October 2011 Anime Season – Mirai Nikki Episode 2

Business has definitely picked up big time in Episode 2! Episode 1 was child’s play compared to what goes down this time!

Yukiteru is not handling the scenario he is in well at all. Fortunately, Yuno is willing to do ANYTHING to make sure Yukiteru lives. With his ‘Bystander Diary’ and her ‘Love Yuki Diary’, they have a formidable combo of predicting the future. Certainly doesn’t help Yukiteru sleep at night though!

Things get worse for the pair quickly. It becomes glaringly obvious their home room teacher was Third – and his sudden disapperance bring more competitors into the fray. Ninth appears first – and is one bomb-happy bitch, to put it lightly! After blowing up an entire floor to get everyone’s attention, Ninth is seemingly ready to blow up the entire school to take out Yukiteru and Yuno. A thrilling game of cat and mouse ensues with the pair barely evading attack after attack. Yukiteru’s attempts to check on his ‘friends’ result in betrayl and being captured for Ninth. And then comes the real reason Ninth set up this ordeal – to draw out Fourth, her real target, who just happens to be a cop and have a diary that tracks down criminals. Yuno makes a very yandere-like move to throw a spanner in the works of Ninth’s plan and provides Yukiteru with one chance to end the ordeal without a major catastrophe being the result and saves the day with Yuno’s guidance, but Ninth manages to escape thanks to her ‘Escape Diary’. All four competitors live to fight another day. The episode ends with Fourth proposing a triple alliance to take out the more evil competitors of this twisted game. Yukiteru agrees and Yuno also complies – but for much more ‘personal’ reasons. The time points on Yuno’s dairy indicate Episode 2 took place on May 2 and that as the game stands at present, it could end on July 28, meaning this show’s duration would take place over a three-month span.

Ironically, the character styles that made me stop watching Guilty Crown after seeing Episode 2 a few hours ago are the same for the two leads in Mirai Nikki. Yukiteru is somewhat weak and he knows it. Yuno is obsessed with Yukiteru and is willing to do literally ANYTHING to have him – even if it means being used. However, within Mirai Nikki this dynamic actually works rather well. And here’s why. Yukiteru’s paranoia and reluctant action are believable – he’s been thrown amongst a bunch of psychos! Who wouldn’t be rattled?! Furthermore, he realises that all his life, he’s been a bystander and never taken action. He hates that part of himself and wants it to stop. As for Yuno, she is quite a magnetic personality. It’s hard to not be enthralled by how determined and passionate Yuno is towards Yukiteru, or the insanity of the degrees of her actions. In the second half of the episode, Yuno is appalled that Yukiteru’s supposed friends betrayed him and gave him up to Ninth and adds in the fact if she doesn’t take drastic action, everyone dies right there. Her resultant action – evade Ninth’s elaborate bomb network and to make sure resultant explosions take out anyone who betrayed Yukiteru! Yuno is definitely one twisted girl – but she is so damn captivating because she is able to cast morality aside when needed and do what needs to be done to survive with such optimism. Morals won’t keep you alive in a game filled with the crackpots and psychopaths this one is loaded with and while some of Yuno’s actions would be shocking if another person did it, it really enhances the yandere qualities of Yuno’s character and makes the darker side of people go ‘Damn…that girl is something! Crazy – but she sure is something!’ While Yuno is willing to be used in some ways, she is able to dictate action by herself and be the one directing Yukiteru around when she wants to or has to. The pragmatic nature of Yuno is the only relative safe option for Yukiteru. He will live if he sides with Yuno for now and appreciates the fact but doesn’t take it for granted. Throw that in with Yukiteru’s determination to no longer be a bystander and he somewhat breaks out of the typical shounen emo male lead archetype. This oddball pairing has a very bizarre appeal, but they deliver thanks to some solid writing and not being the victim of crude/untimely service attempts or the story/characters warping into something other than was promised. Yukiteru and Yuno both know what they will get from siding with each other and accept the consequences. And those staying with this show will get a good laugh out of Yukiteru having to pair with a sociopathic yet optimistic stalker to live – the situation is so absurb yet so hilarious! You wouldn’t want to see it in real life, but on the screen – it’s very gripping.

There still are a few problems. Helmet-hair animation was a bit annoying. The music soundtrack in-episode is weak – a better soundtrack could have made this show utterly delectable, but thus far the content has been so gripping it’s still quite delectable. And ultimately, the system of this twisted game provides a potential flaw. Is there a way this show can end in a way that will be worth remembering? Thus far, I see three options in this order of likelihood:

1. Yukiteru ends up being Deus ex Machina due to something he finds out late in the game or Yuno killing herself because she could never kill Yukiteru.

2. Yukiteru and Yuno are the last two alive and avoid ending the game or take out Deus ex Machina – staying as the twisted couple.

3. The curent Deus ex Machina was just bored and kills the last/final two survivors because he’s had enough of the game and would never give up power anyway!

I can’t see one of the other contestants winning – the care factor for it would be virtually nil. Which means one of those two are going to win. As it stands now – Yukiteru is utterly mortified by this all and the concept of Deus ex Machina. Yuno wouldn’t want to end the game because she wants to be with Yukiteru no matter what. But Deus ex Machina doesn’t seem the type of guy who would let them get away with that – unless something even more twisted comes up between those two.  So Option 1 seems the most likely – not to mention in line with the twisted nature of this show. The key to figuring this out is something we don’t know yet – WHY Deus ex Machina has put this game in motion. WHY Deus ex Machina would put itself in a scenario where it is potentially replaced by someone else. And I get the feeling that will be held back until the closing stages. So that minefield won’t be explored until the final stanza of the game. Option 2 could happen – but considering the very twisted, chilling nature of this show – I doubt it. Either way, the lead-up to the end promises to be rather entertaining. Whether the ending can deliver on that and potentially surprise us – or do a predictable ending but execute it well – is the real question and will determine whether this show ends up being good or great.