Steins Gate 21 ~ I want to talk to you

August 24, 2011

Okabe alone with his thoughts, but making no progress.

Episode 21 of Steins;Gate is aptly titled “Paradox Meltdown”. Outwardly Okabe has returned to his earlier disability. He has taken the responsibility all onto his own shoulders, but in so doing he loses the ability to move. In truth this is used by the show’s producers not to produce dramatic tension, but to give the three principle characters an opportunity to breathe.

We are finally coming to grips with the most significant obstacle to a happy ending, Makisa's death.

While some other interesting things happened, such as Okabe’s attempt to sacrifice himself to save both Mayuri and Kurise, and Mayuri’s talk with her grandmother, this episode was largely a roundabout way of getting to Okabe’s necessary admission to Kurise about the flaw with their plan. If they return to the original world line, Okabe will return to a world in which Kurise is dead. If he saves Mayuri, Kurise dies, and vice versus, thus the paradox in which Okabe finds himself, and the cause of his meltdown. But while Okabe spins his mental wheels unproductively, his interactions with Mayuri and Kurise are opportunities for fine performances from all three seiyuu, and excellent opportunities to observe the depth that has developed in all three characters. Okabe goes as far as renouncing Hououin Kyouma, and acknowledges the selfishness of all that he has done. Mayuri bravely protects Okabe, then pours out her feelings at her grandmother’s gravesite. And Kurise attempts to comfort Okabe, and put a brave face on, when she is finally told about the final hurdle.

6 Responses to “Steins Gate 21 ~ I want to talk to you”

  1. dim778 Says:

    Hello! I noticed that you posted a very enthused review for the first episode Mawaru Penguindrum; wondering if it’s poised to be among your favorite ten or so anime!

    I have looked around your blog for a list of your favorite ten anime but I haven’t had any luck finding such a post if it exists. Could you elaborate for me? 🙂


    • Joojoobees Says:

      I don’t have a list of my top ten. I generally say, as I did in that review, that I have only found three shows that definitely fit into my top ten. Nothing else seems good enough, even if I really like it. The top three are:

      1. Haibane Renmei
      2. 12 Kingdoms
      3. Crest/Banner of the Stars
  2. Mushyrulez Says:

    Some typos here – Makisa’s death (Makise), vice versus (versa), and Kurise (Kurisu). Use Steins;Sub, it’s much more polished than Horrible and Commie’s, though at the expense of time (generally speaking though, speedsubs suck :v).

    I thought the most significant obstacle was Mayuri’s? I guess both of their deaths are significant obstacles, and really, the only obstacle. Rintarou should’ve sacrificed himself more, since he’s unable to die in this timeline – I mean, literally, he CAN’T die in this timeline. Maybe he’s just too scared to try?

    Also, uh, what, one thing I just didn’t understand (besides the lack of reason why reversing D-Mails will somehow delay Mayuri’s death and Mayuri magically cannot die in the original timeline, everybody’s ability to see their deaths only after Rintarou has gone through them in a timeline-timeline, even though all timelines for non-time travellers are exactly the same, since there’s only one timeline they go through, and the gravitational adherence of timelines to stick into worldlines in the first place) is that deleting the D-Mail from SERN’s database doesn’t delete the D-Mail itself, but merely stops SERN from knowing about it. That doesn’t kill Kurisu…

    Finally, depth? I see no depth in either Mayuri nor Kurisu, and really in anyone but Rintarou. They all act the same way, which admittedly tells you more about their character than if they all acted differently, but since there’s no time to develop, the only way they’re developed to the audience is if we looked at them from different angles – which we can’t, since we’re looking at everything through Rintarou’s perspective. Mayuri and Kurisu are less developed than virtually all other ‘main’ characters I’ve seen in anime – Rintarou himself holds up the entire show, to a fault.

    I don’t know, don’t see me hatin’ – I loved the show. Maybe it’s only that now, I’m not so sure of it.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways (or at least my spelling).

      I’m not going to try to justify the mechanics of the world-lines, but my guess is that SERN traced the email, but took action in the future, by sending someone back; thus if the email is deleted, they don’t change the world-line (causing a de facto shift from the world in which the future will change the past).

      As to the depth: I would not have believed Mayuri had it in her to sacrifice herself to save Okabe from the initial couple of episodes, but since then she has demonstrated (in small, but meaningful ways) a strength of character that makes her sacrifice believable. That is a depth that has been developed over the course of the series. As to Kurisu, I think she came off initially as a bit self-centered, and like someone who had difficulty connecting to people, except intellectually, but when she comforts Okabe, it doesn’t come across as inconsistent, rather it shows the depth of her character. You say that “depth” can only be perceived by seeing these characters through a different character, but I disagree; I think seeing these different sides of these characters through Okabe’s eyes is completely valid.

      • Mushyrulez Says:

        Sides nonetheless, I suppose.
        (Also, how would Rintarou know that SERN did those things?)

        I guess your comments do have points – yet, don’t all anime develop their characters likewise, given two cours of time? Maybe Steins;Gate can do it somewhat better due to the laid-back pace of many of their episodes, but eh.

      • Joojoobees Says:

        how would Rintarou know that SERN did those things?

        I forget how they came to that conclusion, but the thing that troubles me more is how they can be sure that future events that changed the past can be altered so that they prevent the past from being changed. But as I said, I’m not going to defend their theory of how time travel works… I’m just trying to make sense of the show as presented.

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