During the preparation stages for Operation Skuld, Suzuha finds that she won’t be able to head back if she fails but Okabe assures her that neither of them will fail.
And in order to reenact the scene of Kurisu’s stabbing without her actually being stabbed Okabe intends to use one of the future gadgets, a way of saving her without negating the past three weeks he spent with her. Mayuri also shows signs of remembering Kurisu as well and when she asks Okabe what she means to him, he tells her that she’s important to him, leading to her telling him that he must save her then. Just before they leave Hashida also asks about his future wife but Suzuha wants to keep it a secret again.
This time around Okabe heads to the machine where Mayuri would get her Metal Oopa, causing his past self to get a normal plastic one while het gets the rare one, and when he bumps into Kurisu again he just declares that he’s going to save her. Following this he prepares for when she would meet her father, spotting her pick up the plastic Oopa that Mayuri dropped, meaning that the metal detector won’t go off and her paper will be destroyed. However when he heads to where he hid the future gadget he bought along he finds that the liquid inside has dried up and is forced to come up with a plan to reenact her stabbing on the spot. Confronting Dr Nakabachi in the eccentric manner of Hououin Kyouma and taunting him until he snaps and stabs him instead, then with the knife still embedded in his gut, he slowly steps forth threatening to kill him for it until he runs. And when Kurisu starts to panic and calls an ambulance, he gathers what little strength he has left and knocks her out with his stungun. But even then there isn’t enough blood to make it look authentic, so he opens the wound until there is.
After which Suzuha helps him back to the time machine, allowing him to take a look back at himself and wish him good luck on what will be the three most important weeks of his life. And following this they head back to the future, with Suzuha wondering what the Steins Gate worldline will be like and believing that what Okabe has done should stop WWIII, bidding him farewell until she meets him in seven years. During the overall epilogue for the show itself, Mayuri goes to meet Okabe as he’s being released from the hospital but finds that he’s already left, so she goes about visiting Ruka, Feyris, and even Moeka who happens to be working for Mr Braun now, finding that he gave each of them a lab member badge. Finding her own badge waiting alongside Hashida’s, learning that he had also put one away for the member who’ll be coming in seven years. And at this point in time Okabe happens to be walking the streets of Akihabara, wondering what Kurisu is doing now and feeling that her simply being alive in this worldline is enough, eventually finding her with some sense of what happened over those fateful three weeks and welcoming her back to the lab. Considering everything to be a decision of Steins Gate.
So we now finally reach the end of this series, and what an amazing end it was. After it could have ended two episodes ago we saw Okabe step up once more, not only to save the girl but this time the world as well, and everything just came together in the end. It’s really hard to believe that it’s all over.
Operation Skuld was just interesting to say the least, in completing it everything really did come to a full circle and if it wasn’t for Mayuri getting a plastic Oopa instead of a metal one it would have all been triggered by Okabe panicking when his past self found her in a pool of blood. A paradox which never truly had a beginning, that those three weeks he had were caused by his future self having lived those three weeks. Even the thought that Kurisu would have been walking the streets between then and now, and he just had to take the last step to bring it all about. It’s really just hard to believe how something like the seemingly insignificant Metal Oopa that Mayuri had could have had such an important role, the fact that she had lost it back then seemed like the kind of thing that could have been forgotten.
Alongside this Okabe’s way of reenacting Kurisu’s stabbing was great as well, when the easy way out was closed off he was forced to make do and use his own blood, almost as if to take the hit in her place. He’s never been good in a fight in the first place so seeing Dr Nakabachi stab him wasn’t really much of a surprise, but how he made him do it was pretty badass, first taunting him and confronting him on being unable to accept his daughter’s success, then scaring senseless by pulling the knife out and threatening to gut him for it. Then using the last of his strength to knock Kurisu out and make the scene as convincing as possible. At first it just had me thinking that he was really going to sacrifice himself so that both Mayuri and Kurisu could live, that there would be a bitter-sweet ending where the cost he paid was his own life.
But what we got instead was near perfect, after Suzuha disappeared I can’t really see how Okabe got back, let alone to a hospital just in time to save him from bleeding to death. But the epilogue served to bring about a nice happy ending, first from Mayuri’s perspective as Okabe went about handing the same sort of badges that Suzuha had to his fellow lab members, a symbol of their friendship and the time he spent with them during those three weeks. And after that having him meet Kurisu again through a sheer act of fate, the streets were crowded and by all means she would have left Akihabara by now, but they still met and through calling her Christina the memories of the time he spent with her came back as well. As a happy ending it was just perfect, and considering how everything has ended I’m curious to see just what the movie will be. Everything’s been resolved and the story could probably be condensed down if it had to be, so personally I’m suspecting that it will just be a compilation movie.
Overall I’d have to say that this has been an amazing series, it’s not that often that I see a show with few if not any no noticeable flaws at all, one that’s not only great to watch as it was airing but should still be great down the line. Most of the time a show will just tend to have one or two things that will hinder how it’s received later on, but I can’t really think of anything for this show.
Most of all though if there was one thing that I loved about this series it was Okabe’s progression, he started off being fairly childish, someone who in the guise of Hououin Kyouma would leap at the opportunity to cause some chaos, to put it simply he was just a guy peacefully living out his life. But through his experiences and many failures when faced with a cruel act of fate because he decided to mess around with time travel, he was forced to grow up, steadily turning into a jaded and broken man who endlessly pursued his goal. Next to that it wasn’t like there was any attempt to make him something he wasn’t, aside from his Reading Steiner he really wasn’t anyone special, he tended to take a beating whenever he got into a fight and was just someone who valued those around him.
Alongside that the other characters were just great as well, I may have found it kind of stale how the cast was pretty much closed off after the first few episodes but I thought that they were all used well. We may have had two great heroines, possibly more if you include the likes of Suzuha and Feyris as well, but just about every character had an important role, Hashida was the hacker of the group, Suzuha was an actual time traveller who was integral to getting to the endpoint, Ruka was a way to get to the IBM 5100, Feyris served as a wake up call, and Moeka was an upfront antagonist while Mr Braun was the overarching one with Nae to humanise him. Each one of them had their use and the story just wouldn’t be the same without any of them.
And we had two incredible heroines as well, something which made Okabe’s ‘save one lose the other’ choice an undeniably tough one. With Mayuri we were able to get a deeper look at just who Okabe was under Hououin Kyouma and some of her scenes were truly heartwrenching. Even after dying over and over again onscreen she still showed she could tug at your heartstrings, whether it be sacrificing herself for Okabe or whenever she talked about how she could remember all her deaths. While at the same time Kurisu definitely stood strong as the romantic interest of the series, the way she interacted with Okabe was easily a highlight and she was simply a lovable heroine. She had her share of little quirks and she was always there to lend Okabe a hand when he needed it, and while I may have already said it before how their relationship progressed didn’t really feel forced.
Finally I also loved the atmosphere to it all, at the start I remember seeing some criticism in how the art style didn’t really emulate Huke’s art in the VN all that well, but I’d have to say that I preferred it this way. Personally I just think his art looks good but a little static at the same time, and I think the general lack of brightness served to give off a pretty gritty, realistic, grim, and bleak feeling to everything that was going on, it may have been fun and lighthearted at the start but things quickly shifted from that. And with that the shot angles were pretty interesting as well, it wasn’t rare to see everything as if a camera was hidden in the corner of the room and the paranoid feeling it gave off was interesting to say the least. Aside from that the music also did a great job at it as well, and the songs we heard by Itou Kanako were always great.
If anything I actually think that this show exceeded the expectations that I had for it, I approached it as a fun sort of sci-fi series about time travel with some pretty cool characters, probably with a bit of grim dark towards the end thanks to its connection with Nitroplus, but what I got was so much more. The mechanics to the time travel that the show was working with were developed nicely, the way that the characters interacted was great, and the quality of the animation and art seemed to sit at a good consistent level, reaching higher when it needed to. I just think that White Fox has done it again, they may be a fairly new company with a short track record but it’s solid so far. So while I’m probably going to look into the VN now I’m interested to see just what the movie they announced at the end will be.