When last we left our favorite mad scientist, it seemed as if fate had dealt him a cruel hand… forcing him to bear the unbearable in having to choose between his friend, Mayuri, and his lover, Kurisu, knowing that saving one would mean sacrificing the other.
In Steins;Gate’s emotionally turbulent 22nd episode, the relationship between our beloved tsundere Kurisu and the eccentric Kyouma finally comes to a head, and not a moment too soon. With fans panting their tongues in fevered anticipation, it was only a matter of time before there were hurt feelings and perhaps even a broken bone or two if we were kept in suspense even a single episode longer, but we digress.
We begin with Kyouma, finding himself at a loss as to what to do next, standing atop the fateful building where he first saw Kurisu mysteriously murdered back in Episode 1. Kurisu herself lies not far from him, staring with a seemingly empty gaze at oncoming storm clouds, their presence an oddly appropriate reflection of the storm raging inside of her.
They both know a decision has to be made. Kyouma’s constant time leaping has proven to accomplish little in the grand scheme of things, Mayuri’s death always occurring as an absolute no matter how he might try to prevent it. Even while bordering on the edge of despair however, a faint glimmer of hope still shines in a revelation made by none other than Kurisu herself.
Much in the same way as Mayuri, although noticeably different, Kurisu is somehow able to recall, albeit faintly, her own murder from the original world line. How is this possible and what does this mean? In classic style, Steins;Gate has seen fit to throw yet another uncertain element our way. To what end this will play out, we can’t be sure yet, but the truth in that there’s something with which to play our curiosity is enticing enough indeed.
As if to seemingly dash our hopes in one fell swoop however, Kurisu finally makes her resolution clear and urges Kyouma to do what he must, for everyone’s sake. Arguments and a fierce opposition on both their parts ensue, but through it all we begin to truly understand just how far these two characters have developed since we first laid eyes on them, and the best is yet to come.
Back at his apartment, with a storm still raging outside, Kyouma comes to realize the fruitless venture in his continued time leaping… no, more than that, he realizes the harm he’s doing to himself.
Humans are adaptable creatures and can learn to live with almost anything given enough time; and in Kyouma’s most unusual case, he’s begun to grow accustomed to seeing his childhood friend Mayuri die. Cold and heartless thought it might sound, the true pain through which Kyouma now suffers is conveyed to us most appropriately in the “numbness” he feels; without which his heart and mind may well have reached their breaking point long ago; this and the truth in that he’s always had his beloved tsundere partner to depend upon.
It is in this that Kyouma’s next startling revelation, one which proves itself to be one of the most emotionally compelling and impacting of the entire Steins;Gate series, comes at us head-on. We can only watch with terrible anticipation, our hands clenched into tight fists as our mad scientist confesses the feelings he’s held for Kurisu; those indescribable feelings that have slowly been building up inside of him since the first day they met.
And to what response does our tsundere give? A scene that will surely live on in all faithful viewers’ memories for many, many years to come. We are pleased to say that all of the patience and near intolerable suspense that has built up to this moment was well worth it. No, it would be worth it even if we had to endure it all over again!
Regrettably however, all good things must inevitably come to an end. After a brief parting with Kurisu, the true crux of Steins;Gate’s story begins to close in on itself as Kyouma prepares to end his sorrowful battle by undoing the first and final D-mail, one that will almost certainly result in Kurisu’s death. With a shaky hand and a pained look on his face, it is done.
Suddenly however, at the last moment, Kurisu appears in Kyouma’s doorway, gasping and out of breath as she looks at him with an exuberant expression. She struggles to put to words those precious feelings that she found herself unable to convey before…
…Before she’s able to however, the world line changes and Kurisu vanishes from our sight.
We stand back to give pause and an appropriate appreciation for the masterful way in which Steins;Gate has served to complete the last piece of the puzzle with respect to Kyouma and Kurisu’s relationship; and yet it comes with bittersweet satisfaction.
…Is this really the end for them? Are we to believe that all their hard work up until now would lead them to such a sorrowful end?
Back in the original world line, Kyouma receives a stunning phone call from none other than a character thought long gone… yes, it’s none other than Suzuha, back from the proverbial abyss to request Kyouma’s helping in stopping… what was it? World War III!?
And so, just when we thought we had Steins;Gate figured out, even if only a little bit, we find the tables have been turned on us in a world-shaking manner, quite literally, once again.
Really, how many anime can claim to such a superb showcase of awesomeness? To be able to take us from such a heart wrenching moment and turn everything upside down in a mere instant is a testament this this series’ epic level of story telling. With this, we reinforce a new standard for those few breathtaking moments in anime history, those of such proportions that you couldn’t forget them even if you tried.
From now onward, it would be doing an injustice to not dub these scenes “Steins;Gate” moments!