Mark Watches ‘Steins;Gate’: Episode 6 – Butterfly Effect’s Divergence

In the sixth episode Steins;Gate, the team vows to improve the PhoneWave and comes up with some terminology; a new member is added to the lab. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steins;Gate.

Oh god, I still have so many questions, LET’S DO THIS.


It’s becoming clear to me that practically every detail in this show is seeded there for a reason, and I realize I haven’t asked an important question. What does that satellite have to do with all of this? There was that shot in the first episode of a “machine” of some sorts that Okabe saw before the world line altered history and the satellite appeared. (I should also note at this point that I’ve written all the reviews for this show before a single one has been posted, and I’m realizing that I am not sure what name I should be using for the main character. I figured after the first episode that Okabe was fine, but other characters use Okabe and Okarin frequently, and he himself uses Houhouin. I hope I’m using the right one, but I’m also guessing y’all will have corrected me by now, so my apologies if I am fucking this up.) I assume that the satellite is relevant to this world line somehow, particularly since it hasn’t gone anywhere. No one seems like they’re going to clear it out. 

But then there’s that scene at the beginning with Moeka texting/emailing with someone who I think was FB, but I’m not sure? It was such a brief flash, so again, pardon if I am either remembering this wrong or missing the clue, but given her appearance throughout “Butterfly Effect’s Divergence,” I can’t imagine this isn’t deeply important.


I’m am still struggling with the tone of this show, though I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Steins;Gate is science fiction, slice-of-life, and a comedy all at once. It keeps me on my toes, and it makes the show feel unique. Based on the two scenes where Okabe makes his big declarations in his mad scientist voice, I felt like we were supposed to laugh at him and how dramatic he is. Those contextual clues were obvious and quite funny, and it’s one of my favorite dynamics in the lab group. No one else wants to pretend along with him, and his imagination is increasingly becoming more annoying than amusing. Take his fake phone calls for example; whenever he feels attacked or stressed, he relies on obviously fake conversations in order to escape culpability. It’s funny because it’s so absurd, but y’all, it’s also such a jerk move. I really don’t have much patience for people who skip out on bills and more or less force other people to pay for them. He’s done this twice now! He also tries to tell Dura that he can’t treat himself with nice food in this episode, too, despite that Okabe isn’t the one paying for it. In fact, he’s not paying for anything at all. The closest he’s come to “paying” is when he left a handful of change at the local restaurant that didn’t actually cover the bill. 

Then there’s his relationship with Mr. Braun. (Which isn’t his preferred name either, but Okabe has said it so many times that I can’t actually remember his actual name.) I feel like Okabe’s landlord is forgiving and generous in letting them have an apartment for as cheaply as they do, and based on their few conversations, Mr. Braun knows that Okabe really doesn’t have that much money. Yet Okabe still thinks he’s being wronged by his landlord! Yo, that dude can absolutely raise your rent or kick you out, so maybe don’t destroy the place? I had to laugh at that piece of the ceiling falling into Mr. Braun’s food, though. Y’all, I thought that was going to be the last straw; Okabe is lucky he didn’t get crushed at that very moment. 


My favorite scene in the episode, though, was the one where the four lab members try to come up with a term for the mail that they can send to the past. In that, we can see their distinct personalities represented in the names they suggest. Mayuri and Kurisu are more poetic and savvy than Okabe is, and Daru prefers something more practical and easy to say. Mayuri’s Deloreon Mail suggestion was so clever, and I’m glad that Kurisu just shortened it to D-Mail. IT’S A GREAT NAME, it’s easy to say, it carries a bit of drama with it… I LOVE IT.

But let’s talk about the logistics of it. We discover why mail was sent five days in the past once Kurisu does some tests, determining that each second on the PhoneWave is one hour traveled into the past, and that the messages are split up based on length. You can send either 36 English characters or 18 Japanese ones, and even then, they’re still split up. I assumed that was due to the compression that occurred, but maybe not? However, I have a different concern. How exactly do these messages affect the past? I understand that we are seeing them send them in real-time, which is why, five days ago, they did not see them appear in their email inboxes. At that point, the messages had not been sent. But will any of these characters now have memories of having seen them? If they send messages to the past, can those messages truly alter history, or does that depend on who they send them to? 


The Vision

During Okabe’s disturbing glimpse of travel through a black hole, I had a memory of another show I’d watched for this site, but I couldn’t remember the name of it during the video, so I didn’t say anything. I’m realizing now that there are some thematic parallels and similarities between this show and Serial Experiments Lain, at least in the way technology is used as a means for communicating between different worlds or existences. The shows really are completely different in practically every sense, though, so I don’t want this to come off as a critical comment. But there’s a visceral element to this vision, one that spins into body horror during the jellyman conversion flash, that reminded me of the more body horror elements of Serial Experiments Lain, and I thought it was really cool.



It’s hard to make definitive guesses about a character and their motivations when they say so little, even through digital means. I knew that Moeka was interested in an IBN 5100, and her quest to find one continues here. She is obsessed with this, sending Okabe multiple emails a day, and then, finally, she just goes to his house and increasingly escalates how close she’s getting. On top of that, she mostly refuses to speak aloud, instead preferring to email Okabe even when she is standing right in front of him. It’s easier for her, though, and I am not really in need of an explanation beyond that. Social awkwardness IS THE WORST, and maybe Okabe could stand to learn a lesson about reluctance regarding his own awkwardness, rather than lashing out at everyone???

But who is FB? Why is Moeka so invested in this machine? Does she know what it can do? And will her invitation to the lab mean that she won’t want to borrow the IBN 5100? TOO MANY MYSTERIES, Y’ALL.

The video for “Butterfly Effect’s Divergence” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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