This week’s episode was very much a continuation of last week’s episode, in terms of themes. You can read some thematic discussion I did on last week’s episode here. But if we boil it all down, it’s all about trust.
Ever since the first episode, I pointed out how part of what stopped Satoru from being able to grow up, to advance with his life, was the wound opened in him when his friend Jun was found guilty for the series of murders, but it’s not the murders themselves, or even how the adults tried to wrap up the children under the cover of childhood and ignorance that kept him so imprisoned, but that authority figures would not believe him, both the institution as symbolized by the police, and the personal hurt, where his own mother did not believe him.
The case of Airi’s parents breaking up over stolen chocolate was a tad ridiculous, there’s no real doubt about it, but what it was all about was how lonely and betrayed her father felt when his own wife wouldn’t believe him. The stakes might have been tiny, but the pain over someone not believing you is real. And so he ran away, or was driven out, by his friends, and by his family, because if they don’t trust you, are they really your friends, are they really your family?
Steins;Gate is based on a visual novel, which may explain some of the idiosyncrasies that I’ve noticed and which weirded me out while watching the show. Not all of them, mind, since some of them are probably there to keep you off your feet. A visual novel for those who don’t know is a video game which is basically a “choose your own adventure” but with less input/the choices usually being more social in nature – it is a novel told visually with some input from the user. It’s predominantly Japanese, and very often the games are romantic/erotic in nature.
The cast of Steins;Gate
In fact, one of the first things I noticed in the show, but at first I didn’t pay it much mind was that the main character was surrounded by women when the opening song ended, after a few episodes when I’ve realized this is a show about time-travel, alternate realities and conspiracies, this had become somewhat perplexing – why are so many characters of the cast women? Why is there basically one male surrounded by so many girls (the other male is a caricature for “unattractive”) in a non-romantic/romantic-comedy show?
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. I will probably spoil major plot points in this post.)