Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 12
What an amazing episode this was! Totally fitting for a season break. I suppose next episode will start with lots of cool things, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. For this week, the episode starts out with a flashback of Kagari as a kid as Mayuri picks her up from the hospital and then afterwards they’re seen walking together and singing. Mayuri talks about the song being important and teaches Kagari how to sing it.
In the present, Kagari is hanging out with Daru and Mayuri at the lab when Mayuri offers them chicken, they both accept graciously and then Mayuri starts singing as she gets ready to serve. The song triggers something in Kagari and she gets excited and desperate, which causes her to pass out. Later Rintarou arrives and Suzuha asks to have a word with him. She tells him a bit more about Kagari, how she’s a war orphan and never knew family warmth until Mayuri took care of her and how she only learned how to smile after that.
Rintarou talks to Suzuha and she tells him about the song. She wants to find out what it is to try and learn why she remembers it. Then it starts what Okabe calls ‘The Telephone Game’. Rintarou and Kagari visit Mayuri at the café and ask about the song. Mayuri explains that she heard the song from Suzuha. They are a bit startled by this, but they try to get a hold of her. Funnily enough, the episode amps up the tension here, giving a serious tone to the meeting between Faris and Suzuha. Suzuha claims she’s heading into battle, but soon enough the tone changes to a lighter one as we find out ‘battle’ is an eating contest that Suzuha has won a whooping total of 3 times! Amazing.
Suzuha tells Rintarou that she heard the song from Yuki in the future as Yuki sang it a lot when she was cooking. I was wondering here if it would be possible to Yuki to know the song in the present, but well, this is anime, so of course she does! As they are trying to get a hold of her, they see her at a restaurant with Daru and they are so cute! What a wonderful date. They barge in after being discovered snooping and Yuki tells her she learned the song from a lady in her baking class.
By now I was pretty curious about what was the deal with the song! So they call the woman on the phone… and it turns out to be Rintarou’s mother! Talk about strange. She tells him that she actually learned the song from him as he used to sing it a lot when he was younger. He doesn’t remember this and so does Mayuri, but they go visit the grave of Mayuri’s grandmother in the rare chance that it’ll spark a memory.
While they are at the graveyard it starts raining, so Mayuri, Kagari and Rintarou run to shelter themselves from the rain. As they wait, the atmosphere starts reminding Kagari of something and as the memory tugs at her mind, she’s in a sort of trance, which causes her to wander to the street where she’s almost run over by a car. She wakes up in the hospital, but it’s shown that during her time unconscious she has remembered Mayuri as her ‘mama’, so she clings to Mayuri desperately while calling her mother and being so happy. Mayuri is confused, but seeing Kagari so vulnerable and trying to protect her, she gives in.
In the background the song that has been the focus of this episode plays as the simple credits roll out and it’s a really nice closing scene, but then the after-credits scene makes the episode perfect by showing a young runaway Kagari sitting on a rest stop while young Rintarou praises her singing, teaching us that this is how he first learned the song! It’s a little strange to think we don’t really know who made up the song, but this mind-bending moment is awesome and very beautiful and touching.
It doesn’t last long though, as the real final scene comes with a shot of a surveillance van and a male voice saying they have found the runaway, amping up the tension in the last seconds with a great cliffhanger! I’m really looking forward to the second half of the show now.