Steins;Gate – The Burdened Domain of Déjà vu
Deja Vu, the name of the film, is an anomaly caused by the overlapping of short term memory and long term memory, or in other words, a phenomenon created by a temporal discrepancy of memories. It’s something which was touched upon in the OVA, and how memories of world lines past visited were in people who shouldn’t have them. However, isn’t this movie just White Fox trying to milk an incredibly popular and well selling franchise some more? After all, there’s no loose ends left, and aside from getting a few extra episodes out of the scenes and routes which it didn’t touch upon, the original story is completed. Going into a movie with this mindset, I was pretty much expecting something terrible.
My first impression of things wasn’t very good. It tried to use scenes from the VN which weren’t used in the anime under the guise of recurring flashbacks, without thinking that it could cause more problems than it would solve, and from my first impressions, thrown together a story that was entirely built on fanservice, with stupid things like Kurisu getting drunk, Kurisu handling Daru’s underwear, and to top it up, an extended Kurisu showering scene. It’s just not neccessary, and it tries to create a proper relationship between Okabe and Kurisu, by being serious and referencing things which have h
appened in timelines past, and then delving into silly fanservice, like Mayuri calling Kurisu a tsundere. It’s just…not needed, in all honesty. The original set-up was funny and well executed, but that’s because it kept moving forward, where this just wanted to rehash jokes.
However, about 30 minutes into the movie, Okabe disappears from right in front of Kurisu’s eyes, and being an intellectual character, she can observe that something she feels should exist no longer exists. This, through a very long series of events, leads to Kurisu actually taking the place of the missing member in the lab and creating a Time Leap Machine and a Phone Microwave again…with the help of Daru, who is also acting on really strange impulses. Almost entirely based on raw memories from the Deja Vu experience, Kurisu travels through time to the day Okabe disappeared, as she believes that to be the cause of all the strange happenings. From Time Leaping into the past, Kurisu observed Okabe’s disappearance, and she comes face to face with one Amane Suzuha, who explains events. Basically, his ability overloaded and so he keeps fading away to another world line.
It’s actually a relatively well thought out idea and it actually has a pretty genuine reason for Kurisu to be involved, since everyone wants the Steins;Gate worldline to remain perfect; and Okarin isn’t in a position to do that because he keeps disappearing from said world line. It’s got all those “epilogueish” feels to it. However, you’ve got Okarin and his immense dislike of time machines on a scale against Kurisu and Suzuha who want to save him, and this part is well thought out – it’s a well done conclusion to Okarin’s character after the events of the series.
It’s almost like a punishment for travelling through time, something that I always thought the series only partly touched on. There weren’t any consequences for the happily ever after, which is why I really like the idea that’s in place here. Okabe is the only one who wants to accept the happily ever after, because he almost reached an epiphanal-like state of being, and after a long time and everyone drifting apart, and even with the lab dissolving, Kurisu stays true to what Okabe wanted…until Suzuha has her piece to say, which involves getting angry at how Kurisu is backwards and gets things constantly mixed up.
It does take a good slap to get Kurisu to her senses, and from here on outwards, Suzuha reveals that the Kurisu in the future had a theory and a plan in place to rescue him, but never acted on it…because she was told not to. It’s all very cleverly done from here on out, with Kurisu failing the first time by causing Okabe to die, and although she doesn’t try nearly as many times as Okabe, it’s not very long at all before she gives up. In fact, it’s only when everyone else remembers Okabe’s existence, mostly caused by Kurisu trying to fill the shoes of Hououin Kyouma, that she decides that she cannot give up.
See, back at the start I complained about how most movies throw things which
aren’t necessary and which aren’t required together into a package…and for quite a long time, I was under the impression that this movie was entirely designed to cash in on the success of the franchise. However, it was only when listening to Kurisu’s monologue right near the end that I realized what this episode was meant to do…and that’s to actually provide closure to her character. I believe that this was the purpose that the movie set out to do, and this alone makes an interesting point. I don’t think Kurisu’s character was incomplete before the movie, but with the new experience that she’s got under her belt now, it makes her character feel even more complete than it did before…if that’s possible. This movie is far from a must-see, regardless of if you’re a fan of Steins;Gate, but it does something which most anime-originals can only dream of doing, and that’s actually adding onto a character that’s incredibly well established in several forms of media. It celebrates the bond that’s been created, and it’s a success if you judge it by that criteria.