End. Okarin figures out how to take the good bits from different timelines and combine them into one, without taking the bad.
    2. Either Mayushi or Makise sacrifices themselves to spare the other.
    3. Okarin finds a way to save both, but only by sacrificing himself.
    4. They can both be spared, but only with catastrophic consequences for the universe.

    The way I see it, Okarin is going to be forced to make an impossible choice as a "toll" for being arrogant enough to mess with time. That's what makes sense from a classic literary structure, anyway.

  5. l

    I just search the net trying to find The Seven Basic Plots in all of Literature. While there are many different type of result back from the search engine. I believe the one Enzo talking about will be this.

    1. Overcoming the monster — defeating some force which threatens…
    e.g. most Hollywood movies; Star Wars, James Bond.

    2. The Quest — typically a group setoff in search of something and
    (usually) find it. e.g. Watership Down, Pilgrim's Progress.

    3. Journey and Return — the hero journeys away from home to somewhere
    different and finally comes back having experienced something and
    maybe changed for the better. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels.

    4. Comedy – not neccesarily a funny plot. Some kind of
    misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart
    which is resolved towards the end bringing them back together. e.g.
    Bridget Jones Diary, War and Peace.

    5. Tragedy – Someone is tempted in some way, vanity, greed etc and
    becomes increasingly desperate or trapped by their actions until at a
    climax they usually die. Unless it's a Hollywood movie, when they
    escape to a happy ending. e.g. Devils' Advocate, Hamlet.

    6. Rebirth – hero is captured or oppressed and seems to be in a state
    of living death until it seems all is lost when miraculously they are
    freed. e.g. Snow White.

    7. Rags to Riches – self explanatory really. e.g. Cinderella &
    derivatives (all 27,000 of them)!!!


    Hope this will ease reader the troublesome task of searching it. :)

  6. That's the basic idea, thanks Ikaze. The book this is all based on is this one:

  7. M

    If there's something Steins;Gate hasn't been doing enough of, it's showing the true age of these people – even when Mayuri died, Rintarou still (tried to) put up a strong exterior. Suzuha's death just made them all collapse.

    You keep on hitting all the right points :v

  8. Thanks, Mushy! Looking forward to 17 this evening.

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