Gonna have to be careful with the front page caps this week, that’s for sure. Mirai Nikki is one wild ride – after 23 insane eps, it’s only now that things are truly getting crazy. We continue to see the benefit of the breakneck pacing in the eps leading up to the final arc, as the anime is really able to take its time and savor this ending – and even add some bits and pieces to the manga’s version of events, like the appearances of Sixth and Eleventh in the Third World. Heck, there was even another Murumuru omake, which was the last thing I expected – though they certainly made it relevant to the episode. I think those short added scenes added a nice bit of color to the manga version, and if anything Ninth’s grand re-entrance was even grander in the anime.
Yes, that’s right, Uryuu Minene is back – did you really think a character that cool and GAR could be gone forever? It was hard to keep a straight face when I was writing my post for episode 21, and I was worried I was laying it on a little thick – but I made up a little game, to see if I could write those paragraphs about Ninth without actually saying anything untrue. You remember that little conversation she had with Deus, that seemed to be forgotten soon after it was shown? Now you know – and you know the degree of subterfuge that’s been at work behind the scenes of this game from the minute we started eavesdropping on it. The folks playing at the highest levels are no fools, that’s for sure – they’re tough opponents, and Yuno’s chess analogy seems pretty apt to me.
Yuno has always been one of the toughest characters in manga to come to terms with – she’s the embodiment of the yandere trope (Queen, God, take your pick) but she seems to transcend it, and her motivations and indeed her moral standing can’t be pigeonholed easily. And that’s especially true now that we have multiple Yunos to consider. With each new world, we’ve been given a deeper glimpse into the horror that was her life before the game. Here it’s adopted, with an absent father and a mother who loathes her, punishing her for any offense by locking her in a case, feeding her tatami straw… Whatever any of these Yunos became, she was a victim first – but even the first Yuno, the one Yukiteru pledged to save, was already a killer by the time she truly entered his life, and the second Yuno ended hers.
If Deus is to be believed, Yuno has already become a God at least once, and the current Murumuru is her servant, and secretly replaced the Murumuru from the world we’d call “First”. With Murumuru surreptitiously trying to bend the game in Second’s favor a lot of things make sense now, but this is literally a new world – third world where there are two Yunos again, where the other diary holders are alive, and with a Deus-powered Minene flying about with Yukiteru. For his part, Yukiteru has accepted his own guilt, but pledged himself to save this world’s Yuno as he couldn’t save his own. But if you think about the timelines involved, well… I shouldn’t say more, except that there’s lots of stuff in this episode to help it all make sense, and that you should be watching and listening very carefully because all the information you need is there – Sakae-sensei may have a hell of an imagination, but he’s not a cheater.
As we’re already well into the Spring season, it’s nice to have a few final episodes of Mirai Nikki to offer a contrast – it’s unusual to watch a long-running anime coming to an end while the rest of them are just getting started. What I’m most curious about now is whether Asread decides to go beyond the realm of cosmetic and stylistic changes to the manga and actually make substantive ones. They have the time, should they choose to – though for the record, the evidence I’ve seen so far offers nothing to suggest this won’t be an ending faithful to the manga in substance, if not necessarily 100% in style. The only thing I can say with certainty is that Murumuru is a very, very bad counselor.