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Steins;Gate 09-13

Episode 9 keeps the steady trickle of bizarreness, with Daru spilling the beans to Feyris in a matter of seconds, plus Mayuri in a seifuku because she actually goes to school once in a while.
Mayuri in school uniform
Kurisu(tina) has a minor breakdown in a quiet moment, but being the sort of person she is, she doesn't want help. Okarin offers and, being the sort of person he is, he talks to the nobody on the phone to laugh like his mad scientist persona.
Speaking of which, Okarin doesn't want to hear that 99% of science is boring, as a mad scientist he wants to do the fun stuff and skip the rest. Kurisu replies:
Yo, I heard you like fail, so we put some fail in your fail,
so you can facepalm while you facepalm.
This mistranslation by HorribleSubs received a fair bit of attention for its startling inaccuracy. What she actually says is closer to "He's a retard, if I don't do something soon...". The thing is, a literal translation would be lost on most of us (it's a 2channel meme from Death Note), so switching to a Westernised meme (fail/facepalm) made it clear that she just said something kinda geeky. In return, to much denial, Okarin calls her "nera!" (from "two-chanera" as it would be in Japanese).
Then it gets serious. How can Daru hack "SERN" (ho ho) without the IBN (!) 5100? Wait, hang on, what?
Yup, the clunky old not-computer has vanished. Ruka (shrine boy, wearing a seifuku, WTF?) knows they used to have one. Through this episode we learn about the Butterfly Effect, how a small change can have a big influence. Mayuri, Okarin and Daru bump into Moeka (annoying text-message girl) who seems discombobulated and lost and not at all interested in Okarin's nonsense. Okarin, on the other hand, is quite surprised that everybody else seems to know who she is.
Finally, they meet Feyris in her penthouse apartment, and I must say she must be the single most annoying animé voice I've heard in ages. Her family is stinking rich, apparently Akihabara is a geek mecca thanks to her influence. And what does Okarin do? Like the total ass that he is, he lets her send a message to herself ten years ago (like, come on, how long is that on the microwave timer?). And when she refuses to let him read the message, he lets her go ahead and send it.
Following the sequence of events - the shrine had the computer, then the shrine had it a long time ago, and now Feyris' family never donated it to the shrine. Wherever the IBN 5100 is, every step Okarin takes moves it further away.

But it is worse. So much worse. Akiba... is... normal. No geeky stuff. It's just a normal place with normal things going on. What the hell have you done, Okarin!?!?!

Episode 10 picks up, with no moe in Akihabara. And, of course, only Okarin able to remember. Okarin observes, interestingly, that the past has changed (radically, you might say), while the relationships have not. Interesting, indeed.
Ruka (shrine boy) wants to be like the female cosplayers, and Mayuri replies that "flat is justice" as Kurisu coughs out her coffee. Talking of going to the beach, just the girls, Okarin greatly upsets Ruka by saying he's a guy. While in a past episode Kurisu was content to feel herhis breasts, Okarin gropes further down and is... what the hell? A girl? Just before Kurisu smacks him across the head with a large book.
Frankly, I'm as confused as Okarin here. Bloody Ruka looks the same, whether as a boy or a girl.
Suzuha finally turns up, and we learn that she's a part-time warrior (!), a Titor (father "Barrel Titor"), and she's looking for said father. All seems good, until Okarin receives a text message - I'm watching you. Being a paranoid mad scientist, he flips. But still he wants to help Suzuha and suggests sending a message to her father telling him not to leave his daughter. She doesn't want that.
We learn that Okarin got his "Reading Steiner" (the ability to exist and remember through time line changes) as a little boy. And we find out that Kurisu is a mad cook, but the Future Gadget Lab's gadgets paraded out next are a riot. The lights come back on just as Okarin and Kurisu were about to have a MeetKiss Cute.
Afraid of losing Suzuha, Okarin alters the past by messaging himself to get Suzuha to come to the lab. Which it now appears, thanks to video on his phone, that she did, thus negating much of the events of the previous paragraph...

Episode 11 opens with the strange discovery that the big 42" television in the workshop downstairs is the "lifter" that makes the time-message machine work.
As Kurisu is putting together a complete theory of how it works, she acknowledges that you just can't fit an entire person into 36 bytes. [though as a banana passes in time/space, albeit green and slimy, I wonder if it takes more than 36 bytes to describe a banana]
Instead... it might be possible to send memories through time. To take them from your mind now, and push them into your mind then.
Out shopping for parts, in a now geeky Akiba (when did that change back?), they bump into Moeka who seems upset that they're still playing with the time machine, and positively distraught when told about the new idea of sending memories.
Bumping into Suzuha, she warns Okarin that Kurisu is working for SERN. Okarin doesn't believe, so he sneaks up behind Kurisu back at the lab and says "all your base are" and she instinctively replies "belong to us". This is, again, another mistranslation to cover a 2chan meme that would likely be lost on a Western audience. That, and the fact that she was posting on 2chan, she's been uncovered as a geek. But it served its purpose, he can't imagine anybody so terrible at hiding things being a SERN spy.
This is when Kurisu tells Okarin her truth. That she liked to debate with her father, and they did all sorts of research stuff. But then, she started winning the debates and getting awards. Now they don't even talk to each other, and Kurisu is hurt by this, and his last words - "You're my daughter. How dare you." To which Okarin decides to plan an operation to reunite father and daughter.
A quiet night in for Kurisu and Mayuri, the girls send Okarin shopping. He receives a message - "You know too much". He freaks, legs it back to the lab, and bursts in on the two girls showering each other (and how many guys paused the video at that point, huh?).
Turns out the lab's system is directly connected to SERN. Daru thinks they have not noticed, but by now I'd be crapping myself. As Okarin rightly does when he receives a picture of a dead girl on his phone.

Episode 12 begins with a weird black and white scene set in a desert world seventy million years ago, with Mayuri chasing him through many world lines. Epic omen.
The time leap machine is built. It reads the memory in the brain, totalling 3.24 terabytes. So they push the data to the Large Hadron Collider to compress it down to 36 bytes thanks to a black hole. I'm laughing my ass off here, you can't wang 3 terabytes across the world "just like that" and you sure-as-hell can't compress it down to 36 bytes. And what decompresses them at the other end? It's a cool idea, but the science is flaky as hell.
Kurisu says they need an experiment subject, or it cannot be tested. At this point, like everybody gets cold feet. Oooookay... time to turn this project over to people who can, and bask in the glory instead. Actually, everybody (most of all Mayuri) is relieved.
It had to happen. Kurisu and Suzuha meeting in the lab. After a good Asian glare-fest, things start to get weird, what with Suzuha talking about prophecies, knowing what will happen next, and so on. It is calmed by Mayuri who doesn't like people fighting.
The trains in Akiba are stopped, bomb threat. As soon as Suzuha finds out that the lab is connected to SERN, she panics, runs away.
Okarin notices the hourglass has stopped, and Mayuri that her watch has stopped. All mere moments before armed henchmen burst in, followed by Moeka dressed in a sleek black outfit, stating that SERN will take the time machine, Okarin, Kurisu, and Daru as well. Mayuri... is not needed.
At which point, saying for "FB" (?), Moeka blows a hole in Mayuri's head.
What the EFFING EFF?!?

Holy crap. We've shifted into high gear now.

Episode 13 is tragic. Starting with Mayuri's murder, Suzuha bursts into the room, kicks the henchmen unconscious, and is gun to gun with Moeka in a sequence John Woo would be proud of.

A John Woo style standoff
She went to turn on the big telly, which will make the time machine function. With that and some smoke as a distraction, Okarin runs to the time leap machine and Kurisu activates it just before being shot in the back.
A flashback, Okarin promises to be a mad scientist and keep Mayuri as a hostage in order to help her cope with the death of her grandmother as a little girl. It's possible that this "mad scientist" role is simply a persona Okarin adopted to keep Mayuri happy.
Cut a long story short, the time leap works. But Okarin is driven by the need to save Mayuri, and blind panic. While Kurisu figures it out, he never thinks to ask for her help, just warns them to leave.
Mayuri dies. Again. Crushed under a speeding car. Driven by Moeka.
Somehow Okarin escapes, goes for it again.
Remembering the train lines, remembering more of what went wrong last time, he plans it differently. It seems to be going well until the TV repairman's daughter rushes up and accidentally pushes Mayuri in front of the train. Each time she dies, it is worse than the time before.

The moral, kids, is don't screw with fate. It's like that Final Desination series, Okarin's knowledge bought her a few hours, but she still dies.
Even if Okarin involves the others, I think the only way out is a D-mail to change time lines. At which point Mayuri may be alive and well, only... in this current timeline, Mayuri is murdered. End of. Fate's a bitch. As is Moeka.

What the hell kind of series takes the cutest character and kills her off. Three times in a row? You never hurt the cute ones. [Mikuru in Melancholy/Suzumiya; Kaylee in Firefly, etc]
There is a concept known as "Break the cutie" where you take a sweet innocent character and dump all the ills of the world on them. This is known, and common. Sarah Conner the fluffy waitress in Terminator, and what she became. Princess Diana in real life...
To kill the cutie is a whole different kettle of fish. We're venturing into Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni territory.

Of course, we should also mention that this story is taking a massive dump all over the Temporal Paradox thus created - namely Mayuri had to be killed in order to convince Okarin to use the time leap machine, and by going back in time (well, his memories, if not physically), he would be altering the past to a state where he was not there and Mayuri did not die in the lab and thus no message was ever sent, thus meaning he never received the message so he was there and Mayuri did die and... Confused? It looks to me like a play on the Grandfather Paradox. Either way, they'll need to pull a rabbit out of the hat soon, else the pseudoscience is in danger of collapsing into its own event horizon.

That said, I'm sitting here, mouth agape, waiting for the next episode! I think, sadly, we may not have the lovely banter between the lab guys so much in the remaining episodes, for Okarin now knows exactly what it is he is dicking with. But what can he do? Text himself to never talk to Moeka? Why did Suzuha, at point blank range, not blow Moeka's brains across the room? Questions! Questions!

 

Everything Sounds Cuter In Japanese! (^_^)


English captions available.

 

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