Steins;Gate – 20

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[HorribleSubs] Steins;Gate - 20 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.14_[2011.08.16_15.16.11] [HorribleSubs] Steins;Gate - 20 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.13_[2011.08.16_15.17.10] [HorribleSubs] Steins;Gate - 20 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.14_[2011.08.16_15.18.12]

I’m going to resist the urge for a general “I told you so” because I’m sure that by tomorrow, the combination of microanalysis and thoughtless spoilers will have found 20 things wrong in the next few paragraphs. But for now, it feels good to know that we’ve finally reached the point I’ve felt this series has been building towards – a choice of timelines between Kurisu and Mayushi. I’m tempted as ask, “If we could see it why couldn’t Okarin?” But it’s a lot easier to figure that kind of thing out when you’re outside the maze, looking down on the rats scurrying inside.

For that matter, I also wonder why it never occurred to Okarin – not even when he saw him pick up the IBN 5100 in his truck – that Mr. Braun was FB. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn’t know Braun’s first name, but even so – I would have thought he’d have at least the tickle of an idea. Lots of viewers figured the guy wearing the “I Heart CRT” shirt was probably named for Ferdinand Braun but I suppose Okarin had no reason to suspect that wasn’t his real name. My mind immediately went to Suzuha, as that’s where the fascinating implications are here. Did she know what FB was up to? Did he somehow seek her out because he knew her real situation? Is it a cosmic coincidence that their paths crossed?

Whatever, Braun’s story is a tragic one, at least as it ends in this timeline. “Worse than a dog” is a good description, but it’s not an uncommon tale – desperation drives someone to get involved with something they shouldn’t, and the deeper they go the more impossible it is to escape.  The scene at the construction site had the feel of a Greek tragedy, in that the grisly end was telegraphed – but even knowing it was coming didn’t lessen the impact.

I hadn’t expected Okarin and Moeka to end up working together quite so openly, but they had a common purpose in wanting to know FB’s identity. And Moeka was clearly emotionally attached to Okarin even after all that he did to her in last week’s episode – he and the lab are probably the only in-person kindness she’s known as an adult. Their stakeout and subsequent chase was handled beautifully – a suspenseful thriller style as opposed to the emotional carnage and violence of last week, complete with a subtly inserted time leap in the middle after they’d lost their target once. Moeka was indeed fated to die on 8/15 – so it appears that if Okarin gets back to the original timeline, he won’t be merely trading Kurisu’s life for Mayushi’s – but for Moeka’s as well.

So now it appears that we’ve transitioned into a very different phase of the story – the midgame is over, and the endgame begins. I see no major obstacles left to restoring the original timeline (though I might be missing something, or new ones could crop up). The heavy lifting is done, but now Okarin is faced with the Kobiyashi Maru scenario I expected all along. Realistically, I see the following possibilities:

  1. He restores things to the original timeline and Kurisu dies
  2. He finds a way to create a “C” timeline where neither Kurisu or Mayushi dies
  3. He finds a way, but only at the expense of sacrificing himself
  4. Kurisu, understanding the situaion (perhaps despite Okarin trying to prevent her from doing so) forces the shift back to the original timeline, sacrificing herself for Maysuhi and Okarin’s sake

Any one of these feels possible to me, though I don’t see any of the other scenarios as being as likely as those four. And my gut instinct is telling me that #4 is the most likely of those to play out. But that’s an absolute blind guess at this point, and I know I’m on a pretty thin limb here. Realistically, I’m much more likely to be spectacularly wrong that mostly right – but it sure is going to be fun to find out. The writing for this series is really off the charts – it’s rare to see such terrific dialogue and character development paired with an intricate and well-constructed plot. Once this is over, I suspect I’ll watch it all over again from the beginning just to see what the experience is like, knowing everything – and just how many clues I missed the first time around.

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  1. l

    It quite amazing how this show manage to bring the horror of the choice between Kurisu and Mayuri even though We could see it like 10 episode ago? I really have to say what a wonderful animator.

    ! Why does Kurisu feel so calm to stating that she going to die? For some reason she frighten me a little, it like she trying to hint to Okarin "Hey, you do know I'm going to die right?"

  2. M

    I'm commenting on this because everything you mentioned (sans Mr. Braun) doesn't actually have to do with the episode (I haven't watched this episode myself – as you probably know through all my rageing on twitter, I only watch Steins;Sub's :v).

    I remember in an episode that only Rintarou's nickname for Mr. Braun is Mr. Braun – Mr. Braun's real name is obviously different. Ferdinand Braun is a pseudonym – after all, Braun tubes were named after Ferdinand Braun, and Rintarou named Mr. Braun Mr. Braun because he sells televisions, which used to use Braun tubes. His real name's not Ferdinand Braun (besides, what Japanese person would have that kind of name).

    I think you've read 2DT's recent post about mind controlling, right? That because of Rintarou's assault against Moeka, carefully deconstructing all she's known, Moeka has grown more attached to Rintarou.

    Of course, the problem of world war three and SERN /still/ isn't solved even with Mayuri and Kurisu both being saved. I wonder if that's going to be in Steins;Gate 2, or if it's going to somehow be put into the last episodes of the 'endgame'?

    tl;dr: who's Mayusuhi?

  3. I would bet they'll find a way to solve it in this season, Mushy, or there will be mutiny! But then, this is proving very popular – maybe they'll solve that in an OVA.

    My sense was that the SERN-powered dystopia happened because of the time research Okarain and Kurisu did. So if they keep SERN from finding out using the IBN 5100, maybe there is no SERN-pocalypse to worry about?

  4. d

    @Enzo even if they revert to the original timeline, they would still need to delete their data. But if they revert the timeline won't the butterfly effect apply? They might not get back the IBN 5100.
    And since they reverted all the DMails shouldn't things be as before, if that is the case there would not be a need for Suzuha to time travel to 1973, so why ain't she there?

  5. Suzuha's presence in episode 1 is a bit of an unexplained variable, I agree. I'm waiting and seeing on that one.

  6. t

    I think Kurisu is calm because,from the way I understand things,she's perfectly safe.
    By that I mean that Okarin will travel to a timeline where she dies but she's not,she's staying in the same timeline and the kurisu she is in this timeline isn't going to die.

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