Thematic Analysis of the Steins;Gate Series

Please Note: This will contain Major Spoilers for the entire Steins;Gate series which include the Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 Anime, Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 Visual Novels, and the Steins;Gate film.

For the purposes of this thematic analysis, I’ll be exploring the subtexts of the Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 Series regarding themes that I’m genuinely surprised that nobody else seems to have picked-up on considering how common they are in the Western world, especially from Hollywood films. To that end, I won’t be delving into the overt themes that are made completely clear by the narrative itself such as the Orihime and Hikoboshi theme, the theme of Mozart and Salieri behind the relationship between Hiyajo Maho and Makise Kurisu, or the Time Paradox involving Shiina Kagari and Okabe Rintaro’s shared lullaby. These were already established and given satisfying resolutions within the narrative itself. What I will be exploring are themes that were more explicitly mentioned in the Steins;Gate Visual Novel and then more implicitly expressed in the Steins;Gate 0 Visual Novel such as references to Gehenna, the Voice of God, the Laws of God, and prayers for a better future. The explicit to implicit themes essentially involve Abrahamic cultural concepts such as the definition of a Messiah, references to the Last Supper before Moeka’s betrayal as an Agent of Sern, the jokes involving Christian references between Okabe and Kurisu’s private discussions, and references to Kurisu being a God such as the Mayuri Ending of the original Steins;Gate Visual Novel where Okabe makes the reference to Kurisu’s Godhood explicitly when he thinks about her. These explicit references in the Steins;Gate Visual Novel are then made implicit and expressed throughout the story of the Steins;Gate 0 Visual Novel. However, I’ve noticed the Anime adaptions add extra layers to these themes that give both a deeper meaning to the narrative and a more satisfying resolution to the themes and story itself.

All of that said, I understand that many readers will be deeply skeptical. Anime, Manga, and probably Visual Novels have coined terms like “666” for no other purpose than for shock value or to look cool and often the writers who use such symbolism don’t understand the meaning of the Abrahamic cultural concepts such as 666 referring to Emperor Nero while 616 refers to Satan. There’s plenty of reasons to doubt what I’m saying since this isn’t just Japan that messes-up these meanings, but a vast amount of American films mess it up too. However, despite such objections, we should still try our best to critique a series within its own context and not simply give up because large portions of a medium are filled with a poor understanding of such themes. In the same way we view physical and ebook novels in a case-by-case basis, we should be viewing visual novels in a case-by-case basis to the best of our ability instead of just generalizing. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to judge a book that you’re reading as not understanding cultural concepts because the author of another book series that has nothing to do with the series you’re currently reading has a poor understanding of the same concepts. The same should be true for visual novels; authors of other visual novels who show no deep understanding of the concepts shouldn’t be used as a reference when criticizing another visual novel by completely different writers.

Nevertheless, there’s probably still a strong degree of skepticism. The best that I can say is that I had refrained from making any analyses on the themes of the Steins;Gate series until reading the entirety of the visual novels and attaining all endings for both the Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 visual novels. I had strongly suspected that there were Abrahamic cultural themes after watching the anime ending of Steins;Gate 0, but I stopped myself from writing about it because I considered the possibility that it was purely coincidental and I worried that I was simply reading too deeply into the themes. I decided to wait until I had completed reading both visual novels before forming any conclusions and it was the ample evidence of consistent mentions of Abrahamic cultural concepts, definitions, and references within both visual novels that led me to conclude that my notions weren’t pure coincidence or nonsensical. I wanted to be clear on that point. I was very careful to spend as much time thoroughly reading the source material of both visual novels to their completion before writing this thematic analysis specifically because I was worried about drawing erroneous conclusions about the Steins;Gate series. However, both visual novels only helped to lend further credence to Steins;Gate having Abrahamic cultural themes. Most of these themes are metaphorical, but there is one specific character whose depiction might be allegorical and not strictly metaphorical like the other major characters. For the sake of credibility, I’ll begin with the most explicit depiction of an Abrahamic cultural theme and then I’ll elaborate on the metaphors that other characters more subtly represent in the story and provide my reasons for why I think the Anime adaptions, particularly the Steins;Gate 0 anime, added changes from its visual novel counterpart specifically to deepen the Abrahamic cultural themes for a stronger resolution. Finally, it should be made clear that when I say Abrahamic cultural themes, I specifically mean how they’ve blended Islamic and Christian mythology whereby certain characters like Shiina Kagari and Okabe Rintaro represent metaphors from Islamic mythology whereas Makise Kurisu and Alexis Leskinen better represent the mythology of Christianity. That’s why I specify it as Abrahamic cultural themes because the subtext delves into the mythologies of both Islam and Christianity. As further proof of having clear in Abrahamic cultural themes in the Steins;Gate series . . . I had planned on jotting down and writing my thoughts on what I think Shiina Mayuri was a metaphor of, but outside of maybe the Steins;Gate 0 opening song arguably representing her personal perspective since she was the one who ultimately decided to go to the past; the opening cinematic of the first episode (excluding the pilot) was Shiina Mayuri’s thoughts on what she should have done on July 28th, 2010 and what she chose to do instead, so the song titled Fatima may actually be Mayuri’s thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat muddled as a definite metaphor since Future Mayuri obviously believed in a God as Kagari’s introspective dialogue and history prove. The song itself has a decree of atheism and the only character who is explicitly an atheist in Steins;Gate is Makise Kurisu who mentions it in passing during her discussion with Okabe Rintaro on the roof of the Radio building in the Beta timeline. Thus, I’ve opted not to add that since it seems too circumstantial.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Alexis Leskinen is highly likely to be an allegory for the Devil. While it is possible that he is simply a metaphor for the Christian mythological concept of the Devil, both his appearance and his goals in his own ending route within the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel give ample evidence that he’s an allegory for the Christian concept of the Devil. I had thought that perhaps his physical appearance being a popularized Western depiction of the Devil’s deceptive appearance was a coincidence, but his ending route itself is what led me to consider that it had an allegorical purpose. Before his deceptive and disturbing nature is revealed, he seems like a goofy, compassionate, and hardworking man who Okabe Rintaro can form a relationship with in an effort to deepen his ties to his dearly departed Makise Kurisu since this man thought highly of Kurisu’s abilities and presumably cared for her in a platonic student-professor relationship. He’s genuinely funny and he gives a presence of being trustworthy due to how he encourages Okabe to believe in his own abilities. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that his discussion with Okabe during the second hospital visit regarding Fubuki’s encephalitis is a stroke of brilliant writing; Leskinen blatantly lies to the hospital director about Okabe being chosen to go to Viktor chondria University, but he skillfully smoothes over the obvious lie by encouraging Okabe Rintaro to believe in himself and flippantly pretending that he meant the following year instead of the current year.

Within his ending route, after he captures Okabe Rintaro and prepares to torture him, he explains his motives during his revelation of being an agent of the Shadow CIA and civilian corporation called Strategic Focus known by conspiracy theorists as Stratfor. Leskinen’s motive is that he highly values information and he is willing to torture Okabe to gain more knowledge for his own self-interests. He speaks of how wars throughout history are fought over controlling or attaining information and not because of religious superstitions. It’s made clear to the readers that he doesn’t care at all for his relationship with Kurisu, if it means that he can personally profit from selling the information about Kurisu’s theory of time machines and the knowledge of how Reading Steiner works to the entire world. The knowledge about time machines, worldlines, Time Leaps, and Reading Steiner, which is explicitly referenced as Pandora’s Box by Okabe in the Leskinen route, is what Leskinen plans to sell to the entire world for his own personal gain. The name Pandora itself translates to “All Giving” so it’s a double-layer of foreshadowing. Thereby, Dr. Leskinen is a villain that horrifies the reader because he intends to share forbidden knowledge with all of humanity. It is knowledge that Okabe and his friends believe to be too dangerous due to their personal relationship to Kurisu, their concern for the consequences of such a decision, and what Okabe feels is desecrating Kurisu’s memory and her personal sacrifice to save the world.

The subtext to the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden being shared and causing the downfall of humanity should be clear. Leskinen selling the knowledge of time travel to the entire world in order to personally enrich himself directly causes the deaths of Mayuri and Suzuha in his own route and it becomes a catalyst to plunge humanity into World War 3 even earlier than the future that Suzuha came from. The references to wars and the future is explicitly referenced as Gehenna, an Abrahamic reference to a pit of hell where people are thrown in to a fire and burned to death. Likewise, Gehenna is represented within Christian mythology as the world opposite of what Jesus Christ wanted, it is the opposite outcome of what Makise Kurisu hoped for with her personal sacrifice to save Shiina Mayuri and the future from Sern’s despotic future in the Alpha timelines.

 

Makise Kurisu is the metaphorical Jesus Christ of the Steins;Gate series. I think one of the main reasons that most people don’t pick-up on her being a metaphorical representation of Jesus Christ from Christian mythology is that she is not a metaphor in terms of Christian morals or the teachings of Jesus Christ although there is arguably the exception of her lack of hypocrisy in her moral dispositions. However, even here it can be unclear because her lack of hypocrisy in her moral disposition makes her a far less ethical person; she is less altruistic, less compassionate, and far more willing to encourage Okabe Rintaro to commit unethical behaviors consistent with her consequentialist morality within the first Steins;Gate visual novel. It is because Makise Kurisu understands that objectively speaking, even if Okabe kills or uses physical violence, he can undo the effect using the Time Leap machine that Makise Kurisu forged. The moral values of hers that are most consistent with the Jesus Christ character from Christian mythology is Makise Kurisu’s narcissism in believing her views to be correct – which is precisely why she believes Okabe in every Time Leap after he explains the situations to her – and her lack of hypocrisy for the aforementioned reasons of her being less altruistic as a result.

I’ll begin with the references in the first Steins;Gate visual novel and then the more subtle metaphors in Steins;Gate 0. In the first Steins;Gate visual novel, we get a few jokes pertaining to Christianity between Makise Kurisu and Okabe Rintaro. Kurisu’s name in English which is “Chris” seems innocuous at first glance, but taken together with Okabe’s joke name for her “Christina” then it becomes a reference to Christianity. Okabe’s joke name for Kurisu as Christina is itself an anagram for Christian. This may seem like a stretch, but there is an explicit reference to the term Messiah and the definitions given mention the Christian context by referring to the character of Jesus Christ. The narrative provides a red-herring whereby we’re led to believe that it is referring to Okabe Rintaro, but the Chapter 11 conclusion of the Steins;Gate visual novel makes it clear that it was referring to Makise Kurisu because of the central conflict of the final chapter. Moreover, the Mayuri ending of Steins;Gate explicitly refers to Makise Kurisu as a God within Okabe Rintaro’s personal perspective. If this comes as a surprise for some viewers, then it shouldn’t have. Makise Kurisu is the one that Okabe Rintaro can implicitly trust throughout the entirety of the main plot of the first Steins;Gate visual novel, Kurisu always provides help for Okabe and clearly cares about his wellbeing through her actions, and the True Ending shows their personal relationship deepening into mutual love. When confronted with the prospect of death so that Mayuri can live, Kurisu carefully thinks over her options by herself and then repeatedly demands that Okabe Rintaro sacrifice her so that Mayuri may live. Makise Kurisu is completely willing to be a sacrificial lamb to save innocents and bring about a peaceful world where Sern’s despotic regime no longer controls humanity. If these examples seem too circumstantial, then the Chapter 11 conflict makes it dead obvious that Makise Kurisu is a metaphorical representation of Jesus Christ in the Steins;Gate series. It is a parallel to the mythology of Christianity whereby Jesus Christ’s Second Coming occurs to bring the Chosen People to the Promised Land after an apocalyptic war involving the entire world. Another version of Amane Suzuha comes from the future of 2036 to explain that Okabe Rintaro must deceive the laws of causality, attractor fields, Fate or God, and bring back Makise Kurisu in order to achieve the Promised Land of Steins Gate – a worldline where both Makise Kurisu and Shiina Mayuri can live in peace without the world converging to kill either of them. The Second Coming of Makise Kurisu back to the world of the living literally means saving five billion lives from certain death, preventing an apocalyptic World War 3 before it happens, and creating a peaceful future for all of humanity. It’s made explicitly clear that it isn’t just destroying her Time Travel thesis that’ll save the world, but bringing her back to life from her fated death of July 28th will be what achieves this positive resolution.

The Steins;Gate 0 visual novel may seem to lack references to Makise Kurisu’s metaphorical Godhood at first glance, but a deeper observation of the material reveals the reverse to be true. It isn’t explicitly said, but the subtext makes it clear that Makise Kurisu is a metaphor for the character of Jesus Christ within Steins;Gate 0 too, but there is a caveat in the case of Steins;Gate 0 that has to do with its major thematic differences with its predecessor. While Steins;Gate’s final chapter resembles the Biblical Jesus mythology, the Steins;Gate 0 depiction of Makise Kurisu blends the subtext of Biblical mythology with the Islamic mythology of Jesus Christ which is probably why there doesn’t seem to be a reference to the trinity. Much to the surprise of Christians in the West, Islam’s Messiah figure is also Jesus Christ and it is Jesus Christ that Islamic mythology teaches to await for on their interpretation of the Judgment Day myth in Abrahamic culture. The Mozart references lead credence to the Islamic conceptualization of Jesus Christ being the metaphor, because Makise Kurisu’s analogy to the name “Amadeus” is that she is “Beloved by God” and being so beloved accounts for her natural talents far above a normal human being. Likewise, the Islamic Jesus Christ is a normal human being who can perform miracles by being imbued with power from Allah (the Islamic version of Yahweh) in the mythology of Islam. Within the mythology known as Islam, the myth of Jesus Christ is slightly changed from the mythology of Christianity in that Jesus Christ is said to be rescued from complete death by Allah whisking him away into heaven and replacing him with someone else. Even in the context of Islamic mythology, the concept is vague, and it seems that the writers of Steins;Gate 0 opted to blend this idea with the comparatively more concise Biblical concept of the Holy Spirit from the mythology of Christianity. This explanation may sound completely nonsensical or bizarre, but allow me to explain:

Amadeus in the anime version of Steins;Gate 0 is portrayed as having their own identity and being separate from the real Makise Kurisu and there’s even a conversation between Hiyajo Maho and Okabe Rintaro about how they’ve both used their emotional ties to the departed Makise Kurisu to delude themselves into viewing Amadeus, an AI with her memories, as the real Kurisu. However, the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel has no such theme or regard for realism like its anime counterpart and while there are snippets of Okabe and Maho’s thoughts trying to distinguish between the Amadeus Kurisu and the dead Kurisu, the narrative of the visual novel heavily infers that the AI Kurisu is the spirit of their dearly departed Makise Kurisu. AI Kurisu slowly gaining knowledge and greater awareness is treated as synonymous with Kurisu’s soul speaking to her loved ones as a Holy Ghost. Hiyajo Maho’s own ending route has AI Kurisu express thoughts that she shouldn’t know unless she’s the real Kurisu such as referencing her deep love for Hououin Kyouma and asking Maho to look after him when Okabe has never brought up his chunnibyou personality in his discussions with Amadeus Kurisu. While Maho herself never learns the truth and can only speculate that Reading Steiner manifests itself from memories and that Amadeus Kurisu became the real Kurisu because she gained her memories from the other worldlines within her own ending route in the visual novel, it is actually confirmed to readers that Amadeus Kurisu in Maho’s ending route was the real Kurisu near the end because she tells Maho about the password to her personal laptop, whereas the narrative in the Mayuri route explicitly states that the real Makise Kurisu never gave Amadeus the knowledge of her personal password to her laptop which is why Maho asked for Daru’s help to crack it. The Leskinen/Mayuri route has a clear example of using Amadeus Kurisu as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ; when Okabe Rintaro suddenly finds himself in a hellish alternate reality of Okinawa, which is explicitly referenced as Gehenna, the Abrahamic pit of hell, after an arduous month-long journey, Okabe Rintaro is brought back to his peaceful life in the Beta worldline after being brought to a smart phone containing the AI Kurisu. This metaphorically reflects Christian mythology whereby people journey through what feels like a hellish and meaningless life only to find peace in life with an upstanding moral order upon coming to the fictional savior known as Jesus Christ.

The references outside of Amadeus only further exhibit the blending of Islamic and Christian mythology regarding Makise Kurisu being the metaphorical Jesus Christ figure of the Steins;Gate series. In the Kurisu/Kagari route, when Okabe Rintaro briefly enters the Alpha worldline and has a heartwarming but ultimately brief reunion with Makise Kurisu, she tells him to view his meeting her as a dream which metaphorically represents a Believer having a vision of Jesus Christ to strengthen their faith. Makise Kurisu asks him to forget about her because she wants to take away his pain and emotional anguish in losing her since they love each other deeply. In both the Kagari/Kurisu and Mayuri/Leskinen routes, Hiyajo Maho’s reason for believing in Okabe Rintaro’s explanation about attractor fields, Time Leaps, Time Machines, and Worldlines is specifically because he explains that Makise Kurisu is the one who created the Time Leap machine, she is the real brains behind the Nakabachi paper which is a grossly inferior copy of her own thesis on Time Travel, and so forth. Maho’s faith in Okabe’s story is precisely due to her deep faith in the abilities of and personal relationship with Makise Kurisu. From a narrative standpoint, Hiyajo Maho, Okabe Rintaro, and even Hashida Itaru utilizing or improving upon the knowledge and technology created by Makise Kurisu is treated as an unambiguous ethical good whereas people like Dr. Reyes and Dr. Leskinen using Kurisu’s knowledge is portrayed as opening up Pandora’s box and defiling what is sacred about Kurisu’s memories or her work which only culminates in catalyzing World War 3. In particular, Dr. Reyes reflects this clearly in the Kurisu route by mocking Okabe’s love for Makise Kurisu, using Shiina Kagari for immoral ends, and justifying it by her worship of the worldly – her faith in her country of the United States – and her patriotic belief that keeping the US as the most powerful will lead to world peace for all. Her being left as an empty husk is reflective of being obsessed with the worldly matter of keeping her own country as the dominant power and mocking the love of Okabe and Kurisu. The fundamental difference between the major protagonists and antagonists is that the protagonists have a personal relationship with Makise Kurisu and implicitly trust her gifted abilities whereas the antagonists dismiss or – in the case of Dr. Reyes – brazenly mock their personal relationship with Makise Kurisu and only try to use her knowledge for worldly matters. Metaphorically, the protagonists are True Believers in Makise Kurisu while the antagonists only work for the carnal pleasures of the world itself and thereby defile the sacred knowledge of Makise Kurisu. It is a reflection of the Islamic Judgment Day myth where the knowledge of their sacred texts is misappropriated or deliberately misused to harm the world through deceitful means. Both antagonists manipulation of Shiina Kagari are obvious reflections of this misuse of Makise Kurisu’s knowledge in the Kurisu and Mayuri routes of Steins;Gate 0.

Finally, the metaphor for Kurisu’s Godhood directly impacts the plot of Steins;Gate 0. It may seem bizarre that the reason Okabe Rintaro is traversing different worldlines at seemingly random times during the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel are explained away by Okabe’s epiphany that the cause is the precursor power struggle and arms race between the EU, Russia, and the US for knowledge of Makise Kurisu’s time travel thesis contained within her personal laptop and hard drive or the knowledge of Amadeus being used for military or time travel purposes. Makise Kurisu’s knowledge being misappropriated and misused literally redefines reality itself throughout the story of Steins;Gate 0 as the central conflict. This is a clear parallel to Islamic and perhaps some interpretations of Christian Judgment Day mythology whereby the sacred knowledge of the mythological God of Abraham is misused and misappropriated by deceitful people who seek only worldly ends that ultimately result in the destruction of the entire world and mass death. I would argue it is more consistent with the mythology of Islamic eschatology instead of Christian eschatology because of a narrative metaphor involving Okabe Rintaro himself which likely influenced the final scene of both the Steins;Gate visual novel and the Steins;Gate film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okabe Rintaro, and more specifically his chunniybou personality of Hououin Kyouma, most clearly embodies a metaphor for a character from Islamic mythology that isn’t easy to notice without recognizing Makise Kurisu and Alexis Leskinen’s own personal themes and metaphors. The anime adaption of Steins;Gate 0 seems to further solidify the metaphors and arguably makes the anime version of Okabe Rintaro closer to an allegory than simply a metaphor for the myths of Islam that Okabe expresses through his actions.

Okabe Rintaro, or more precisely Hououin Kyouma, is the metaphorical Al Mahdi – translated as The Guided One – from the myth of Islamic eschatology. The metaphors to Al Mahdi are more subtle within the Steins;Gate visual novel, and could even be argued to be circumstantial to an extent, but they become more noticeable in the story of the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel. It’s one of the major reasons I waited until fully completing both the Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 visual novels because I wanted to be sure that the evidence could be more than just coincidence. To give greater context to what Al Mahdi is and what specific story elements relate to Okabe: Al Mahdi is the mythic prophecized redeemer who will come from the Islamic Prophet Mohammad’s lineage, have Mohammad’s name, have the standard fantasy journey of not being believed by so-called false believers of Islamic mythology where corruption spreads, he will slaughter all the non-Muslims (specifically Polytheists) in order to end the corruption of the world before setting up an Islamic caliphate to await the Islamic Judgment Day, he’ll proceed to fight in an epic angels vs demons world war against the Al-Masih Ad-Dajjal – which translates to The False Messiah, Liar, or the Deceiver – who impersonates Jesus Christ (similar to the Christian Anti-Christ) and leads a band of false Muslims and people of the other Abrahamic faiths, and the real Jesus Christ will appear from behind Al Mahdi and they will defeat the forces of demonic evil together to create a world of Islamic justice (Again, the myth conflicts on who specifically kills the Dajjal as some argue it is Jesus and others that it is Al Mahdi. The Islamic equivalent of Satan called Shaytan is also killed by Al Mahdi in most accounts of the myth). Afterwards, the mythic deity of Islam, Allah, will pause time for Al Mahdi (the Hadiths essentially claim that Allah will expand the length of an entire day by pausing Time), where Al Mahdi rules for some years before dying naturally (the specific amount of years has conflicting claims in Islamic mythology) and then the Islamic variant of Jesus Christ will rule eternally thereafter. Islam’s mythology is split between the Sunni and Shia myths where Sunni mythology argued that Al Mahdi hadn’t appeared yet while the Shia myth claims Al Mahdi had appeared but was concealed away by the mythic Allah which is generally known in the Shia mythology as “Occultation” until the Day of Judgment in Islamic mythology. Essentially, he was concealed from the world by the Islamic deity. Perhaps some of you are either scratching your heads, rolling your eyes, or furiously typing away in the comments about how clueless or idiotic I am with my classic “Jarin Jove logic” because clearly nothing like that resembles the plot or themes of the Steins;Gate series. Well, hold on a sec, let’s probe that deeper with first an examination of its subtle influence in Steins;Gate and then its more overt influence in Steins;Gate 0 because I promise that it’ll be clearer soon:

First with the Steins;Gate visual novel, the influence of Islamic mythology in this one are sparse as it usually functions to add into the more explicit Christian metaphors, but it is noticeable. In the same game where Makise Kurisu is given the explicit metaphor of a God, Okabe Rintaro uses the Time Leap machine created by Makise Kurisu to repeat the same week in August in an effort to save his close childhood friend Shiina Mayuri from a horrific fate of being killed due to the convergence of attractor fields in the Alpha worldline. Okabe Rintaro expands the day and often the week into an unrecognizable length to go through his trials and is aided by the metaphorical God of the story on his quest to save Mayuri’s life. Of course, there is the ending itself, but for the purposes of this explanation, I’ll save that examination for last. The Steins;Gate 0 visual novel and anime adaption of Okabe Rintaro’s journey give much more and clearer metaphorical references. In the Leskinen/Mayuri path of the visual novel, within the chapter titled X-Day Protocol, he is physically injured in the face due to a brainwashed gunman chanting religious fundamentalist slogans and in the anime adaption, Suzuha grazes his cheek upon shooting him. In the physical description of Al Mahdi within Islam’s mythology, Al Mahdi is suppose to have a scar on his left cheek and such a scar is noticeably visible on Okabe particularly in the final episode of Steins;Gate 0 anime before he takes the time machine to save Suzuha and Mayuri. In the visual novel, and more explicitly in the anime, he has such a scar. The general theme of Steins;Gate 0 coincides with the theme of Al Mahdi guiding people and himself being guided by True Believers; Okabe’s endings (particularly the Leskinen and Mayuri endings) juxtapose in that when he places trust in others and trusts in their expertise and professionalism then he is able to create a path to victory over impossible odds. This is almost immediately after re-embracing his Chunnibyou personality of Hououin Kyouma to lead his group of friends in the Mayuri and True route while the Leskinen ending has him give up after being tortured because he carried all the burdens by himself. In both instances, he had the trust and assistance of Daru and Maho, but the difference is whether he went through with simultaneously leading and placing his trust in them. The anime adaption magnificently expands this by having Okabe be forced to rely on all of his friends being aware of coming to save him from an enemy ambush during the time that he’s trying to Time Leap backwards 3000 times; it further cements the theme of being the Guided One, who trusts his companions and has an implicit and unflinching faith in their capabilities to rescue him. The theme extends to the ending of the anime where Okabe Rintaro’s trust in Kiryu Moeka as a lab member is ultimately rewarded with her joining his side at the end of Steins;Gate 0 which complemented the theme of forgiveness in the original Steins;Gate; the visual novel of Steins;Gate 0 unfortunately doesn’t carry this theme like it’s anime counterpart. I think the metaphor for the Guided One becomes most apparent in the Kurisu route whereby Okabe Rintaro is forced to confront the logical inconsistencies in his decision to not save Kurisu, what the future really means for people living in it including Mayuri, and his own misplaced beliefs which encourage him to directly ask Suzuha for her evaluation of him is and to ask her to punch him because he feels that he owes it to her for not listening to her pleas before accidentally being stranded in the future and returning to January 2011 after Time Leaping 3000 times. As surprising as it may be to believe, there’s multiple references to the Occultation of Al Mahdi through the Steins;Gate 0 journey with the anime adaption adding a further layer of significance near the end. When Okabe Rintaro wakes up in the year 2036, he is informed by Future Daru of how the Future Gadget club deceived the world about Okabe’s supposed fated death in the year 2025 to protect and recuperate his physical body after enemies had found and tortured him in 2025. Okabe is shocked by this as he is given firsthand credible evidence of the future being able to be changed despite attractor field convergence. The trick was how the deception played out. Okabe learns that his current memories are from saved storage memory kept for many years in his erstwhile higher learning school, Tokyo Denki University. During his time as saved storage data of his own memories, he has hallucinations of his time in the Alpha worldline of his Future Gadget club and reflects on how cold and confusing such memories are. The time as memory storage data with Daru explaining how they hadn’t known where Okabe’s memory data was for around a decade up until finding it had been nearby in a hidden location within Tokyo Denki, Daru’s explanation for how Okabe’s physical body was hidden away and how the group had deceived the world, and – after Time Leaping 3000 times – Maho’s usage of a thought experiment when Okabe questions whether he’s fully human anymore are all metaphors for the Occultation. The memory storage for over a decade in particular and Okabe’s comparison of it to what Makise Kurisu’s spirit must be going through are metaphors for the Islamic myth of Allah concealing Jesus Christ and then Al Mahdi until their reappearance at the right moment. The resolve to Time Leap backwards 3000 times upon recognizing Suzuha had been right upon seeing the future for himself is a metaphor for Al Mahdi appearing when the world needs him most to guide the True Believers. The Steins;Gate 0 anime adaption makes the Occultation reference even more apparent as a crucial part of the ending of the story. The triumphant ending of Hououin Kyouma defying his fated death in 2025 by deceiving the world via Time Traveling across space-time itself, forming the heavenly lights that Okabe and Mayuri always gazed up upon and references throughout both the Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 anime as a result of his time travel, and saving Mayuri and Suzuha by fulfilling the theme of being Mayuri’s kidnapper from both Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0 is a more visually stunning and superior metaphor to the Occultation that blends seamlessly with the themes of the series itself. Overall, it is a far more satisfying resolution to the entire series.

The more vile aspects of Okabe Rintaro’s personality, explored in alternate endings like Suzuha’s ending in the Steins;Gate Visual Novel where he considers raping her since there would be no consequences after redoing the same days repeatedly for an indefinite but long period of time, can be seen as a metaphor for the real life actions that the mythology of Islam caused with the rise of Mohammad and his ilk as they took sex slaves, raped innocent women whom they kept as sex slaves, and killed anyone who disagreed with their mythology of Mohammad being the perfect example of a human being to live by. Mayuri and Okabe’s personal relationship described as kidnapper and hostage as an inside chunniybou roleplay between the two due to Okabe’s fears for her wellbeing when he was younger could also be a reference. Kurisu’s suggestions to Okabe in the main route with the use of her Consequentialist ethics in relations to Time Leaping, such as suggesting the use of physical violence or murder to get what is needed since the consequences can be undone through Time Leaping anyway, may also be a reference to the bloodshed caused by the mythologies of Islam and Christianity.

Perhaps to the surprise of many, the True ending of the Steins;Gate visual novel fulfils the mythological metaphors to Islam. The white light at the crosswalks is an obvious reference to convergence into the Steins Gate worldline in parallel to Okabe’s earlier transition from the Beta to Alpha worldline. This parallel happens as he turns around to see Makise Kurisu after they both randomly spot each other for a brief moment in confusion. They both turn around and from a narrative perspective, Okabe Rintaro turns around and sees Makise Kurisu behind him which is metaphorically similar to Jesus Christ appearing behind Al Mahdi is the mythology of Islam. Okabe Rintaro’s joke and Makise Kurisu’s response results in Okabe realizing everyone has Reading Steiner and his decision to engrave the sacrifices in his heart are metaphorically redeemed upon finding Makise Kurisu and learning to let go of his burdens. It is analogous to the myth of Christianity in which a Christian has their sins taken away by their mythical savior known as Jesus Christ. Finally, the Steins;Gate film adds another layer of metaphors to Islamic myth by having Makise Kurisu save Okabe Rintaro from being wiped out of existence. Okabe is technically dead due to being in a strange limbo where he is sure to suffer non-existence should Kurisu not change a problem in the timeline of Steins Gate. Moreover, Kurisu doesn’t have full memories of her time with Okabe like Okabe does and so Okabe’s love for her somewhat unsettles her because it seems too sudden even if she does reciprocate to a certain extent. Kurisu gains a greater appreciation for the suffering that Okabe underwent and can more concretely believe his time travel stories. Kurisu goes back in time to inform younger Okabe about the adventures of Hououin Kyouma and how he never gave-up on those he cared for before kissing him which harkens back to Okabe Rintaro himself mentioning this strange event in an early episode of the Steins;Gate anime. When Kurisu reunites with her present-timeline Okabe Rintaro, Okabe makes a joke about wanting to take back the kiss and Kurisu moves behind him before responding with a dismissal to his joke with their mutual affection reignited and no longer awkward. While the personal relationship between the two are unique to the story, the overall metaphor of the film itself is a parallel to Al Mahdi dying and Jesus Christ ruling the world from then on. Okabe had technically died when vanishing out of existence and Makise Kurisu correcting the causality of events to maintain the Steins Gate worldline to bring Okabe Rintaro back was a metaphor of that specific portion of Islamic mythology. The final scene where Makise Kurisu regains her memories of affection for Okabe Rintaro and reciprocates his feelings is yet again at the crossroad of Steins Gate with Makise Kurisu standing behind him after redefining the world itself using time travel to bring him back. It should be clear that standing behind Okabe doesn’t specifically signify mutual or one-way love as some demure female trope, but rather signifies Makise Kurisu being the one who will maintain protecting the Steins Gate worldline from now on and reaffirms her metaphorically being the Goddess that Okabe Rintaro has a personal relationship with and worships.

 

 

Shiina Kagari is the metaphorical Al-Masih ad-Dajjal or “False Messiah, Deceiver, and Liar” which is the Islamic Anti-Messiah figure of Islamic mythology. It is very similar and functionally the same as the mythic Anti-Christ from Christian mythology. Kagari’s represents Dajjal differently in both of the routes and strangely enough, the specific qualities of the Dajjal that she doesn’t seem to represent are instead represented by Dr. Alexis Leskinen. This seems to reflect the theme of Kagari being a tragic and innocent girl while the real person responsible was obviously Leskinen for what happened to her in both routes of the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel.

As Kagari’s representation between the branching story routes of Kagari/Kurisu and Leskinen/Mayuri are widely different, her metaphorical representation as the Dajjal in the storypaths are twofold. The Mayuri/True route of the Steins;Gate 0 visual novel is fairly straightforward with the plot twist. Kagari acted as a deceiver by having faked being Amane Yuki, her bestial behavior and murderous rampage represent the Dajjal’s violent tendencies (within the fuller context of different routes, the narrative seems to be implying that Kagari had memory data jammed in her to make her a super soldier), and her death by Moeka has her proclaim that her own death is punishment for her sins. The Dajjal reference to Leskinen in the Mayuri route is by Kagari explaining that she hears the voice of God, which is revealed to be Leskinen brainwashing her into believing that the war-torn world of 2036 should be what she maintains and the peaceful worldline of Steins Gate should be rejected because of the fear that she’ll never get to be Mayuri’s adopted daughter otherwise or possibly even meet her adopted mother in the new worldline. This is similar to the mythology of Dajjal treating Al Mahdi and Jesus Christ’s goal of forming the Islamic caliphate of peace and justice across the entire world as evil compared to a future remaining war-torn and apocalyptic. The Dajjal deceives his followers into believing that Jesus Christ and Al Mahdi are trying to destroy the world and that he’s bringing peace by maintaining the apocalyptic war in the mythology of Islam. Furthermore, Okabe Rintaro actually does kill Leskinen in the Mayuri and True route but undoes it after Time Leaping to save Mayuri and Suzuha’s lives; Okabe leaped toward his legs and caused Leskinen’s head to collide with a wall upon his body falling from a flight of stairs after he pulled a gun on Okabe. Leskinen managing to get to the roof of the Radio building in an injured condition where Okabe notes that one of his eyes isn’t functioning properly and is moving creepily to the side seems to be a metaphor for the Dajjal’s physical appearance as having a defective eye. His slumping to the ground and dying further reflects the Islamic myth since in some of the conflicting accounts, Al Mahdi kills the Dajjal. Okabe Rintaro’s introspection on this point when walking up the stairs even explains that he doesn’t care due to all the responsibility that he’s dealt with.

Kagari’s metaphors for the Dajjal in the Kagari/Kurisu route pertain to being injected with Kurisu’s memories. Dr. Reyes using her as a guinea pig to put Kurisu’s memories to unlock the secrets of Time Travel is representative of the Dajjal misusing the sacred knowledge and harming their own followers and themselves. Kurisu’s memories are presented as too much to handle and personality destroying. In the cause of Reyes herself, her obsession with obtaining Kurisu’s memories destroys her thinking faculties entirely. Okabe Rintaro’s rumination of replacing Kagari’s memories for Kurisu’s memories in order to create a fake version of Kurisu to be with as a possible method of overcoming the Fate of Kurisu’s death, despite his attempts to suppress such thoughts, is a further reflection of this theme in the narrative.

Kagari carving out her own identity in as subtle a manner as cutting her hair in the anime adaption of Steins;Gate 0 provides a greater resolution than the visual novel counterpart where her plastic surgery is changed back in some unspecified way within the True ending by 2025. Metaphorically, she’s no longer deluded into following the Devil’s tune and retains her sense of self, despite all of her hardship in both the visual novel and anime ending. However, instead of being represented by the Upa in the visual novel ending where it implies that she simply reverted back to her past self of childhood innocence, I vastly prefer the anime’s more subtle brilliance of her cutting her hair and maintaining her fierce warrior spirit as a result of the manipulations to show that she grew stronger from the experience while regaining her identity.

One thought on “Thematic Analysis of the Steins;Gate Series

  1. After reading the whole damn thing, I don’t care if you’re overthinking or not, it was awesome either way for you to see or come up with this haha.

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