It’s a boy! It’s a girl! It’s….Ruka!
Welcome to another episode of Stein;Gate. The anime where timelines are shifted, history is rewritten, and traps get their very own episode to shine. It’s like the Ness episode! I guess they wanted to let the characters that have been ignored like Feyris and Ruka have some time to shine before the series finishes. Well, let’s see what surprises the trap has to spring on us.
The next D-mail that needs to be negated is Ruka’s. He originally sent a text telling his mom to eat more vegetables, which somehow resulted in him becoming a boy. Convincing the now female Ruka that she used to be a boy…doesn’t exactly go so well. Ruka cries for being called a man, Mayuri scolds him, and Kurisu is only a few seconds away from whacking him upside the head. However, Okarin explains the whole situation to Kurisu, who believes his wild tale that the adorable Rukako used to be un garçon.
As a fellow girl, it doesn’t take long for Kurisu to key in that Ruka likes Okarin. In fact, right after she says that, Okarin gets a call from her asking to meet at the shrine. She agrees to give Okarin her mom’s pager number in order to make the call, but Okarin has to be her boyfriend for a day. Okarin reluctantly agrees in order to save Mayuri, and maybe because he wants to spice up his life with some trap action. Aw yeah.
Okarin prepares himself for the date by asking Kurisu for advice. Part of her is jealous and part of her wants the date to go really well. She even whips out a dating guide book to try and find out a date plan that isn’t too pricey. Daru tries to help too but he’s…Daru..so his advice is discredited as soon as he dispenses it. Since the whole lot of them are pretty much virgins, they decide to give up researching and just dress up Okarin in nice clothes and follow him on the date to make sure it goes well.
Wear the tie! The book says women go WILD for ties! You will literally obtain A MOUND OF WOMEN if you wear it!
OPERATION VALKYRIA START! The two lovebirds meet up (with Kurisu and Daru stalking them) and awkwardly head to a tea shop. The awkwardness just gets worse as they sit down to eat, as they comment on riveting subjects such as THE WEATHER. Kurisu facepalms in the background, but the date must go on. After the tense dining ordeal, Okarin just takes Ruka for a nice long walk. A nice, long, silent walk.
Ruka finally drums up a conversation that stops Okarin in his tracks when she mentions how they first met. Some men with cameras were harassing him and Okarin saved him. Ruka admitted that he was a guy, and apologized for being so feminine as to attract photographers. Of course, mad scientists don’t care about the genders of their test subjects, so he accepted Ruka as he was. But wait a second, why would the female Ruka of this timeline remember such an event? Looks like the Reading Steiner has emerged once again.
Ruka gives Okarin the pager number and thanks him before running off. But Okarin feels so bad about suddenly being so awkward with his close friend that he goes back to the shrine almost as soon as he gets to the lab. He finds Ruka and asks her for another date with the real Okarin. Don’t get your hopes up, viewers, she just swings a sword around like always as Okarin spouts nonsense. Nonetheless, Ruka truly appreciates the gesture and thanks Okarin yet again.
The date doesn’t officially start until the lab coat is brought out
When it’s time for them to part, Ruka breaks down crying. She doesn’t want to have to become a guy and forget about this wonderful date. She doesn’t want to have to hide her feelings either. Okarin tells her that gender doesn’t matter for the second time, and she relaxes. At that time, Kurisu and Daru must have sent the D-mail, because the Divergence Meter goes haywire again for a moment. When Okarin sees Ruka again, it’s in the form of a boy who has to hide his feelings.
…How does this man get a waifu one day?
THERE’S THE GETAWAY CAR! THE KIDNAPPING IS GOING AS PLANNED!
I put arsenic in your drink for being a dirty player, nya~ Enjoy, nya~
Remember to bring a maid outfit for later, Okarin! THAT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!
End Thoughts: Having two episodes that felt distinctly like they were just trying to cover all bases of Okarin’s possible romantic routes in a row was a bit disappointing. While it is still part of the main plot, watching Okarin go on a date for an entire episode wasn’t very fun. Or funny. As per usual, the only witty dialogue that makes me snicker is when Okarin and Kurisu argue or Daru is just being ridiculous. Those are the best moments. Ruka is just a typical shy, delicate character with much bite to him. His strongest personality trait is that he’s a trap, and that’s not even a personality trait. Not really liking his character is just one of the reasons I wasn’t exactly glued to the screen this episode.
Pretty much nothing happened either. So even though I don’t particularly love Ruka, I’d be able to enjoy it if they had some crazy adventure. Nope, just a date. Even her past was bland. Okarin saved the male Ruka from eager photographers, and he encouraged him to not worry about his gender. I suppose it’s better than trying to force a melodramatic past on us though, or some sort of ridiculous way of meeting. The one interesting thing I got from this episode is that it’s now all but confirmed that other characters can remember past timelines. After doing so much explaining to Kurisu, I’m surprised she hasn’t started to have her memories get jumbled up yet.
Aside from being boring, I did quite like how accepting Okarin was of Ruka at the end. He’s a mad scientist, but sometimes I forget that he’s a nice guy willing to help anyone in need. I’m just glad he’s not homophobic or anything. Okarin is just so badass, he has both men and women lusting after after him. Speaking of that, how the hell did the D-mail even turn him into a girl in the first place? So if she eats more vegetables she gets a girl and if she eats whatever the hell she wants she gets a boy? I was sure they’d explain that strange reasoning this episode, but I guess we just have to assume that eating more vegetables led to a chain of events that gave rise to a female Ruka. Perhaps traps have the innate ability to defy science? …I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE! Next week should be Moeka though, so hopefully that puts an end to this nonsense with traps and catgirls and vegetables! See you next week. El Psy Congray!