Characters That Made My Year – Okabe Rintaro AKA Houhouin Kyouma (Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Twelve)
And so we reach the end – Merry Christmas to you all! It’s been a lot of fun remembering my favourite characters of the year – been a great year for the boys, not so much the girls though.
On this final day of Christmas raise your glasses to Okabe Rintaro AKA Houhouin Kyouma of Steins;Gate. This post is pretty spoilerific – consider yourself warned if you haven’t finished Steins;Gate!
Steins;Gate is easily one of my favourites of the year. I was completely swept up in the show with all its twists and turns, and it was impressive in its consistency over its run – only a few dodgy episodes here and there! The story was meticulously plotted, and there was some truly excellent direction & sound design on display – but without doubt one of the true highlights was the characters, and in particular Rintaro Okabe.
Okarin carried the show almost single-handed and proved to be one of the most compelling characters I’ve come across – he easily makes a place for himself in my all time favourites, it’s truly another stellar performance from Mamoru Miyano. A self-styled Mad Scientist, Okarin projects a larger than life personality he dubs ‘Houhouin Kyouma’ complete with Mad Scientist laugh and flamboyant hand waving. However as the series goes on and Okarin realises just what his messing about with time travel means for his friends, other sides to his personality come to the fore. The Mad Scientist persona is used as a mask to hide his true concerns from the other characters, trying to spare them the horrors he’s witnessing over and over again as he attempts to prevent the inevitability of Mayuri’s death.
It was difficult to pick a single episode for Okarin as I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a lulzy Houhouin Kyouma moment or a serious Okabe Rintaro one. In the end I went with serious – the Houhouin persona is brilliant fun, but I found the character development that Okabe goes through over the series was just that bit more compelling. As such I’ve gone with episode 22 where Okarin prepares to return to the original timeline in order to finally save Mayuri and get the world back on the right track. Unfortunately this return to the original timeline means that Okabe will once again see Kurisu die, which is gut wrenching for him because over the many repetitions of time he’s gone through, he and Kurisu have fallen in love. Episode 22 sees the pair finally come clean with each other about their feelings and what is going to happen now – and they part ways. It’s handled phenomenally well – no overly sugary romance, just two adults being honest with each other. It’s a very well written, heartfelt episode and really highlights how much his experiences have changed Okabe.