The pacing was pretty breakneck in episode 15 of Mirai Nikki, along with episode 5 maybe the fastest yet.
OP2: “Dead END” by 飛蘭 (Faylan)
Last week’s setup turned out to be something of a troll, and a rather convincing one at that I thought. While the strangely-shaped woman at the child care facility was indeed Eighth and she was indeed making “apprentice owners”, that wasn’t really where the story was headed. Deus himself did respond to it, inviting the surviving diary owners to a meeting at the “Causality Cathedral” to discuss their concerns over this aspect of the game, and Kousaka did indeed have one on his iPhone (there’s an app for that) - until Yukiteru destroyed it in a rather callous experiment, anyway. But the more immediate problem is those folks we saw in the speeding car last week, who were only using the apprentice diary plan as a cover to hide their true identities – two of them are, in fact, the Seventh diary holder.
Ikusama Marco (industry heavyweight Seki Tomokazu) and Mikami Ai (Kuwatani Atsuko) are a matched pair, their “Exchange Diaries” allowing each to keep close tabs on their true love. If Ai looks familiar it’s because you saw her at the religious compound in episode 5, posing as one of Sixth’s followers – which means, of course, that over half of the total diary owners were present in that gigantic kerfuffle of an episode. She and Mar are deeply in love, their diaries allowing them to work in perfect harmony with each other – and Mar, especially, sees this is a duel where their love will be measured against that of Yuki and Yuno. That’s a bit of an issue because, of course, Yuki has washed his hands of Yuno in last week’s episode. But despite the fact that Yukiteru did get the help of his four friends, to his dismay it immediately becomes apparent that when it comes to defending him, four friends doesn’t equal one yandere Goddess.
You know it wouldn’t be that easy, of course – every time he thinks he’s out, she pulls him right back in – but it sure didn’t take long for Yuki to have to make the hard decision about whether to put himself in Yuno’s hands again. Hinata, Mao, and (barely) Kousaka are willing helpers, and Akise is clever – but once again, his plans (like my cat) get him into trouble, but not out of it. Kousaka’s house burns and Hinata and Mao lay wounded, and Yuki has no choice but to free Yuno from the bonds they’d tied her in to prevent her interfering with their plan. Fortunately he discovers that a small word of praise from him elevates her already stellar combat abilities to super-saiyan levels, and she’s almost able to fight off Marc and Ai – but they have a backup plan that leaves Yuki and Yuno unconscious and helpless. Seventh flees the scene with their captured diaries.
This seems to be a low-water mark for Yukiteru. He’s had to place himself in Yuno’s hands again, his friends have proved themselves unable to protect him (and two have been badly hurt trying) and he’s admitted to Marco that he’s “pathetic” and weak. But for Yuno’s part, she seems a lot more cogent than she did when we left her in her undies in that hotel basement. In fact, she tells “Yukkii” an important secret – he just has to tell her to save his friends, and she’ll do it. All he has to do is pretend to be in love with her. It seems simple, but it’s a lot more self-aware than anything we’ve heard from her to this point. And in fact, that admission of helplessness is more self-awareness than we’ve gotten from Yuki at any point up until now as well – so in spite of their defeat at the hands of Seventh, both of them seem to have entered a new phase in terms of their relationship, and their own existence.
Looking forward, we have Seventh now in possession of Yuki and Yuno’s diaries, and off-hand references to a “Ka-chan” they seem to be working with. We also have Ninth, who’s made her long-overdue reappearance at the hospital where Yuki and Yuno are recuperating – though at this point her motivation for doing so is unclear. As for the new OP and ED, my initial inclination is that I prefer the first ones musically, though these new ones have same interesting stuff going on visually (especially the ED).
ED2: “filament” by 妖精帝國 (Yousei Teikoku)