With the effects from the Dmail that Feyris sent now negated, Okabe moves onto Rukako but once again his attempt to tell her that she used to be a guy makes her cry.
Kurisu learns of this when Mayuri comes to the lab to tell Okabe that he has to apologise to Rukako for what he said, but before she can carry out some justice he takes her aside and explains that Rukako really was a guy originally before they sent a Dmail. Following this he also receives a message from her and when he meets her, she tells him that she’ll go back to being a guy if he’ll go on a date with her, this time crying tears of happiness when he accepts.
Because of this he seeks advice from Kurisu and later Hashida, even if the latter’s experience primarily comes from games and the former accidentally blurts her complete lack of experience as well. However with help from a dating book they try to figure out what Okabe should do and Hashida gets frustrated and runs out, but anyway just before the date itself Kurisu changes Okabe into a suit and announces Operation Valkyria, in which Kurisu and Hashida will be sneaking along to give him advice. So after this Okabe finally goes on the date with Rukako, and through out it all he tries to follow the advice he was given but overreacts it all and starts talking about random things over lunch, with how nervous he is showing.
After lunch the two of them go on a walk together and talk about how they first met, as Rukako tells him how he saved her from some guys with cameras, and when she told him that despite her feminine appearance she’s actually a guy, he told her that it doesn’t matter, something which made her happy. To Okabe though he sees what she told him as her remembering the events from the previous world line the same way that Feyris did. At the end of the day she also gives him her mother’s pager number and they set about making it seem that the previous message was just a prank, but before this Okabe learns that in the end Rukako didn’t go on a date with Okabe, or to put it better Hououin Kyouma.
So he runs back to the shrine in his usual lab coat and the two of them spend some time together. Following this Rukako also tells him the truth about the IBM 5100, that it used to be at the shrine but she accidentally broke it. Above all though she wants him to save Mayuri and what she truly regrets will be that their time spent together like this will disappear.
Once again it was great to see Rukako again, she seemed to suffer from the same thing that Feyris did, where there will be multiple episodes where she won’t even appear. And in the end it turned out to be quite a nice episode, containing just as many moments between Kurisu and Okabe and while being a Yu Kobayashi overload.
Who as I’ve already probably said a few times on this blog happens to be one of my favourite voice actresses, she’s got a decent amount of range and in real life she looks to be slightly crazy with amazing legs. But enough of that, putting that aside Rukako turned out to be pretty cute in this episode (also ignoring the “but he’s a guy” part since that wasn’t a factor in this episode). A good part of the episode may have been used to show how nervous Okabe was about the idea and actually going on a date with her, but still the little things still managed to shine through. She had to push herself to be accretive towards Okabe and she had a fragile maiden’s heart. One which was hurt by Okabe’s claims when you would usually expect someone to laugh them off. And all that aside how the two of them met was also a pretty nice story as well, giving Okabe the chance to man up when Ruka(ko) was being harassed and providing a point where he/she started to respect/like him. However given that this story came from Ruka’s memories I’m wondering how things carried out when Rukako met him.
Of course Rukako knowing this story only made things a bit more confusing, it may have shown that the way Feyris obtained her earlier memories wasn’t just a one-off plot device to shift the story forward but just how it works still isn’t all that clear. Does Okabe’s Reading Steiner open some sort of path through touch or does the sender of the Dmail still have some way to obtain their memories from a past worldline? Both actually seem kind of plausible but I want to know how it works, I don’t exactly mind some things not being explained but this just comes across as one of those glaring things that should be. That aside it was good to see Rukako show some resistance to things going back to how they were before, Feyris may have been suffering from a bleeding effect but the way in which Rukako didn’t want things to change really made it all kind of sad. Especially given how pure her reasons were, it was a much more up front example of how Okabe was sacrificing someone else’s happiness in order to save Mayuri.
Finally despite how this was primarily a Rukako episode it was still great to see Kurisu get her fair share of moments between her and Okabe. As ever since the matter of saving Mayuri has come up their relationship hasn’t been able to move forward at all, it’s been shown time and time again that around this point he’s started to break through the tsun and into the dere, but Okabe just keeps looping through things. So to see things finally advance forward once more, even if it wasn’t really by much, was great. And it was almost as if there was some added focus on her through the way that Okabe went to her for advice only to get her to spill some more details instead. So in all given how given how there hasn’t been as much focus on her recently this was all great to see, though I can’t help but see it all as build up to the tough decision that Okabe will soon have to make.