Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Nightmare Fuel / Steins;Gate

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jellyman.jpg
"Error. Human is dead, mismatch."
Advertisement:

Judging from the picture on this page alone, it is more than obvious that time travel is never as grand as it sounds. History changing aside, physical and mental repercussions may also entail to those who tread into the realm of time travel without much thought. Not to mention some other parties who wish to use the time travel for their own nefarious purposes...

    open/close all folders 

    Visual Novel and Anime 
  • Even before getting into the darker parts of the whole story, the idea of being the only one who can perceive the change between world lines and timelines can be a discomforting thought, since most of the time, the changes can be so random and unprecedented, and only that person who can perceive such change. Case in point:
    • Although the differences between some world lines may be inconsequential and not life-threatening (such as Okabe losing a lottery in one world line and winning it in the other), other world lines may involve someone dying an early death in one world line and surviving it in the other. Even worse, the changes between some world lines can randomly happen from having a person to change their gender and a city area never being rebuilt in the first place (Akihabara stays as an electronic device market district instead of the Otaku mecca in one timeline). It feels like gaslighting in its truest form.
    • And let's not getting into the more unpredictable world lines when compared to Alpha and Beta. While some world lines can be rather innocent such as the Delta world line (being the main setting of Darling of Loving Vows), the Gamma world line (from the Gamma Drama CD), in particular, is so horrifying that Okabe decided not to spend any more time in it. So what happened?
      • The Y2K Millennium Bug turned into a reality in this timeline, which created a massive catastrophe that killed both Okabe's and Mayuri's families. After separated for a long time, Okabe eventually realized that Mayuri, in fact, is suffering from cancer which drives her into various chemotherapy sessions that effectively drains all her hairs. Okabe's disturbed reaction into that fact in the drama CD portrays the situation perfectly.
      • As things got better, it is revealed that Okabe in this timeline is in fact a Rounder who works for SERN and is The Mole in his own laboratory along with Moeka. And in the future of this timeline? He is effectively known as the dictator of Japan under SERN as Hououin Kyouma. The only bright side here is that Moeka, despite being a Rounder, is significantly nicer to Okabe since Okabe stopped her from committing suicide in the past, in which drives Moeka to turn the favour back to him.
  • The fact that after Okabe makes the final jump to the Steins;Gate worldline, whatever major events in it occur from here on out are basically pre-determined and unavoidable due to the Attractor Fields that reside on this new worldline (and Okabe witnessed many times throughout the story up to the end that you can't really alter these). While the story ends on a very happy and upbeat note, with everyone including Kurisu alive again and reunited, Time Travel never been invented, and SERN/Other Countries never getting their hands on it to start World War III, the fact remains: if something were to happen such as World War III starting some other way, or Kurisu/Mayuri/any of Okabe's other friends dying somehow, Okabe can no longer fight against what fate has in store for him anymore. And considering some of the horrific and nightmarish things that happen unbeknownst to him in his world...
  • The Jellyman report, with pictures of the jellified humans who were used as time machine test subjects (pictured). This is a lot worse in the visual novel because it's revealed that the 14 discovered were the only ones found. The rest are most likely either lost in space or underground where nobody will ever find them.
    • In a similar vein, jellified Mayuri from a later episode.
    • The very idea of the time machine itself being so dangerous to operate is enough to make anyone think hard before deciding to use it. If the coordinates are wrong a person could suddenly have their matter reconstructed in a variety of dangerous conditions including, but not limited to, space, in mid-air, inside solid walls, the ground, or the bottom of the ocean. As one might imagine, coming suddenly and directly into existence in the same space occupied by 5 feet of solid bedrock or a concrete wall is a likely very quick, violent, and painful way to die.
  • The threatening email SERN sends to Okabe, complete with a picture of a severed, bloody head, even if it is just a doll. All of this from a research organization too.
    • Though not as graphic, the first ominous email contains a picture of simple red gelatin. Given everything Okabe's learned thus far, the implications are horribly clear- they intend to turn him into a jellyman should he continue further.
      • Based on one of his dream sequences, they actually do, in an alternate timeline.
  • The letter written by the suicidal Suzuha is a particularly haunting mix of this and Tear Jerker. Her constantly writing "I failed" and the revelation that she became mentally unstable after 25 years of bliss and ended up hanging herself are enough to induce nightmares.
    • It gets even worse in her spin-off manga since she had amnesia due to the faulty time machine crashed straight into the year 1975, where when her missing memories eventually returned one day, she suffered a full-blown Sanity Slippage in mere seconds due to immense regret and realization from forgetting her mission. Watching the serious yet bubbly Suzuha suffering a mental breakdown in such a fashion will do that to everyone.
    • Her Imagine Spot where she describes the state of the future is much worse if you read the visual novel. What the anime skipped over is the fact that SERN is literally lining people up and deciding who gets to live or die.
  • Okabe's first use of the time leap machine in the visual novel. As if the trauma of watching his best friend die wasn't enough, the transfer of memories is so painful that he just starts screaming. He describes wanting to tear out his brain and eat it to make the pain stop until Kurisu finally snaps him out of it. If you don't call Mayuri straight away, Okabe is so badly shaken that he forces himself to pass the experience off as a nightmare. As a result, he has to go through the exact same four hours again.
  • The very idea of being forced to relive your best friend's death over and over again, helpless to save them no matter what you do, until you've seen it so many times that it barely affects you anymore. Their survival depends on whether you have the mental fortitude to keeping trying, alone, or if you give in to despair. Bonus: their fate is due to your own carelessness.
    • Not to mention Mayuri's many deaths in and of themselves: Shot. Hit by a car. Kidnapped and used as a time travel experiment (plus who knows what else), ultimately ending up jellified in 1961. Run over and shredded by a train! Stabbed in the chest. Shot on at least two more instances. etc. And those are not only just the ones narrated to the reader in the VN, but it's also only the first set!
      • Along with all that, there's Nae's face upon being the accidental but direct cause of one of the above.
      • Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize that in this worldline, Nae, a 10-year-old girl, will have to live the rest of her life knowing that she just accidentally yet brutally murdered one of her own close friends. You could practically see the trauma all over her face.
  • In a visual novel-only scene, Okabe runs into an adult Tennouji Nae, who holds a grudge against both Okabe and Moeka for "killing" her father. That's over fifteen years and two thousand time leaps worth of memories, crammed into a little girl's mind. Her description of the future is far from pleasant.
    Time Leap!Nae: [Calmly] "Would you like me to tell you about your death? ... I abducted and confined you, and performed every way of torture I could think of. You cried and screamed and shat and pissed yourself in pain while begging for your life...! It was really unsightly, Okabe Rintarou. I couldn't do anything else, so after slitting your throat with my own hands, I stabbed you over and over to my heart's content. I don't even know how many times I stabbed you! And those are the last moments of your life."
    • Even more horrifying is the fact that Time Leap!Nae knows that Okabe is fated to not die until 2025. Which means she can torture him however she wants until then, and he'll live through it.
    • Have you ever wondered how Time Leap!Nae looks like? Sweet dreams.
    • Worse yet, when Okabe asks what Time Leap!Nae plans to do after getting vengeance on him and Moeka, she simply answers... she doesn't know. It's implied that she's just going to keep reliving the next 15 years over and over again, killing Moeka and torturing Okabe to death until she finally loses her mind. Given that it happens to Nae, off all people, it is both saddening and horrifying.
  • When Okabe arrives at Moeka's apartment to cancel her D-mail to retrieve the IBN 5100 and save Mayuri from her convergence death, Moeka is on her phone struggling to reply to her superior, FB as many times as possible. He immediately pries her phone from her hands which Moeka immediately loses her shit if you compare her to a girl throwing countless tantrums after losing her doll as Okabe gives her a beatdown to get it and as the D-mails suddenly fails up to second times and Okabe realizes that FB is the right person to send them back in time. He went inside her room and Moeka about to run towards Okabe to finish him off and get the phone but he held her down and gives her the Brutal Honesty treatment to convince and calm her down.
  • Another visual novel-only scene is when you pursue Suzuha's ending. As Okabe continues the bike trip over and over again his thoughts continue to get darker and darker, to the point where he considers pushing Daru in front a car, raping Suzuha day after day, and performing other horrible acts because the loop would reset and nobody could hold him responsible because it never happened. Fortunately, Suzuha knows what happens and prevents Okabe from doing so.
  • During the climactic ending of episode 23, Okabe figures out a way to change the outcome of an event without altering its cause, meaning he can alter history any way he wants. Fortunately, all he does is save Makise's life and snatch away the secrets of time travel from SERN and Doctor Nakabachi, but even without this knowledge or Reading Steiner, SERN managed to create a dystopian dictatorship and start World War III. What kind of horrible world could they have created if they had?
  • Episode 24 gets a major Animation Bump just to give Nakabachi some seriously deranged Nightmare Faces.
  • Even after the story concluded, the "pandora’s box" of time travel can’t really be closed. In the timelines where time travel was never invented in the first place, time jumps still happen. Okabe is a mess of time travel-induced Gas Lighting and PTSD. In some timelines, characters are friends, and in others, they are absolute psychopaths responsible for the deaths of other characters. Some of these timelines weren’t actually experienced by Okabe, yet he remembers them; some of them are nightmare fuel in their own right. Other times he doesn’t know if he actually jumped or not. Depending on the time and situation, he could think he’s protecting someone, but really just coming off as seriously unhinged. He can’t talk about it with most people because he will almost always come off as having some kind of disassociative disorder/schizophrenia.

    My Darling's Embrace 
  • Faris's route shows that Shido has graduated from petty thug to white collar criminal as he seeks to achieve dominance over the entertainment industry in Akihabara utilizing back-door deals, bribery, and outright blackmail against the girls he hired from the various maid cafes. In the implied worst-case scenario, his ultimate plan was to start pimping those same girls out. Most of those girls are still in high school.
  • Rintaro nearly drowning in Mayuri's route is played very realistically and serves as a reminder on how dangerous being in/around water can be if you don't know what you're doing.
Advertisement:

    Linear Bounded Phenogram 
  • As if the description of Rintaro's first time leap in the original VN was bad enough, LBP gives us the perspectives of both Kurisu and Luka during their first leaps, complete with agonizing screams and, in Kurisu's case, briefly blacking out from the pain!
  • Adult Fear is in full throttle during the climax of Faris's story as 1. Nae had been kidnapped (most likely by Rounders), 2. There had been gunplay recently involved where Faris and Suzuha find Nae, and 3. Suzuha gets buried alive from collapsing rubble after managing to save Faris and Nae from the same.
    • Combined with Fridge Horror when Faris shows the bullet casings to Tennouji and he says he'll "take care of it." In that worldline, Tennouji is still a Rounder!
  • In Luka's ending in the Visual Novel, Mayuri suddenly collapses and dies at ComiMa. In her story in this, we get a CG of each of Mayuri's death throes and corpse!
  • Moeka's story from her perspective is this as, despite being told to spy on the lab, she genuinely befriends the lab mems. Then she's ordered to kill them: first indirectly by leading Kurisu into a trap, then directly by participating in the raid.
    • Her story again reiterates just how dangerous and frightening the Rounders are when they manage to track down a defected scientist in Akibahara and kill him during the day under the entire city's nose.
  • When Rintaro reaches the third worldline during his second story, he returns to the lab only to find blood everywhere and none of Mayuri, Daru, or Kurisu are responding to messages.
    • The ending to this story when not Played for Laughs: Rintaro may well be trapped in a time loop of his own creation, forever!
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report