In an anime that’s a 10/10, there’s always a point, a scene, or something you can look back on where you know it surpassed all expectations and elevated itself into greatness. There is no explanation, requirements, or guidelines that define what the scene should do but you know it, and can feel it, when it happens. And that scene just happened in Steins;Gate with Okabe’s video. Perfectly amazing.
Alright, I’ll admit there were a handful of scenes that could’ve fit this characterization earlier in the series but the scene where Okabe, Mayuri, and Itaru watched the video from Okabe in the future was simply flawless. Everything from the timing, to the tension, to the desperation, to the excitement, to how it tied everything together: it was perfect. The scene provided answers to almost all the lingering questions and set the stage for while be the finale of this marvelous and unforgettable anime. It, alone, has accelerated the series into a higher plane, one where only a few anime can call home. If there were a single scene to define Steins;Gate, this is it.
However, for this scene to have had this magnitude of impact, it needed support. Thankfully, the entire episode up until that point built up for that scene. It was even stated by Suzuha, that Okabe needed to travel back once, the premise of most of the episode, for everything to make sense. But the drama, emotions, and tragedy remained from those scenes, fresh in everyone’s mind after finally learning and seeing what happens in the beta world line. That feeling of misery and hopelessness cloaked Okabe and the series. But Mayuri took a stand and slapped some sense into Okabe. And Suzuha revealed why Okabe needed to fail. And like a baton being handed off in a relay, Suzuha handed Okabe his cellphone with the video in it. That baton represented everything the episode, nay, the series had done and now it was being passed to the final leg of the relay. And it could not have gotten off to a better, more perfect start.
The entire scene really is the epitome of the entire series. Not only did it take everything, really everything, before it and connect it all together but it provided a solid foundation and distinct direction for the finale. We know why it all happened this way, why there was no other time for Suzuha to show up in her time machine. And we know what needs to be done in order to obtain the perfect outcome. It summarized the anime up to this point, focusing on all the significant details and occurrences, while doing so in a way that fit nicely within the story of Steins;Gate. The video was not random or puzzling but appropriate and understandable. It inspired. The scene brought forth hope, knowledge, and energy to our saddened hero, all three necessary for him to succeed at this final mission. And the video contained that authentic, unmatched essence of Okabe, the heart and soul of that crazy mad scientist we came to know and love in the infancy of this series. And from here on out, the series is ready for its brilliant and memorable finale.
One of the lasting impressions I’ll have from this series is this scene, with Okabe, Mayuri, and Itaru watching that video. Its absolute genius in what it achieved, how it achieved it, and what it prepared for the finale are rivaled only be few other anime. Because of this scene, it’s joined an exclusive club. That scene blazed a path for the series to enter a sacred ground where a minority of anime tread. And now it has a new home. Perhaps what I’ll remember most about this scene or the series, weeks, months, or even years later, is what this moment did for the series, not story-wise, character-wise, or whatever-wise, but its impact on me. It is the scene that made Steins;Gate a 10/10 for me.
Now the question remains, will everyone recall memories from the alpha world lines or will Okabe be the only one who remembers the entire series? Should be interesting to see what happens with everyone, if they’ll remember their adventures through various timelines or if Okabe, and of course us as the audience, will be singled out. Part of me wants everyone to come together, remember the alternative worlds, and remain close together. The other part wants Okabe to start things over again and relive these moments but without all the pain and suffering everyone experienced. I suppose it will be one or the other since these are fairly discrete options but if I had to choose which one I’d prefer to see, I’d pick the new beginnings approach. While it’s nice to retain memories of the past, there’s a common and dominate theme in anime to move on from the past. And time, the future, and the past being significant themes and topics in this anime, I feel that the anime will take this approach and have Okabe start a new path in his perfect timeline. That and I don’t think memories can surpass the 1% barrier that separated the beta world line from the alpha world lines. But you never know…