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I watched the episode 9 of the Steins;Gate series and have been wondering how Feyris sent her message in the past from her apartment if the phone microwave was miles away in the laboratory. Until now, they had always sent the D-mails from a phone which was very close to the phone microwave which (if I understood it correctly) managed to open small Kerry blackholes, allowing the electromagnetic signal from the sending phone to time-travel and reach the receiving phone in the past.

In this episode, it seems that they can send the D-mails from any location and if the phone microwave is running, the messages go to the past, which doesn't make sense because these Kerry blackholes should extend far beyond the laboratory and then any other (under 36 characters) message sent from a mobile phone in the town (and beyond) would travel to the past and reach the targeted phone back in time (if the number already existed), causing multiple time changes and not just the one caused by Feyris' D-mail.

I really can't understand this plot hole and it ruins my enjoyment of this series.

Could someone explain to me what I didn't get about the functioning of the phone microwave that makes the episode 9 logically believable?

  • Probably because you send the mail to the phone attached to the microwave which then sends the message into the past, which means the distance wouldn't matter as long as the phones can connect normally – Quill Jan 30 '16 at 12:37
  • If the girl sent her message to the telephone number of the microwave phone but how that phone could then send the mail to the phone of her dad? Was her dad phone number already set in the phone microwave or was the message re-sent manually by the scientist girl? – Average guy Jan 30 '16 at 15:11
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    In the very first episode, a message is sent back in time by Okabe, who is in akihabara at the time. This works because the destination phone was attached to the microwave. It would not be overly difficult to set up a phone as a relay. – Kent Jan 30 '16 at 17:27
  • @Builder_K, that's interesting: if a mobile phone can be set as a relay then the computer expert of the group could have done it. Is it explained later in the series? – Average guy Jan 30 '16 at 18:55
  • @Averageguy I don't think it's ever explained. I'm just offering a real-world solution to the problem. (It's probably explained in the visual novel, but I haven't read that.) – Kent Jan 31 '16 at 16:45
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It is logically accurate. The necessary conditions for a D-Mail to work are listed on the Wikia as:

  • D-Mails are sent through the Phone Microwave and can only be sent from devices connected to the Phone Microwave, such as a phone or a pager.

  • D-Mails can only be sent to someone with a phone (or a pager), so although they could hypothetically be sent back millions of years, they would not have any effect.

  • The number of the target phone is also necessary to send the D-Mail, so they cannot be sent to individuals whose numbers the sender has not obtained.

Hence, it's not a plot-hole. Basically, it functions like a normal message sent from a mobile to the Phone Microwave (name subject to change) as mentioned in the comments. The Phone Microwave (name subject to change) doesn't pick-up any random message sent in a nearby zone, which, in size, is shorter than or equal to 36 bytes but only the ones sent to it.

This also tells us that the device sending the message needs to be connected to the Phone Microwave and not the one receiving it. As mentioned by Builder_K, the Phone Microwave may be functioning as a relaying device, which relays the message to the target phone as intended by the sender.

  • How the girl connected to the Microwave Phone? The other D-Mails had been sent from mobile phones close to it and therefore it was believable that they could have been connected by bluetooth and then the microwave phone would send the message to the number of the target phone but in episode 9 she was miles away from it and she couldn't be connected: the only thing she could do was to send her message to the microwave phone; it's not explained how the microwave phone then dials the phone number of the target phone in the past and redirects the message to it. – Average guy Jan 30 '16 at 15:21
  • @Builder_K, above, suggested that the phone attached to the microwave could have been set up as a relay to re-transmit the mail to another phone-number: this is the most logical explanation although it isn't explained in the previous episodes. – Average guy Jan 30 '16 at 19:00
  • @Averageguy Seems plausible. But then, as mentioned on the wiki, (spoiler alert) in one case a pager message sent back to the past is also considered a D-Mail (end of spoiler). As far as I remember, the working of how a message is sent from one phone to another is never really explained in the anime (not till episode 9, and not after either). Not having read/played the VN, I don't know if it was explained there (although I doubt it, since I didn't find anything online). What defines a mobile as being "connected" is also really vague. – Ashishgup Jan 30 '16 at 19:23
  • @Averageguy However, as mentioned by Builder_K, the first instance of the D-Mail being used is from Akihabara, which too is a far location from the phone microwave. All we know for sure is that: 1. Distance is not a problem. 2. The microwave phone only picks up messages sent specifically to it, much like normal phones, and will not pick up any random message sent in a nearby zone. – Ashishgup Jan 30 '16 at 19:27
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    I too think that setting the mobile phone attached to the microwave as a relay for incoming messages is the best explanation: If I remember correctly the Japanese used a mail system in place of the western sms and it is possible that their mobiles had usually a relay function to allow a recieved mail to be sent automatically to other numbers and the authors didn't feel the need to explain it to a japanese audience which already knew it. – Average guy Jan 30 '16 at 19:47

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