lauantai 22. kesäkuuta 2013

Steins;Gate: Negative Character Development

Surprisingly Complex: Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate has lots of things that are literally said to the viewer, yet only describe vaguely their real meanings. It's a rare series in a way that it actually deals more with the psychological aspect of time travel than just the usual butterfly effect and such. Even though butterfly effect for example is still damn well executed in it. But it still won't win out the main prize, as that goes to Steins;Gate:s protagonist, Okabe Rintarou, and his negative character development and the way it's shown to us. It's just pure ingenious.

Okabe Rintarou is a goofball in the beginning of the series and could easily be just put into the obnoxious comic relief -category, but what people miss there, is that actually, almost all of Okabe's character development happened BEFORE the series itself. It's not really shown as it is handwaved, but it can be seen. Okabe's "real" character development was actually his self turning more and more like Hououin Kyouma, that started just as an act. An act to save Mayuri from herself. This goes into the interpretation zone, but that's what I do the best (I think). The flashback where Mayuri is reaching for the sky and the "Angel Ladder" appears, was the point where Okabe's downfall began. He said to her "You are my hostage. You can't go." marking the beginning of Hououin Kyouma taking over his mind. (I interpret that he might have actually done that somewhere else than a graveyard, a bridge perhaps?)

Goodbye Okarin, Hello Hououin
Of course, it's just interpretation, and even without it, the signs are obvious. During the series, the more time he spends with Makise, the more he goes back to being the sane Okabe Rintarou, not the mad Hououin Kyouma. It's actually shown several times in the few last episodes, where he tries to talk like Hououin Kyouma, but sounds like he doesn't even believe his own words, or doesn't talk to his phone until someone notices it (Until he gets better). It was not an integral part of him anymore. Big part of the absolute wonder that is Okabe is the voice actor, who nails every little emotion in the speech mannerisms, in the subtle change of tones, and of course, the fantabulamous laugh. 

In episode 22 it's shown how Okabe Rintarou has come victorious in the battle against Hououin Kyouma. His dramatic speech turns from comical to tragic when he starts to sound like he doesn't even care or believe his own bull anymore. Mayuri even says: "You don't have to talk like that anymore" and the only response he can muster is a surprised face and a sad monologue. "Just as Hououin Kyouma has died, the Phone Microwave should die, as well." The battle of Ragnarok, that was actually just two personalities fighting, was finally over, and he reached Beta Timeline, his own incomplete Valhalla.

The end (Episode 24) really shows how he got the grip back. His negative character development was complete. He was completely sane Okabe, who just acts the part of Hououin Kyouma. I loved the aspect where for an insane plan, you need the insane man, making Okabe act like Hououin to get a grip of the mad scientist that lurks in his brain. The one that had slowly taken over him during all the years he was with Mayuri. It can be seen that it isn't the "real" Hououin Kyouma we've seen in the past, but just Okabe being silly. It's even remarked by Mayuri: "Mayushii likes Okarin better when he's like this", meaning embracing Hououin, but not being taken over by him. 

That's all from Hououin, but there's more

All alone with your insanity
Another interesting character is Moeka. She shows the dependence some people have for others, and the utter insanity of being abandoned. The series made you feel sorry for the one who killed Mayuri, the one who deemed insanity upon insanity on Okabe. It's really effective to show the character as a total emotional wreck after they've been abandoned. She was so blind on it, that she actually didn't notice that Future Gadgets Lab could have been a good option for her. I don't know if she already had pledged absolute loyalty, but it wouldn't have been impossible, right?

Rukako is another good example. Why did he like Hououin more, even though Okabe was always there? Because he felt that as years had passed, Hououin had become what Okabe couldn't, and as such, what Okabe wanted to be. Which was actually false as Okabe didn't become Hououin for himself. Okabe even lampshades many times that becoming Hououin was a stupid idea to begin with. 

Mayuri's role is, unsurprisingly, damn essential for the story, as she represents the past, where as Kurisu represents the future. The scene where Hououin Kyouma is born (Picture in the very upper corner) is really heartwarming as you can just sense their connection. "So Mayushii is your hostage, right?" is a random line without the context, but in the context, the impact is huge. It just shows the trust and care the two share, purely. It is sadly also turned against him. Notice how every time Mayuri dies, the world turns monochrome? It's because he feels he has failed, not in saving her currently, but in his lifelong mission of saving her. The whole reason for Hououin's existence is doubted there, as it was his way of saving her, but it had failed him nonetheless. He blamed himself of becoming Hououin, and that was his sin.

Random trivia:      

*Notice how the Divergence Meter's display is very similar to Phone Microwave's power display? Clever.


Okabe's biggest enemy is Hououin. The fight is just not shown.

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