Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 3
There is a decent amount going on in this episode, yet a lot of it comes out in quiet character interactions and the looks on characters faces. A lot of internal character struggle on the part of many of the series key players. A christmas party, Amadeus trying to solve the mystery of why Okabe called her ‘Christina’, and the reports that Okabe has to give on his interactions with the AI program.
Christmas time means a Christmas party and this is exactly what Mayuri is cooking up in an attempt to cheer Suzuha up. She invites all her cosplay friends, Ruka, Faris, Okabe, Daru and ends up with two unexpected guests in the form of Hiyajo and the professor, who’s name entirely escapes me but I can’t stop laughing every time he butchers Okabe’s name.
Mayuri even goes as far as making santa costumes for all the girls. Which is all kinds of adorable. She’s honestly trying so hard for everyone, for Okabe, for Suzuha. In the end, she is really getting the short end of the stick. She knows that Okabe only has eyes for Makise. She knows that Okabe is suffering quietly, even if she isn’t entirely sure why. I feel bad for her.
I feel bad for everyone in this episode. I feel bad for Suzuha as she continues to fail to bring Okabe into the time machine and prevent the war ridden future that she knows is coming. I cringed deeply as Daru brought her to the Christmas party and I saw them turn off the lights and ready the party poppers. Not because the sentiment was bad, but because that’s not the kind of thing you do to someone obviously suffering from PTSD the way Suzuha is. Luckily, she realizes that there is no real danger quickly and nobody gets hurt.
I feel bad for Hiyajo as she grows more and more about Okabe blurring the line between Amadeus and the real Makise Kurisu, I get the feeling she’s come close to this herself. The brief flashback of her crying at Makise’s funeral is heartbreaking. Despite the fact she wasn’t in the first Steins;Gate or even mentioned is almost sad. Because I feel like even from these first three episodes that her and Kurisu had a close and perhaps almost sisterly relationship.
I understand that she wasn’t probably thought of at the time the original game or even the anime was written, I do enjoy the way her story fits in though. It doesn’t feel forced in or contrived.
Most of all I feel bad for Okabe who is blurring the line. As he goes to almost kiss his phone at the end of the episode. As you can see that he is almost mistaking the AI for the real person. As Hiyajo has to rip the cell phone from his hand and remind him that Makise is dead.
It makes you think really, about ourselves as humans. Grief is a strange thing, how we deal with it and how the human mind processes it. How when we lose someone dear to us, we would give almost anything to see them again and talk to them again.
If we had a program like Amadeus. That could store the memory of the dead and use it’s thought process and make it almost seem like the real person was there, what would it do to us? How would we process it. A lot of people, myself included, would probably start to mistake it for the real thing just like Okabe.
When Hiyajo rips the phone away from him and reminds him that Makise is dead. The flashback and memories of all the time lines and the pain, the pure scream of horror and the look of fear on his face. He was using Amadeus to forget and repress that pain and that is all kinds of heart breaking.
This episode suffered from a lot of, underable, mood whiplash. Where parts of the episode felt bright and happy, other parts felt like pure despair. These people who are suffering so deeply are just trying to live their lives at least, in Okabe and Hiyajo’s case.
Meanwhile, Suzuha is ticking down the clock until a disaster strikes.