Monday, February 20, 2012

Mirai Nikki - 19

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I actually enjoy the omakes at the end of Mirai Nikki episodes, but I’ve noticed that their absence tends to be a good sign – it usually means the pacing of the ep was as batcrap crazy as Yuno herself, and that’s the Mirai Nikki I like best.

As I mentioned earlier, the eleventh diary owner was the dark matter of this series – we couldn’t see him and didn’t know what he looked like, but we knew he was there because there were impacts in the perceptible would that couldn’t be explained any other way. The reason why he seems to have such a long reach comes to us courtesy of Yuki, who arrives – Yuno in arm - at a meeting of diary owners looking dapper and confident with a new haircut and a wardrobe update just as he and Yuno are about to kicked out of the game by Deus as punishment for disappearing for five days. Eleventh, it turns out, is none other than the mayor of Sakurami City, John Bacchus (Hashi Takaya, who will always be a favorite of mine for his performances as Gilliam in Outlaw Star and Kondo in Peacemaker Kurogane). A seeming oddball in every sense, Bacchus wears spectacles and covers his bald head with a skull cap, and by all accounts appears to be a gaijin. He manipulates the city council into voting to shutter Eighth’s children’s home with a flood of crocodile tears and a sly smile.

There’s no denying Yuki is a changed man, and it’s obvious from the minute he styles his way into the owners meeting and coolly plants a kiss on Yuno – the clothes, the hair, the smile, the demeanor – heck, he even seems taller somehow (and he drives incredibly well for a 14 year-old). The fact that he’s actually performing from a script written by Yuno is a bit of an asterisk to his transformation, but I think it’s quite genuine – As Kris Kristofferson said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose” and this Yuki seems liberated by the fact that he’s hit rock bottom. With Eleventh’s identity revealed everyone left in the game knows everyone else, and Deus lifts the veils from their faces. Yukiteru Amano, Yuno Gasai, John Bacchus, Minene Uryuu and Kamado Ueshita – and then there were five. With the need for subterfuge gone, all that really matters now is who’s the best at playing the game.

But has Yukiteru really changed? The plan calls for an alliance with Eighth against Eleventh, and Yuki is the point man for the operation. We don’t know the exact nature of Eleventh’s diary, but we know he’s in a position to exert his influence in more mundane ways if necessary, and this alliance seems to make sense. Yuki works mostly with two of Eighth’s children, Miyashiro Rin (Kozakura Ritsuko - also present in the bloodbath at the religious compound) and Nanba Taoru (Shindou Naomi the “Ta-kun” who Eighth referred to). Tarou is suspicious but Rin remembers Yukiteru’s kindness from the massacre at the compound, and thus trusts him. Any doubt as to the seriousness of Yuki’s resolve is surely dispelled in the way the confrontation with Eleventh plays out, though Yuki does commit to make it right once he wins the game and becomes God. If Yuki is still squeamish about doing what must be done, there are no indications of it here.

But this is Mirai Nikki, and nothing is ever as simple as it appears – especially for Yuki. While he’s been spending his time gathering intel to identify Eleventh, Akise has been busy with research of his own. Working with Nishijima – who in turn is working with Minene – lots of interesting information about Yuno has been uncovered. She’s adopted (her parents were rich bankers) first of all, and spent time in an orphanage – and it’s from this orphanage that Akise has retrieved a grisly relic that allows the DNA testing which positively identifies the third body found in the pit at Yuno’s house. It’s none other than Yuno herself – and when this information is passed on to Yukiteru his newfound resolve to stick with Yuno to the end is put to the test yet again. I remember being a little shocked when I read the chapter that starts this episode in the manga – almost as if I’d missed one inadvertently – but this sequence feels almost as if it’s told in flashback even though it’s actually linear. And by the time we got where we are as the ep closes, Yuki’s behavior made sense. You can’t play tight poker if you’re in with Yuno Gasai – it’s all all-in bet or a fold, and it seems as if Yuki finally figured that out, though as always events conspire to test him. Still, he’s confronted nothing on the order of the surprising news Akise dumped on him here.

With Eighth having survived Yuki and Yuno’s trap and literally landed in Eleventh’s arms, the cards are shuffled yet again. Eighth seems to be the one diary owner who’s displayed no overt hostility towards the others until now, but she’s been betrayed by First and Second. Ninth’s ultimate goals, as ever, are obscure – what endgame does she have in mind? As for Eleventh, while his diary’s abilities still aren’t clear, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that he’s in this for for the accumulation of power – though just what he’d do with that power is anyone’s guess…

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7 comments:

  1. I just reread the manga from this chapter till the end, after this episode.

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  2. I really hate those white laser of doom.
    What's wrong with showing beheading scene when you already show lots of people shot to death and stabbed to death?

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. Belatkuro said: In other news, Yuno in white shirt and pantsu.
      Yuno in black dress and leggings.
      HHHHNNGGGGHHHH.
      Oh and Yukki finally manning up. Nice. I like this episode, much like its corresponding manga chapter up to that big reveal in the end. Mindblown back then, not so much now. 7 episodes left. Go Asread and show me how to finish this.

      I agree with that one comment in RC. You really end up blogging shows that has the most spoilers in the discussions. S;G, Another and this.
      Must be hard to patrol them.


      I deleted the earlier part, belatkuro, as I think it was a bit too spoilery...

      Yeah, I do seem to end up with the spoiler shows, don't I? It's not planned! The worst thing is trying to police comments for shows I'm not spoiled on myself, like Another and SG.

      The only alternative, I guess, is to just let people post what they want - warn the readers to beware and let it all go. But that just doesn't feel right to me.

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  4. Bummer. Oh well.

    Maybe it's coz the ones you blog are adaptations so that's why the discussions for the episodes tend to lead to spoilers.
    You know what to do I guess, cover an original anime next to steer clear of spoilers since there's no source material.
    Though Guilty Crown...welp now that's a problem lol

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    1. Yep, that's a problem. And as many shows as I cover, by the law of averages most of them are going to be adaptations. A show like Mawaru Penguin Drum is fun, but even there, you had a LN being released at about the same time as the anime and people still posted spoilers.

      About the best example I can think of is AnoHana, where we were pretty much in the same boat - nobody knew how it would turn out. But those kinds of shows - stand-alone, and worth really caring about - are pretty few and far between.

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