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Headscratchers: Steins;Gate
  • After Okabe and Suzuha go back in time the second time and save Kurasu, why are they affected differently in the time machine? Suzuha ends up back in her future timeline since with the problem fixed, she never left. But Okabe still had been stabbed and had to go to the hospital after getting back? Why would their time machine even be needed at that point as both would return to their own time just as Suzuha was? Okabe's ability shouldn't affect him physically.
    • It probably has nothing to do with Reading Steiner. Instead, think of it like sending a D-Mail. When a D-Mail is sent from Okabe's phone, it appears in someone's inbox but seems to vanish from Okabe's sent folder. But that's not what actually happens. When the worldline changes, Okabe's phone is replaced with a different phone that never sent the D-Mail in the first place. Since sending a D-Mail changes worldlines, it means that the text message can exist despite never being sent. Okabe and his wound is like a physical D-Mail. It still exists, even though the device that "sent" it (Suzuha and her time machine) never existed in the first place. Suzuha returning Okabe to the present was probably just a precaution to avoid having two Okabe's in the same time. Maybe.
  • How does deleting the first D-Mail from SERN's database right before Mayuri is killed change anything? The idea is that SERN noticed the D-Mail and sent agents to capture the Phone Microwave and all the Lab Members except for Mayuri which leads them to be able to control time and create a dystopia. When they delete the D-Mail, it had already been sent and had been in SERN's server since it was sent. No D-Mail is sent or time leap done, so the past shouldn't be changed, right?
    • Long explanation incoming: Deleting the first D-Mail from SERN's database causes a change in the world line because it represents a unique Major Divergence Point. Just like the Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Y2k event, SERN's acquisition of the Time Leap Machine in Akihabara is a huge cosmic world event capable of shifting the entire world line from Alpha to Beta, instead of making minute changes within the same world line.

It is implied that although the D-mail is in SERN's server, it is the Rounders' intel itself (That Okabe knows SERN's secrets, their completion of the Time Leap Machine, and their decision to go public with it) that triggers the raid that ultimately lands SERN the Akihabara time machine.

While the use of D-mails is able to push away the date and the circumstances by which SERN recieves the Akihabara Time Leap Machine, so long as Okabe is in the ALPHA world line SERN will always have a dystopic rule over the distant future, and Mayuri will always die in the very near future regardless of the cause due to convergence.

On 08/17/2010 in the DP 0.523307 timeline, Okarin and Daru use the IBN 5100 to delete SERN's present (not past) Echelon data of the first D-Mail, severing the reason for SERN to investigate them. Furthermore, at this point, Moeka is not interested in finding the IBN 5100 due to the D-Mail from FB's phone and is therefore uninterested in Okarin. Since Okarin will never complete the Time Leap Machine, and SERN no longer has any record of there being any time machine anomalies from them in the Echelon, SERN will never acquire the Time Leap Machine and the Major Divergence Point event is averted. Had they not deleted the Echelon data that day, What's still important about this date 08/17/2010 in the DP 0.523307 timeline is that even though there is no rounders raid in the immediate future, Mayuri was still scheduled to die in the ALPHA world line on that day, which is why it was Okabe's deadline.

However, because the SERN dystopic future is averted, Okabe returns to the BETA worldline where he is no longer under the threat of Mayushi dying due to convergence, and where instead of a SERN dystopian future lies a WWIII future. In this Beta timeline, the first D-mail was recorded in the SERN Echelon database, Kurisu is stabbed in the radio tower, Moeka receives a D-mail cancelling her search of the IBN 5100, Okabe finds the IBN 5100 at the Shrine, using the IBN 5100 Daru and Okarin delete the data of the first D-mail, Okarin gets rid of the Phone Microwave D-Mail machine and IBN 5100, and finally gets a call from a BETA timeline future Suzuha asking him to save the BETA timeline Kurisu.

Finally the STEINS;GATE timeline required Kurisu to only appear to be stabbed in order to preserve the events that lead up to the ALPHA timeline, to avoid a time paradox.
  • Alternatively, it is possible that SERN has itself been formed as a result of time travel/leaping. As in, after the rounders obtain Okarin's time-travel machine, they develop it to the point where the Council of 300 go back in time to the year 2000—one of the divergence points—to found SERN and start their own time travel experimentation. This would explain why time travel was such an odd fixation of SERN from the start. HOWEVER, if SERN never obtains Okarin's time machine, this unravels. They don't get the time machine, so no one goes back in time, so SERN is never evil—hence why in the Stein's Gate world, Mr. Braun is living a happy life alongside Hiryuu Moeka. Neither seem to be so much as looking for IBM computers. Rounders no longer exist, because SERN never received the time-leap impetus.Think of that phone call as similar to Okabe seeing Kurisu dead. Initially, perhaps SERN just had the Echelon network. They saw the e-mail and got the time-machine, went back, and made SERN evil from the start. But if Daru deletes the e-mail, then the cause and effect falls apart and everything reverts to the original worldline. The reason that D-mail changed the world in the first place is because SERN saw it. If they don't see it, the world goes back to normal.
  • Seeing this is a Time Travel story, Mind Screw like this is to be expected. In the final episode what happened after The Other Okabe sent the D-Mail to Daru (as shown in episode 1) when Our Okabe faked the death of Kurisu? Our Okabe told The Other Okabe to live out the most important 3 weeks of his life without altering the past. However, how could the other Okabe accomplish that when he would have sent the D-Mail and cross the 1% Divergence to the Beta world line.
    • It works like this: Okabe initially sets events in motion by seeing Kurisu's body and sending a D-mail that she was killed, which jumps him into the Beta world line. After he manages to return to the Alpha world line, he can't directly save Kurisu because it would create a paradox. If he never saw Kurisu's body, he would never shift to the Beta world line and therefore never obtain the motivation he needed to save Kurisu in the first place. After future Okabe sends the D-mail, he most likely shifts to the Steins Gate world line's future.
  • Why is Okabe the only one with the Reading Steiner? No one ever tried to explain it over the course of the series.
    • It's rather vaguely implied that others might possess Reading Steiner, but would be dismissed as crazy, especially if you believe the WMG that Okabe is a paranoid scizophrenic. Plus, they don't have D-mail or Time Leap to take advantage of, so anything they say would most likely be taken as insane babbling.
    • Or only the people who used the D-mail can activate the Reading Steiner for that world line. In fact, Rumiho and Moeka sent their own D-mail to their past self. This theory seems plausible for the former, but ambiguous for the later.
    • When I first saw Moeka "making photos to have proofs about what happened to her" I thought she has such ability too
    • It likely has to do with the circumstances under which Okabe was originally sick, and Mayuri prayed. The lambda time line makes it clear that the Y2K bug could have occured, so it's possible that at the time when Okabe first got sick, time was changed-of course, for that to be true, it's unclear as to why he would have been sick in the first place. Also, it's possible Steins;Gate is just a solipsistic existence, and Okabe is the observer.
    • In the anime-only 25th episode, Okabe says that Reading Steiner isn't a power because everybody has it, his is just more sensitive, possibly due to the illness mentioned above. Ruka, Kurisu, Feyris, and even Mayuri all showed indications that they remembered the other world lines, whether it was from dreams or Okabe's encouragement. Though, Daru is the one character who doesn't remember anything.
    • Yes, but Daru doesn't really have anything eventful happen to him during this time, so the memories just wouldn't be as vivid.
  • How did Rumiho and Ruka remember vividly the events of the original timeline when Okabe brought it up to them? Mayuri was only able to connect the pieces from different timelines as dreams. While Kurisu was unable to make any connection at all. This seems to have the signs of a Plot Hole, not a particularly bad or blatant one though and it plays rather nicely to the plot. It was never thoroughly explained more than little fragments from different timelines are stored deep in someone's heart.
    • It could just be explained as repeated contact with somebody that posseses Reading Steiner, which can help unlock certain memories from past world lines.
    • Assuming that there exists actually only one world and switching world line changes world to another possibility (so this is not Okabe's conscience moving from one parallel world to another, the whole world morphs), the memories of people are actually rewritten, and the rewrite is not perfect. Also this is cool and sentimental.
    • Kurisu, of all people, explained how this could happen in a world where the many-worlds theory stands (even though she kind of made it up on the spot so that Okabe wouldn't be so sad about killing her.)
  • What exactly happened to the information from the 2000 John Titor that Nakabachi stole for his paper in the first episode? The very first D-Mail that Okabe sent out only went back a week, yet somehow it erased all of the information from the 2000 John Titor, when he was talking to the 2010 John Titor in the second episode. And on the same vein, in the first episode, why did Kurisu drag Okabe out of the conference room and ask him what he wanted, if in no instance (even in the final episode) did Okabe ever confront her beforehand?
    • The Butterfly Effect, as explained over the course of the series. D-mail after D-mail affect the divergence number, which in turn alter the timelines. And yes Future Okabe did meet with past Kurisu.
      • Looks like there are two types of time travel: the ones that change the world line (D-mails and time leaps) and the ones that not (John Titor's material time travel). There were no John Titor in 2000 because in Alpha timeline he traveled to 2010, not 2000. Let me develop the idea: material time travel should preserve world stability, it cannot change events that already happened, so if you decide to travel to past, this world should already contain traces of your intervention (which you don't made yet in your 'conscience timeline'). Remember John Titor and SERN Z-Program part 4. Tl;dr: the cause and effect are both in one world line, though effect may precede cause. But when you perform information time travel, it changes the world line: the cause lies in one, and effect in another. Thinking about what happens in the world line where you came from (or sent D-Mail) could lead to Fridge Horror (do you disappear? nothing happens? the whole world line disappears?). In the destination world line some unexplainable effects do appear (there were no event of sending of first D-Mail in the Alpha timeline, only receiving).
      • A much, much simpler explanation: Titor was coming from the future. Therefore, even a change in 2010 could affect whether or not Titor arrived in 2000.
    • Actually, it's rather simple. Okabe sending that first D-mail, changed the future from World War 3 to SERN's Dystopia. It changed Titor's origin, motivation for time traveling, as well as the creator of the time machine. Which made all the difference.
      • But the John Titor from "our world" predicted major world events prior to 2010, such as the Second American Civil War, and yet they clearly did not since the Titor meme has as much credibility in their world as in Real Life.
  • Wait, if each world line has the You Can't Fight Fate events, then how did SERN take over the world by altering the past?
    • Significant changes to the world line could be made only during key points (like invention of time machine in 2010); otherwise only minor changes will be caused. After SERN got time machine, they could choose between any of alpha_0 .. alpha_n timelines in further 'divergence points'.
  • If Kurisu had a paper on a feasible time machine at the beginning of the series, why does she present such an air of total disbelief in time travel at the same point in the story?
    • Okabe jumped to the Alpha world line. It is possible that she does not have it there.
      • This is incorrect, actually. One of the manga shows that she drops the paper off at her father's office in order to make amends after being unable to meet with him. SERN then steals the paper. The manga also explains her psychology around the incident a bit.
      • This might be a wrongful assumption of mine, but I thought "Rintaro Okabe finds the corpse of Kurisu Makise in 2010" is the divergence point, i.e. there is no difference between the alpha and beta timelines before that point.
      • It is a wrongful assumption, as proven by the fact that John Titor never visited 2000 in the alpha timeline. Because of the existence of time travel, changes in the future affect the past until a Stable Time Loop is achieved.
    • It seems to have something to do with John Titor. In the original timeline, John Titor was a popular phenomenon in 2000 which must have inspired people like Okabe and Kurisu. In the other timeline, John Titor didn't exist until 2010 so it's safe to assume that the idea of time travel wasn't on Kurisu's mind. Keep in mind that Nabakichi didn't show up here either.
    • Now that I started the VN, my impression is that it's not that she doesn't believe. It's that she doesn't want to believe because discussions about time travel research ruined her father's career.
    • Dr Nabakichi's speech was based off Titor/Suzuha's forum posts in 2001. Kirisu read over the speech and spotted the (intentional) errors Suzuha made in her forum posts and fixed them up, which is what made her believe time travel was possible. However, Okabe's first D-Mail changed Titor/Suzuha's arrival to 2010. Since the Worldlines theory didn't yet exist, Nabakichi would have plagiarized his theory from someone else, likely from one of the eleven theories Kirisu disproves at the beginning of the visual novel. Kirisu would have no reason to believe time travel was possible, causing her to freak out.
  • Why did the 0 before the decimal point on the Divergence Meter go out in the Faris ending, where Okabe saves both Mayuri and Faris' father?
    • Probably because it wasn't designed to display negative values.
  • If Russia got the key to building a time machine why would SERN take over? Russia would be the one with a time machine, and they aren't members of SERN. What gives?
    • They don't. In the Beta World Line Russia sets in motions the events for World War III and in the Alpha World Line Kuriso never loses her research to her father and Russia doesn't obtain that information. Instead, SERN finds the secret to time travel.
    • As elaborated upon in one of the manga, Kurisu actually gives the paper to her father by leaving it on his desk, but ultimately SERN intercepts the paper.
  • How come the worldline didn't change on the second d-mail (Daru: Okarin is hentai)? Granted, it's completely stupid in content and was designed to be ignored after viewing, but it should still have a tiny effect because having seen a stupid mail <> having not seen a stupid mail.
    • D-mails can be ignored and have no effect, as Moeka demonstrated. Besides...really, what effect, however small, was "Okarin is hentai" supposed to have, anyway?
      • Should've went further through the game before asking. Some changes are so small that it doesn't even register on a six-digit-after-decimal basis.
  • Regarding Ruka's ending in the VN, and why events don't happen as in other routes: Why wasn't Mayuri killed by the Rounders in the Ruka ending? In that same vein, why was the lab not raided, and why wasn't Okabe picked up by SERN like the other timelines? I can understand them finally having no reason to kill Mayuri, but earlier in the route I believe Daru reported she had been killed. Perhaps they could've ransacked the lab at a later date, but why don't the apprehend Okabe? The last cg reveals he's been with Ruka for at least 9 months, and I'm pretty sure they're still in the alpha timeline.
    • Mayuri's death is fixed, her method of death is not. While her initial death is at the hands of the rounders, she dies a number of different ways, and the rounders aren't responsible for all of them. As for him not being picked up by SERN, how are we sure he's not? Even a terrorist/imprisoned scientist can have moments of peace, and I thought the CG looked like it was supposed to be a few years in the future, not just 9 months. It is the alpha timeline, they just selectively show us a happier part of it.
  • In the original world line, why did John Titor travel to 1975 and 2000 before going to 2010? Just to write some books about time travel for Dr. Nakabachi to steal?
    • He needed to get an IBN 5100, which were probably easier to get in 1975 than the 2000's. Other than that, his stops were for emotional reasons, except for his final stop in 2010.
    • He shouldn't need an IBN 5100 in the BETA Worldline. There's no need to hack into SERN.
    • According to Okabe, John Titor needed an IBN to restore technology that was lost in World War III. I didn't get very far in the VN so I don't know how that would help.
  • How did Okabe's first text about Kurisu change the world line? And even if it did, how did she live in the other world line? Did she even die in the original timeline, or was it always fake?
    • Perhaps a Stable Time Loop ? Okabe's D-Mail triggered the events of the series, which ends with him saving Kurisu, thus she was alive after he sent it
    • SERN's monitoring program caught the text, which set off a whole big chain of events that negate the chain of causality when Kurisu dies. And yes, she dies in the original timeline; the divergence number of the original worldline is different from the Steins Gate worldline. The entire point of Operation Skuld was to establish an alternate link in the chain that leads to the discovery of time travel by Okabe Rintarou that discovery hinges upon Okabe sending that first text, which requires that the "him" of that day see what he saw.
  • How are Okabe and Suzuha able to go back to July 28th a second time? Has the world line changed somehow? Why doesn't he bump into the Okabe who went back the first time?
    • My guess is that they went to a world line with a slightly different divergence number than the first time. Okabe only required the memory of the failed attempt to think up Operation Skuld without causing a paradox (Dead Kurisu and fake dead Kurisu both lead to the creation of the time travel needed to execute it), not its actual occurrence. The return trip very likely wiped out the original attempt.
    • Suzuha briefly explained that. When you use her time machine to visit the same day twice, you travel to a world line with a very slightly different divergence point, just enough to have the same set of events, but to count as a separate world. Thus Okabe who went there the first time was in a different world line.
  • In world line 0.409420α, Faris's father sold the IBN 5100 to cover Faris's ransom. Seeing as it was faked by present-time Faris in order to keep her father off the plane, who actually received the money?
    • Presumably nobody received the money. After Faris's father sold the IBN 5100, he found out that the kidnapping was a fake and so obviously didn't have to pay ransom. Presumably whoever bought it wouldn't want to sell it back, so Faris's father kept the proceeds from the sale.
  • In the first episode when Makise gets killed, was it the world line where the future Okabe kills her, the world line where the future Okabe fakes her death and saves her, or its own world line where Nakabachi is the one who kills her himself?
    • They are all slightly different timelines all part of the greater BETA timeline where Kurisu dies and WWIII is started. The only exception is the time where future Okabe fakes Kurisu's death and saves her, as well as averts WWIII. This is the timeline known as STEINS;GATE. This was necessary to do as well to avoid a Time Paradox, which Okabe and Suzuha where in danger of committing.
      • But we hear the thump from the time machine in the first episode.
  • Why did Kurisu get so flustered over "My Spoon"? Is this a joke that got lost in translation?
    • Apparently "my fork" and "my spoon" was at some point 2chan slang for "lover" and "friend", respectively. No wonder Kurisu was so pissed with herself when Okabe said "Right now, what you want most is 'my fork'." and why it worked as a Trust Password.
  • Some questions about the OVA episode:
    • How did Kurisu find Okabe in the middle of nowhere after he left the LA Convention Center without a word to anyone?
    • The diner that Okabe & Yuuki stop at is clearly on Freeway 15 North going to Las Vegas past Barstow, California. Problem is, this area is over 120 miles away from the LA Convention Center which is in downtown LA. Would a taxi driver really go that far?
    • What in the world would possess Okabe to try and return to LA ON FOOT across the Mojave Desert?! Instead of, oh, asking the diner's owner to make a phone call? Rule of Funny?
      • My guess is it's because Okabe's English isn't that good so he'd be screwed either way.
  • In episode 14 Suzuha shows Makise and Okabe the divergence tracker, and it shows 0.337187. In episode 15, she does the same, and it's the same divergence number, implying that it's the same world line. How did the world line not change if Okabe already time leapt, not to mention twice?
    • Time leaps don't alter the World Lines. it's probably best to imagine the World Lines as having both a vertical and horizontal dimension: D-mails allow Okabe to jump horizontally from World Line to World Line, which in turn alters the divergence number. Time leaps, on the other hand, allow the more traditional back-in-time travel, but can't alter the World Lines. Why that is... maybe because the 48 hours limit doesn't allow changes large enough to alter the Lines. Just a guess, though.
  • During the party in episode 12, Amane is extremely hostile towards Makise, even asking her what she's doing there. She seems to have forgotten that they already had a party together just a day or two before. Hell, she even ate that awful apple pie made by Makise. Did the writers forget about that because it wasn't shown on screen?
    • Getting along well with every attendee isn't requisite for attending a party.
    • Suzuha came from the future where Kurisu worked for SERN. That's why she was so hostile until it became clear Kurisu didn't join them by choice.
  • After Suzuha finds out Daru is her father, she travels to 1975 and lives as Hashida Suzu. But then Okabe cancels the D-mail that made him stop her from using the time machine on the day she wanted, and this time, she left before she learnt about her father. So why did she take the name Hashida in the world line where she never discovered Daru was her dad?
    • Reading Steiner, perhaps? It's revealed (in the VN at least) that everyone has this ability to some degree (e.g. Mayuri being able to remember her various deaths, female Ruka remembering she was originally a guy, Faris remembering the contents of her D-mail, Kurisu replying that her name isn't Christina nor is she Okabe's assistant in the True Ending etc.), Okabe's is just much stronger. Perhaps Suzuha remembered her memories from that timeline and chose to take on Daru's name.
  • Where does the phone microwave come from? Although Daru maybe could have made it himself, it sort of seems silly that he'd accidentally just create a time machine. did he find it lying around or buy it on ebay or something?
    • It happened by accident. They upgraded an ordinary microwave so it could be controlled remotely via a cell phone, and then they found out it could also freeze Mayuri's snacks and turn bananas into gel. VN doesn't elaborate on the microwave's origins.
  • Okabe shifted to the Alpha world line because he sent a D-mail, and SERN intercepted it. But minutes before that, he received another D-mail that he couldn't read until the finale - the one from his future self in 2025. How come the world line didn't change there and then?
    • It arrived too late in the Beta timeline to alter it into the Alpha line. In order from Okabe to jump from Beta to Alpha, the future needed to change from WW 3 into the SERN dystopia. Even if SERN recorded the 2025 message at that point, it wouldn't stop Dr. Nakabachi from defecting to Russia with the time-travel thesis and instigating the time travel arms race. Without a monopoly on time travel, SERN can't create the dystopia of the Beta line. At most, they were just another participant in the arms race in the Alpha line.
      • This troper actually assume Suzuha sent that as a normal message. She knew about it after all and told Okabe to leave his phone behind. She simply sent him a video file while he was running around saving Kirisu. On retrospect if definitely could have been a D-Mail (wait would a D-Email be veen able to sent a file that big. Well it's a future D-Mail so probably) but it being a normal message was what I immediately assumed for some reason.
  • Okay I'm kind of surprised this isn't brought up anywhere. But why is it translated as SERN? Is it meant to be a different research company to our real world CERN that would, incidentally, be pronounced the exact same way? I've only watched the anime but for all intents and purposes it seems to be the same company. I mean it has the LHC and is located in France (well France Switzerland but the intent is there). So why is everyone calling CERN SERN is SERN is clearly meant to be CERN?
    • My guess was simply to avoid copyright issues. SERN is an obvious allusion to the real life CERN, whose name (and products, like the LHC) would be copyrighted. However, while the LHC device itself is probably copyrighted by CERN, the science behind it and the words composing its name (large hadron collider) are not - they are physics concepts and thus in the public domain.
    • It's a brief reminder that Steins;Gate is a work of fiction.
  • In the Steins; Gate timeline/world, what was the nature of Moeka and Okabe's relationship? In the True Ending, Okabe states that during the month he was in the hospital he was able to discern the "nature of their relationship in this world" (or something like that) but the game doesn't seem to elaborate very much aside from the fact that he helped Moeka find an IBN 5100. Why would she still need an IBN 5100? Was she still a member of the Rounders along with Tennouji in the Steins; Gate timeline? Do the Rounders even exist in the SG timeline?
    • Presumably the Rounders still exist, since it's FB's mass-recruitment message that prevents her first suicide attempt in the anime. SERN is probably still hoarding up the IBN 5100s to secure their standalone database. While it doesn't have any legitimate time-travel related messages stored on it anymore, it's still probably hooked up to the world's most elaborate surveillance system. Okabe probably helped her find an IBN so she would delete his photo, then made her a member of the lab.
  • How canon is the movie? One thing I didn't get is how come Kurisu's attempt at the time leap machine didn't trigger Echelon, therefore alerting SERN the existence of time travel? I feel like I forgot an important thing.
    • IINM, SERN figured out the existence of time travel from Okabe's first D-Mail, i.e. they found a message in the mail server that predicted the future. The time leap machine doesn't appear to leave a data trail they can follow.

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