shiina mayuri

I was looking at this image and wondering if maybe the fact that Okabe is facing Mayuri reflects the fact that Okabe chooses Mayuri in the end.

But then, it’s a little misleading to just say that he “chose” Mayuri, as though he made the decision in a vacuum, free from any and all outside influences. Of course Mayuri is incredibly important to Okabe, but there are also these factors:

  • The future of this worldline is a distopia. Even the surviving Labmems aren’t going to be able to be happy.
  • The beta worldline was the original worldline (presumably), so everything that has happened in the alpha attractor field can be seen as something that should never have happened in the first place.
  • If Okabe lets Mayuri die now, then the sacrifices he’s made so far will have been for nothing. If he’s going to let Mayuri die, then he might as well have done it in the worldline where Luka was a girl and Faris’ father was alive.
  • It’s what Kurisu wants. She doesn’t want Mayuri to die for her sake. She also wants Mayuri to live for Okabe’s sake. I think Kurisu sees Okabe and Mayuri’s relationship as this beautiful thing that she doesn’t have any right to get in the way of. She knows Okabe cares about her (Kurisu) very much, but she firmly believes that Okabe can’t be happy without Mayuri. Kurisu is also well aware of the aforementioned reasons that it would be better for Okabe to choose Mayuri.

So really, I think it would be more accurate to say that Okabe and Kurisu made the decision together.

Okabe’s feelings of guilt towards Mayuri

According to the Steins;Gate Ouroboros light novel, Okabe started distancing himself from Mayuri around the time he started middle school. He did so because he was embarrassed to still be playing with his girl childhood friend. After that, Mayuri began spending more time with her grandmother. Less than half a year after that, Mayuri’s grandmother passed away, and for the next six months, Mayuri didn’t speak a word. Until the day Okabe made Mayuri his hostage.

The point of all this is that when Mayuri stopped speaking, and when Okabe thought she was going to disappear, he thought it might be his fault. So guilt was one of the driving forces behind his becoming ‘Hououin Kyouma’ to save her.

Now, there are various differences in the light novel compared to the VN, so this doesn’t necessarily all apply to the VN. But I think it would make a lot of sense. It also strengthens the parallel between this event, and Okabe trying to prevent Mayuri’s death, which he also saw as his fault. (‘If only I hadn’t told Daru to hack SERN,’ 'If only I hadn’t insisted that we make a time machine,’ 'If only I hadn’t made Moeka into a lab member.’)

Of course, Okabe would have tried to save Mayuri even if he didn’t feel like it was his fault. But the guilt just makes it that much worse.