In the thirteenth episode of Steins;Gate, I continue to be really, really upset. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steins;Gate.
Trigger Warning: For talk of death, grief
Is this inescapable? Does this have to happen? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH THIS SHOW?
42? CRT? Oh my god, what? What does that mean? Why did Suzuha come back to the lab, and what made her leave in the first place? HOW DOES SHE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT LIKE THAT? I assume whatever she said to the group was her way of letting them know that they needed to time leap immediately, but I still wonder why it is that she’s a part of this and how she knows so much. Is she a spy for some other organization fighting SERN that we don’t know about yet? What about the fact that her father is into time travel? Will that Barrel Titor clue come to fruition?
I’M SO CONFUSED, WHAT’S HAPPENING.
I am sure y’all cackled like hell when you read that bit in my review of the tenth episode because… I was close??? Like, bizarrely closer to the truth than I have been in a LONG time. Oh, I was still wrong, mind you! Completely, utterly wrong, but I PICKED UP ON THINGS. I ALMOST GOT IT.
I’m just… broken? So sad and so in awe that Mayuri’s characterization makes SO MUCH SENSE once you factor in her grief over her grandmother’s passing. In this reveal, the show manages to give us a context for much of Mayuri’s behavior: the way she reaches up to the sun. Her attachment to Okabe. Her boundless joy. THE ENTIRE MAD SCIENTIST PERSONA. Oh my god, Okabe created it all on a whim one day when it appeared that Mayuri’s grandmother had spoken to her by means of a ray of light breaking through the clouds. In that moment, Mayuri was ready to “leave,” and Okabe couldn’t let her go. He didn’t want to imagine life without her. Thus, he held Mayuri “hostage,” a means by which they could maintain a deep friendship while Mayuri dealt with her grief. (Oh god, does that mean in the last episode, Mayuri realized that maybe Okabe didn’t need her as much anymore? Is that why she asked if she wasn’t his hostage any longer? HELP ME.)
Why is this show fucking me up so much. WHY ARE YOU ALL DOING THIS TO ME.
One other notable aspect of “Metaphysics Necrosis” that’s worth acknowledging is how quickly the tone of the show has been altered by this huge twist. Mayuri’s first death—THERE ARE LITERALLY TWO MORE OF THEM—shoves Steins;Gate into sci-fi thriller territory, and yet, it still feels like the same show. Part of that is due to the stunning animation here. I love how emotional intensity is represented by colors bleeding away, giving us a bright, near-white nightmare, as if it is becoming difficult for Okabe to “see” anything due to his own terror. The same goes for the sequence in which the animation itself is stripped down as Okabe runs in search of his very best friend. There is an urgency to it all that is infectious, and I spent most of this episode in a state of panic, uncertain that Okabe would be able to save his friend even WITH the knowledge that he had.
And that’s so astounding to me. Y’all, the new PhoneWave worked, and that is the least interesting thing here. The show pivots towards Okabe’s attempts to change the timeline, and in this first attempt, it was understandable that all he did WAS panic. He knew that Mayuri was about to die, but he didn’t have a plan in place to save. All he wanted to do was find her and get her away from the lab. This is why I assumed that somehow, the SERN people had the means of tracking down Mayuri and Okabe, and it’s why I assumed this was what would in the third iteration. After darting all over the city and getting Mayuri away from the lab, she still died. SERN’s forces still found them. And in a rather confusing moment, Moeka calls someone and confirms that Mayuri died this time? Oh god, can she remember all the world lines and timelines, too? Was Mayuri going to be hunted down in every version of this?
The last episode was an examination of restraint, a chance for these characters to think about the ramifications of their actions. And yet, before any of them even get to choose to release their information, circumstance forces Okabe to make his choice. Again. And again. There’s an emotional whiplash to this, a sense that Steins;Gate is plunging into a terrible, terrible future. We have no idea what affect Okabe is having on the current world line by sending his memory into the past by a few hours. There’s been no indication that a shift in the lines has occurred, but I have no certainty about this otherwise.
Even with the knowledge of the bomb threat, of the SERN agents trying to find Mayuri, of the chaos that Okabe caused the second time around… it’s still not enough. Oh, he changes history significantly, and I imagine everyone else’s lives are different. But the horrifying end to this episode, in which Mayuri is accidentally pushed in front of a train, suggests a new theory: Mayuri has to die. Somehow, no matter what she does or what Okabe does, she dies. Either by bullet, car, or train, she has died in every timeline, and it’s happened at basically the same time. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON??? Why is this happening??? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME???
The video for “Metaphysics Necrosis” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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