Steins;Gate Half Season Review 2
(This is my longest post ever, I should think. There’s a lot of information here, so please, pass this on – I don’t want to have typed all this for nothing. Actually, a lot of the information is useless, so if it’s too long, don’t read. Just pass it on, in case somebody is interested in reading…)
The Lab sends signals back to the past multiple times, altering progressively larger and larger things in the present – first, altering the availability of Dr. Pepper in stores, then changing the gender of Ruka, ridding the moe culture from Akiba, and finally altering the past so that the satellite never crashed into the building, and Suzuha stays with the Lab members for a party, instead of what she would have done – left to search for her father.
Kurisu builds a device allowing them to send memories instead of just a mail. Daru realizes that there’s a direct link between their lab and SERN, and they work out a system of processing brain waves, compressing them using SERN’s micro black holes, sending them back in time, and then decompressing them, effectively allowing the person in the past to know everything the person in the future knows – they’ve invented time travel.
Finally, instead of sending a lab member to test it, they decide to announce their invention to the world, instead. However, before they could do that, Moeka arrives with a platoon of SERN agents, and shoots Mayuri…
She shoots Mayuri DEAD.
Dee. Eee. Ay. Dee.
Okarin has to deal wit-DEAD WITH IT. Because that’s what Mayuri did. She died. She’s dead. DEAD.
Ruka jealously killed her because she hated being pitied
When I first heard that Mayuri was DEAD, I thought they tried sending her back in time, and she became jellygirl. I was not expecting Moeka to do this.
But it makes sense.
What happened after Moeka sent her D-Mail? Nothing, right? Wrong. She must have sent the D-Mail to her past self to confirm her suspicions regarding the Lab’s time travelling, and subsequently told her superiors to create a direct link between SERN’s lab and the Lab, allowing them to effectively spy on everything the Lab was doing. You see, SERN did not create the perfected time machine. The Lab did. The Lab created the time machine, and SERN stole it from them. The Lab brought about the future dystopia. Why did Suzuha want to kill Makise Kurisu? She invented the time machine. If she died, the time machine would not have been created.
As for Suzuha – minor spoilers that aren’t spoilers because everybody should know this is true by now. From the Boukan no Rebellion manga that was released like half a year ago, we find out that Suzuha really is a soldier from the future. People may have had suspicions about her just pretending to be a soldier, like Rintarou pretending to be a mad scientist, but she really is from the future, and in the future, Kurisu was the creator of the time machine, and the time machine was acquired by SERN, and SERN brought about the future’s dystopia.
Mayuri? She was killed to develop her character. As people have said, her true role in the story is only shown after she dies – she’s that kind of character. Either that, or they were lazy and didn’t want to develop her anymore. That’s why she’s dead.
But she can’t be dead, because she’s a main character, right? That’s what the producers want us to think. This is the same type of cliffhanger that was present in Tiger & Bunny 12, but unlike Tiger & Bunny 12, Steins;Gate 12 really should be the end of the cour, because I’m pretty sure Steins;Gate’s OP changes in episode 13, yet Tiger & Bunny’s OP doesn’t, because Tiger & Bunny is 25 episodes long. Mayuri is not dead. She might be dead, and she might not be dead. You won’t know until you know.
You won’t know until you try.
As always, there are minor quirks that may or may not be plot holes. These plot holes do not matter, because they are not big plot holes – they are plot holes that stay there because the energy it requires to solve them is more than the credibility lost when they happen.
For one, how does Moeka text so fast? One could postulate that all European nuclear scientists text really fast, and that all shy twenty-year-olds also text really fast, and so a European shy twenty-year-old scientist should text really really fast fast. I also feel sorry about Kurisu’s academic peers – not only can they not type proper English in Sciency, but even their top memory data possibilities and brain sciency edge cutters can only say ‘gu manin’ to address each other after a sunrise. I personally do not like how Mayuri is raping Rukako, because that is cheating on her wife. The thing is, she’s dead, and dead people can get away with anything. Imagine if a dead person rapes you. Is that necrophilia?
36 bytes is still only 2^36 different configurations. How does a black hole compress terabytes of data into 36 bytes? Even if they do manage to basically mush electrons together and keep them in the same configuration, how do they decompress the data? How does Okarin know when to decompress the data? Mr. Braun isn’t Mr. Braun’s real name – after all, the real Mr. Braun invented Braun tubes. Ferdinand. But, as I said, these questions are NOT to be asked, since they do not MATTER. These are just small things, but even BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC things like TIME TRAVEL is NOT to be asked about, since no matter how time travel works, it does not MATTER in the story. At all. Time travel is a plot device, not the point of the plot. Steins;Gate is not about Time Travel – Time Travel happens to be used in Steins;Gate.
I love Steins;Sub. After a maybe three-week-delay on episode 9, they released episode 12 just a week after its original air date. That’s really fast subbing – there should be almost no delay between episodes for future episodes! Being a fervent Steins;Sub supporter, I do not watch any other subs, and thus am almost always late for all discussions regarding Steins;Gate. But I have faith, and if I must, I will stop a martyr. Stop a martyr from blowing up. Stop a martyr from blowing up a balloon. Animal. Imagine if a balloon animal is blown up by the martyr. They have feelings too.
Of course, I was pretty sad when they and HorribleSubs happened to be almost exactly the same, even with their horrible translation of 2chan memes into 2 x (2chan) speak.
But that does not matter, even though HorribleSubs and Steins;Sub probably have no difference, apart from HorribleSubs being better.
To be honest, I would be very annoyed by Okarin if he existed IRL. He’s like a weeaboo, a person who wants to be something frowned on by the rest of and useless to society. Mad scientists? They don’t do us any good. Look at what happened to Frank Einstein. He created Einsteins;Gate. Why can only Rintarou go through Einsteins;Gate using the Reading Steiner ability? It’s not because he’s the main character. It’s because Rintarou has the Ready Steiner ability that he’s the main character. See, why does it always seem like main characters never die? Because, if this were a real story, would you write a story based on the soldier who survived through the entire war, or the soldier who died on his first battle? A story is about its characters. A character is not about its story, unless the character is about its story, which is about the main character. The main character is never about anything else, unless the story is an epic, in which case the characters are about the story. Even in epics, there are main characters, e.g. Odysseus in the Odyssey.
Mayushii isn’t a one-dimensional character for no reason. When the genki girl gets sad, you know something bad, something REALLY BAD is going to happen. Look at the big secret behind Poppo in AnoHana. He seemed to be a guy who would never get sad, but he’s really just pretending to be one-dimensional the whole time. That whole time thing in episode 12 may mean that Mayuri’s the real genius of the show – she’s the one who time travelled through every timeline (perhaps she’s Byakuran!) to save Rintarou, she’s the Akemi Homura of Steins;Gate, and Rintarou’s the Madoka who will save her.
Sigh… Steins;Gate’s style changes so often. Pastels during abstract events, light shading during dramatic events, darkness during important talks… but really, it doesn’t change. Their heads are all so big and moe – not because their eyes are big, but because they’re small, realistic, but their noses are still anime noses! That’s why the run scene surprised me – the style of art completely changed, but it didn’t look like it changed at all. It still felt normal. Compare this to Nichijou, which is exactly the opposite – even when it tries to be creepy and dramatic (they never actually try that), it’s still vibrant and colourful.
being chris chan is suferring
I guess I’ve got a rough theory to how their time travel works – this is based on what Titor said about Divergence Numbers in Episode 7 and the science outlined in Rebellion.
First, let’s see what happens when Rintarou sends the D-Mail. Rintarou (the Rintarou on Timeline 1) sends the D-Mail from Timeline 1’s present back to Timeline 1’s past. The D-Mail travels along Timeline 1’s time-line until it reaches a certain point in time, the Divergence Point (that’s a new term I made up!). However, right now, it doesn’t diverge.
Next, everybody (except Rintarou) from Timeline 1 ‘leaps’ across into an empty point in the ‘time fabric’ in the present. That is to say, that empty point in time happens at the same time as when Okarin sends the D-Mail. Timeline 1 is now inconsequential, nobody knows what happens afterwards, and it’s impossible to tell what happens afterwards (remember that Rintarou said in episode 1? If you can’t prove you’re living in Alpacaman’s monitor, why bother? Of course, unless you’re trying to prove that you can’t prove it), so it’s useless to hypothesize about what happens.
Now, everybody-besides-Rintarou’s (whether this is all living things, all sentient things, just humans, or only the lab members, I don’t know) sort of floating in space, but all their relationships are the same.
At the Divergence Point, Timeline 2 starts to diverge from Timeline 1 in every possible scenario. Every. Possible. Scenario. The butterfly effect will produce a huge range of possible scenarios, so that in this infinitude of scenarios some scenarios will lead to the same relationships that everybody had in Timeline 1. Timeline 2 then extends along the most plausible scenario that leads to the relationships, which forms a line (Timeline 2) from the Divergence Point to where everybody else is floating in space. The Timeline 2 people’s relationships are now the same as the people who are just floating in space, and those people who are floating in space are then disappeared (disappeared by Steins;Gate). The Timeline 2 people are now the only people, and their relationships are the same as they were in Timeline 1, except, now they have memories only of Timeline 2, and not of Timeline 1.
Phew… so, what is a plausible scenario? When Feyris diverged into Timeline 2, her relationships with everybody were still the same. Instead of meeting at May Queen, they happen to meet at a tournament somewhere – a plausible scenario.
When Ruka was in Timeline 1, things happened, and eventually he got into the lab. Since Kurisu was still new to the lab at that time, she didn’t know Ruka’s real gender, and assumed he was a girl, but never asked. When Ruka diverged into Timeline 2, things happened, and eventually she got into the lab. Since Kurisu was still new to the lab at that time, she still didn’t know Ruka’s gender, and assumed she was a girl, but never asked – which lead to the same relationships. Relationships may also extend to names, as Ruka got the same name even though his/her gender changed.
Anyways, continuing on with what happened – Rintarou right now is still stuck in Timeline 1. There’s another Rintarou in Timeline 2, Okarin (Okarin is what we’ll call Timeline 2’s Rintarou, and Rintarou is what we’ll call Timeline 1’s Rintarou), who’s also moving along the plausible scenarios. However, for some strange reason, instead of Rintarou disappearing and Okarin continuing on, Okarin disappears, and Rintarou takes his place. This is the true ability of Reading Steiner – Rintarou is probably just a malfunctioned human.
But why do the timelines connect like that, so that everybody’s relationships stay the same?
You see, a theory in Rebellion that allowed Barrel Titor to travel back in time was that the time fabric is separated into major world lines. Timelines that are inside these world lines will always converge – that is, connect so that the participants have the same relationships with each other. Other things will also be the same – for example, if you wanted to prevent a friend from being shot to death, and you go back to time to save them, as long as the new timeline is still in the world line, the friend will still die – perhaps not by a bullet, but by a car accident, a heart attack, a reincarnated dinosaur.
That number that appears whenever they send a D-Mail, which is always 0.something%? That’s the Divergence Number. As John Titor pointed out, the only way for a timeline to move out of the world line is for the Divergence Number to somehow exceed 1% – something Rintarou’s 0.5627381%s have never been able to do. That’s the only way to really change the future/present – by inventing a time machine that will create a divergence so big that the timelines will move into different worldlines. All smaller divergences will end with the same situation. Imagine it as playing golf around stars. The major world lines are stars, whose gravitee (whoops) attracts your golf ball. If you aim straight at the stars, your golf ball will obviously fall into it. If you aim 0.5% to the left of the star, your golf ball will still fall into it. However, if you aim 50% to the left of the star, the golf ball will escape that star’s gravitational pull, and get sucked into another star – a new world line, with a new set of relationships.
“I think I’m you.”
This theory solves the problem about the Butterfly Effect, and how the world should have changed because of Akiba’s absence of moe culture, not to mention the Lab members’ relationships. Since Timeline 2 only diverges so that everybody can have the same relationships, really far-out futures (for example, Akiba becomes a nuclear testing site, and the world becomes Fallout) are not possible, even though they should be possible.
We can even apply to world line theory to events that have already happened. Ruka’s gender? The vegetables didn’t make him a girl, it was just the butterfly effect – sending the D-Mail did something to his/her mom, which somehow made Ruka a girl. Everything should be different because she’s a girl now, right? Wrong – that wasn’t enough of a divergence. Ruka still has the same relationships with everybody else, because s/he’s still trapped in that world line. Feyris rid Akiba of moe culture. This should make Daru have no reason for moving into Akiba, make Mayuri have no reason to cosplay, and make herself have no reason to continue suffixing ~nyan to the end of her sentences, right? Wrong. That wasn’t enough of a divergence. Feyris still has the same relationships with everybody else, because she’s still trapped in that world line.
There are some obvious shortcomings to this. We can’t have everybody’s relationships staying the same, and Moeka’s relationships definitely changed around everybody else when she sent the D-Mail. So, how does Steins;Gate define ‘relationships’ and ‘major events’ (those being the things that do not change in a given world line)? We don’t know.
In fact, all of this theorizing is useless. Time travelling is a PLOT DEVICE. Steins;Gate is not ABOUT time travel. It NEVER was. Time travel is merely USED in Steins;Gate to make people travel in time. Why aren’t other people’s relationships taken into account? Because Steins;Gate doesn’t want it to. Why is one person’s death a major event? Because Steins;Gate wants it to. Why doesn’t Steins;Gate care about other people, outside of the Lab? Because Steins;Gate doesn’t care.
“They don’t even remember which holes they’ve been stuck in…”
There are other theories I’ve seen bouncing around – one is that the current Rintarou is actually all Rintarous from every possible timeline. However, that would make him more of a god (and also make him weak to punches from teenage mafia bosses) than a scientist. Another is that Rintarou isn’t physically moving to Timeline 2, but just that Rintarou’s memories swap with Okarin every time a D-Mail is sent. That is, Rintarou sends the D-Mail, the D-Mail reaches the Divergence Point, Timeline 2 diverges from Timeline 1 at the divergence point, and Okarin’s not suspecting anything suspicious… when suddenly, bang! Rintarou and Okarin’s memories are swapped, Rintarou thinks everybody else has changed, and Okarin thinks the same. This also means that we have no idea which Okabe ‘jumped’, but as I said, that doesn’t matter. At least in that explanation, nobody disappears/dies.
Because she’s dead.