Steins;Gate 0 – Episode 21
I am absolutely hard pressed to think of an anime that has crushed my hopes, dreams and happiness as fast as a few seconds at the end of this episode did. To that, I have to say, well done Steins;Gate 0. You dropped me from happy eliated and feeling nostalgic, laying on the ground crying about how wonderful this entire episode was and then had me cussing at the top of my lungs. No really, I could screenshot the discord conversation but in lue of screen shots I’ll copy and paste my exact words.
Midnight at 3-lays on the ground- I…am so happy….this episode is beautiful.
Midnight -flips table- WHAT THE ACTUAL FLYING F*CK NUGGETS?!
Okay, so to get into why I am so upset about this we need to get to the core of why I was practically sobbing my eyes out at how amazing this episode was. From the very start, Okabe is determined to hold true to his promise to get back to the past. Even if it means time leaping back to 2011 from 2036. Which, at two weeks at a time is over 3’000 time leaps. That is absolutely staggering, considering for 11 years of that he has to wake up in his comatose body and suffer through the effects of that, not to mention the mental and emotional strain. Including one rather dangerous time leap into a time only mere moments before he would be captured in the year 2025. Where every member of the lab takes great personal risk to ensure that Okabe reaches the time leap machine by each making themselves appear as Okabe to the trackers following him with the help of Amadeus. A small detail that amuses me greatly is that even 14 years in the future, Leskinen can’t pronounce Rintaro correctly. That made me laugh a lot for some reason.
It takes time, but he does it and comes back to the day of the attack on Akihabara.
Okabe has Daru punch him, just come straight deck him across the face. Though Daru and Maho don’t understand why, but I think the core of it is to knock the last bits of lingering doubt from Okabe himself and to properly clear the water between him and Daru before he dives full on into his Hououin Kyouma personality. I was caught between bursting out into tears from sheer happiness and Nostalgia as he started his act and calling Maho by the wrong names on purpose and laughing myself stupid at the pure fanboy look in Daru’s eyes.
They carry through in so much, delaying Okabe’s reveal at the Radio Tower until Professor Leskinen already arrived and began outlying his plans and his crimes. Only to realize that things are not going at all to plan, Okabe is there, Kagari is not. The woman in black that took down all the others on the roof was actually Moeka. Leskinen is knocked out by Moeka and the girls are allowed to get on the time machine and begin their way to the past.
Or it would be wonderful if this was how the episode actually ended. Instead, the timeline convergence isn’t fixed and the helicopter comes in and shoots the time machine before it gets the chance to take it’s leap and complete the start of operation arclight. The problem with how this episode ends is it totally defeats the message the episode was trying to carry.
From the middle of the episode, where Okabe realizes just how important each and every member of the lab is the episode takes the time to hammer in the message that all of them are important to changing the world. The burden does not solely lie on Okabe’s shoulders, despite his insistence that it did for so long. They are all working hard, they are all fighting and they are all contributing something to the lab and to creating the timeline known as Steins;Gate no matter how small that contribution may be.
In blowing up the time machine before it gets the chance to take off at the end of the episode, it downplays the importance that Mayuri and Suzuha serve to the story and their contributions to everything.
That’s why I got so mad about it, it was sending us into the last two episodes with a triumphant return of our heroes true personality and a strong lesson about how we are never truly shouldering the burden of the future alone. We are relying on our friends and family, we are relying on our acquaintances and that no contribution is useless.
As Rukako thinks he isn’t doing enough, Maho points out that he is actually a huge help in moral support and in keeping them from collapsing by being able to provide food and drinks for the mechanical tech support parts of the group that would hyper focus and most likely harm themselves in the process. Each one of them is an important member of the lab, and Okabe is the glue that keeps the group together. He’s also amazing at providing emotional support for the people around him. At least when he isn’t wallowing in his own sadness.
So many things in this episode drum up feelings of what I loved about the original Steins;Gate anime. Then that last second happened and I was just frustrated. Would this turn of events of bothered me if it was earlier in the series? Maybe not, but we only have two episodes left and don’t have time to be going back and doing things like this if we want to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion.
Also god, I hate to say it two weeks in a row but Mamoru Miyano was on point. Absolutely, as he began the mad scientist laugh and Daru’s eyes began to light up, it was amazing. I still find myself thinking about how much I can’t wait to hear scene’s like that dubbed, but dear lord if Mamoru isn’t nailing every bit of this. Until next week, at last I can say this El Psy Congroo.