OK, fine, I got lazy. But if you look at it backwards, it’s a mountain!
Plot first, so we’re all on the same page.
Rintarou thinks Mayuri will be saved, but after a day, the SERN agents still kill her. Through some incredible leap of logic, he deduces that since he negated his D-Mail sending (telling himself to follow Suzuha) and Mayuri’s death was delayed by a day, he can negate all previous D-Mails, and delay her death by FIVE DAYS!! WOOHOO WHOOPIE YEAH YEAH COOL
Kurisu summarizes what’s happening – they need the IBN 5100 to erase SERN’s records of Rintarou’s first sending of a D-Mail (thus, SERN won’t know of the Lab’s existence), but to get to the IBN 5100, they have to go back to a timeline where the IBN 5100 is in their possession.
They negate Feyris’s D-Mail first, which is a success – with the unintended side-effect of Feyris gaining the Reading Steiner ability. OH WAIT WAS THAT TOO SHORT? MY BAD
The sad part about Steins;Gate is that their D-Mails are basically useless now, since it doesn’t allow them to go back in time. To be honest, I think it would be better for Kurisu to use the memory leap device (since Rintarou has Reading Steiner, he’ll keep his memories of the previous timeline), until she amasses enough knowledge to improve the device so that it can leap back a month – after that, everything will be a breeze.
Kurisu and Rintarou acted very strangely this episode – they didn’t even bother to consider any other possibilities. Their logic doesn’t even make sense! Why don’t they just undo Moeka’s D-Mail, since they know she’s a SERN member, and so her D-Mail must have done something to the IBN5100!
A possible explanation is that they have to ‘rewind’ everything that’s happened. Imagine they’re currently on the purple timeline in the image below. The black line would be the path they took to the present (sans Mayuri-nonsense). To negate Moeka’s D-Mail (the yellow dot with ‘M’), they have to be on the red timeline – they can’t negate it from the purple timeline (white dotted line). The only way to reach the red timeline would be to go backwards through the black line, and that will require undoing every D-Mail that’s been sent so far.
(A yellow dot signifies the sending of a D-Mail, which branches the world line into different lines. Since D-Mails are sent into the past, I’m simplifying and saying that all the D-Mails were sent to that one starting point.)
I wonder if SERN’s agents are using time travel, since Mayuri’s watch always breaks when they arrive. It’s rather implausible, seeing as all their experiments have failed, but hey, how else would they sense that Rintarou switched timelines?
Feyris’s having the Reading Steiner does open up a broad range of discussion. A possible solution to the above paragraph would be that a member of SERN has Reading Steiner too. Another possibility is that Reading Steiner is an ability that only Rintarou /truly/ has, but by remembering other timelines, he can make people /remember/ what happened in those timelines, somehow.
I have to say that I am disappointed in Steins;Gate. I expected a ’99% science, 1% fantasy’ anime, but what I got was an anime whose only ‘science’ is logic, with ample amounts of fake science – storing memories, compressing things with black holes, phone microwaves, storing memories from other timelines. I don’t mind fake science (especially when the producers don’t try to explain them – bonus points to you, Steins;Gate) in most series, but when it’s a series that claims to be 99% science, I can’t resist pointing things out.
Steins;Gate’s chains of logic are great, though. They’re simple, easy to understand, and, uh.. straightforward. FUCK YEAH THESAURUSES
I especially like how they invoke many chains of cause and effect – the whole logic behind undoing D-Mails made sense, though it may have not been the optimal solution.
Steins;Gate is quickly turning into an emotional anime, and I have no qualms with that. The lyrical expression of the piano in these episodes is especially touching, though it’s not used to its full extent – Steins;Gate concentrates more on the plot than the music.
I’ll wrap up with some minor notes, as I don’t have anything big to say for this episode:
Should I be paying attention to the time at the beginning of each episode and after each time leap? They seem unnecessarily complicated to me. Steins;Gate concentrates much more on the overall logic than the specifics, right? You don’t need to understand the time to understand the show.
The ‘fadeout’ of the OP is really sudden – not sudden as in it closes with a big chord that leads directly into the show, but sudden as in the last note suddenly disappears into the show. Try rewatching the end of the OP into this episode – you’ll see what I mean. Honestly, I think that Steins;Gate doesn’t even need an OP – it’d be nice to just get straight into the show. Nevertheless, an OP has so many more purposes than merely being an opening, so I guess an OP-less anime is just about impossible…
I wonder if Steins;Gate is trying to symbolize anything with the role of Akiba in the story. It’s probably just chosen because of the electronics, and, y’know, time machine-making, but they could be saying something deeper, what with everybody being sad after Akiba’s moe is gone. Taking it literally, maybe Akiba’s electronics represents a sacrifice, and Akiba’s moe represents an illusion of happiness. HO HO HO LOOK AT ME SAYING REVOLUTIONARY STUFF HO HO HO
Finally, HOW THE HECK DOES FEYRIS ADD -nyan EVERYWHERE (not just at the end) SO NYANCHALANTLY?!