Steins; Gate Episode #23 Anime Review

Steins; Gate Episode #23 Anime Review The penultimate episode of the series raises the stakes and emotional investment in the series.

What They Say:
Okabe gets an unexpected phone call, asking him to come to the radio building. There he meets somebody he thought he’d never see again, who offers him a chance to do something he thought was impossible…

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the previous episode of the series, Steins; Gate really took things to another level and one that people who signed onto it at the start likely never expected. With the way the show has worked the characters and their relationships with each other, it reached a high point there with the choices that needed to be made when it came to saving either Mayuri or Kurisu. Kurisu for her part really made it intense when it came to Okabe not wanting to do what he needed to do and that made their seemingly doomed relationship all the more tragic. Yet now we have Suzuna back and she’s telling him that saving Kurisu will be the way to prevent World War III.

With her getting Okabe to do this, to truly time travel in the machine that we’ve seen her in before that’s on its last legs when it comes to fuel, it’s the culmination of a mad scientists dream to be certain. She throws some minor technical jargon at him which is amusing, but mostly he can’t help but to be taken in by the device when looked at in this manner and to experience real, true, time travel. With all the times that Okabe has gone back to save Mayuri, going back to save Kurisu is a nice twist and it presents extra challenges for him since he has to avoid himself this time since it’s not a mental jump back but rather a physical one. And it comes at a time when Kurisu doesn’t even know him, making it all very awkward for him since the way they were so open (as they could be) with their emotions with their relationship in the previous episode.

This episode also offers us an opportunity to look at what was going on with Kurisu at this time, as a professor that Okabe knows ended up forcing her to give her paper to him so he can present it at his own. Of course, the twist here being that the professor is actually her father and has a lot of resentment towards her because of how his life played out in comparison to hers. The violence is powerful here because of the family connection and for having Okabe get caught up in it even though she doesn’t really know who he is. Yet it has such power to the emotion that unfolds here as well because of the larger problem at hand. With Okabe having been a slightly eccentric character for so long, but the edge of seriousness, bringing it out even more here is just wonderful as he’s faced with such monumental personal problems.

In Summary:
The enormity of the situation is not something that’s lost on Okabe, but for others they can’t quite grasp it with the number of times that he’s gone back to undo things, fix things and to save Mayuri and Kurisu. The weariness is palpable to say the least and having the things he’s faced in this real physical time leap hit him so hard, his reactions are utterly human and understandable. But as we’ve seen, his friends are truly an important support system and they’re able to push him further to do what he has to do. There’s a really great little twist in the final act of this episode that ups the ante though, making it one of those great moments where you just have a huge grin on your face as the realizations set in and things move forward in even more earnest. With the objectives laid clear for the finale, everything is on the line with a global scale unfolding. Steins; Gate manages to once again pull the rug out from under you and deliver an impressive episode.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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