A thoughtful response to current anime.

Mirai Nikki – Episode 17

Last episode on Mirai Nikki (which was two weeks ago: blame inconsistent fansubber schedules, or perhaps the release of Crusader Kings 2), Yukiteru was trapped in a building that was being blown up by enemy diary users.  The floor was collapsing out from under him, and he was presented with a choice: grab for his father’s hand, and risk being betrayed by someone who acts like he loves him but actually only cares about money, or grab for Yuno’s hand, and risk being betrayed by someone who actually loves him but is super crazy.  The unstated third choice is for him to grab for no one’s hand, and deal with his problems on his own, but that’s not the sort of thing Yukiteru does.  The main theme of Mirai Nikki is about Yukiteru relying on others and getting burned for it.  Once Yukiteru awakens to a proper existentialist sense of despair and abandonment, there will be nowhere for his character to go.  But maybe I’m wrong!  Maybe, against all odds, he will take responsibility for his own life in episode 17 of Mirai Nikki.

…thirty minutes pass…

Actually, prior to this episode Yukiteru's diary holder kill count was 3 to Yuno's 2, so I'm not sure that's fair.

A pretty intense episode.  It turned out that the hypothesis I generated and discarded earlier, that Marco set up this whole thing just to be a dick to Yukiteru, was correct.  What a dick!  He swore to protect Ai, but then he got her killed by insisting on a stupid prideful gloating fest over a defeated opponent.  Marco went on and on about how Yuno and Yukiteru’s love wasn’t real, but it was his own love that was the fake.  His “true” love was nothing but a narcissistic desire to have an identity as the sort of person who has the sort of love he imagines true love to be.  It was a love story he made up so he could play the hero in it. That’s why he reacted so violently to Yukiteru and Yuno – their relationship is a deconstruction of the genre Marco is trying to play straight.  Their existence undermined the core way Marco related to the world, so it wasn’t enough for him to defeat them – he had to utterly crush them and demonstrate the dominance of his story over theirs.  And in doing so, he placed the person he loved pointlessly at risk, in the end killing her.

Contrast this with Yuno’s behavior.  Yuno says she’ll protect Yukiteru, and then she actually does.  She’s not just making a show of staying by his side in a fight, she’s doing things that Marco would never even think of. She’s weighing his tomatoes in case of possible poisoning, she’s proactively killing people that seem like they might eventually be a threat, she’s locking him up in a rape dungeon where he’ll be safe.  Earlier, I criticized Yuno for this last decision, saying that at some point while she was planning the kidnapping she should have realized that what she was doing wasn’t really love.  Now I realize I was mistaken; it is precisely because Yuno’s love is so deep and so pure that she goes beyond the conventional thinking on love and kidnapping.  If she was trying to justify her love to the world, like Marco was, then she would look to the world for guidance on what love is, and the world would tell her, love isn’t kidnapping, and it would be the world’s opinion that mattered.  But she actually loves Yukiteru, so who cares what anyone else thinks?  Who cares if holding your boyfriend prisoner in an abandoned hotel doesn’t meet the textbook definition of love?  All that matters is if it works, if it keeps him safe.  It’s only hypocrites and posers who should ever pause to wonder if what they’re doing is really love – if you’re actually in love, how could what you’re doing be anything else?

(Just to really hammer the point home – Marco tries to torture Yukiteru to death out of vengeance for what he perceives as an insult against the idea of love, and as a side effect, he endangers Ai.  Yuno tries to torture Ai to death as part of a strategy to rescue Yukiteru from peril, and ultimately succeeds in that goal.  Which one would you say truly loves their partner?)

And then, at the end of the episode, Yukiteru’s mom dies, I guess to demonstrate that Yukiteru was right not to reach out for his father and that you can never trust anyone.   I guess next episode he’ll have a total breakdown, which will only be interrupted by one of the few remaining diary holders (maybe the guy who bombed the building?) coming after him and him having to protect himself, even though, what’s the point, because his mom is dead.  Actually, you might look at it from a different direction.  Now, more than ever, he has motivation to fight, to win, so that he can become God and bring his mother back to life.  Just like Kurusu, he said at the start that he didn’t want to play the game, he wasn’t going to murder people to become God. Perhaps now, like Kurusu, he’ll change his tune now that he has something concrete to fight for.

Bonus Image Corner:

Marco, staring at the end of his ridiculous hair.

Yuno, trying to make three different facial expressions at once.


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