Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 13
This week is a curious week for me, because the primary focus is deeply on a character that as of right now. I’m not that emotionally invested in. Kagari is nice, but I don’t have a connection to her I have with a lot of the rest of the cast. So the fact that she features so predominantly and the focus of the conflict is almost entirely on her, is a little off putting.
With her memories returned at least, for the most part, Kagari is clinging to Maiyuri like a koala to a tree. I feel sort of bad for Maiyuri, just having to sort of accept the fact that she adopted a child in the future and said future child is here now and calling you ‘Mommy’ all the sudden. Not to mention, she’s physically like…about the same age as Maiyuri and clinging to her like a six year old girl. Daru and Okabe are concerned, because not all of Kagari’s memories returned. Only her childhood ones, which means, she still has 12 years worth of missing memory.
Okabe has a bad feeling and suspects foul play. So he goes to Mr. Braun to discuss the common triggers of memory loss. Stress, illness, injury…none of that seems to match up. Until Mr. Braun brings up the possibility of Brainwashing.
My immediate reaction to this was to scream quietly into the night. I have put a lot of time into suspending my disbelief in this series, this series made a time machine out of a microwave. Why should brainwashing be so strange? For another fandom entirely I’ve been doing a little research into brainwashing and actually, Steins;Gates definition of it is actually pretty accurate. A long period involving close isolated contact with the subject and heavy drugging, it is a highly realistic look into the process of brainwashing as we understand it from a prisoner of war and cult aspect. After the episode took a little more time to explain what it meant, I was far more accepting of this idea.
So, with this possibility hanging in the air. Okabe has Moeka look into the area where Kagari was found for unmapped buildings and she finds exactly one of them.
A perfect result. So he has her take him out to where she located the building.
Meanwhile, things are strained between Kagari and Suzuha. Suzuha is jealous that Kagari can forget the mission, even for a moment and spend time with Maiyuri, just goofing off as daughter and mother. Kagari points out that Suzuha has had half a year with Daru and Yuki at this point and questions why she shouldn’t be given some time with her mother. After the fight, things are strained for them and of course Maiyuri notices and happens upon Kagari who is beginning to wonder if her remembering was a good thing after all.
So in typical Maiyuri fashion, she plans a party. To bridge the gap between the girls and congratulate Kagari on getting her memories back. So she tells Kagari to come over at five and not before.
Kagari, trying to waste some time before the party. Also wanting to mend the gap with Suzuha, goes out to buy a piece of cake from a local sweets shop from her. Now, because this is fiction and it wouldn’t be a fictional story containing brainwashing without it. We need the trigger. A phrase, word, or in this case, bit of music that will set Kagari off.
I honestly enjoyed how the trigger was sort of looming in the background of the episode the entire time. I noticed the truck playing Mozart quickly in it’s first appearance because of Maho and the Amadeus system. There have been many references to Mozart throughout all of Steins;Gate 0 so far and the fact there was a truck running around Akihabara that just happened to be playing his music was no coincidence. The second time it passed by, the episode had already passed by the idea that brainwashing could be used and I knew immediately that the music playing from the truck was the ‘trigger’ for the brain washing.
So as Kagari is out buying the cake for Suzuha, the truck passes by and her eyes go blank. She drops the cake and walks off, the thing that interests me most here is the phrase she utters. That she hears the voice of ‘god’. I’m sure we are due to learn much more about her conditioning in further episodes and how this will tie into it. We see a brief glimpse of the future, in which she is undergoing this conditioning under the guise of treatment for her ptsd.
However, in the building that Okabe had Moeka take him too. We see a room that Kagari was clearly kept in until recently. The word ‘mother’ written everywhere and a crudely drawn picture of Mayuri are evidence of this. Moeka estimates that the building was used up until a year ago at the longest. So who has been containing Kagari there? What have they been doing to her? When it flashed to the future we saw a brief glance of her medical chart and it calls her a Amadeus subject.
This episode left a lot of questions, but it is kicking things into high gear. I hope I can become more emotionally invested in Kagari soon. Perhaps this situation with her will help. We’ll see!