Obviously neither Asread nor P.A. Works planned it this way, but it seems almost a shame that the two big reveals of this anime season should happen within 24 hours of each other – and of course, I get to write about both. I’m still guessing along with most of the viewers of Another – if you follow my posts on that show you know what those guesses are – and of course, while I knew what was coming here there’s still a lot more left to reveal in Mirai Nikki. Still, there’s no question that the big mystery in the minds of most of the viewers was solved this week. And yes, if you were to look back the clues about what Murumuru revealed to Yukiteru (among other clues) were definitely there.
Most of the talk this past week has been about how much everyone hates Yukiteru – nothing new there. The reasons may have changed, but the end result is the same. It’s understandable, but in my view the essential nature of Yukiteru is the essential nature of Mirai Nikki – if he weren’t a pretty normal kid, the events of the series would lose all meaning. His decisions in the last two weeks make perfect sense in the context of his decisions in the first half of the series, when everyone hated him for being a wimp and for not trusting Yuno. Now they hate him for being cold and for trusting her too much, but throughout all of it I think Yukiteru pretty much acted like a normal person in about as abnormal a situation as you could imagine. Each time he was grasping at the branch that seemed to offer the best chance at normalcy – his parents, his new friends, and finally Yuno – and each time he was betrayed. In the end the only thing left for him is not to trust anyone, but that’s a hard lesson to learn when the world is scheduled to end tomorrow.
I certainly give him credit for one thing – with the world about to end Yuki did what any self-respecting 14 year-old boy would do, and had sex while he still had the chance. I think the wisdom of the pacing decisions Hosoda and Takayama have made is really showing itself now. They screamed through the action chapters at breakneck speed, lending the story an exhilarating and breathless energy, and saved up time to really savor these last few chapters. In fact I can say that pretty much everything from the corresponding chapters was covered this week (while the sex scene was toned down, I was pleased that it was at least shown rather than just implied), and even expanded upon. With events like this week, the audience really needs time to take it all in and consider, and Yukiteru needs to be a little reflective – exactly the opposite of what’s been needed up to now. Full credit to those guys and Asread for being smart enough to figure that out.
In terms of Yuno’s situation, I still think it best if I don’t go into any detail – there’s still some interpretation to be made there, and it’s only fair to let people come to their own conclusions. What’s unequivocal is that Yuno isn’t the only one that’s been hiding something, and Murumuru’s role in all this has been revealed to be quite different than what it originally appeared to be. There’s still plenty of mystery behind her – the why, the how, and what she has planned next. It’s also very obvious that the world is in a bad way – mini black holes are opening up everywhere, swallowing houses and apartments and streets, and the world seems to be a very lonely place all of a sudden. I couldn’t help but think of a certain episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when Dr. Crusher found the rest of the Enterprise crew – and parts of the ship itself – disappearing around her, with the remaining crew having no memory that they’d ever existed…
For all its awkward moments and relatively modest animation, I think this adaptation has been a very good effort by Asread – as a big, big fan of the manga I can honestly say it’s been better than I expected. While the visuals aren’t flashy I think the series has captured a certain look – faithful to the manga but slightly accented, and rather stylish. It makes a nice change to hear a cast that isn’t all familiar voices, too – I can’t listen to KanaHana or Kaji Yuki without knowing exactly who they are, but here I’m able to hear the manga characters speaking to me – and I think the mostly inexperienced cast (with big names coming through big-time in supporting roles) has improved steadily as the series has progressed. How you feel about the last three episodes will of course vary from viewer to viewer, but that will be to the credit (or blame) of Sakae Esuno – based on the track record and the time left, there’s every reason to think the anime will present the manga’s ending as it was intended, without the need for major changes. If you’d told me all of the above when the series started, I would have taken that very gladly.