What’s the show? Steins;Gate 0, Episode 21.
So last week you kinda hammered the episode for having the audacity to do time travel in a time travel anime… have you come to your senses now? Listen, you know it wasn’t ~just~ the time travel that bothered me—it was the fact that it felt like we’d gone to the future just for the sake of some edgy drama in the form of Ruka dying and seeing Okabe old and (more) distressed. Also the fact that it was more-or-less just so Okabe could confirm, “yep the future sucks, better go fix that” which I felt was a slap in the face to Suzuha who’d been saying as much for the whole damn season, it was like he didn’t even listen to her!
So you’re still on that high horse, huh? What about this episode then? It’s great and legitimises the previous episode completely and I’m going to retire from reviewing now because I’m obviously an idiot who has no idea what I’m talking about.
Come on now, don’t be like that, you’re allowed to have gaping lapses in judgement from time to time. If only I was binge-watching this, I could have saved making such a fool of myself!
Nobody cares, also you’d find a way to make a fool of yourself in a different way anyway… That’s true.
So what’s so good about this episode then? It’s an ~extremely~ satisfying 25 minutes of television, not only does it give time-travel a meaningful place in the narrative it also finds a dynamic and possibly damaging way to do it that puts Okabe’s mind under unimaginable strain but in a completely different way than him repeatedly seeing Mayuri’s death from the original Steins;Gate series. There’s never a dull moment, never a wasted fame and it more or less culminates in something I didn’t even realise I was missing—the return of Houoin Kyouma, Okabe’s mad scientist alter-ego.
Oh yeah? I seem to recall you saying a few episodes ago that you “didn’t miss him” and would be happier if he didn’t return. Why do you suddenly have such a good memory—tch! Yes, I said that too but that’s because at that stage in the narrative it felt unearned, like all the people who were saying they wanted him back at like Episode 2 kinda made me retroactively resent him. I was more than happy with ‘depressed Okabe’ I didn’t need the obnoxious mad-scientist. That was then and this is now and we’ve more than earned his return and it is particularly joyous—almost cathartic to have that ridiculous man back in our lives. Although for how long remains another matter…
What do you mean by that? Well despite all the pieces seemingly falling into place with Okabe’s return to the past things—of course—don’t go to plan as once again the time-machine with Mayuri and Suzuha is blown up by an attack helicopter as its transitioning to the past. Although the episode ends ~somewhat~ ambiguously, so maybe they made it this time and the anime is just cliff hanger baiting us.
So, sounds like you had a pretty positive experience with the episode? Some final thoughts? I don’t often like to compare things to other things—especially when the other thing is something very specific and not at-all anime related. But this episode’s central plot, with Okabe having to “time-leap” 3000 times to make it back the 25 years to get to his starting point reminded me fondly of my favourite episode of Doctor Who—‘Heaven Sent’, which aired in 2015. I won’t explain the plot of the aforementioned as it’s complicated and best worth discovering on your own but it too is about the kind of mental sacrifices that come with facing insurmountable difficulties with only one—very tough solution. I really loved this episode, even if that cliff hanger ending suggests the true ending is going to be harder fought still.
Previous Steins;Gate 0 Reviews:
Episode 1 Review
Episode 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review
Episode 12 Review
Episode 13 Review
Defying the Protagonist – Episode 14 Review
When Daru Met Yuki – Episode 15 Review
Truth Is A Mirror – Episode 16 Review
A Life Sentence – Episode 17 Review
Blowing Up The Gate – Episode 18 Review
The Definition Of Insanity – Episode 19 Review
Living On Sorrowed Time – Episode 20 Review
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