At long last, I can finally talk about the manga ending. About damn time.
OP: “Kyouki Chinden” by Yousei Teikoku
Well, now we know why Asread elected not to animate the epilogue from the manga. It took a while to get here, but this was always the place Mirai Nikki seemed likely to end up .As expected, it all had to do with that “next project” announcement at the end, and what “Redial” amounts to is a fleshed-out version of that epilogue – or rather, how it came to pass. What’s interesting is that there’s a Redial manga, too (this OVA shipped with it), but the anime only tangentially overlaps it – the content of the OVA is mostly anime-original, even if the two more or less line up philosophically and end up at the same place.
Mirai Nikki has, in fact, become something of a cottage industry in its own right. In addition to Redial there’s also two short mini-series – the back-story oriented “Mosaic” manga and the “Paradox” manga which re-tells the story with Akise as the protagonist. But it’s Redial which most closely intertwines with the original series, and it does manage to give the anime a measure of completeness that seemed lacking in its absence. Which ending you prefer is entirely up to you, but what can’t be argued is that this is closer to the ending that Esuno Sakae himself intended.
I won’t attempt to rehash the incredibly complex story of Mirai Nikki, as I assume you’ll have seen the anime or read the manga if you’re watching this OVA. Materially, Redial most differs from the original series in tone. We’re seeing a very different Gasai Yuuno here (which is the whole point), a girl who hasn’t been warped and twisted along with her family into a sick tangle of psychotic rage. And Redial focuses heavily – with varying effectiveness – on the slapstick comedy surrounding this Yuuno and her friends in the Third Universe we briefly saw in the original series.
Additionally, we see some of the other diary holders in quite different contexts here. Little Reisuke acts as Akise’s sidekick in a sort of comic detective duo. Hirasaka Yomotsu runs a souvenir shop promoting his exploits under his super-sentai alter ego. Tsubaki is still a Priestess, only this time crushing hard on Akise. Kousaka, Hinata and Mao, meanwhile, are something like more exaggerated versions of themselves. Akise, Minene and Bacchus interact with Deus, who’s still looking for a permanent replacement for himself in this world – Bacchus more or less acts as a buffoon, offering suggestions that inevitably lead to his own deification, Akise remains in his observer role and Minene pops back and forth from minding (and breastfeeding) her two kids.
Plot-wise there’s nothing here that differs much from what’s hinted at in the anime finale. Yuuno is plagued by memories of a boy she doesn’t know, but remembers. Meanwhile the dead Third Universe’s Yuuno’s memories are trapped with “her” Murumuru inside a celestial prison of this world’s Murumuru’s design, and Yuuki remains isolated in the Second Universe with only his Murumuru for company, 10,000 years and counting, just as we left him. The whole point of all this, more or less, is that Yuuno’s love for Yuuki is strong enough to break through the prisons of time and space, and she’s not going to rest until she gets to him – which she does, with some help from Minene (probably the funniest moment of the OVA comes when an exasperated Murumuru scolds Minene to “Pick a side and stick with it!”), quite literally shattering those walls. And that brings the story full-circle, to that last manga panel – the one the anime so conspicuously omitted from the end of the TV series.
I think Redial amounts to an unusual OVA in that it’s most certainly canon, and might even be argued to be indispensable for an authoritative adaptation of the manga. It’s not particularly exceptional in that it’s very much an extension of the TV series itself, and mostly contents itself with depicting a lighter side to the Mirai Nikki universe. It’s fitting, I suppose, that like the series that it so obviously uses as a jumping off point, Evangelion, Mirai Nikki is a story that its author continues to reinvent. The ending is a dynamic rather than a static thing – but unlike Anno Hideki I think Esuno-sensei has never wavered in what he wanted the ending to be in essence. And Redial, without question, brings the anime closer to that essence. It may not be brilliant or a game-changer as a stand-alone entry, but it performs an essential role in completing the transition of Mirai Nikki from page to screen.
ED: “Happy End” by Faylan