Steins;Gate TimeLines for Dummies!
Hello everyone and welcome to our place! 😀
In the light of my collab last week with Irina I, for once, did some kind of homework and background check. Something I noticed is that how timelines in Steins;Gate work is not really that understood by the major audience (being me one of them of course).
I went and looked for some explanations in the internet and damn you need to take a degree in science and then major in Time Machines finishing it with a PHD in Quantum Physics! Everytime they start to talk about divergence and putting numbers in the middle of the explanation aaaaand they just lost me.
This way, I decided to take the bullet for everyone and come out to my blog showing everyone that I am dumb sh*** and explain everything in a really easy and understandable (or not) way.
I mean, probably it’s not as accurate as all the theses I’ve seen about the Time Machines in Steins;GAte over the Internet. However, if you, as me, are not a genius, at least you will be able to understand the minimum logic behind the time travel thing and enjoy Steins;Gate a little more!
One thing though, I cover two Anime shows and a movie, so yes, the post is lengthy! But, how the hell could I write my thesis without writing so much? I really wanted to make everything clear. So, I’m sorry to have more than 3000 words in this post and I hope that you still end up reading it! 😛
DISCLAIMER: This is only about the Anime, not the games! In the games there are more options and endings that you can get, as also other WorldLines such as the Gamma WorldLine.
DISCLAIMER 2: OF COURSE… THIS HAS MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUT EVERYTHING REGARDING STEINS;GATE!!!
– Explaining Timelines and WorldLines-
Every ime someone talks about a Worldline I always imagine on conducting wire which represents one timeline where some kind of events are happening. However, in Steins;Gate a Worldline is not like that at all. So, for this “explanation” think of a Worldline as a set of timelines which end up having really close events, but are different in smaller details.
Let me give you an example – The alpha Worldline: The alpha Worldline in Steins;Gate represent a combination of different timelines where Mayuri always die. So, the alpha Worldline is not just one timeline, in fact is a combination of infinite timelines where the outcome is always the same. However, they are a little different from each other. In this case Mayuri always dies in different events.
– Divergence For Dummies –
I’m not gonna use divergence when explaining all the jumps Steins;Gate has throughout the Anime, but I still want to explain you what it is so that, when you go out there and look for explanations way better than mine, understand what people are talking about.
In a really dumb and easy way, you can see divergence as the timeline you are in. Let’s think about the alpha Worldline again (I know it’s called attractor field, but people always tend to call it Worldline anyways).
The alpha Worldline has a divergence betweent 0% and 0.99999% (infinite 9s). An easy way to think about this is that any number between those numbers are a possibility where Mayuri dies. Basically the infinite number lines where the same outcome will occur.
Now, when you pass the 1% mark you end up in a different Worldline (attractor field) which is called the Beta Worldline. Beta goes until 1.99999% (infinite 9s) and the main thing that happens is that Kurisu dies (and the World War 3 happens). However, in the middle of that there is a magic number that will bring to a new Worldline which is the Steins;Gate Worldline – where both Mayuri and Kurisu live.
– Steins;Gate Worldlines –
Steins;Gate has in total (until now) 4 different Worldlines (this post is written after episode 13 of Steins;Gate 0).
- Alpha: Main Worldline in the Steins;Gate and is where Mayuri dies all the time. It also appears briefly in one episode in Steins;Gate 0
- Beta: Appears in Steins;Gate and it’s the main timeline of Steins;Gate 0. Kurisu is dead and World War 3 is about to happen.
- Steins;Gate: Both Kurisu and Mayuri live and Rintaro is able to stop World War 3 – Steins;Gate ending.
- R-Line: Only appears in the movie. A Worldline created by Rintaro’s overuse of the reading steiner. It’s a WorldLine where Rintaro ceases to exist.
Ok, now, the game (currently playing the first installment) has other WorldLines such as Gamma, Delta and Omega. But since I didn’t get to those yet I’m not gonna speak about them.
– Steins;Gate Time Travel Theory –
It’s important for you to understand how the theory of time travel works in Steins;Gate. Not the technical stuff because I don’t really understand much about it! Irina is crazy good at this and if you want, just ask her! you will make her day for letting her to geek herself to the fullest about Time Travel. In fact, most of what I’m going to explain I was able to get there because of her, so thank you Irina! Also, if you want your own time machine, just read Irina’s post about how to build a Phone Microwave (name subject to change).
There are many theories about Time Travel. In fact, if you play the game Kurisu will explain you all of them in the beginning. Most of them have huge problems and therefore are not really applicable. However, this is how I think time travel works in Steins;Gate… Or at least how I explain it to myself so I can understand!
In Steins;Gate you have a lot of parallel worldlines. You start in the Beta WorldLine.
However, due to Suzuha crashing her Time Machine in the Radio building the day Kurisu would die there creates a huge shift and they end up in the Alpha Worldline. How is this possible?
Basically what I see is an infinite thread of timelines. All of them parallel to each other. All of them have all possible outcomes that could happen. However only one is “ON” at a time. So, basically, in the beginning of Steins;Gate Beta WorldLine is ON and all others are OFF. The moment the shift happens alpha becomes ON and Beta turns OFF.
This means that everyone in the world have their memories changed to make sense with this new WorldLine. Some examples are, people talking about the time machine hitting the Radio Station, everyone besides Rintaro knowing that the time travel lecture being cancelled, or nobody remembering John Titor, the time traveler who in the Beta Worldline had appeared ten years ago in America.
Are you still with me? 😀 I know this is a little too much to digest. So let that sink in first. Basically there are all these possibilities but the world can only be in one at a time. Events in the past change if you go to a new WorldLine and people will remember them in this way, not the how it happened in the Worldline before.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say I have a Phone Microwave (name subject to change). A week after this post going up I send a message to myself saying to delete that post before going online. The timeline shifts. In this new timeline your memories of this post do not exist. Makes sense, right?
– Rintaro Reading Steiner –
Now, if people do not remember what happened in the other WorldLines that are “OFF”, Rintaro does not remember the past of the WorldLine that the World entered.
Reading Steiner is the power of being able to retain the memories from the previous WorldLine even when time is shifted to a new one. Basically, when the World goes from Beta to Alpha Rintaro still remembers that Kurisu was dead. So you can see it as being able to have the consciousness when the World is going from line to line and remember the past as it “should” be.
However, something that Reading Steiner DOES NOT do is remember the past from the new WorldLine. We have an example from the beginning of Steins;Gate. Rintaro does not remember the crash in the radio building while everyone does it. Other example is that he remembers John Titor appearing a decade ago but does not remember he hasn’t appeared yet in this new WorldLine.
Does it make sense? I hope so… I’m really trying my best you know?
– Steins;Gate WorldLines Jumps –
Now it’s the time to explain you all the jumps that Steins;Gate has. (Only the major ones. Going from one worldline to another, not all the small divergences that appear in the Anime).
The first jump is from the Beta WorldLine (Kurisu dies) to Alpha WorldLine. This happens because of Suzuha who didn’t put the coordination like she should and ended up crashing her time machine into the radio building. (Remember, she is doing time travel).
This creates a really big divergence in the WorldLine. Think it like this: Suzuha, without noticing just saved one of the biggest genious in the world.
However, why did the coordinates fail when in the beta worldline did not? Take a deep breath because it will take some brain exercise.
SERN intercepted the first Dmail of Rintaro. With this SERN is able to create the time machine in the future and rules the world (something that didn’t happen in the beta worldline because no Dmail had been sent). This makes that the time machine where Suzuha enters (In the future of the alpha WorldLine) is not as “perfect” as the one she would enter in the Beta WorldLine.
This small details change a lot of things. One of them is that Suzuha talks about SERN (and not the WW3), John Titor never appeared a decade ago in America because she was never there in this line AND Mayuri will always die.
The reason for Mayuri always dying is because it’s the cause for Rintaro getting hatred against SERN and build the Time Machine in the future. Without this happening there would be a paradox. If Rintaro saved Mayuri he wouldn’t create the time machine which means Suzuha would not come back in time and crash into the Radio building and therefore saving Kurisu.
Meaning that, if Rintaro saves Mayuri the WorldLine will have to shift to a new one. In this case it would revert to the Beta WorldLine.
The second jump takes a lot of time. Throughout the Anime Rintaro is jumping from timeline to timeline, but is not able to get out of the alpha WorldLine and therefore not able to save Mayuri.
He ends up figuring out how the divergence went nuts and the way he is able to come back to the Beta WorldLine. For that he needs to delete all the Dmails he created until now. By doing this, SERN never intercepts the Dmail and therefore never gets to create the Time Machine and therefore never rules the World. Doing this the Worldline comes back to Beta.
However, there is still a problem. While in the Alpha Worldline there is no SERN, there is a World War 3 happening in the future of the Beta WorldLine that will basically destroy the world.
So, in this case, Suzuha talks about the WW3 instead of SERN. Rintaro ends up entering the time machine with Suzuha and coming back (this time physically) to the day and hour where/when Kurisu was killed.
Understand that it’s important that he goes phisically, this is the only way that SERN isn’t able to intercept the DMail and therefore they just don’t jump to the Alpha WorldLine again.
There are some attempts where Rintaro fails, but I’ll talk that when we get to Steins;Gate 0. In this case I’ll just jump to the end. In the end, there are 2 things he has to do. One of them will save Kurisu and the other is to stop WW3.
Let’s start how he can save Kurisu: For Rintaro to save Kurisu, the one that is in the past (not the one who just travelled inside a machine) has to see Kurisu’s blood and think she’s dead. The way Rintaro from the future ends up doing this is by making Kurisu faint and drop something red in the floor. (something like that, can’t remember precisely) Why is this important?
Remember, we are still in the Beta WorldLine. This way, Rintaro HAS to think that Kurisu is dead. That’s the only way he will send the DMail to Daru which will send everyone to the alpha WorldLine leading to all the events that bring to the day where Suzuha travels with Rintaro back in time. Basically, everything from that moment (the beginning of the Anime) has to happen in the same way.
No World War 3: The World War 3 starts because in the Beta WorldLine Kurisu’s father is able to run away with Kurisu’s paper about time travel which then delivers to the Americans (speculation, it can be the Russians) making them to start working on a Time Travel Machine and therefore WW3 starts.
However, there is a small detail. The plane where Kurisu’s father enters blows away. However, in the beta WorldLine Mayuri loses her metal upa which is then picked by Kurisu’s father. Due to this, the metal detector goes off making him to stay behind and not enter the plane, saving the papers. This way, what Rintaro does is going to the machine that gives the Upa before Mayuri and takes the metal one. This means that Mayuri will get a normal plastic one, which does not activate the metal detector later. In conclusion, Kurisu’s father ends up getting the plane which blows away and destroys the papers in the process.
Both of this activities need to happen so the World shifts to the Steins;Gate WorldLine.
– The R-Line –
The R-Line appears in the movie that happens after Steins;Gate events. This means, that the World is in the Steins;Gate WorldLine before going to the R-Line.
In this case Rintaro is having problems due to the overuse of the Reading Steiner. This causes to Rintaro to start confusing the memories he has from all the WorldLines where he had to travel to get to the Steins;Gate. In other words, Rintaro ends up thinking sometimes that he is in the Alpha or the Beta WorldLine where he was not able to save either Mayuri or Kurisu.
This problem makes the world shift to a new WorldLine, the R Line. in this line everything is equal, both Mayuri and Kurisu are alive, but Rintaro does not exist. However, Kurisu ends up remembering him and understanding what happened (don’t ask me why Kurisu ends up remembering, because I just don’t know xD).
With this in mind, Kurisu decides to use the time machine and go back in time to the moment when Rintaro is still a child. In here she gives him a kiss, something that makes him a huge impression in his brain memories (remember, Kurisu knows a lot about memory stuff) and stabilizes the Reading Steiner many years later, the time when this movie passes. In other words, that kiss will make Rintaro never to doubt about the Steins;Gate worldLine and therefore it won’t create the R-Line.
– Steins;Gate 0 WorldLine –
Steins;Gate 0 is the result of a different ending from the Steins;Gate. In this case Rintaro can’t overcome the fact that she killed Kurisu and doe not come back in time to try again. This means that the world stays in the Beta Worldline. Meaning that Kurisu is dead and her father was able to run with her time travel theories.
Since we have two different factions trying to create the Time Machine, it’s not really a surprise that Rintaro is able to see the Timelines change from time to time. However, only once the impact was great enough to change the WorldLines making The World to shift to the Alpha Worldline again.
In here, you can see how Rintaro ended up in a World that Mayuri died. Kurisu and him are able to change the WorldLines back to Beta really quickly since Kurisu knows what moment is the trigger.
In this case, when Rintaro was going to save Mayuri for the last time (and succeeding), Kurisu enters the room and says that he loves him. In this timeline from the Alpha WorldLine that was enough to make Rintaro decide to save Kurisu instead of Mayuri. The way they are able to revert the world to the Beta WorldLine is by sending a message to Kurisu from the past telling her to not enter the room. This gives enough time for Rintaro to press the button that saves Mayuri.
However, there is still no cause known for the World to shift towards the Alpha WorldLine in the first place. It seems we will still need to continue watching Steins;gate 0 to know 😀
– Final Thoughs –
I just want to make you understand that there were other possible outcomes to the final of Steins;Gate (This is speculation though).
For example, it could be possible to save the world from WW3 and not save Kurisu. This would bring us to a new WorldLine (not explored in the Anime at least) where there was no WW3, but Kurisu stayed dead. It would be a version of the Beta WorldLine, but where Suzuha didn’t come back.
It was also possible to save Kurisu and not prevent WW3. However, in this case Suzuha would come back from the future and I think sooner or later Rintaro would end up making the Upa thing to save the World from WW3.
I was also possible to save Kurisu without making it seem that she was a dead. I mean, I don’t see why not. It wouldn’t bring us to a paradox I think. In this case Rintaro would not send the Dmail and therefore SERN wouldn’t be able to intercept it and therefore no rulling over the world in the future.
However, in this case we would have Kurisu and Rintaro testing the time machine, which soon or later would make SERN to notice and basically shift the WorldLine to the Alpha one again.
– Conclusion –
So, there you have! Everything from Steins;Gate explained, but in an easy way so people who are like me and don’t really understand much about physics at least understand the logic behind Steins;Gate time travel. I mean… I hope you were able to understand it a little more. 😀
Sorry, for the huge post though (sorry, not sorry). However, it was the only way to be able to explain everything in a clear and easy way! Tell me in the comments what you thought about this and if you liked it! If you did I may start doing this kind of posts more often eheh