In the new Akihabara, the satellite remains embedded in the radio tower and while their surroundings may have changed, through one way or another the relationships between the characters have remained the same. With them meeting Ferris not through Mayuri’s work but through a contest a while back.
When they head back to the lab Mayuri brings up the idea of a trip to the beach which leads to Okabe making a fatal error, calling Rukako a guy, as only now does he learn that one of their earlier D-mails had worked. Leaving a poor Rukako in tears as he struggles to find out the truth by groping her, being tortured by Kurisu for it. He meets Suzuha outside after this and they decide to go cycling for a bit before she tells him that she came to Tokyo to meet her father, for which her badge is a memento. The chance to do this lies just ahead of her and after hearing her tell him that she’ll give up if she can’t do this, Okabe makes her Lab Member 008 and tells her that she can send a D-mail if she fails.
Upon hearing this she thanks him and tells him that he’s a nice person. So Okabe goes on to inform the other lab members of their next operation, they will either have a celebration or something to cheer Suzuha up depending on the outcome of her meeting, however Hashida has plans elsewhere so they send him a fake message about Ferris to get him to come. And while Okabe plans to tail Suzuha, Kurisu’s threat gets him to go shopping with everyone else. Following this though he receives a mysterious message telling him that he’s being watched, which gets him more paranoid than usual, as him and Mayuri head back however they spot a star in the sky. Reminding Mayuri of how she had wished upon a shooting star to save him when he was sick, during which Okabe remembers when he first acquired his Reading Steiner.
As they prepare for the feast Kurisu and Rukako cook while Mayuri attempts to help, and when Hashida comes rushing back he learns that he had been lied to. The others soon start going through the gadgets the lab put together before they stumbled upon the D-mail, however in one way or another there’s some definite problems to them that make it so that they shouldn’t even be used. Through one of these the power goes out and in the darkness Kurisu tells Okabe about how much fun his lab is and how much him considering her a companion meant to her. They eventually get the power back up but no matter how long they wait Suzuha doesn’t return.
Realising what’s happened Okabe sends a D-mail to tell himself to tail her no matter what, considering the consequences of doing it and whether it really is right to change the past. During this the satellite has vanished. After sending the message he meets her outside, learning a few things about what happened yesterday and that her father has been calling himself “Barrel Titor” online, aside from that she’s resolved to try and find her father again.
While I don’t think this episode exactly had the impact that the last one did and it felt kind of closed for some reason, it still ended up being a fairly nice Suzuha centric one. Okabe may have been pretty slow on picking up on the hints about Ruka now being Rukako (FOR SCIENCE), but he still had quite a few nice moments between most of the girls. Most of all however, through a mysterious message it seems like the story might take a darker twist.
If there was one thing that stood out in this episode it was the issue that Suzuha had of meeting her father, the reason she had been looking at that badge throughout the previous episodes that seemed to hold some sort of meaning. Who’s identity wasn’t really something I thought they did a good job of hiding, if we continue to assume that she is from the future and from the other events in the episode, it would have to be Hashida. They were both on their way to a meeting but due to Okabe setting other things related to it up, he didn’t make it and she was unable to meet him there. Other than that though it was also interesting to see that she was related to the satellite that had been sitting in the radio building since the first episode, so perhaps she was the figure Okabe saw.
Throughout the episode it was also pretty nice to see Okabe get a few nice moments between himself and some of the girls, as while he may have just groped Rukako, the points between him, Suzuha, Kurisu, and Mayuri ended up being pretty nice. With Kurisu we were able to get a glimpse of what lies under all the tsun in her character, seeing that she’s truly enjoying things and that Okabe’s offhanded remark in the last episode had meant a lot too her. While with Mayuri we were able to get an idea of how long they’d known each other and see the first time Okabe’s Reading Steiner came into effect, the world line change itself is something I’m quite interested to learn about, but odds are it’s related to the original John Titor. In all though all these sorts of scenes were kind of heartwarming in their own way and were all nice to see, seeming to further develop or advance their characters at the same time.
However amongst all these fun scenes and hijinks, ranging from Kurisu “torturing” Okabe to all the amazing (not really) gadgets that had been developed by the lab. There was a slightly more darker twist given the mysterious message that Okabe received, if anything it’s actually quite worrying. As given how loose they were over security a while ago it’s not hard to believe that SERN or a group related to them would know about what they’re up to by now. So the “I’m watching you” message and the image of the jelly don’t seem to forebode anything good at all. It was like it was saying that if they didn’t hand over the D-mail or surrender, they would be the next test subjects. And we all know how much success they’ve been having with human test subjects.