Oh boy, Steins;Gate 0 is starting to get real. This episode is packed full of nods to the original series, and allows Okabe to take his first steps back towards being the man we came to know and love.
My name is Hououin Kyouma!
In the opening minutes, Okabe forgets himself and acts out in a way that we’ve seen before, shouting about science during the middle of a conference. While the dub introduced a strange contradiction here (namely Maho translating English words… into English), the scene itself was powerful, if only because the audience knows of the colorful history between Okabe and Makise.
Okabe is used to interacting with people that don’t remember him, but there’s something truly touching about the way he reacts to Makise’s avatar within Amadeus. For just a moment, it’s as though she never died at all; the gang’s all here, and they’re just hanging out, messing around.
2D girls forever
There’s another interesting thing about the Amadeus sytem: we see Makise call Okabe on his cell phone. Considering the two were only alone sporadically throughout the first season, this opens the door for Okabe to have more intimate conversations about his feelings, without the need to save face in front of his friends.
What does it mean when a computer program knows you better than the people you socialize with every day? In this case, the virtual Makise could know Okabe better than the real one ever did. He’s erratic, sure, but with consistent conversations and enough insight into how his mind works, Amadeus may even become capable of predicting his actions.
This leads to an interesting, if confusing, concept: could Amadeus identify events that Okabe may have influenced in the past without being told? It’s a rabbit hole of logic, but it could create a cat and mouse dynamic most viewers haven’t seen since Death Note.
There’s also the question of how Makise will be introduced to the group. Only Suzuha remembers her, so it’s likely they’ll take some convincing. Also, Kurisu was never one to let others do all the hard work, but her avenues for helping are limited in her current form.
Unfortunately, without outside help, she’ll never obtain a body. Daru isn’t exactly the greatest inventor ever, and as Amadeus is in its infancy, there’s likely little help coming from her creators. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the season progresses, and the struggles that the group face as a result.
Overall, Steins;Gate 0 is doing an excellent job at moving the plot forward. It’s easily accessible, even to people that haven’t played the visual novel, although the setup does take a little bit to get your head around. If you haven’t already, go ahead and watch the original series, because its sequel is fast becoming this year’s must-watch show.