29 CommentsSteins;Gate / By Scamp /

Steins;Gate episode 19

Public Service Announcement: Redline is being released on DVD/BD in Japan today. It comes with english subtitles, so there won’t be any wait for fansubbers. It should be showing up on various torrent sites within the next 24 hours. Watch it.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Steins;Gate. Not the lame Steins;Gate of the past 2 episodes. The good Steins;Gate.

Before I get to the juicy part of the episode, I want to talk about how brilliant the first half was. There was so many little things that clicked. For example, how Kyouma has slowly become detached from the human Mayuri. He barely recognises her presence, even when she’s trying to cheer him up. When Kurisu gives him a call on the phone, panicked and distressed, his facial expression doesn’t budge. Instead of looking at Mayuri, he looks only at the hourglass. It really feels like he’s not doing this for Mayuri anymore. He’s simply doing this for his own sake because he’s pushed so far. It’s about the act itself, rather than the consequences, such is the effort he’s put into it. Even convincing Kurisu to join his time-travelling team has become something he’s deadened to, remarking aloud how many times he’s had to do this all. Speaking of Kurisu, thank you Steins;Gate for allowing her not to descend into typical tsundere lines for the sake of including them, allowing her to say something heartfelt to Okarin without blushing. I guess the reason why she does this is because Kyouma has become deadened to this part of her that he no longer expresses any surprise when her softer side is revealed.

Now for the creepy part. Judging by some of the responses on twitter, I wasn’t the only one a touch horrified by what was effectively an assault and rape scene. I said after the last two episodes that I hoped Steins;Gate was recognising that Okarin’s morals had become severely skewed recently in his attempts to save Mayuri. Moeka is deranged and mentally scarred, yet Kyouma punches her in the face, kicks her across the room, rugby tackles her and pins her to the ground in prime rape position. Moeka offering that she’d do ‘anything’ to get her phone back while being pinned down with that panicked look on her face brought home the impact of the scene even more. Then a concerned neighbour, upon hearing all the fuss, walks in, sees them sprawled on the floor, and then just walks away? Talk about bystander syndrome.

Here’s the thing about that incident, the scene, and the entire direction the Steins;Gate is taking: I hope it was intentional. I hope Steins;Gate was offering a critique of the detachment of humans to help their mentally unstable neighbours when they appear to be getting assaulted. I hope the show realises that Okarin has started to go beyond noble hero and into a morally ambiguous stage where he’s become difficult to side with. I have faith in the writers, as they’ve proven themselves quite admirably thus far. If Steins;Gate goes in the direction I think it’s going, Okarin is not going to have a happy ending. The young adult with delusions of grandeur trying to alter the path of history for his own gains through morally ambiguous methods is not a story that typically ends in roses. He’s not quite Light Yagami, but he’s certainly pushing slightly closer towards the Lelouch end of the morality spectrum.

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28 Comments

  1. Arabesque
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    After a night’s sleep and some time thinking about it, I can say that this is my favorite episode of the show to date.

    For the first part, I agree it was brilliant. You do get the sense that Okarin had been doing this for so long that he became detached from what was going on around him. His emotions have literally dulled out, and now he’s just taking it all in and treating it like it’s a habit.

    Kurisu was also pretty awesome this episode, cheering him on and telling him that no matter what time line he’s on, he’s not alone. Of course, fate had to come in and crush all her hopes that Mayuri might be safe when she’s around her, only for that phone call to come … what made it worse was that we didn’t know how Mayuri died this time, so that opened a whole can of uncomfortable … foreshadowing to the second part I suppose.

    It’s really hard to not call the second part anything but ugly. I can see what you mean that this is the juicier part of the episode, and would most likely be where the majority of the talk is going to be about (which is a bit of a shame since the rest of the episode was pretty great, but when you have a scene this powerful it’s only fitting)

    Moeka clearly has a mental problem. Not only is she following and dedicating her life to an unknown person whom she never met, but she’s also willing to throw away everything to get her phone back just so she wont lose the only thread to that person. The part where she is willing to give anything to get back the phone, after throwing the table and shouting like a mad women, it was honestly hard to hate her for something that she hadn’t even done yet, if at all in this time line. There wasn’t anything that I thought that Okarin had done that wasn’t justifiable, since he had build in all the frustration from seeing his childhood friend die countless times in front of his eyes thanks to this women, and his desire to take it out on her (even if she didn’t do it this time) was understandable, though seeing how he managed to assault her and use the neighbors own apathy to mask what he was doing to her … yeah, that horrified me all right.

    I do think that Steins;Gate is trying to make the entire situation all the more morally ambiguous. What Okarin had done wasn’t wrong per say, since he needed the phone and punching her was the only fast way to get it (since she was basically out of it) not to mention that the bent up hatred against what she’s supposed to do made him lose control, but the part where he tackled her to the floor (in her own apartment) and then kissed her to make sure she wont cry for help was honestly hard to watch (what followed was just as hard, but that was more to do with how stupid the neighbor was and how ill Moeka is) I do think that Okarin isn’t really set to end with a happy, perfect ending, though I wonder what would be the price he has to pay. The torment from having to repeat all these time lines over and over seem like a possible theory, but at the same time, following this episode, would be a bit of a cop out, since it feels like karma is going to catch up to him.

    And I don’t need to fall in love with Redline. I already love it.

    *Import*

    • Scamp
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Since it obviously wasn’t going to be Moeka killing Mayuri, I did wonder what it would be that kills Mayuri this time. I know it could be anything, but it was mostly CERN and Moeka that was killing her before. But then Steins;Gate didn’t bother telling us. Okarin didn’t even ask, which somehow made it even more painful to sit through

      I think Okarin might get a happy-ish ending, but one with compromises. The Code Geass-esque ending

  2. Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping Redline would come out in time to be my 100th anime movie. Have to watch a couple of other movies beforehand, though …

    Along with everything you mentioned in this post, I thought the phone call where a distraught Kurisu calls Okabe about Mayuri’s death, and all Okabe does is make note of the time of death in a detached manner. In a horrifying way, he really IS taking on the mad scientist persona — he knows he can bring Mayuri back to life again, so, as you write, her life at the moment exists as little more than a guinea pig for him in these time travel experiments to align events in the perfect timeline.

    • lostsage
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I don’t know if he is experimenting so much as he is just becoming desensitized. It must seem like a bad video game where you keep dying and retrying over and over until you finally get it right. I mean, just imagine how hard it would be to look at someone and know that they are going to die no matter what you do, and all you can do is watch it happen and try again. Taking her death seriously each time would just make him go insane(r).

    • Scamp
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I really love that evolution of his character. First Mad Scientist persona in full force, but the more of the mystery he strips away, the more scared and human he becomes. But now the more he sinks into this time jumping nonsense, the more he becomes detached and sinks further into true mad scientist. Really damn well worked character

  3. Mr. Anon
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    What is Redline, and why should I care?

  4. Chipp
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Here’s your yandere Kurisu you’ve being asking for:

  5. romulus
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Dear commenters, I dare say that your ordinary woman in the street wouldn’t be able to produce those screams, moans, and cries that made up 70% of the creepyness of the taking-away-the-phone scene. (The other 30% was the grey shades everywhere.)
    It’s not like that girl was the greatest voice actor all the time. She got some nice roles (this being the most memorable for me), so this proves my point that a VA must be someone with special abilities, who is able to project images into our minds-in other words, a true actor.
    Everyone is saying that this is the creepiest/most memorable ep of S;G. I agree, but I remind everyone that this is also the episode with the most intensive voice acting.
    I am also happy that this show got cured of some illness weakening the last few episodes and that it took its place back as an aspirant for the title ‘Anime of the Year’.

    tl;dr: the nice voice acting made everyone rave about how creepy this ep was. due to that, this ep is as good as the early ones.

    • mcm38
      Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      The voice acting realy did its job. How intense it was! Not to mention the angles of Steins Gate. This episode was like that one episode in C where everything starts climaxing.

      • romulus
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I haven’t heard a performance like this since I don’t know when.

        Also, getting ready to download Redline… 3… 2… 1…

  6. mcm38
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Lelouche was exactly my tought when I saw Kyouma in the first half. He was almost exactly like Lelouche after accidentaly causing Euphemia’s massacre and cruel death. Kurisu also felt much like CC and I could say Mayuri played the role of Nunnaly. How nostalgic.

    But the main difference between Lelouche and Kyouma is that Kyouma is not as levelheaded as Lelouche and is having a difficult time executing his plan(s).
    I still enjoy his character development tough. He is now going trough an experience that might give birth to some cool scenes in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing him do some bad*ss stuff.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Lelouch level-headed? The man flipped out on more than one occasion.

      Also you don’t need to * your swears. I’m not going to get offended

      • mcm38
        Posted August 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        That’s just a habit to avoid censors. (because of a forum I’m member of)

        But I still think Lelouche was a lot more calm than Kyouma. Even tough he did go insane when he knew Nunnaly died.

  7. luffyluffy
    Posted August 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Best. Episode. Ever.

    Might be because I actually torrented it for once, might be because it was that good. I honestly screamed my way through it. Screamed at Okarin, screamed at Moeka, screamed at dat raep scene.

    I-i’ve never had that much fun with a show before..

  8. gw_kimmy
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    dude, biggest o__________o face ever. i agree with romulus ^, moeka’s VA sure made me believe her screaming.

    i also agree that this all isn’t going to end well. espeically for kyouma. slowly his character is evolving into something the audience can no longer sympathize with without feeling…wrong. i certainly hope this is intentional. i’ve read some other comments elsewhere that people were cheering kyouma on during that scene….and i’m sorry but that just makes me question humanity ;/ not to be white knight saintly, but my skin crawled. thanks interwebz.

  9. lostsage
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Oh please, what is with this huge outcry over the landlady or whatever walking away? All she probably heard was some banging and muffles sounds, the conclusion she reached was more than justified. Apparently nobody has ever walked in on someone before. I’ve walked in on roommates in just as compromising, maybe a little more, positions and walked away. Quickly. I doubt ANYONE would just stop and go, “Hey, you leave the door open so I could watch or should I call the cops?” Moeka was just as worried about being found, for whatever reason, seeing as she only bothered to bite Okarin’s lip once the lady left. Instead of, you know, doing it while she was there and crying for help.

    The whole scene was pure emotion and intense and mind-blowing. Also, I don’t think the last two episodes were that bad. They felt like the last bit of build-up/comic relief before the hurricane of awesome greatness that will be the ending.

    Also, WHY DO THE WEEKS KEEP GETTING LONGER? BE TUESDAY ALREADY

    • Scamp
      Posted August 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      She. Threw. A. Table

      She screamed. I know people orgasm pretty loudly at times, but they don’t scream out in terror. There’s no way you could interpret that at as anything else, even through a ceiling. Even if there was some ambiguity to it, that she opted to walk away anyway speaks enough. She might be being raped, but I’m going to opt to believe this is some kind of kinky foreplay they’re just into

      • lostsage
        Posted August 12, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Okay, the table would be a cause for concern but fortunately it magically disappears after it’s thrown. So all the lady heard was a loud bang, which could literally be anything. But Moeka never screams in terror, if anything it would sounded like she was getting ready to murder someone. And judging from how the scene played out, the lady lived downstairs. The most she would have heard was loud banging and muffled yells, which judging from the look of the apartment complex Moeka lived in, wouldn’t be out of place. And if she heard “give it back” it would have sounded like a robbery rather than a rape.

        Also Moeka never once calls for help in the whole scene. Not. Once. She clearly showed her ability to break Okarin’s Kiss of Death, and could have gotten the lady’s attention since she stood around for a bit. She didn’t do so and let the lady walk away.

        If anything the lady should be applauded for caring enough to even check up on what was happening. Most people would have just ignored it

  10. Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This was an absolute pain to stomach, but was easily the most powerful episode of the series so far… and probably one of the most powerful of the season. Seeing the now totally unhinged Okabe verbally abusing Moeka and just breaking her down to nothing was a disturbing sight, particularly because neither is of very sound mind. Okabe doesn’t seem to be doing it just for Mayuri anymore, he’s only doing it to end the whole ordeal at any cost. And that’s terrifying compared with previous episodes where Okabe was a mad scientisto white knight.

  11. fathomlessblue
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Man that Dark Tower comparison is getting pretty close to the mark

    I’ll mirror Lostsage’s opinion in doubting Okabe has stopped caring about Mayuri, rather that he is deliberately distancing himself from her existence until he eventually sets things right. He probably is desensitised to the situation, but in a way he already sees her as dead (I mean it’s currently inevitable, right?). I’d probably do the same in his shoes; acknowledging Mayuri from every timeline as his best friend, then watching her die repeatedly can only lead to a complete breakdown.

    Regardless of that, the voice acting this ep (especially for Moeka) was superb. Bar some of Romi Paku’s lines in FMA:B, I haven’t heard dialogue of such intensity in years. It made for a fantastic, if somewhat uncomfortable viewing.

    That neighbour scene was all sorts of creepy! I guess we’ll never know if she really thought it was a lovers tryst; but jesus, how can any rational person interpret that scene as intimacy rather than assault? Either way, cliché bystander syndrome or cliché stupid anime side-character, it was pretty stomach-churning.

    I did appreciate Okabe’s right hook though.

  12. Hatman
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I think it isn’t really a mad scientist thing as much as it is a growing up thing. Okabe could say whatever he wanted and act like an irresponsible idiot before SERN caught up with him, and now he’s having to very quickly come to terms with the notion that his lifestyle is not compatible with the responsibilities of being an adult. It’s only after he’s gone and done all the wacky crazy time travel that he’s come to understand he’s overstepped his boundaries and destroyed Mayushi’s future, and even now he is so wrapped up in his childish heroics (although he’s doing a very good batman impression, acting as grimdark as he is) that he has forgotten at the other end of reality Kurisu dies. He has seen her die and yet seems to have completely forgotten about it. I don’t expect a full on bad ending for Kyouma, but I think he will have to decide which one he wants to live and which he wants to die, accepting that in the real world we can’t have
    everything and that sometimes means giving up something we really want for the sake of something else.

    Getting rapey with future suicide victims and punching them in the face is a no-no though, even if they did kill your friend a bunch of times and you’re sure you can use time travel to make it un-happen. That said, neither Okabe or Moeka have good mental health or admirable morals at this point. I’d honestly say they’re almost – almost – as bad as each other.

  13. 3242
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Symptoms of time travel to save a persons life:
    Stopping to care for said person.
    Confirmed.

    Is what I couldn’t help but think throughout that first bit o-o;
    Most people watching steins;gate is so used to mayuri being dead that they dont even shout out in joy that the tuturu is dead anymore ;-;

  14. Duelit
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    As much as I would like to say that Okabe is going to cause the Cern disaster, It wouldn’t make sense since Part-Timer only showed up after the first d-mail was sent, probably meaning that Sern’s takeover would only happen after they diverged from the 1% Divergence Line (The Original world line) and that once all is said and done, none of this would have happened in the first place. However, this is the catch. As we have seen before, people who view Okabe as an important person in their life somehow can leech off his Reading Steiner and remember other world lines. I hope that by the end of the series, Okabe will have affected the other characters to an extent that when they pass the 1% Divergence Line that they will retain their memories partially from the other world lines and meet again once the world is returned to normal. ^^

  15. Someone Else
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    Just like Dr. Kaufmann said “The best cure for guilt is to never get caught in the first place” From what I understand it meant is to never get involved to anything you don’t want to regret later which led me think this is the reason why the bystander simply left. Also its a fact that she never asked for help which must have led to others think that they were just couples fighting

  16. Simon
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    “No matter what world line you’re in, you aren’t alone. I’m here!”
    Possible foreshadowing that at some point Okabe is going to jump to a worldline where he doesn’t know Kurisu?

    • Simon
      Posted August 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      To clarify, I meant, “where he shouldn’t know Kurisu”. Obviously with his Reading Steiner he’ll know her no matter what at this point. What I mean is something similar to what happened to Moeka earlier in the series.

  17. anon
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    he treated Moeka like that because, lol i dunno, SHE KILLED MAYURI SEVERAL TIMES, SHOT HER RIGHT IN HER HEAD AND WATCHED HER DIE. It would’ve been wierd enough that Okarin would have just invited Moeka for a cup of tea to discuss time machines.

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