Answers! Glorious answers! And the return of Faris Nyannyan, too. Is this episode the tipping point where everything begins to be resolved and life will return back to the way it once was? It sure seems so.
The seventeenth episode of Steins;Gate finally provided answers to one of the more mysterious and momentous events in the series, Faris’s D-mail. For a quick refresher, in episode nine we recall Okabe telling Faris about how he is able to send text messages to the past. After learning that astonishing fact, Faris immediately wanted to join in on the fun and send one herself. Not knowing the ramifications of Faris’s D-mail, Okabe allowed her to send a secret message, one we did not see or know much about, which resulted in her father returning to life and the entire neighborhood of Akihabara transforming into another humdrum section of Tokyo. Quite an impressive text message, whatever it was.
And then we didn’t see Faris for a thousand episodes. Until now. After realizing his D-mail did nothing to prevent Mayuri’s unrelenting deaths and following another brilliant Kurisu idea (she’s so brilliant), Okabe is out to reverse each of the major D-mails in order to return to a past where the IBN-5100 is in their possession, allowing them the ability to rectify all mistakes and errors caused by unchecked time travel use. As Kurisu explained, they’ll likely need to reverse the three D-mails from Faris, Ruka, and Moeka, in that order, to get back to the proper timeline. And that likely means we’ll get an episode on each character and their backstory, too. Should be really interesting when we get to Moeka but that can wait. Now is time for Faris!
The whole purpose of the episode was for Okabe to convince Faris to reverse her D-mail and begin the lengthy and challenging process of returning to a timeline where Okabe could save Mayuri and everyone else. But that’s easier said than done. Faris had no memory of sending the D-mail since she was merely a child when the actual message was received and thus never sent by teenage (?) Faris in the current timeline. Explaining to her that she did something very revolutionary when she had no recollection and asking her to reverse it when she failed to comprehend the situation or the consequences seems like an impossible task for Okabe. But one of the most interesting developments in the series happened when Okabe tried his hardest and perhaps revealed a new element to the whole system of time-travel when Faris evoked images and memories of a timeline she never lived in. And that’s going to be the heart of this post following the little picture break.
Anyway, Faris revealed to Okabe that she couldn’t undo her D-mail since it prevented her father’s untimely death. We began to learn more about Faris, whose real name is Rumiho, her situation, and her character. She’s surprisingly a deep character in the series given her appearance is a nekomimi maid who constantly nyas at everything. Struggling with the uncertainty of what is truth and illusion now, she caves into Okabe’s request and reverses her D-mail, returning the world to what it was in episode nine and completing the first step in the reversal process.
Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was the newfound ability of the characters to recall memories of the different timelines Okabe has travelled between. Oh wow. What a phenomenal turn of events this was. To think that the characters have some recollection of previous timelines opens up an entire realm of possibilities now for the series, something I never imagined. But now, there’s some much that can happen now that this handicap has seemingly been lifted. Think of all the possibilities this can have on character’s memories and interactions. What if Kurisu remembers all her sweet moments with Okabe from previous timelines? What if Moeka recalls memories of her attacking Okabe and killing Mayuri? What about Mayuri herself? And what does this mean for Suzuha when she reenters the series in some future episode? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, we’ve only seen this once and at a very minimal duration but the effect is nothing short of powerful and could be the most influential mechanism of the series if you ignore the three devices for time-travel. Allowing the other seven major characters to remember previous timelines will accelerate the story in an unknown and exciting direction. After seeing what transpired with Faris, what occurs next with Ruka and Moeka and everyone else should be extremely fascinating.