Steins Gate – 12

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Steins;Gate reaches its halfway mark with a disappointingly uneventful outing, as–oh, God, what am I saying? I’ll be serious, as Okabe Rintarou has started to become by necessity: this was an effing classic. It was the choice of Steins Gate that the wool be fully pulled from my eyes…and my heart be ripped out of my chest.

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For all its humble looks and composition, this thing is lit like a terrible world-upending weapon

 

Rintarou had already drastically cut down on his chuunibyou mad scientist silliness last week, when he was too damned shaken by the threatening text messages to be embarrassed about walking in on the girls in the bath.

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It’s a sudden change in his demeanor not lost on Kurisu. Even if Rintarou hasn’t told her anything, she knows. After fully explaining the completed Time Leap Machine, including the need for a living human subject—no more bananas—she turns to Rintarou for the Lab’s next move.

No maniacal laugh, no fake cell phone call: his decision is this: they’re backing out of this. They’ll announce their discovery and leave the rest to the ‘appropriate’ entities.

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It’s a tough call, and a very un-Hououin Kyouma call, but it’s the right call. Itaru agrees. On a grocery run, Kurisu sees Rintarou’s relief and admits to being a little disappointed, but she agrees too. Mayuri definitely agrees. Mayuri, whom they both agree has seen more than either one of them, and probably wanted them to stop a long time ago.

Things will be different, that’s for sure. The Future Gadget Lab accomplished something momentous. Kurisu fears her father’s reaction to her latest and greatest success; Rintarou assures her they’ll be able to visit him and work things out, because he takes care of his lab members. In this beautiful exchange, Kurisu refers to herself as his assistant, and he shoots back that she’s his dear companion. These two really were meant for each other.

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Rintarou’s decision calls for a party, and a party is what they have. Suzuha even comes along, and after some posturing and growling between her and Kurisu, Mayuri defuses the situation with her usual eloquence: “Mayushii…doesn’t like fighting…when we’re all together, I think it’d be more fun if we were all friends!”

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And so they are friends this night, as Kurisu helps Suzuha beat Rintarou at Rai-Net Battler, simply by knowing the kind of personality Rintarou has. When Rintarou skulks away in defeat, Kurisu has Mayuri go after him, telling her how both she and Rintarou believe she’s always had the clearest view of the lab.

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Mayushii approaches Rintarou on the roof armed with a lightsaber Cyalume Saber. They talk about how much fun everyone is having, and about all the things they’ll be able to buy once they go public with the discovery (Chairs! Utensils!).

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Then Mayushii brings up the Spring (it’s August at this point), when it was just the two of them, but Rintarou seemed really lonely to her, and how the club has grown so much that it’s okay now, even if she isn’t his ‘hostage’ anymore.

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As Mayuri is saying this last bit, he has a flash of his daydream from the cold open, which may well have been far more than a mere daydream: 70 million years in the future, he and Mayuri are alone in the middle of a wasteland, about to die. She tells him they’re the originals, but there are infinite other Rintarous and Mayuris in other world lines that will carry on their legacy even if they crumbled to dust then and there.

So…it’s okay. It’s all okay. Until it isn’t.

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Itaru dashes up to the roof (yes I used dash and Itaru in the same sentence): there’s a bomb threat; all trains in and out of Akiba are stopped. So the party becomes a sleepover now…Yay, right? Nay. When Itaru confirms he’s deep into SERN, Suzuha seems on the cusp of telling them to do something very important, but instead she bolts out of the lab without an explanation. That’s not good. There’s no way that’s a good sign.

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Then Rintarou notices sand has stopped flowing down an hourglass. Mayuri’s recently-wound pocketwatch stops. Something is extremely wrong.

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A group of masked gunmen in casualwear race up the stairs and bust into the lab. If they didn’t have the guns and masks, they’d look like ordinary people. Is this SERN? Was Rintarou too late in giving up the game?

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It’s a volatile situation, made even more surreal by the arrival of the apparent leader of the gunmen: Kiryuu Moeka, donning black leather from neck to toe, stylish as always, as Mayuri once remarked. “SERN will take the time machine”, she mutters softly. She’s taking Kurisu, Rintarou, and Itaru as well.

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As for Mayuri? She’s…”not needed.” Shining Finger puts her finger on the trigger, muttering “For FB…FB…FB…” and puts a bullet in Mayuri’s head. Just like that, the beating heart and warm, fuzzy soul of the lab, Rintarou’s dear childhood friend, is gone, and the fun and games are over.

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I expected something to happen in that standoff, but for the life of me I didn’t expect that. But why the hell didn’t I? It was all here, in previous episodes and all over this one: she was pulling out death flags like there was no tomorrow, because for her, there wouldn’t be.

And what’s so crushing about this is that in a twisted way, Moeka was right: Mayuri was no longer needed. As Mayuri said, “it’s okay”: now that he has friends, he’ll be alright, even if she isn’t by his side anymore. The close-ups of Mayuri in her last moments are painted with neither shock nor fear, but expectation; of inevitability. 

This is the closing of a chapter and a time of new and terrifying trials for Okabe Rintarou and the rest of the lab. But perhaps, with Kurisu by his side, he’ll be okay. But I just can’t see it yet. No one could ever see as clearly as Shiina Mayuri.

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P.S. With twelve episodes down, twelve to go, and Winter season starting to pick up steam, now is as good a time as any to exhale and take a break from the show. How long a break? I won’t be sure until Winter settles down and I have a better idea of which parts of the week are the slowest…but probably not long. In any case, I have yet to watch anything after this, so spoilers in the comments are strictly prohibited. Finally, it cannot be said enough, thanks for reading as I play catch-up with a classic—H.B.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

11 thoughts on “Steins Gate – 12”

  1. Very few shows, I find, do a good job of showing how someone is the emotional center of a group. The show will just TELL us the person is the center and that’s all. Steins;Gate had Mayuri do things like immediately diffuse a fight, give her little tours, and she was always able to calm people (viewers included) down. Having SERN simply regard her as unneeded shows the real difference between them and the plucky Okabe crew.

    I already can’t wait for you to begin reviewing the show again! These have been great. I hope nobody spoils anything. I’ve seen some people hint at stuff, but at this point even hinting would be way too much.

    1. Yes, the contrast between the Lab’s valuing of Mayurii (the glue that holds it together) and SERN’s (non-essential hanger-on and potential exposure threat) is indeed truly staggering. And yet, what with the cold open 70m years in the future, along with this strange knowing aura that Mayuri had, I can’t help but wonder if SERN hurt themselves by offing her. I guess it depends on what SERN does with the rest of the lab members.

      BTW, I wonder if there are any members of CERN aware of this show and how they have been, so far, portrayed as an evil organization engaging in, among other things human experimentation and murder. I’d at least hope they were more honored or amused than genuinely offended.

      1. A gift from Reddit:

        CERN: We are scientists working at CERN… Ask Us (Almost) Anything!

        REDDIT: Do you guys do anything classified?

        CERN: CERN is an academic environment and we take lots of efforts to publish results, technical designs, etc. We do not do any military research. Therefore, there is few stuff being “classified”. Sometimes, there is a period when we keep information internal until we are sure the results are correct. Thus, basically, you find only the “usual” classified stuff at CERN: payslips, medical records of our employees, passwords, financial information.

        REDDIT: That and your time machine research.

        CERN: Oh. Yes. But that has been handed over to SERN.

        REDDIT: Does the name Okabe Rintarou ring a bell?

        CERN: SteinsGate, if I am not wrong. But we don’t do time machines yet. Ask me again yesterday, if this has changed in five years.

        REDDIT: El Psy Congroo.

        REDDIT: Tuturu~!

  2. Twelve? Nooo no no. You _must_ also watch episode 25 (which came out as an OVA and serves as the wonderful conclusion of the story). Make sure to get it in time.

    You are temporarily walking away from the show _now_, when things have finally kicked off? I’m not sure if I should pity or admire you ;)

    1. I know, I amaze even myself with my restraint after such a tense, earth-shaking episode, but it is the choice of Steins Gate that I take a breather and let everything sink in, what with the new Winter shows arriving en masse. And don’t worry, I won’t miss the episode 25 OVA.

      1. It’s amazing how many endings this show has. You have 24 (the end of the anime run), 25 (the OVA), the movie, and even the cancelled sequel (nooooooo). Even better, the game’s true end arc doesn’t start until after the credits roll from one of the five normal endings.

  3. Lest it continue to go uncommented, I would like to commend Braverade on her change of Avatar.

    While I liked the old one. No one can complain with a classic like Kurisu.

    1. Thanks Clifton. But let it be said: Just because I resemble one of the show’s characters doesn’t make me a fangirl. I will not hesitate to give an S;G episode a low rating…just as soon as I see a bad episode. Which might not happen.

      1. But of course! (and how did “fangirl” enter this conversation, again? ^_^)

        Just out of curiosity, where did your first avatar originate from?

        (And let’s be clear… I highly doubt you will need to worry about a low rating from S;G)

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