Guys I need to go back in time! Just one week. That’s reasonable… Man. I knew this would happen. I knew the second I used my precious once and future title, Hououin would come back. This week was the time to use it. I’m beginning to think I’m title cursed.
But hey, Steins;Gate 0 and I have tons in common. We’re both about being too impatient to take the proper time, missing opportunities and sort of humdrum titles.
I experienced Steins;Gate 0 this week as a series of potential post names. It may sound like I was bored and simply letting my mind wander but far from it. This episode was great (to me) and it’s significance earned it title upon title. Because Steins;Gate in general has taught me not too chose but instead keep trying until I have it all: Welcome to the polyonymous post.
Theoretically It’s Possible.
The very first line of the episode is: Theoretically it’s possible. Spoken by Maho in the first second before the camera has even had time to reveal a single character and is lazily resting on a nondescript square of flooring.
It was a strong open. One that gets your mind racing right away with myriad crazy eventualities. Of course, she’s responding to last week’s closing salvo, where Okabe declared he would leap back 25 years. Turns out the plan is to do so in single leap bounds….3000 times.
It’s a rough solution. It lacks delicacy or refinement. It smacks of desperation. It’s the sort of slapdash pieced together answer you come up with when you can’t do anything else. Not to mention how unpractical and filled with potential to go wrong at every turn. A lot more stubborn than genius.
It’s probably exactly the type of idea I would come up with. When all else fails, just try everything…
Progress through Regression
It was interesting to see Okabe get incrementally younger with each leap, as he started to make is way back…home. In practice, this is in fact older Okabe whose memories where overridden but who may still hold an entire lifetime of repressed thoughts somewhere buried deep inside.
Because of the unimaginable burden of all these leaps, his only reliable companion and guide is Amadeus. And with each leap, Okabe’s precarious grasp on reality blurs the line between Amadeus and Kurisu. Between the genius friend and love, and the virtual stranger machine. And yet, he seems to find strength in uncertainty and comfort in the uncanny.
Hindsight is 20/20
As Okabe makes his way back, becoming physically stronger each time, he benefits not only from the knowledge of the 2036, but from everything he picks up with every leap. Fresh intel and new data to bolster his skills. This is an Okabe who has failed more than any before. You just can’t replicate that kind of wisdom.
And it shows. He is putting every hard-learned lesson to good use. His presence is comfort and inspiration to all those around him. For the first time in Steins;Gate 0, we truly understand what makes this guy special.
Return of the Phoenix
Because Okabe isn’t special. He’s really as boring and as plain as they get. He came up with the stupidest shallowest plan possible. We assume he’s decent at physics but what does that even mean. Don’t tell me in the comments – I know what it means. I wanted to study it for a long time… I’m just trying to make a point here…
Fact is, Okabe Rintaro is kind of a looser. An insecure weirdo who’s lack of conviction hurt everyone around him. He’s not a bad guy or anything. He’s not interesting enough to be a bad guy. He’s just.. you know.. like us. Well like me. My readers are amazing!
But none of that matters though. Because Okabe Rintaro is just a shell. A mask for a truly exceptional individual. And finally, the real hero a stirred from his slumber. For the second time in as many episodes, the protagonist wakes from a coma. The grand return of Hououin Kyouma, in all his cringe inducing glory, had me jumping up in down clapping in my living room. I was so happy you guys.
Make your own Path
And Hououin is back not a second too soon. Things are about to get…interesting. Using both Mr. F and Moeka as he did, thanks to what he knew from his first attempt at fixing the future (original Steins;Gate) was truly inspired. A stroke of genius only a mad scientist could have.
Despite the ominous almost suffocating inescapable feel of the collapsing worldlines, this feels like actual progress. Like Okabe is going somewhere and not giving up this time. I turned off my TV with a huge smile on my face and a true sense of happiness and hope.
It’s going to be ok. Kyouma is back, he’ll know what to do. I realized that Okabe was not making his way back to a place he know, or friends he left behind. He wasn’t even going back to 2011. Okabe had just spend probably a few years in all, making his way back to Hououin Kyouma, to himself.
Somewhere around the 7 minute mark. After his first leap, when this journey was just beginning. Okabe reunites with a very much alive Ruka and tells him something that we should all try to remember:
There is no such thing as a fixed future, don’t give up, you’ll find your path.
It’s a fine piece of advice for delicate Ruka. It’s the type of thing we would all do well to remember. But a man like Hououin isn’t the type to leave things up to fate. If he can’t find a path, he’ll make his own. Even if that path is backwards. As things come to a head:
It’s dejà vu all over again