I see an interesting dichotomy developing in the reactions to Mirai Nikki. Some viewers are enjoying the series pretty unreservedly for it’s intensity, absurdity and complete lack of restraint. Others are genuinely bothered by the outlandish plotlines and credulity-destroying scenarios it cooks up. For me, I see merit in both sides, and while it’s all well-and-good for me to tell people to suspend disbelief – that’s easier said than done. But as I said a while back, Mirai Nikki isn’t so much a story as a state of mind. In order for it to really work as I think it was intended you have to immerse yourself in it and experience it on an instinctual level rather than an intellectual level. And clearly, while I love the series, that’s not going to work for everyone.
I say all that now because I think the conclusion of Kurusu Keigo’s life arc is a prime of example of Mirai Nikki at both its most viscerally thrilling and its most ridiculous. To say that the internal logic of this episode doesn’t hold up well to close scrutiny is an understatement, and if it please the court, I’ll stipulate to the implausibility of all that stuff so I don’t have to talk about it here. But as it fits into the larger story, I think Kurusu’s situation makes perfect sense – and it packs a good amount of dramatic punch as well. It’s easy to judge Kurusu harshly – he certainly does himself, as it’s clear from the episode – but more so than for any of the other deceased players, his motives were complex and less focused on himself. In point of fact, the alliance with Ninth is testament to the fact that Fourth was willing to lose the game if it meant achieving his ultimate goal – he was just a smart and ruthless man trying to give himself as many potential outs as possible.
Of course Yuno by all appearances has the same approach, in that her goal seems to be to help Yukiteru at all costs even if it means sacrificing her own life. Her diary itself isn’t focused around her, but around him, and she seems to have been willing to destroy herself with Minene’s grenade if it meant taking Fourth with her. That it was a flash grenade is interesting not just because it meant that the kids survived, but because it meant that Minene wanted them to survive. What her plans are for Kurusu’s family remains anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that he placed a great deal of faith in Minene both as a competitor and as a person.
Another major plot point this week was the evolution of Yuki’s feelings towards Yuno. Romantic love is probably something he doesn’t understand in the sense an adult would, but devotion is something he does understand. Unlike last week’s incident where he shot one of Fourth’s subordinates in a moment of panic, when Yukiteru shot Kurusu it was a relatively calm and rational decision, albeit one made under duress. Not only did Yuki shoot someone deliberately and relatively calmly, but it was someone he knew well and once considered a friend and protector. It’s no coincidence that this was another “nexus point” moment, when the future changed – in effect this was the instance when the shift that occurred when Yukiteru saw what was inside Yuno’s secret room (that’s nowhere near as ecchi as it sounds) shifted again. I wouldn’t say Yukiteru forgot about that or even that it stopped mattering to him, but he’s made the leap from sticking with Yuno out of fear and necessity to actually placing his trust in her, for better or worse.
Of course the game is still on, and as Yukiteru takes Yuno on a personal journey of quite a lot of importance to him, the pieces are still in motion. Nishijima has taken over for Kurusu at the police department, Ninth remains a free agent who’s made a promise to Fourth, and Akise is still operating as a wild card, vying with Yuno for Yukiteru’s attention and trust. And that’s not even mentioning the other diary holders who haven’t really entered the story yet. There’s never a shortage of developments in Mirai Nikki, that’s for sure – and we got what I thought was the best omake yet this week. Kurusu’s conversation with Muru-Muru was delightfully random and twisted in a quiet sort of way, while still telling us a little about his character. And Muru needs to study up on her Viennese café culture if she’s going to be ordering wiener coffee…