Purely in terms of development this was certainly the most important episode of Mirai Nikki yet. It was also the first time I felt the anime’s version of events lacked a little bit of the punch the manga packed.
I’m a tough audience for this material as a big fan of the manga, and there’s no doubt the spot-on success of the first three eps spoiled me a little. This was still a very solid episode, so no complaints here. I’m glad Asread decided to slow the pacing down a bit, as there’s an awful lot of important stuff happening with this arc and it would be a shame to see it missed by an audience feeling overwhelmed by too much plot in one episode. This may have lessened the impact of the episode slightly, but it was probably a necessary decision. While this is primarily the story of Sixth, Kasugano Tsubaki (Sendai Eri), it’s actually Twelfth, Hirasaka Yomatsu – who we met last week performing elective eye surgery on Ninth – who has the most revealing dialogue. And the nature of the dilemma facing Yukiteru as regards Yuno is brought into much sharper focus.
Tsubaki is an interesting case. A Shinto Priestess of what Kurusu calls a cult, The Sacred Eye, she’s the first diary owner we’ve seen whose diary is not electronic, but hand (well, God) written. Analog in a digital world, but no less powerful – the Clairvoyance Diary, with which Sixth can see events up to one month in advance through the eyes of her followers. A powerful diary indeed, but as Twelfth points out it has a very obvious weakness. The Jan-ken-pon (Rochambo, or “Rock, paper, scissors”) analogy is a very good one and it’s equally applicable to all the diaries we’ve seen so far. Proof that Deus has a sense of humor? Perhaps.
Yukiteru is quite taken with Tsubaki’s kind demeanor, serene calm and kawaii appearance, and it’s easy to see why – she’s basically his rebound crush, the anti-Yuno. It seems to me that it’s only in this episode that Yukkii realizes just how deep he’s stepped in it with Yuno. When you commit to a yandere, there are no half-measures – it’s all-in or fold, and Yuno is as yandere as they come. Life as a diary owner is starting to deliver Yukiteru a series of seemingly-impossible choices, and he’s only now appreciating what that means. Naturally kind, he wants to help Sixth when her confinement room catches fire and her followers begin to resemble the walking dead – but what if that choice is a dead end? And there’s Yuno, always ready with an outstretched hand (holding an axe)…
I can’t blame Yukkii for saying what he did to Yuno, because the logical conclusion after seeing what he did at her house was, “I’m next”. Yet she’s the only one who’s offered him kindness or help and asked nothing in return – including Sixth, who needs Yukiteru’s help to avoid the dead end in her scroll. Just how he’s doing it has yet to be made clear, but it’s obvious Twelfth is behind the mass hypnosis event happening at the shrine. We’ve certainly seen a variety of personalities from the diary owners, but Twelfth appears to be most obviously broken. Fond of spandex and his grotesque eye mask, he taunts the naked and bound Ninth with creepy super sentai lingo and grandiose claims about justice. His relationship with Sixth and the nature of his diary are still not clear, but he’s certainly a nut job of the highest order.
One quick note on the seiyuu performances… I’m struck more than ever by the similarity (already noted by others) between Togashi Misuzu’s Yukiteru and Ogata Megumi’s iconic Shinji Ikari from Evangelion. How you feel about the former probably depends on how you liked the latter, I suppose – I consider it one of the paramount woman-as-teenaged boy seiyuu performances ever, but Shinji was obviously a character who rubbed some the wrong way. It’ll be interesting to see how Togashi’s portrayal evolves, as Yukiteru and Shinji are very different characters and that’s going to become quite apparent. As for Murasa Tomosa’s Yuno, I think she had her best week here – it didn’t happen often, but when something else needed to creep into Yuno’s voice, it most certainly did.