Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Steins;Gate - Episode 9

There can be little doubt by this juncture in Steins;Gate that the Future Gadget Lab's microwave time machine is a success when it comes to sending so-called "D-mails" into the past - but what of the consequences?

While Okabe is already dreaming up his next scheme, involving the physical time travel of humans, it's starting to become clear that the side-effects of altering the past are starting to build up in some decidedly inconvenient ways.  Most notably, Okabe no longer has the IBM 5100 in his possession - a decidedly unwanted side effect of the groups' messing with time despite not directly doing anything involving the computer in question, meaning that its disappearance is down to the so-called "butterfly effect".

As the episode progresses, things only get more confusing - Okabe spots "Shining Finger" Moeka and catches up to her only to find her both distraught and disinterested in him, while this in turn allows him to realise that the other lab members now remember Moeka again to some degree; another unexpected side-effect of previous D-mails.  If all of this seems important, then things really get shaken up when Feyris asks the group if she can send a D-mail of her own to the past having heard about their time machine via an earlier conversation.  We don't know what she sends, but whatever the contents of the message it's enough to transform Akiba as we know it...

Steins;Gate certainly shows no signs of departing from its slow and steady pace, but it remains as compelling as ever by shrouding the entire series in so many unknowns that nobody appears to be quite as they first seem while every character has a certain sense of mystery hanging over them.  This ever-growing body of the unknown is offset quite nicely by the show's turns of humour, whether it's Daru being... well, Daru, or Makise accidentally letting her mask slip and turning out to be just as much of a geek as the rest of them.  That the series can be both intriguing and fun continues to be its biggest selling point, although the longer it goes on the less sure I am of where it's headed - not that it seems to matter too much when just drifting around in its current ball of pseudo-science and craziness seems to work so well for it.

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