Thoughts: Making Sense of Steins;Gate – Part 1

Steins;Gate is a great story. I say story generally because while originally a visual novel, its universe has expanded to animes, a movie, and other media, most of which is canon and deserving of consumption and analysis. That said, despite being 3,600 words long, this post is probably not going to be my only one about Steins;Gate since there’s still more to talk about in the story.

[This post contains heavy spoilers for the Steins;Gate franchise, and I STRONGLY recommend against reading the following if you haven’t finished either the anime or visual novel. It’s an amazing and thought-provoking story and I would hate for anyone to be spoiled.]

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It’s so cool! Sonuvabitch.

Part I: List of world lines

There are many world lines in Steins;Gate. Some have minute differences with others, while others are separated by entire attractor fields and have globally significant disparities. Members of the Future Gadget Lab (although mostly Okabe Rintaro) send D-Mails to jump from one world line to another, since these emails to the past often create divergences at the times they are received and split existing world lines in two.

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If you’re going to send yourself lottery numbers in the past, at least get the numbers right.

For example, if I am currently on a world line (on 12/07/17) and I send a D-Mail to myself with winning lottery numbers from a week ago (on 11/30/17), my current world line would have diverged on 11/30/17 when I received those numbers, and I would now be on a different world line where I did something with those winning numbers. There is no time “travel” here, since I am still present on 12/07/17. However, in this world line, I could have actually won the lottery or given the numbers to someone else (like Okabe did), or I could have done nothing.

Some notes before I get into all of the world lines:

  1. I will describe each world line by the lives/actions/stories of each of the main characters in Steins;Gate for ease of comparison.
  2. I will only be examining world lines that appeared in the visual novel and anime, since those are the canon storylines most easily accessible to us in the west.
  3. World lines that only diverge by a small amount (such as the one where Okabe sends the lottery numbers) will all be combined in one heading.
  4. Each world line will be named both by the divergence number shown on the meter created by Okabe and by the attractor field it resides in.

 

1.130426 Beta

41-032
AKA Shouichi Makise

This is the original world line in the beginning of the story, before Okabe’s first D-Mail about Kurisu’s stabbing. We don’t know much about this world line, since when we get back to the Beta attractor field in the Mayuri’s, Kurisu’s, and the true ending, it’s a different world line since Okabe has spent three weeks in the Alpha attractor field. Some of the following is just conjecture about what would have happened had Okabe not sent the initial D-Mail and didn’t spend any time in the Alpha attractor field.

  • Okabe: On 07/28/10, Okabe goes with Mayuri to Dr. Nakabachi’s conference, where he may or may not see Kurisu’s death. Regardless, he does not send a D-Mail about it and his future is unclear.
  • Makise: On 07/28/10, Kurisu dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Beta attractor field. Dr. Nakabachi steals her paper on time travel.
  • Shiina: On 07/28/10, Mayuri buys a metal Oopa with Okabe and drops it. The Oopa ends up with Dr. Nakabachi in the paper he steals from Kurisu. Her future is also unclear but she does not die before 08/21/10.
  • Hashida: Daru is Okabe’s super hacker and friend in the Future Gadget Lab. His future is unclear but he marries Yuki Amane and she gives birth to Suzuha in 2017.
  • Amane: Without a mission from Okabe, Beta Suzuha does not come back on 08/21/10 in Daru’s time machine to try to prevent World War III.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine, but it’s unclear what happens to it.
  • NyanNyan: Faris is the queen of moe in Akibahara and works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. Her father passed away in 2000.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a rounder who is looking for an IBN 5100. She does not know the members of the Future Gadget Lab.
  • World: Dr. Nakabachi’s paper makes it to Russia, which starts a time machine arms race and eventually, World War III.

 

0.5710.. Alpha

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Reading Steiner

We arrive here after Okabe sends the first D-Mail about Kurisu’s stabbing and SERN’s Echelon catches it and cancels Dr. Nakabachi’s conference. In this world line, no further impactful D-Mails are sent beyond this first one.

  • Okabe: On 07/28/10, Okabe accidentally sends a D-Mail about Kurisu’s death that is caught by SERN on 07/23/10. Dr. Nakabachi’s conference is cancelled and the Future Gadget Lab investigates SERN and eventually Okabe finds an IBN 5100 at Yanabayashi Shrine to hack SERN. On 08/15/10, Okabe arrives back from the Alpha attractor field and is faced with the decision of deleting his original D-Mail in SERN’s database. He does not delete the email in this world line. Okabe is eventually caught by SERN Rounders and he and Daru go on to found the Resistance. Okabe dies at SERN’s hands in 2025.
  • Assistant: Kurisu does not attend Dr. Nakabachi’s conference and is alive in this world line. She joins the Future Gadget Lab and helps them develop the phonewave and the time leap machine. In one branch of the visual novel, she and Okabe admit their love for each other while deciding about deleting the original D-Mail. In this world line, since Okabe does not delete the D-Mail, Kurisu is captured by SERN Rounders and forced to create a time machine for them. She is seen as the “mother of the time machine” and dies in 2034.
  • Shiina: On 08/17/10, Mayuri dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Daru is captured with Okabe and helps found the Resistance against SERN after escaping. He builds a time machine (FG204) for his daughter to travel back in time to save the world from dystopia.
  • Amane: Suzuha is born in 2017 and uses Daru’s time machine in 2035 to go back to 2010 to try to meet Daru in Akihabara. She leaves after not finding him and goes back to 1975 to get an IBN 5100 for Okabe. She succeeds by getting the IBN 5100 to Yanabayashi Shrine and dies peacefully in 2000 from a disease.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine and gets it to Okabe.
  • NyanNyan: Faris is the queen of moe in Akibahara and works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. Her father passed away in 2000.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a Rounder who meets Okabe in her search for an IBN 5100 and joins the Future Gadget Lab. While she does not get the IBN 5100 before Okabe does, she leads the attack on the lab on 08/17/10 (after finding out that the Future Gadget Lab had developed time leap technology) to kill Mayuri and capture Okabe, Daru, and Kurisu.
  • World: SERN forces Kurisu to develop a time machine for them and controls the world in a dystopia.

 

0.523… Alpha

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FBFBFBFBFBFBFBFBFB

In this world line, Moeka sends a D-Mail to herself to steal the IBN 5100 from Yanabayashi Shrine to give to SERN.

  • Okabe: Same as 0.5710.. Alpha above except Okabe does not get an IBN 5100 and cannot hack SERN.
  • Christina: Same as 0.5710.. Alpha above except Kurisu and Okabe do not admit their love for each other since there is no decision to sacrifice Kurisu.
  • Shiina: On 08/16/10, Mayuri dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Same as 0.5710.. Alpha above.
  • Amane: Same as 0.5710.. Alpha above.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine before it’s stolen by Moeka.
  • NyanNyan: Same as 0.5710.. Alpha above.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a Rounder who meets Okabe in her search for an IBN 5100 but does not join the Future Gadget Lab. Using her D-Mail, she steals the IBN 5100 from Yanabayashi Shrine and gives it to SERN. On 08/15/10, SERN takes the IBN 5100 to France and Okabe and Moeka confront Mr. Braun (FB). Mr. Braun commits suicide and kills Moeka in the anime. In the VN, Moeka is killed by Nae, who after killing Okabe in 2025 as a Rounder, time leaps to her 12-year-old self to avenge her father.
  • World: SERN forces Kurisu to develop a time machine for them and controls the world in a dystopia.

 

0.4569.. Alpha

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But he’s (not) a guy.

Rukako is not a dude in this world line.

  • Okabe: Same as 0.523… Alpha above.
  • The Zombie: Same as 0.523… Alpha above.
  • Shiina: On 08/15/10, Mayuri dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Same as 0.523… Alpha above.
  • Amane: Same as 0.523… Alpha above.
  • Urushibara: Due to his D-Mail to his mother’s pager, Rukako’s gender is changed to female. In 2009, since she is female, she is asked to clean the storehouse instead of the main hall and breaks the IBN 5100 stored there as a result. In the days leading up to Mayuri’s death, Rukako and Okabe go on dates and eventually have a child together (Rukako ending in VN).
  • NyanNyan: Same as 0.523… Alpha above.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a Rounder who meets Okabe in her search for an IBN 5100 and joins the Future Gadget Lab. Using her D-Mail, she breaks into Yanabayashi Shrine but finds the IBN 5100 broken. She leads the attack on the lab on 08/15/10 (after finding out that the Future Gadget Lab had developed time leap technology) to kill Mayuri and capture Okabe, Daru, and Kurisu.
  • World: SERN forces Kurisu to develop a time machine for them and controls the world in a dystopia.

 

0.4094.. Alpha

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Watch out for her Cheshire Break

Faris sends a D-Mail that keeps her father from dying in 2000. As a result. Akihabara is transformed from a moe city to the electronics town it once was.

  • Okabe: Same as 0.4569.. Alpha above.
  • @Channeler: Same as 0.4569.. Alpha above.
  • Shiina: On 08/14/10, Mayuri dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Same as 0.4569.. Alpha above.
  • Amane: Same as 0.4569.. Alpha above.
  • Urushibara: Due to his D-Mail to his mother’s pager, Rukako’s gender is changed to female. There is no IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine since Faris did not gift it there.
  • NyanNyan: In 2000, Akiha Yukitaka (Faris’ father) receives Faris’ D-Mail claiming that she had been kidnapped. He sells the IBN 5100 for the ransom money rather than donating it to Yanabayashi Shrine and also does not die in a plane crash. As a result, his influence on Akihabara continues and moe culture does not develop in the area. This leads to Faris having a more normal life and she participates in Rai-Net tournaments rather than working at May Queen Nyan-Nyan.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a Rounder who meets Okabe in her search for an IBN 5100 and joins the Future Gadget Lab. She does not find an IBN 5100 since it was never at Yanabayashi Shrine. She leads the attack on the lab on 08/14/10 (after finding out that the Future Gadget Lab had developed time leap technology) to kill Mayuri and capture Okabe, Daru, and Kurisu.
  • World: SERN forces Kurisu to develop a time machine for them and controls the world in a dystopia.

 

-.275349 Omega

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Akiha Rumiho

This is a weird one. The Omega attractor field is mainly defined by the Future Gadget Lab not existing and Okabe being a stranger with all of its members. Okabe gets here by sending a different D-Mail in 0.4094.. Alpha that attempts to keep both Faris’ father and Mayuri alive, rather than undoing Faris’ original D-Mail about the kidnapping.

  • Okabe: Okabe is skilled at Rai-Net and meets Faris while participating in competitions. He does not know any of the lab members from the Alpha/Beta attractor fields. When he arrives from the Alpha attractor field, Okabe has no memories of the previous 18 years of his life in this world line.
  • Mongolian Spot: Kurisu is not shown in this world line.
  • Shiina: Mayuri works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan still, but does not know Okabe at all. She does not die in the near future as she does in the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Daru frequents May Queen Nyan-Nyan and still is interested in Faris, but he does not know Okabe at all.
  • Amane: It’s unclear if Suzuha exists at all in this world line, depending on whether the world line converges to her birth as Daru’s daughter in 2017.
  • Urushibara: Rukako is not shown in this world line.
  • NyanNyan: In 2000, Akiha Yukitaka (Faris’ father) does not die in a plane crash due to Faris’ D-Mail. As a result, his influence on Akihabara continues and moe culture does not develop in the area. This leads to Faris having a more normal life and she participates in Rai-Net tournaments rather than working at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. She meets Okabe as a fellow participant and became partners, and then lovers with him. She believes Okabe when he says he has lost all of his memories and the two start a new life together (Faris ending in the VN).
  • Kiryu: Moeka is not shown in this world line.
  • World: There are no clues as to what the future holds in the Omega attractor field.

 

0.337187 Alpha

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“I failed.”

As described in 0.5710.. Alpha, Suzuha usually leaves on 08/09/10 after not finding her father (Daru) in Akihabara. However, in this world line, Okabe sends a D-Mail to himself to tail Suzuha and not allow her to leave, but instead have her attend a her party and become friends with those in the Future Gadget Lab.

  • Okabe: After tailing Suzuha, Okabe finds out from her that he needs the IBN 5100 to hack into SERN to get back to the Beta attractor field. Otherwise, same as 0.4094.. Alpha above.
  • Celeb 17: Same as 0.4094.. Alpha above.
  • Shiina: On 08/13/10, Mayuri dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Alpha attractor field.
  • Hashida: Same as 0.4094.. Alpha above.
  • Amane: Because Suzuha stays until 8/13/10, a storm damages her time machine and the Future Gadget Lab assists her in fixing it. During this time, Mayuri figures out that Daru is actually Suzuha’s father (“Barrel Titor”). Suzuha then leaves for 1975, but the time machine was still damaged, so she has amnesia until 1999, when she realizes that she has failed her mission to obtain an IBN 5100. She writes a letter to Mr. Braun to deliver to Okabe on 8/13/10 that details her failures and asks Okabe to undo the D-Mail that made her stay an extra four days. She then suffers from depression for a year and commits suicide in 2000. Okabe refuses to undo the D-Mail in this world line, but instead lives in a time loop (through time leaping) between 8/11/10 – 8/13/10 to spend time with Suzuha (before she leaves for her failing mission) and Mayuri (before she dies). Eventually, Suzuha catches on and asks him to time travel with her to 1975 to try to find the IBN 5100 together. It’s not clear what happens in 1975 (Suzuha ending in VN).
  • Urushibara: Due to his D-Mail to his mother’s pager, Rukako’s gender is changed to female. There is no IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine because Suzuha fails her mission in 1975.
  • NyanNyan: Same as 0.4094.. Alpha above.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a Rounder who meets Okabe in her search for an IBN 5100 and joins the Future Gadget Lab. She does not find an IBN 5100 since it was never at Yanabayashi Shrine. She leads the attack on the lab on 08/13/10 (after finding out that the Future Gadget Lab had developed time leap technology) to kill Mayuri and capture Okabe, Daru, and Kurisu.
  • World: SERN forces Kurisu to develop a time machine for them and controls the world in a dystopia.

 

 

1.130238 Beta

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Stardust Handshake

We are back in the Beta attractor field and Okabe has all of his memories from the Alpha attractor field due to Reading Steiner. In this world line, Okabe chooses Mayuri over Kurisu.

  • Okabe: On 07/28/10, Okabe goes with Mayuri to Dr. Nakabachi’s conference, where he sees Kurisu’s death and sends a D-Mail on accident to trigger the events of the Alpha attractor field. He comes back to this world line after deleting that D-Mail from SERN’s database with the IBN 5100 and becomes lovers with Mayuri. Okabe dies in 2025 from unknown causes.
  • Experiment Loving Girl: On 07/28/10, Kurisu dies (somehow) by convergence since this is the Beta attractor field. Dr. Nakabachi steals her paper on time travel.
  • Shiina: On 07/28/10, Mayuri buys a metal Oopa with Okabe and drops it. The Oopa ends up with Dr. Nakabachi in the paper he steals from Kurisu. She does not die before 08/21/10 but instead becomes lovers with Okabe. She has memories of someone important to her (Kurisu)making a sacrifice for her so that she can be happy (Mayuri ending in VN).
  • Hashida: Daru is Okabe’s super hacker and friend in the Future Gadget Lab. He marries Yuki Amane and she gives birth to Suzuha in 2017, and then builds a time machine in 2036.
  • Amane: Beta Suzuha does not come back on 08/21/10 in Daru’s time machine to try to prevent World War III in this world line.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine, but it’s unclear what happens to it.
  • NyanNyan: Faris is the queen of moe in Akihabara and works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. Her father passed away in 2000.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a rounder who is looking for an IBN 5100. She does not know the members of the Future Gadget Lab.
  • World: Dr. Nakabachi’s paper makes it to Russia, which starts a time machine arms race and eventually, World War III.

 

1.130205 Beta

steinsgate-1512603826224-2415.jpg
The 2000 John Titor

This is very similar to the world line above, except Suzuha comes back after Okabe sacrifices Kurisu to try to prevent World War III.

  • Okabe: On 07/28/10, Okabe goes with Mayuri to Dr. Nakabachi’s conference, where he sees Kurisu’s death and sends a D-Mail on accident to trigger the events of the Alpha attractor field. He comes back to this world line after deleting that D-Mail from SERN’s database with the IBN 5100 and does not become lovers with Mayuri. Suzuha’s visit prompts him to time travel to 07/28/10 to try to save Kurisu, but he fails and accidentally kills Kurisu instead. He refuses to go back a second time and Steins;Gate 0‘s story arc begins here.
  • KuriGohan and Kamehameha: On 07/28/10, Kurisu dies from Okabe accidentally stabbing her during his attempt to save her. Dr. Nakabachi steals her paper on time travel. The Alpha attractor field Kurisu and Okabe fall in love before she is effectively killed by Okabe deleting his D-Mail from SERN’s database (Kurisu ending in VN).
  • Shiina: On 07/28/10, Mayuri buys a metal Oopa with Okabe and drops it. The Oopa ends up with Dr. Nakabachi in the paper he steals from Kurisu.
  • Hashida: Daru is Okabe’s super hacker and friend in the Future Gadget Lab. He marries Yuki Amane and she gives birth to Suzuha in 2017, and then builds a time machine in 2036.
  • Amane: Beta Suzuha comes back from 2036 to convince Okabe to save Kurisu in order to move to the Steins;Gate world line. World War III has destroyed 2036 and her time machine can travel forward and backward.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine, but it’s unclear what happens to it.
  • NyanNyan: Faris is the queen of moe in Akihabara and works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. Her father passed away in 2000.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a rounder who is looking for an IBN 5100. She does not know the members of the Future Gadget Lab.
  • World: Dr. Nakabachi’s paper makes it to Russia, which starts a time machine arms race and eventually, World War III.

 

1.048596 Beta

81-3456.png
Bittersweet ending

This world line is the True Ending in the VN as well as the ending of the anime. Okabe gets here by going back to 07/28/10 a second time and successfully saving Kurisu without causing a paradox (this sequence of events warrants an entire future post since it’s pretty complex).

  • Okabe: On 07/28/10, Okabe goes with Mayuri to Dr. Nakabachi’s conference, where he sees Kurisu’s fake “death” and sends a D-Mail on accident to trigger the events of the Alpha attractor field. He comes back to this world line after saving Kurisu through time travel and spends some time in the hospital healing his wound from the incident. He then gives lab member pins to the other seven lab members (he saves one for Suzuha since she isn’t born yet) and hopes for a brighter future ahead.
  • Kurisu: On 07/28/10, Kurisu is stunned by Okabe and her life is saved. Dr. Nakabachi steals her paper on time travel but it burns up during his flight to Russia. She stays in Japan longer in order to find Okabe and eventually meets him on the street. She has some memories from the Alpha attractor field and reacts in the same way to Okabe calling her by her nickname.
  • Shiina: On 07/28/10, Mayuri buys a regular Oopa with Okabe and drops it. The Oopa ends up with Dr. Nakabachi in the paper he steals from Kurisu and does not prevent the paper from being destroyed.
  • Hashida: Daru is Okabe’s super hacker and friend in the Future Gadget Lab. He marries Yuki Amane and she gives birth to Suzuha in 2017, but his future is unclear otherwise.
  • Amane: Suzuha is born in 2017 and has a lab member pin saved for her.
  • Urushibara: A dude. Rukako has the IBN 5100 in Yanabayashi Shrine, but it’s unclear what happens to it.
  • NyanNyan: Faris is the queen of moe in Akihabara and works at May Queen Nyan-Nyan. Her father passed away in 2000.
  • Kiryu: Moeka is a rounder who is looking for an IBN 5100. She takes a job at Mr. Braun’s CRT shop as a part-timer and meets the lab members this way.
  • World: Dr. Nakabachi’s paper burns up on its way to Russia and he is arrested. The future of the Steins;Gate world line is unknown but hopeful.

 

Phew, that was a lot more than I expected. My next post (it’s up here!) on Steins;Gate will probably be on the complexities and implications of the True Ending! Until then, El Psy Congroo.

 

4 thoughts on “Thoughts: Making Sense of Steins;Gate – Part 1

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