This week we get a bit of a transition episode in which the story moves forward marginally, but character interaction takes a focus both in light-hearted and more serious moments. The events revolve around Maho this time around and emphasize the kind of relationship she had with Kurise by presenting a parallel of Mozart and Salieri and Kurise and Maho. There are several allusions to a relationship that was a rivalry but also close. Maho has no reservations in admitting she loved Kurisu, admired her and wanted to be like her, despite Kurisu being the junior and Maho being the senior.
The first important event is the restoration of Amadeus. AI Kurise is quick to tease Maho with Rintarou again while an amused Leskinen watches on. Leskinen is being his baka gaijin self, but I’m sure none of us forgets how suspicious he is when he becomes serious.
Next Rintarou and Mayuri drop by Faris’ house where Maho is staying. The visit has two purposes, one is for Maho to restore Amadeus on Rintarou’s phone and the other is for the room to get cleaned as Maho continues to make it messier and messier as time passes by! The adorable scenes of Sergeant Clean giving them drill instructions were really amusing! They really amped up the moe and Daru’s behavior marks the seal of approval from a hardcore otaku!
Surprisingly enough, the fanservice this episode didn’t stop at ‘innocent’ moe innuendo of domination fantasies but they amped things up by having Faris, Moeka and Maho have a pajama party in which each is wearing something that displays and exploits their own signature feminine charms. Sometimes I fail to remember the source for this is a dating sim game, but I was reminded this time around. I found the scene enjoyable with the exception of Faris’ sekuhara attack on Moeka, but it didn’t last long enough to pull me out of the show.
The conversation right after that part helped, too as Maho tried to encourage Moeka to be a bit confident in her uniqueness and overall value. She trails off before ending her speech and later on she is shown lost in thought as her companions sleep without a care in the world.
The next day Maho and Rintarou hang out together around Akihabara, visiting computer part shops and an arcade. I liked seeing more of this aspect of her, the things she’s passionate about and good at. Her enthusiasm in trying to replace Kurisu’s plushie was very touching and really shows how deeply she cared about her friend. Amadeus is around for some moments of the outing, contributing some really fun moments.
This is Steins;Gate 0 though, so things can’t stay light-hearted for long. As the evening falls, Maho and Rintarou make their way to Radio Building Akihabara where Kurisu died. It’s a sad moment as both of them are very affected by the place although for different reasons. During their conversation Rintarou has to take a moment and once he calms down, Maho finally asks about some of the stuff that I assume has been on her mind.
She finds the situation very suspicious, the fact that Rintarou seemed closer to Kurisu than he’s letting on, how sad he looks all the time and how obviously he’s trying to protect Mayuri and Maho. She mentions regret and struggle and it’s so spot on. The whole situation is kind of quiet, how she’s giving him permission to open up, how she’s asking him to trust her. Then she reveals a piece of information that sends Rintarou in another bout of scrambling panic: she’s in possession of Kurise’s laptop.
All things are falling into place and onwards into World War III. Rintarou talked about the futility of trying to change the past, the future and any event, really and in the previous episode there was mention of fuel for the machine being low, so I’m really wondering what kind of solution this conundrum will have!