Spoiler warning for Steins;Gate and Steins;Gate 0
Throughout its run, Steins;Gate 0 features one recurring question: “Does Steins Gate exist?” That one worldline, one where Mayuri and Kurisu aren’t fated to die, where the world doesn’t go to hell. Is it possible to reach such an outcome?
We know from the original Steins;Gate that it does, but the Okabe from the Beta worldline in 0 doesn’t. All he knew was that every time he tried to change the past, it ended with someone dying. The one time he tried to evade that fate, he ended up killing Kurisu himself.
Without a lifeline to pull him out of his despair, he gave up, resigning himself to Kurisu’s death and the eventual breakout of World War III. As far as he knew, there was no way to evade fate, to find a world where his loved ones would be safe. All he had was a choice of whether to save Mayuri or Kurisu.
When he did choose to save Mayuri, it was a choice driven by Okabe’s desperation to find meaning in everything he had done to reach that point. During those weeks he spent time-leaping to reach a worldline where he even had the option to save Mayuri, Okabe had to sacrifice the happiness of his other friends.
Even if they all agreed to it, Okabe still had to make the final decision himself thanks to his Reading Steiner. Because of him, Suzuha never knew who her father was, Ruka had to live as the wrong gender, and Feyris had to let her father die. Kurisu even went so far as to sacrifice her own life so Mayuri could live. If Okabe did anything to leave that worldline, it would mean all his friends’ sacrifices would be for nothing. Okabe couldn’t bring himself to invalidate their pain, and chose to abandon his Hououin Kyouma persona and remain on the Beta worldline.
Even when Hiyajo, Daru, and Suzuha all tried to convince him to keep searching for Steins Gate, Okabe refused. He made his decision to accept fate and tried to live with it. In spite of all that, he ultimately learned that he couldn’t compromise and hide on the Beta worldline.
Thanks to his impromptu trip to 2036, Okabe learned the price of giving up. He saw Ruka’s death, Mayuri and Suzuha dying in the time machine, and the destroyed world that ensued. Resigning himself to that fate was no better than resigning himself to Mayuri’s death on the Alpha worldline. But fighting to defy fate itself would take more than the desperation of Okabe Rintaro; it would take the audacity of Hououin Kyouma.
Only the insane mad scientist himself would have the audacity to look at what fate had determined and decide to fight against it. Only the emotions of Okabe Rintaro could drive him to go that far for his friends. It took embracing both parts of himself for Okabe to find his resolve and struggle to reach Steins Gate.
Searching for that world was no easy task. It took 3000 time-leaps for Okabe to even reach the position of being able to search out Steins Gate. Even after that, it took him another 14 years before he sent the message to his past self with instructions on how to reach Steins Gate. But Hiyajo’s words rang true: no matter how difficult something is, the universe is full of infinite possibilities. If you’re willing to struggle and refuse to give up in the face of the impossible, you can reach that perfect world. The world known as Steins Gate.
After fighting for so long and making so many difficult decisions, Okabe did just that. With his own determination and Hououin Kyouma’s willingness to chase the impossible, Okabe discovered the path to Steins Gate. More than that, he learned that walking that path was only possible because of all the sacrifices he had made. The video message he sent to his past self made it clear: the only way to reach Steins Gate was to not undo any of the experiences Okabe had during those weeks he spent time-leaping. Every sacrifice made along the way was necessary to put him on the rooftop with Suzuha and the time machine on August 21, 2010. Only by accepting the past was he able to create a world where everyone is safe from the fate forced on them by time itself.
Steins;Gate 0 often asks the question of whether Steins Gate actually exists. The answer? It does exist, if you have the determination to challenge fate itself and seek the impossible. No matter how small the chance, it’s still possible to defy everything and obtain that miracle. Only then can you reach Steins Gate.