A thoughtful response to current anime.

Mirai Nikki – Episode 9

Last episode on Mirai Nikki, Yukiteru and Yuno found themselves in a serious situation.  Yukiteru got his dumb ass taken hostage by Hinata, and lost his diary.  Hinata is using her hostage to keep Yuno at bay, but that strikes me as a serious double-edged sword.  It might make Yuno think twice before rushing in, but there’s no way she’ll just let Hinata take her beloved Yukiteru.  She won’t stop at thinking twice, she’ll keep thinking and thinking, and the more she thinks the hotter her rage will boil and the more pieces Hinata’s corpse will end up in when she finally hits on a solution.  The only concern is, what is Akise Aru’s role in all this?  The trap was originally for him, so a situation where Yuno flips out and annihilates Hinata probably plays right into his hands.  It sounded like he was trying to take a friendly pose, but I’ve seen enough survival games to know, you don’t join them to make friends.   Let’s watch yet another of Yukiteru’s supposed friends betray him in episode 9 of Mirai Nikki. …thirty minutes pass…

Not everybody is as prone as you are to falling hopelessly in love with unattractive, low-self-esteem people after talking to them for five minutes, Yuno.

Amazing episode.  My finger hardly strayed from the screenshot button, there were too many awesome Yunofaces and moments of passionate tension with everything coming down to one flip of a coin. So Akise isn’t a diary user, eh?  Well, he claims he isn’t, at least.  I don’t think we can quite rule out the possibility that he’s just playing a deep game and hiding his diary as long as he can, but he’s a more interesting character if he doesn’t have one.  That makes him a real hero, going up against people who have amazing magical powers with nothing but his wits.  Like L from Death Note, or Batman from Detective Comics.  And like L or Batman, he’s got cool bromosexual tension with the show’s equivalent of Light/Superman.  And like Batman, at least, he can handle himself pretty well in a fight.  Did you see him Judo the heck out of Yuno when she tried to stab him?  Finally a character that can take Yuno one-on-one in a fight.  I would be totally happy if the show removed focus from Yukiteru and made Akise the new protagonist.  It’s more fun to fight people with powers when you don’t have powers yourself and have to rely on being a super genius.

Although, maybe Akise isn’t as super genius as all that?  He risked everything on a fifty-fifty shot in that little prediction tournament they held, when he should have been able to guarantee success.  To see this, let’s go over the plays in the prediction tournament, to see how Akise influenced the game in his favor, despite not having any supernatural predictive power of his own.  We can assume that, since Akise is surely a master of psychology, he can predict Hinata’s general strategy successfully.  The only thing he needs the power of the diaries to predict is the actual random choice of where the coin is.  So on the first round, the coin starts out random, but then Yukiteru sees his diary and changes the future by sending a signal, making the location deterministic.  Once the signal is sent, to win, Hinata needs to change the future by re-randomizing the location.  She could also use her diary to predict Akise’s prediction, and make it impossible for him to win.  Instead, she thinks it’s enough simply to switch locations, but this leaves the coin in a deterministic location that Akise can deduce based on her psychology.  The round goes to Akise, and the future changed because of Yukiteru.  Next round, she thinks that Akise has the power to predict the diary, rather than the power to predict her strategy, and so she deliberately does the opposite of what the diary says she should do.  This time it’s Hinata who changes the future, and Akise doesn’t even need to rely on any psychology.  She shoots herself in the foot.

So then we come to the last game.  For the last game, Hinata has figured out that Akise doesn’t have a diary, and so she feels free to rely on Yukiteru’s diary.  Akise removes that advantage by making Yukiteru think he lost whether or not he won, and so the information coming through Yukiteru’s diary becomes useless.  No matter what the true outcome, Yukiteru’s diary predicts a win for Hinata and so she will not change the future.  It becomes a fair 50-50 gamble.  But why settle for that?  Why not make Yukiteru think he won if he lost?  Then, if he would lose by random chance, Hinata would see it as a loss for her, and change the future, making him win after all.  In this case, then, he never actually has to make Yukiteru think he’s won, because the situation never comes up.  All he has to do is commit to doing it, and Hinata will see that future and obligingly change the future for him.  Of course if Akise is really clever, that may be what he actually did.  After all, we can’t tell what he would have done if he lost.  Maybe he’s just playing his cards close to his chest, not showing off his Kryptonite to Superman if he doesn’t have to.  Timeless decision theory is a powerful tool against people who can see the future, but it’s a trick that works better if they don’t see it coming.  Better for Yuno to think she has a fifty-fifty shot of beating him when they end up dueling for Yukiteru’s love.

Speaking of which, Yukiteru made a huge mistake by encouraging Yuno and calling her his girlfriend.  I know he thinks he can manipulate her behavior by demanding that she act like a proper girlfriend and not e.g. murder everyone, but that’s like grabbing a tiger by its tail in the hopes of steering it.  It is big and powerful and has a murderous mind of its own and now you can never let go or it will rip you into bloody pieces.  What Yuno needs is to work through her issues and deal with them rationally.  What Yukiteru is doing  is adding to the problem.  He’s fanning the flames, and that just means more people will get hurt when he loses control of the situation.


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