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|“||Consider, can the universe be justifiably called infinite? Doubtful. It may not have a discernible end, but it had a beginning and its component parts definitely have a limited cosmological shelf-life. Splitting hairs or not, if history tells us anything, it's that scientists often make very poor poets. We're all just a ship of fools chasing phantoms heedless of what really underwrites natural law.||„|
|~ Rintarou Okabe's opening monologue in the anime|
Rintarou Okabe is the main protagonist of the visual novel Steins;Gate and the anime of the same name. He is a self-proclaimed mad scientist who calls himself Hoouin Kyouma which he claims is his true name. He is the founder of the Future Gadget Lab where he and his lab members invents various gadgets. His lab group invents the Phonewave (name subject to change) which enables him to send e-mails to the past. This would later put him against the shadowy organization named SERN who is also working on a time machine on its own to make their own version of a utopia and would doom his childhood friend, Mayuri Shiina, who happens to be the reason he adopted his 'mad scientist' persona in the first place.
He is voiced by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese version and J. Michael Tatum in the English version, both of whom also voice Shuu Tsukiyama.
Rintarou has the characteristics of a lanky young man, with a square jaw and bony cheeks. He has his short black hair swept back and has brown irises, with a small amount of stubble on his chin. Rintarou also wears a lab coat, which he wears over a simple shirt and slacks.
In the game Rintarou appeared much "dustier". His face was pale and unshaven and he seemed a lot more "messy" in contrast to his relatively "clean" appearance in the anime.
|“||Is this the choice of Steins Gate? No, get out of your damn head! None of that stuff is real! Not Steins Gate, not the Organization, none of it!||„|
|~ Okabe snapping out of his Chuunibyou delusion|
Okabe is a melodramatic, eccentric and rarely tsundere individual. He is a self-proclaimed mad scientist, who likes to assume the nickname "Kyouma Hououin", and often uses this to introduce himself to others. For the most part, people do not seem to care and instead address him by his actual name or by 'Okarin' (his nickname), much to his chagrin. This makes him slightly hypocritical, due to the fact that there is essentially no-one he calls by their real names, and he in particular calls Kurisu a number of names that irritate her to varying degrees.
Okabe is also socially inept, to the point that he saw absolutely nothing wrong with yelling in Kurisu's face for calling him 'Okabe' instead of 'Hououin Kyouma' and couldn't understand why she was crying afterwards. Before that, he examined her body after discovering with shock that she was alive, which caused Kurisu to believe she was groping him practically the moment they met (in that timeline). His social skills are so poor, in fact, that Kurisu considers the childlike Mayuri to be normal by comparison. Although very intelligent, Okabe is shown to be easily deceived; when Kurisu sent him a D-Mail saying that he was an airhead, he bought her claim that it was a compliment, only realising later that it essentially meant his head was full of air.
Okabe likes to pose as an agent working against a certain "Organization" which he thinks is always after him, as he believes this kind of image gives him a cool and mysterious aura, though this seems to disappear as the story progresses, with SERN likely replacing the "Organization's" villainous image. He usually gives off the impression of being delusional and paranoid, engaging in strange mannerisms such as talking to himself on the phone and engaging in fits of maniacal laughter often; he had a severe case of Chuunibyou as seen at the start of the series.
It is later revealed that his 'mad scientist' persona is largely a façade he wears in order to make life interesting for his dear childhood friend Mayuri; after her grandmother's death, Mayuri fell into deep despair, but Okabe snapped her out of it by acting like a cartoon character and declaring her his hostage. He later drops his Chuunibyou facade upon witnessing Mayuri's multiple deaths, revealing a serious side of himself he has not shown for the first half of the series as he works hard to undo all the previous D-mails he has made, while in order to obtain the IBN 5100 and prevent Mayuri's death. As a result of going through dozens of time-leaps, he becomes rather clinical, depressed and frantic. He also develops a guilt complex, believing himself to be responsible for everything that's happening and frequently blaming himself whenever something goes wrong, even when he had no control over it or couldn't possibly have seen it coming. An example is when he blamed himself for stopping Suzuha from leaving during the night of the storm, which resulted in the loss of her memory and her failure in finding the IBN 5100, despite Suzuha's insistence that the entire thing was her fault for not going straight back to 1975 and instead stopping in 2010 to find her father.
In the Suzuha Ending, Okabe's personality becomes exceedingly warped and twisted, as a result of being forced to choose between saving Suzuha or Mayuri. Despite this, he soon returns to acting like his old self upon being confronted by Suzuha. He has seemed to develop feelings for Kurisu, along with Ruka, Faris, and Mayuri as time passes, as he became lovers with any of them in their respective endings, though he openly displays his affections for Kurisu near the end of the story, regardless of the route chosen.