Steins; Gate 22 — Remember the Future, Change the Past

This was quite possibly the best episode of Steins; Gate yet. This was Christina’s farewell episode, as Okabe left her behind to save Mayushii. In the process Okabe and Christina confess their love for each other. (Thank God we aren’t getting the Mayushii ending.)

The Emasculation of Christina

I found it strange how, at the beginning of this episode, the creators began to ascribe more “feminine” traits to Christina. Before this episode, she was a mad scientist who knew all the 4chan memes. And now, we learn that Christina considers herself “family-oriented” and carries around a sewing kit, we see her breasts and colorful bra exposed through her wet T-shirt, we hear her call Okabe a pervert (but it’s her fault for wearing thin clothes, of course!) and we see her slap Okabe’s face. Christina was always a bit of a tsundere, but the events of this episode seemed out of character.

Then, lo and behold, at the end of the episode Okabe and Christina confess their love. Coincidence? I doubt it. The confession makes the reasons for Christina’s feminization crystal clear. Okabe (and the viewer, by projection) can only love someone who acts like a girl. That’s why without the sewing kit, Ruka has a better chance at Okabe’s love than Christina.

A Reversal of Causalty

Steins; Gate’s view of the multiverse has always disturbed me, because human actions cannot change the future. (On a side note, this fits in perfectly with Okabe’s comparison of his fight to Ragnarok, where the end of the world is pre-ordained.) But the show has always treated fate somewhat inconsistently: Okabe can jump to “nearby” timelines with the memory transfer device and make “minor” changes, but it’s unclear what “minor” means. He is unable to change the hour of Mayushii’s death, but he can change the method.

The result is that Okabe’s actions have no significant effect on the future. This is not to deny Okabe’s free will. To the contrary, he can do whatever he wants, but it is rendered meaningless by fate. This fatalism is odd in a universe where, due to the butterfly effect, a single text message to the past elicits massive changes to the future. But we can resolve this paradox by observing that the d-mail doesn’t change the future: it only brings Okabe to a different universe, where human actions are equally meaningless. This is quite a pessimistic worldview, to say the least.

From Okabe’s perspective, causalty has been reversed: he is powerless to change the future, but has free reign over the past. Effects in the future bring about changes in their own causes.

But as I’ve been saying for a while, and as Christina finally points out in this episode, Okabe’s worldview is quite self-centered. Regardless of his time travel, he does not (and cannot) change the universes he leaves behind. Okabe is truly a time traveler, wandering in search of a universe which is more favorable for him, and for him alone. He is powerless to change the future or the past, and only controls which universe he observes, as if he were changing the channel on the television.

Excellent Dialogue and Mood Setting

The dialogue for this show continues to be top-notch. Let’s take a few examples from Christina and Okabe’s exchanges, which continue to be my favorite parts of the show.

First, we have Christina’s threat, “One more word, and I turn your neocortex into a flower pot!” Now this is how you do an insult! Thank you Steins; Gate for coming up with something besides “Baka!” and a punch to the head. This is an entertaining, unique insult, and serves to properly establishe Christina’s nerd credentials.

To further convince us that Christina is a mad scientist, after the kiss, she says “I didn’t want to do that, ok? But experiences, such as your first kiss, that are stored in the hippocampus with your stronger memories are harder to forget.” This establishes that Christina follows the usual dere-dere pattern. But it does it in a much more interesting way than usual, while also emphasizing the fact that Christina doesn’t want to forget Okabe when he switches world lines.

The creators also excelled at setting the mood in this episode. Take, for example, how after the kiss they ease the viewer out of mushy-mushy land with Okabe’s line, “That wasn’t my first kiss.” and Christina’s subsequent reaction. The mood in Okabe and Christina’s farewell scene was notable as well: a sense of timelessness and a lack of any hurry, yet simultaneously a sense that there is no time left at all. And finally, we have Christina’s perfectly timed entrance to the lab and her answer to Okabe’s confession.

Further Speculations

Shit, Suzuha is back and it’s up to Okabe to stop WWIII. LOLOLOL. Honestly, not much else I can say. Could this be why Christina became the leader of CERN?

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6 thoughts on “Steins; Gate 22 — Remember the Future, Change the Past

  1. Christina’s Insult remided me of Safu, but rather than being scientific about things, Kurisu is using it to hide her feminine side.

    The first parts of the episode has that VN feel to it down to the music. The conversation felt like one, like Ruka and Feiris episodes.

    On the end part. I may not be following this correctly, or I had missed something. What warrant Okarin to travel back to episode one by just deleting his first D-mail? I’m puzzled because you are only deleting evidence of your first d-mail, so it won’t affect your past actions.

    1. To be honest, I don’t get this part either. Maybe he’s sending a message to the past that does the deletion…? I’ve been confused about this for a while too.

      And yeah, Christina is similar to Safu and how they reference science things.

  2. Ah Kurisu, you will be missed… also, the development in this episode was much better than that in Mayuri’s episode. I guess it shows how much better Kurisu is as a character, that she can warrant a million times more sympathy.

    1. Mayuri is just kind of boring, the eternal damsel in distress. Steins; Gate manages to make her come across as more interesting than the usual damsel in distress, but she’s still pretty boring.

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