Thursday, 11 May 2017

MT Series Scan: Steins;Gate 2

I am a SLOW binge-watcher (and reader). Two hours is about my limit, after which I need processing time. At the same time, I enjoy watching online reviewers, and reactions to things that I’ve previously watched, to see if they’re similar to my own. So, why not take the time during a slow binge to chronicle my own reactions and speculations?

Today we’re looking at Steins;Gate (Disc 2). You can read about Disc 1 at this link. For reference, I know a LOT about the time travel genre, including writing my own serial (Time & Tied). I'll present a quick recap of theories I have from the first six episodes here, then head into the next six episodes. Note that I've whittled down my "stream of consciousness", and I've taken to referencing characters with whatever name stuck for me, since they use more than one. Let me know if that's confusing.

Theory 1: Okarin remembers the change that affected Titor arriving in the present of 2010 (not in 2000) because one of the characters is Titor. (Maybe him.)
Theory 2: Microwave functionality, was confirmed.
Theory 3: Suzu/PT came back in time to save someone’s life, maybe Okarin’s. Could be connected to SF/Kiryu.
Theory 4: Makise/Red’s father was involved with SERN, but she doesn’t know.

07 Divergence Singularity

Stream of consciousness:
-Aug 3rd. Ver 2, Edition 1.03, can send D-mail to anyone. Out of Dk Pepper, vegetable intake instead, heh. Phase 2 of "Operation Urd": Change the past. Red/Makise worries about time paradox. Mayushi prefers world peace to lottery. Celeb17, new nickname, someone who lives on their parents dime? SF/Kiryu makes assumptions about getting IBN 5100.
-The Loto6. They'll go 3rd prize. Assistant is a tsundere, makes like “I don’t know that word”, cute. Headache shift; they're still there. “We were coming up with a message.” Ruka arrives, you told me the numbers, I got one wrong. They now have Dk Pepper, oh NICE. No record of message, only Okarin remembers - just like from Ep 1 (YES, finally).
-Suzu/PT is looking at a small object. Brainwashing? She stares into eyes. “You’re not chipped.” Hmm. The discharge didn't even happen. “I told you I can hear everything.” Pffft. In this world, we never sent the D-mail back. (YET IT ARRIVED.) Then why do I still remember? (I ASKED THAT A WHILE AGO.) Suzu/PT is rooting for him. Prefers him over SERN, I guess?
-“I’m calling off today’s experiment.” Red didn’t leave. More nicknames, ‘The Zombie’ irks her the most. (It’s strangely apt, since she died, huh?) He’s messaging Titor. Everyone's messaging. John Titor: Until now, no one has ever been known to maintain their memories. You might have that ability, be the one person who can guide the world beyond 1% divergence. (!!) The future will always end in dystopia unless that barrier can be crossed. Titor’s goal is to change the future. I ask you to be our saviour. (Hmmmm.) Next: Fashion and sparklers? Uhh.

Thoughts and Theories:
NOW it’s interesting. Okarin is apparently one of the few who can sense changes. (He's special, like Chartreuse.) It makes sense that, lacking this ability, only small changes (1%) will ever occur. What’s weird is the “other effects”, like the Dk Pepper existing. Why would a lottery ticket affect soda. Or the message in Ep 1 causing the satellite to hit the building, which I now think is connected to Titor’s arrival (Theory 5). Seems like that other professor guy was the reason for Titor to have gone to 2000, not needed after this new invention, bringing him to where Okarin is. He could still be one of the characters.
So, do world lines cut off at the alteration, never to be restored? They must still exist out there, since they’re impacting what is the present. Can one jump to them? Also, clever Catch-22, Okarin can’t negate the invention entirely, or Makise/Red dies. He could wipe out his texts to Titor though.

08 Chaos Theory Homeostasis

Stream of consciousness:
-May have the all seeing “Reading Steiner” ability. (A good scientist does want to test this stuff.) To Daru, positions of cards at Faris cup, he lost. "It takes more than that to move a world line.” Makise/Red, nice philosophy: Changing the past feels somehow unfair. It’s my life, failures and all.
-Suzu/PT says “not sure Titor is right”, he thinks she’s a Titor fangirl. SF/Kiryu: Got a new phone 4 days ago, will say not to buy it. Shrine boy brings watermelon, apologizes. Microwave counts down from 92, interesting.
-SF/Kiryu isn’t there. Melon is gone. Never HEARD of member 005? (Whoa.) Cause cease to exist? Still info up to July 31st. “I’ll email you later.” Phew, still there. Makise/Red: “Reading Steiner” is an embarrassing term (but she remembers it). The ability is real, he decides. (So why didn’t it work with Faris??)
-“It’s very yuri.” “Rukako is a guy.” Ha ha, “intense psychological warfare”. I love how Red/Makise’s reaction is similar to Okarin's. Melon explained: Arrived a bit late, didn’t mean to eavesdrop. “I want to be a girl” Drrrrrrwha?? (Red/Makise thinks he's not a guy, haha.) Eating meat for boy, vegetables for girl? (I like how Okarin allows it. “Do you seriously think some vegetables can change something like that.” Wants him to feel better.) Lab Member 006.
-Born in 1993, cell phones around 1996. Email even later. Send psycho waves. You’re psychos. “Abuse me more!” Pfffft. Send to a pager? You know a lot, you’re more like Celeb 30 than Celeb 17. (Sure.) Message down to 18 characters.
-A thing happened. He’s alone? Is the device even still there?? Ok, yes. "I can’t just ask if she’s a girl now. I guess it failed." (How can you even tell? Wait, why am I thinking it could have worked??) But the the world line did change. Something changed. NEXT: Faris is back, and sneaky. Also SF/Kiryu, and some building?

Thoughts and Theories:
Getting into unintended consequences. Someone arriving just a bit too late or early, the “Sliding Doors” effect (though I haven’t seen that movie, I wager it’s better than “Butterfly Effect”, which I have seen). Explains soda. New change can’t have been major, since they’re all still there, right? How can they even find out what, since the message went back almost 17 years? What if they sent ‘disregard previous message’?
Theory 6: Faris is somehow behind things, Daru’s attempt is the only one that failed, and she was the only one to believe about the Organization. (Was it to get more info?)

09 Chaos Theory Homeostasis II

Stream of consciousness:
-Aug 6th. Reiterates how he couldn’t do better against Faris-tan. (“I’d say that’s your problem.”) Faris is close enough to hear “time machine”. Sigh. “You’re im-purr-vious to it”? (Are the subtitlers having fun, modifying a Japanese pun??) Daru spills everything, oy. Kinda funny though.
-Red/Makise phone call. “I wasn’t crying”. Are you out of an old drama? (Theirs is just an amazing relationship.) Crud, Faris asks Mayuri about the time machine. Gets info, and Mayuri wishes they wouldn’t do stuff with it, losing Okarin.
-Physical time travel reference. (Good that he brought it up again, so the audience doesn’t forget it will be a thing, as per Ep 1, mystery conversation.) The Organization has begun to bring down the lab from the inside. (That’s a LOL, okay, the phone thing as a quirk has grown on me.) “It’s obviously impossible.” A little over 36 bytes is a far cry from a person. Phone Microwave most likely works with a Black Hole and Lifter also? Where is Lifter? (They’re on the 2nd floor. So Braun has something? Also, SERN is underground, could be different for them.) Plus, only send D-mails at certain times. (Oh, that’s confirmed? May relate to position of earth around sun.) “99% of science is unexciting”. Heh, nice.
-Makise/Red “channels” Okarin by doing an aside, heh. @channeler is a new moniker. They don’t have the IBN 5100 now?? “We don’t even know where to find one in the first place.” WHOA. Reference to “butterfly effect”. Like billiards (nice given the globes visual). It WAS stored at the shrine, but not now. They’re not sure who took it, or when. Damn.

-Random time travel question for Faris (if you could change one thing in the past). Claims not to focus on the past. She's back in, to get computer. Miyushi looks at metal oopas (I’m betting she never got a -- yup, confirmed). Daru buys limited edition swag (guessing that’ll be gone with next message). They go to Faris’ home, see SF/Kiryu. “FB said it would be here.” Neither know about IBN 5100. Mayuri knows SF/Kiryu! Okay, he puts the pieces together as I do - her own Dmail erased her, but Ruka’s Dmail restored visit somehow.
-Faris is on top floor of big building. Butler. Daru gets to see her in plain clothes (okay, they’re definitely not going out). Family originally owned all the land around here. Akiha Rumiho-chan is her real name (dammit anime, more with names). She likes moe culture. "She’s so l33t." Wants to use Dmail. Daru, geez. Miyushi says to make her a member. Okarin says it’s dangerous, others protest, and they need IBN. She’s member 007.
-Send something 10 years back. “It’s a secret.” Need to know, as head of lab. Again protests? (THIS WILL NOT END WELL. AT ALL.) Makise/Red phone call hilarity. Faris considers “Maybe I don’t need to send this after all” but sends. Now her dad's there. The others are still there too. Gave away IBN 5100, not to shrine. Now never stored there. Could be things changing he doesn’t know about. “Possible we’ve done things now that can never be undone.” (Send the ‘disregard previous message’ text.) Now talking over credits! Toranora shop isn’t there any more. NEXT: Stars, tears and cooking.

Thoughts and Theories:
Huh. Being the only one to remember a change is actually a MAJOR pain, because you don’t know your own history. Also, what the hell is causing such drastic changes? We’ll never know, because we don’t know what Faris sent. That was negligent. (Implication was it’s romantic for Okarin, she doesn’t know he’s immune, but I suspect it’s about her father. Who probably works for SERN. See previous Theory 6, add that Faris doesn’t know what he’s been doing. Or does she?) Actually:
-Theory 7: Faris saved her dad's life. He's the one who didn't want the store to be built. (Of course, only way we can know is if she talks about a mystery text.) Now wondering whether John Titor’s still a thing. At this rate, the microwave itself could vanish from existence? At least this explains introducing characters so early, if changes mean Okarin needed to know them in July.

10 Chaos Theory Homeostasis III

Stream of consciousness:
-Akiba devoid of moe now. Mayuri working at May Queen? No, it’s a Ramen place. “An entire city, completely altered by one email.” (So father’s influence. Faris never took over in this world line.) Aug 8th, still Satellite. How they met Faris. Notes: Our relationships are still essentially the same. (So personalities are similar, events only.)
-Talking about swimsuits, Rukako being a boy. Apologize to her? She IS a girl? WTF? “It’s gone.” Oy, oy. Red/Makise knocks him with a book. Suzu/PT is a warrior. She came to Tokyo to find her dad. Doesn’t remember what he looks like. Only clue is a pin he once had. (Is it Okarin?) “I think he might show up at a certain place tomorrow.” (Not Okarin?) Declared she’s lab member 008 (surprising it took this long), their guinea pig for changing the past. Send a D-mail to dad before he left. “You’re a nice guy.”
-Operation Eldhrimnir. (Again a Norse myth.) They’ll either celebrate or have a pity party and then send the mail. Will follow Suzu/PT, Makise/Red says don't. Gets a message, about Ruka-chan, “I’m watching you”. (Ohhh, so perhaps the shrine stuff changed now that they think he’s a threat on their daughter, not a son.) Sends red jello pic?
-Goes shopping. Mayuri teases him about Organization. Okarin was in bed with a fever around Y2K, Mayuri prayed on a star. “It was the choice of Steins;Gate that I survived.” He was confused and in shock at the time of the fever -- like at Faris’. (OH. Titor's arrival?? Except Titor didn’t come in this timeline, which is Mayuri's now.) “Was that when I first gained Reading Steiner ability?” (Plausible but I think there’s more, that was the first change.)

-Cooking. “I’ve inadvertently freed an evil God.” Heh. Daru comes for Faris, missed time machine forum meeting. Professional writer was going to come. Gadget #4, Gadget #5, they trip the breaker. Makise/Red finds lab childish but she feels like she fits in. Aw. 11pm. The operation’s off. Text, “Sorry, Goodbye.” He will use Dmail, claims to fear nothing.
-She’s there in the morning now. Party went late into the night. Didn’t know his email address, so no experiment. “How did I get you to come?” (She says HE’S too young to drink? How old is Okarin?? *looks it up* 18?!? No way.) She was leaving time machine forum meeting. Dad goes by “Titor”. (!!!) Barrel Titor. Okarin did record video onto phone.* Felt like she fit in for the first time, she’ll keep looking a bit longer for Dad. NEXT: SF/Kiryu is back, and some discussions with a moon too.

Thoughts and Theories:
*HOLY CATS, Okarin needed to look at video. This means SF/Kiryu is a Reading Steiner, THAT’S why she records everything via her phone, so that she has a record. So that she knows what happened, when it's different from her memories. (Theory 8) I’m an idiot for not realizing that sooner. Also explains her need for the IBN, it may have info she needs about the condition.

The reasons for the changes are also starting to make more sense. I wonder if SF/Kiryu had a fever at the same time as Okarin, around Y2K. I wonder if Okarin only remembers changes his machine initiates. I suppose John Titor could be Suzu’s brother, that she doesn’t know about? Given the "Titor" name? (Not worth a theory. My Theory 3 was that Suzu/PT was a time traveller though. Is it possible she was simply being fed information in the other world line, before the Ruka change, information which she isn’t getting in the current world line?) Guessing less past time switching will happen as we head out of this arc.

11 Dogma in Event Horizon

Stream of consciousness:
-Aug 10th. Distract Mr. Braun. What’s with the gymnastics outfit? Wait, the TV NEEDS TO BE ON?! (That’s kind of hilarious. I guess that’s why it only works at certain times of the day!) CRT acts as a replacement “Lifter”.
-Makise/Red appeared in April’s issue of “Sciency”. Specializes in brain science. No human travel but might be possible to send memory data to past self. Implant it. “Not so much ‘time travel’ as it is a ’time leap’.” Operation Verdandi.
-Microwave isn't powerful enough to compress data. D-mails introduced too many uncertainties, unexpected results. Okarin thinks this gives some control over changes? (I seriously doubt that. More info doesn’t mean more predictable.) Mayuri asks, so what happens to “this” you?
-SF/Kiryu looks glum? Scrap the time machine? (Mayuri blurts it out, sigh.) Memories “leap”. Braun’s daughter apologizes, Okarin says they’re even for the trouble he causes Braun. Mayuri is giving someone a costume (is that her work now, not cat cafe?).
-Suzu/PT spills: Makise works for SERN. Haha, they translated the Japanese idiom into “Never gonna— “give you up.” “Don’t give me any more weird names.” (Someone bad at hiding secrets can’t be a spy, agree here.) You’re an agent sent by Organization who had a change of heart! “That’s wrong too.”

-Red/Makise spills on father. Dad doesn’t like her, as a rival scientist. They would debate, she was disproving his theories. Creating a time leap device, it will make him even angrier. Dad is in Aomori. Okarin offers support in his way. (“Who is Makise?” “My name.” That's funny because I still don't think I have their names straight.)
-He’s sent shopping. Unknown text “You know too much” with a doll having blood. (Damn.) Calls Mayuri, runs in. They’re fine, but nude. (That part was unnecessary.) Daru arrives, something seemed weird remotely with PC. It's connected to SERN. It’s like SERN was waiting for this. NEXT: Lots of flashes, and an hourglass, time is running out?

Thoughts and Theories:
NEW THEORY 6DARU is the spy. (Not Faris.)
He's pointing out the SERN connection to deflect from the person texting Okarin being one of the lab members. But it's got to be one of them. And Daru is the only one not to have caused a change by sending a D-mail. (To cast doubt?) ALSO, this explains how the first message Okarin sent (to him) saved Makise/Red. Daru tells SERN people, and Red's father changes the operation somehow. (Theory 4, that Red's dad works for SERN, feels all but confirmed with the new backstory.) It is possible that things have changed to make Daru increasingly dark (my money is on Faris’ father). Hopefully Daru hasn't realized SF/Kiryu is a Steiner. Would Daru kill the others? Hm. Maybe. Will Okarin be able to continue now? Perhaps, by knowing they want to stop him. Hey, weird theory, can you time leap your memories to someone ELSE?

12 Dogma in Ergosphere

Stream of consciousness:
-The title is teaching me black hole terms. Cool. (Cross check, Kerr black holes are spinning ones.) Mayuri voiceover about him being 70 million years in past, who is the original, whether they’ll die. (They’re in an hourglass?) Aug 13th date. I sometimes wonder about the positioning in the OP, Okarin being nearer to Makise and Suzu.
-Suggesting cosplay to Red/Makise. Time leap machine is done. Daru references "evil organization" (watching you). There’s a headset. They should be able to do it, now that they can access the LHC (SERN is on their computer). Compression of memory data scan (3.24 Terabypes), using the black hole into 36 bytes. Vacuum bag seal metaphor. (But don't they have a black hole already, like they had a "Lifter"?)
-They send to a cell phone in past, then using the signal from the cell phone, present memories are copied into past brain. 48 hour limit now. Any further, fails due to too many neurological differences. (So likely no memories to another person. Bit of a "7 Days" vibe.) Another problem. Can’t test without a subject, and it needs to be human, since memories. Mayuri offers a banana instead? Oy, oy, her childlike nature, not a fan.
-We don’t do the experiment. Go public, and give the machine to an appropriate organization. Mayuri is very keen on plan. Salad ingredient issues (ready made salad “and it’s 50% off”, that’s SO me). Red/Makise notices he seems relieved, she was too. (Calling it now, this will go badly, and he’ll need to run the experiment to ensure that they don’t go public.)

-Red wants to tell mom, and dad will find out. “You’re a fellow lab member, will solve your problems.” More tsundere. Ah, she can’t cook, missed that about the apple pie. Again Suzu-Makise issue, Suzu/PT says it WILL happen. "Consider it a prophecy". (So maybe Suzu's memory has gone back, not Suzu herself? Yet more than 48 hours?)
-Okarin tries to intervene. Fails. Mayuri does peacemaking. They play games. Suzu-Warrior: “When in doubt, attack.” Red/Makise offers strategy, knowing Okarin. On roof, Gadget #6 (I feel like these may be important). Mayuri “doesn’t need to be your hostage any more”. Now that there’s more people. (So she cares about him. As do all the girls; this was based on a game, after all.)
-Daru: “The trains have stopped.” A bomb threat. Daru admits the direct connection with SERN to Suzu. “Guys, you have to-- I have to go.” (Hmm.) Okarin looks at hourglass. Mayuri’s watch has stopped. Guys with masks run in. Hourglass shattered, TV smashed.
-It’s SF/Kiryu, with SERN, coming for time machine, and the three of them, not Mayuri (unnecessary). SF/Kiryu says “for FB” and... kills her. HUH. Still Aug 13th. NEXT: Looks like flashback ep. (Perhaps will finish with Okarin rewinding time 48 hrs?)

Thoughts and Theories:
So, my Daru theory was off. ... Though it seems like SF/Kiryu did it under duress. ... Okay, I'm sticking with "It's Daru". Daru's sending updates, SERN got SF/Kiryu to do this, so that Okarin would test the machine. (Got to SF/Kiryu how? Faris and her father? Who is FB, was it him or Mayuri?) Trouble is, you can’t twist things too much, or the audience gets tired of it. So they'll run with SF/Kiryu being SERN for a while.
Okarin's got to go back. I'm guessing he won’t say Mayuri died, he’ll talk about the bomb threat. And then sever the SERN ties.

That's the end of Disc 2. Honestly? I'm still not blown away. I am curious to see how it plays out though. (The references are clever too.) Something that may not have helped is that, while looking for images to use for the prior post (Disc 1) I came across one of Muyuri, seemingly wounded, so that wasn't a massive shock. I don't shock that easily though. Here's Disc 3.

Anyone reading these? If you are, I hope I'm being sufficiently entertaining.

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