Well wasn’t this dramatic? If you’ve been around for a while, you may have picked up on the fact that I have no patience for melodrama. I can enjoy a good emotional release but it has to be measured and logical. Demonstrative angst is not my thing. This is generally why I prefer the visual novels. All the  non verbal delivery is up to my imagination and in my head no one is shouting.

What I’m saying is that Steins;Gate 0 laid it on a bit thick for my tastes this week. However, under all the duh-rama, some intriguing developments are brewing.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
so much durama…

By the way, how did you guys feel when you saw those bananagels? Yeah yeah, of course they were there, but still. Were you a little excited? Were you caught completely off guard when your tummy did a weird leap move in spite of how obvious the turn was? I liked it. I’m a sucker…

Steins;Gate has put Okabe through a lot. From the agony of failing to save his loved ones and watching them die on a loop, to the torture of bearing the guilt of his losses and decisions on his own to the simple physical toll of constant migraines and no sleep. It’s hard to remember sometimes just how lucky Okabe is.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
so jealous of this guy

By some fantastic cosmic quirk, Okabe managed to surround himself with outstanding people. I’ve occasionally looked down on Mayuri for her softness. I get annoyed at characters that are simple tools to advance the plot and make the hero look good. Steins;Gate 0 has been slowly forcing me to rethink my stance on Mayushii though. This time around, that almost unsustainable mix of softness and frailty isn’t amounting to a character about to break at any second, this time it’s a sort of sad strength to be admired. Maybe it always was and I was just too shortsighted to realize it. In any case, little forgotten and put upon Mayuri, took on the entire weight of the truth on her shoulders, shed a few years, and held her head high.

Mayuri will never be the wild confident genius who can rival Maho or Kirusu. Her role in this story will by necessity always be a supporting one. But man, you really couldn’t ask for a better supporter. I don’t know about best girl but Mayushii is best friend and that’s better.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
then again she might be best girl too

But wait there’s more. Okabe has two friends! Popular guy! Daru has always had a sharp tongue. Unlike Mayushii, he doesn’t go out of his way to coddle the mad scientist. However, we never doubted that he cared for him. There’s something very precious about someone that will tell it to you straight. When Daru finally lost his patience with Okabe (for the first time) it wasn’t for his own sake. It was for the sake of a new friend he actually respects despite appearances and for an old friend I never realized he loved this much. But mostly it was for Okabe. For the buddy he’s been watching self-destruct before his very eyes. All that pain and frustration that Daru has been holding onto, was entirely for those around him. Daru is best friend too!

I am liking Maho more and more each week. That’s saying something since I quite liked her to begin with. That stubbornness and determination tempered by insecurity and weakness works well for the character and within the context of the show. Considering we seem to be heading towards an eventual resurrection of Kurisu, that reunion will be very interesting to see.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
of course I had to put one in

On a side note I have always really loved the concept of the festival of Tanabata (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata). The story of the literally star-crossed lovers is very sweet and the entire idea is charming. To me it was always the classic image of trees covered in colourful handwritten wishes that mostly attracted me. First it just looks lovely and second there is something poetic about writing down a wish and entrusting it to the earth.

There are so many traditions that dictate that wishes should be secrets. Don’t tell anyone or it won’t come true. But I prefer it this way. Wishes should always be something you’re proud of, something to scream from the rooftops and print on your t-shirts. They should be colourful and shared with everyone.

Steins;Gate 0 ep 16 anime review
Ruka’s pretty dashing in his uniform

Seeing a Tanabata tree always makes me a little happy and I liked how the myth was worked in as a metaphor for the narrative of Steins;Gate in general.  I just hope they got all the bellyaching out of their system so we can get back to doing something more productive next week!

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I got a lot of caps of the Tanabata tree!

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7 thoughts

  1. I haven’t seen Zero yet, but I’m not a Mayuri fan. I have little tolerance for characters who are just walking, adult-sized toddlers.

    So hey, maybe Zero develops her beyond that, that’d be cool.

  2. Yeah, tanabata goes really well with Steins;Gate.

    Also, I’ve always seen Mayushii like this. Early on, she felt a little like Okabe’s ersatz mum – she’s generally easy going, but never holds back with her opinions. The key scene that turned this around a little in the first episode was near the end, when Okabe overhears her talk to her grandma at the grave about those strange “dreams” she was having lately. Her centre of gravity isn’t so much Okabe as a series of events she never really got over.

    Daru was great this episode.

    I must say, though, that I wasn’t too fond of Maho’s motivational speech. Would have had the opposite effect on me. Also, if her motivation is to catch up with and meet up with Kurisu again… good luck. Hard times are coming – you can see them intellectually (to an extent), but are you prepared? The speech made character sense for her, but I felt the dramaturgy overplayed it and as a result I’m not convinced they’ll really pull it off rahter than just having to re-route the plot to the original conclusion. The speech should have been more selfish, and the clash should have been more intense, and the entire feel should have been less motivational, IMO. But it’s too early to make the final call.

    1. I get what you’re saying. I agree form an objective standpoint but I liked it form a personal relativity standpoint.
      I find that when I’m insecure it’s difficult to express selfishness (cause I obviously don’t deserve anything…). If I would have been in that situation, Maho’s reaction is probably pretty close to mine. That’s not going to carry over to the general public but it worked for me.

      1. I’d have to rewatch to see if my reaction would hold up on a second viewing, but my issue is less with the script, here, and more with the direction.

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