(Later than others because Steins;Sub. Also, is this Spring or Summer?)
Alright. Seeing as Steins;Gate is getting pretty dang good, I guess I’ll be taking this season to episodicize it. I just have too much to say. Steins;Gate is heavily reliant on plot, and so there will be spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode, and the summary will serve only to summarize.
Suzuha charges into the room and distracts Moeka long enough for Rintarou to send his memories back to the past. He tries to save Mayuri, but Moeka crashes into her with a car. He goes back in time once more, but now, Nae crashes into her, sending her crashing into a train. Crash. The end.
This further strengthens the theory I’ve put out before about converging world lines – without a large enough divergence, you’ll never escape Mayuri’s death, because that’s the relationship she was in with the other characters at the time the memory-mail was sent.
However, it does make my D-Mail theory rather… false.
See, Rintarou (the Rintarou in Timeline 1, the timeline where Mayuri dies) sends what’s effectively a D-Mail into the past. It travels until it hits the Divergence Point. The Divergence Point is when the past-Rintarou gets future-Rintarou’s memories, and past-Rintarou becomes Okarin (future-Rintarou’s memories in past-Rintarou’s body). Okarin is now the Rintarou in Timeline 2, and he knows everything Rintarou did in Timeline 1.
At the same time, everybody-besides-Rintarou jumps to an empty point in the time fabric, as usual, with all their relationships intact. This includes Mayuri’s death, but why it doesn’t include Kurisu’s death, I don’t know. Perhaps she didn’t die when Moeka shot her.
Timeline 2 starts spreading from the Divergence Point until it connects with the most plausible scenario. The Timeline 1 people all disappear, and are replaced by the Timeline 2 people. Okarin should now continue going up to that point until he’s replaced by Rintarou, but he isn’t. Rintarou’s Reading Steiner ability fails.
This is most likely because my theory has no basis, but it’s also possible that Rintarou’s Reading Steiner ability only works on the most ‘developed’ Rintarou, as in the one who has lived the longest. See, Rintarou has lived for x days, but after Okarin gets his memories, by the time Mayuri dies, Okarin will have ‘lived’ for x days (how long Rintarou has lived) PLUS the extra few hours between when he got Rintarou’s memories and when Mayuri dies. If Okarin now has the Reading Steiner ability, then Rintarou can’t replace him anymore. I’m not sure if I make sense.
The only way to really confirm is if Kurisu went back in time instead. The result of that would be Kurisu retaining her memories of Timeline 1, but living in Timeline 2; Hashida (the Hashida in Timeline 1) getting replaced by Daru (the Hashida in Timeline 2), and thus having no memories of Timeline 1, and Okarin getting replaced by Rintarou, who retains his memories of Timeline 1, but only after the time passes at which Kurisu sends her memories to the past. Like, say Kurisu sends her mail at 3:00 to go back to 1:00. Okarin exists from 1:00 to 2:59, but at 3:00, Rintarou replaces him. Rintarou will then have all the memories of Timeline 1, but no memories of what happened from 1:00 to 2:59 in Timeline 2, because Okarin has those memories, and he’s disappeared.
As a thought experiment, this basically nullifies my theory – what kind of time travel would make this sort of paradoxical result possible?! Yet, this scenario will never occur in the story, as Steins;Gate is ultimately about Rintarou. Through all these time leaps and changes, the only person who never changes is Rintarou, and that’s the only person who Steins;Gate is following.
He’s wearing a lab coat underneath that jacket
So, with that speculah destroyed, let’s move on to another one that I also expounded upon – that Mayuri is the real time traveller. Taking the Madoka analogy, Mayuri would be Homura, trying to save Rintarou, and Rintarou would be Madoka, who saves Mayuri at the very end. When Rintarou and Mayuri were small, Rintarou made Mayuri his ‘hostage’, not letting her disappear or something (as she appeared to be disappearing at that time. Appeared to be disappear. APPEARED TO BE DISAPPEARED). So, when Mayuri finally said ‘I’m not your hostage anymore’, she acknowledged her own upcoming ‘disappearance’, or death. How would she know this, even if she was a time traveller? I don’t know. All I know is that Mayuri is pretty suspicious, and definitely more than meets the eye.
Reflecting back on episode 12, the death scene was pretty dramatic, even though there was no dramatic music accompanying it. Different series have different ways of acknowledging drama – AnoHana was basically a flood of music, and there was not one dramatic moment in that show where dramatic music wasn’t used to great effect. This is a perfect chance to use effect as a verb, but I won’t.
Though I can’t say that either method is ‘better’ or ‘worse’, Steins;Gate’s method does take more planning and effort – imagine AnoHana’s ending without any crying or music. It would suck. Yet, that’s what happened in Steins;Gate, and it worked perfectly. Perhaps it’s all fitting in with the mood – both shows started with one set style, and both shows acted accordingly.
On a related note, we can also compare Suzuha’s fight scene to other fight scenes. You know them, the ones that are really long and drawn-out, with dramatic music and the main characters talking about idealized morals and whatnot. That works in certain situations, but definitely not in Steins;Gate. Thus, Suzuha’s incredibly quick, ‘wait-what-happened’ fight fit entirely in with Steins;Gate’s mood. Imagine a shounen battle happening right there, after Mayuri’s dramatic death. It just wouldn’t work. Yet, imagine a fight like that in a shounen surrounding. Nope, won’t work either. There are different kinds of drama, and there are different kinds of fighting.
Three last tidbits that I know everybody’s scratching their heads over.
How did Rintarou in the past know when to activate the memory machine to receive Rintarou in the future’s memories? If the memories really were compressed by SERN’s micro black hole (also, since SERN is full of smart nuclear scientists, they’ve decided not to cut their connection to the lab even /after/ it was infiltrated), doesn’t Rintarou require SERN’s micro black hole to decompress his memories? But, if he didn’t know that he sent the memories, how does he know when to decompress them?
Rintarou knows that Suzuha really is a soldier, so why didn’t he enlist her help with the situation? Seeing how quickly she dispatched the SERN agents using nothing but the element of surprise, I’m sure a fully armed Suzuha would be adequate defence for Mayuri. Yes, yes, I know her death was just to tell us about timeline convergence, but sure yeah whatever ok.
Finally, the clock goes backwards at the ending of this episode, but shouldn’t memory send be instantaneous? Actually, how can there be any definition of time in that packet? What ‘speed’ does it go at? How do you even define ‘speed’ if you don’t know how much it’s moved in distance and time?
OH RIGHT THAT WAS JUST SOME VISUALS NOBODY CARED ABOUT
Mayushii x Okarin OTP.