I'm kind of a fan of time travel stories, so I got a little disappointed with Steins;Gate.

According to Wikipedia,

Time travel themes in science fiction and the media can generally be grouped into three categories: immutable timeline; mutable timeline; and alternate histories, as in the interacting-many-worlds interpretation.

When they explained timelines in the show, I got the idea of the timelines being alternate, but then we got all of this "Alpha/Beta timeline", and that goes more with the immutable timelines, with some alternate-difficult-to-reach timelines.

And at the end, Okabe couldn't change the beta timeline, except if he cheated himself (which would make the timeline mutable)...

So, did the scriptwriters just cherry-picked things as they felt it could add more drama? (For example, I was telling myself all the time: if Kurisu dies in timeline beta, and Mayuri dies in timeline alpha... wouldn't the solution be going to timeline Gamma?!)

Am I missing something?

  • 3
    I don't think referring to Wikipedia as your source for types of time travel is a good thing; they could be working off something else entirely.
    – fbueckert
    Dec 11, 2012 at 23:42
  • 3
    There's a bunch of other inconsistencies too, like for example, being a different gender changed no decisions or memories except for being the different gender. (Expressing this way to minimize spoilers)
    – Warren L.
    Dec 12, 2012 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


Steins;Gate mainly works with mutable timelines with an infinite amount of world lines and borrows many time travel concepts, primarily the black hole theory, to mix into the story.

In Steins;Gate, the time travel theory consists of mutable timelines and alternate timelines. However, Okarin is the only one that is aware of the changes in the mutable timeline. For everyone else, their memories are only from the timeline that they're in. Also, there are some events that cannot be changed in the mutable timeline and are limited to the current timeline,

such as Mayuri's death.

However, there are alternate timelines, revealed as attractor fields. The main timeline changes to another alternate timeline when there is a major event, and yet Okarin is the only one that is aware when this happens.

So there are limits to changing the past in the current timeline and can only be changed with a major shift to one of the other alternate timelines.

To clear things up, the current timeline follows the rules of a mutable timeline. The past can be changed to some degree and people's memories change accordingly. If there are enough of major changes in the current timeline, it converges into an alternate timeline which has different limits to changing the past.

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