I think I may finally have gotten that filler episode I’ve been clamoring for. Steins;Gate 0 took a deep breath this week and just sort of chilled. We didn’t get any major revelations or action sequences, instead the show took a little time to indulge in some silliness, some light-hearted humour and some dubious fan service.
I was, and am, divided. Want to come on a ride with me? Too bad, we’re going!
I’m not sure my of you read these without watching the episodes first but just in case this is what happened:
Amadeus has been restored and Maho meets up with Okabe to re-establish his mobile link. We learn that Maho has entrusted someone with cracking the password on Kurisu’s old laptop. Meanwhile, she’s made a complete mess of Faris’s place and the gang is all there to help clean up under the supervision of an adorably strict Nae. (Some of you may know that Nae is quite capable of harshness to say the least, but this was the cutsey type). After which, Faris, Moeka and Maho had a sleepover in the freshly cleaned apparent, cause apparently that’s what people with friends do and groping ensued, cause apparently you can’t leave two girls alone together without that happening.
I really need to get more girlfriends.
In the rundown, Maho explores Akihabara with Okabe and visits the site of Kurisu’s murder where the latter reacted rather emotionally. Maho has long suspected that Okabe’s connection to Kurisu is much more complex than he has stated but hi obviously pained reaction leads her to share the existence of Kurisu’s with him. The episode closes n Okabe’s panic that the secrets within will precipitate WWIII, making all his sacrifices moot.
I finished the episode and I thought…meh. I figured Steins;Gate 0 could just keep escalating the stakes as it would become completely untenable but as far as filler episodes go, this was so so. It was decent but largely useless and introduced some less likable elements for no particular reason.
For instance, I’m a Daru apologist, he happens to be one of my favorite characters and I have made my peace with his odd relationship with Suzuha as the more touching moments compensate for the uncomfortable ones in my opinion. Not to mention that Suzu can take care of herself. Seeing Daru openly perv out over very young Nae was neither funny nor relatable. I understand that they were going for a traditional joke here, but it sullies the character quite a bit and is behavior difficult to defend even by me.
The sleepover was similarly useless and although not as creepy it really emphasized the most annoying sides of Faris driving me to mourning once again. Well I figured…it was bound to happen.
I went for a walk with Buddy feeling a little let down and started to frame the post in my mind. The scene I kept flashing back to is Maho stashing Kurisu’s laptop in a locker for her hacker friend to retrieve. It wasn’t a particularly important scene but it beautifully paralleled one in the first season. That I quite liked. It seemed elegant compared to the rest of the episode.
As I was trying to build on that a bit more, I realized something. Everything I just said about the episode still stands, except for the largely useless part. This episode wasn’t about filler, not exactly. And it wasn’t about introducing recognizable old school fanserve either. It was a reimagining of Steins;Gate, with Maho in Okabe’s role.
Maho is the only new character in the main cast and the only one that needs to be properly introduced to us. However, in this worldline, she’s already oddly familiar to audiences of the original, because she mirrors Hououin Kyouma.
While Okabe is relatively normal and surrounded by friends, she is the socially awkward isolated one. Maho is the science otaku pouring her time and passion chasing after ingenuity. She is the one obsessed and haunted by Kurisu. Sure, Okabe still feels the pain of her loss but it’s Maho who can’t seem to let go. She’s even the one talking about changing the past. This episode was about showing us Maho’s story. Her own difficult yet beautiful relationship with Kurisu. It was about sharing her wonder and pain. It was..nice…
I have shared how connected I feel to Okabe but that connection was forged through hours of shared experience. It was built carefully from the ground up and cemented over years. I related to Maho instantly, from her first line of dialogue. Let’s face it, you make the character pale blonde and I could probably sue. Maho is so deeply familiar to me that I don’t need to have her explained. I know exactly why she does what she does and how she feels.
This is why I found it so heart wrenching to see her colleagues pushing her towards a man obviously in love with someone else. When push comes to shove, Okabe is a harem main character and those are NOT good boyfriend material. Maho can tell it’s not a good idea but she also can’t help being intrigued. And when nothing comes of it, she’ll shrug and keep whatever disappointment she feels buried deep inside. I know. That’s what I would do….
I got a few ore screenshots for you guys! Hope you like them:
8 thoughts on “Steins;Gate 0 Ep 10 – Space Time Oddity”
Great point about Maho being in Okabe’s role in this episode (and in general) – I hadn’t considered that.
I may be overthinking these but hey – what’s Steins;Gate for?
I liked Maho from the first moment I saw her, but I’m not so fond of the looks-like-a-child joke, mostly because to me she very obviously doesn’t. I liked this episode mostly, but yeah groping jokes and Daru masochism jokes… well… not my thing.
This is also, perhaps, the time to come forward and tell everybody how much I dislike Mozart’s music. Most of it is empty drivel to me, and most of it has irritating complications that make it a pain to listen to. I don’t know any of Salieri’s compostions, but it’s hard to imagine that he’d lose to Mozart, the most overrated musician in the history of Western music. (Background ifnormation: I’m Austrian and studied at Salzburg University, Mozart’s city of birth that uses that fact for shameless city marketing and drives me up the wall with Mozart Muzak – everywhere. The intensity of my loathing might come from that: hearing the music you hate all the time and everywhere around you. Grrr….)
In a sense it’s fitting: the world would be a better place if Kurisu hadn’t invented the time machine, and also if Mozart hadn’t written any music. It’s the perfect analogy. I mean WW3 can’t possibly worse than Mozart’s opus. (I might have gone a tad too far. Might.)
This has got to be the most passionate attack of Moart I have ever read – I love it! I’m rather neutral to the music myself but I can imagine your private hell.
As for Maho – I agree she doesn’t look like child but from experience, I will tell you this. I still get regularly called a child and I’m also very clearly an adult. I’m pretty sure people (at least here) just register the height and don’t really bother to look at the rest. Since I am (I looked it up) the same height as an average 12 year old, in the child category I go.
I probably don’t have that connection with Maho. To me she was a plot device used to compel Okabe back into thinking about things he was very clearly trying to close off in his life. And while they’ve made efforts to characterise her since, none of them have really stuck for me. I don’t dislike her, but I don’t really feel much in relation to her either, which is probably why I found this episode so empty.
I would imagine – without Maho there’s not much left
Steins Gate is dope