Last episode things seemed to finally be spinning toward a conclusion in Mirai Nikki. Only three diary holders remain: Yukiteru, Yuno, and Eighth, who is being held captive by Akise Aru. But there are still a couple loose ends that need clearing up. We still don’t know what Yuno’s deal is, and why she had her own corpse buried in her backyard. We still don’t know what Akise Aru has been plotting. And Akise Aru thinks Deus has been misleading the diary holders, and surely he would not think a thing if it were not true. So let’s resolve hopefully at least one of these issues in episode 22 of Mirai Nikki, before Deus dies and the world collapses into nothingness.
…thirty minutes pass…
You lied! You lied to Yukiteru and made him kill everyone! What the hell is wrong with you?
This episode was painful to watch. Not necessarily in a bad way, but, contingently in a bad way I guess. It hurt to watch all those characters get messily killed, but gore is not in itself a reason to dislike an episode. Used well, it can add drama to a fight, and these fights were certainly dramatic. But the reason the episode was so gory compared to previous ones was that the pacing was rushed, scenes just jumped from fight to fight to gloating over a dying enemy to fight to cold-blooded murder to fight, without much non-bloodspattered filler in between. No chance to take a breath, no chance to recover from one gruesome murder before moving on to the next. (They also didn’t censor the killings in this episode, like they did the massacre of Eighth’s followers. Not that I’m saying they should have.)
There was too much plot advancement that they tried to cram into this episode. I liked Akise Aru, I wanted him to get a real character arc. It’s not fair to reveal his identity and reveal his feelings for Yukiteru (pictured below) and give him superpowers and have him fight Yuno twice and kill him off, all in the same episode in which all sorts of other important things were also being murdered. It sort of reminded me of playing a WRPG, where you have a companion you’ve been neglecting all game, and then you see the ending coming up and you quickly grind through all his character quests to unlock his gay sex scene. It just doesn’t feel right unless you space it out over the course of the whole story.
So the plot advanced quite a bit, and I have to say I feel a little bit cheated. There were a couple assumptions I had been relying on in my speculation that were shown to be false, and I do not believe it was unreasonable for me to rely on them. First: I had assumed that when Murumuru told Yukiteru “if you become a god, you can save your mother, or anyone you want”, that meant that if Yukiteru became a god he could save his mother or anyone he wanted. Yes, it was only cheap talk, but if you can’t trust the gamemaster, who can you trust? In a story with magic that works according to rules, I have to be able to trust the rules. Second: I had assumed that once a diary user had died, the diary would be destroyed. My reasons for believing this were as follows. First: when Deus gave Yukiteru the diary, back in episode 1, he warned him that the diary and its owner were one, and destroying the diary would destroy the owner. Equality is reflexive, so that should mean that destroying the owner would destroy the diary. Second: toward the end of the game, people started making a point of not killing the other owners, so they could take and use their diaries. If the diaries could outlive the owners, there would be no point in not killing them. Now it’s possible that Yuno’s time-travel shenanigans broke things somehow. The universe’s garbage collector just looks to see if there’s a Gasai Yuno around, and if so it doesn’t destroy the diary. That feels sort of cheap, though.
The question that remains after this episode is, what the heck is Yuno’s deal, anyway? It’s clear at this point that she’s engaging in some sort of time-travel shenanigans. Akise Aru thought she was planning to betray and murder Yukiteru. Surely he would not think a thing if it were not true, but the basis for this belief isn’t clear. I can’t think that Yuno has been putting on an act this whole time. I took her crazyfaces to be honest, if it turns out that was another false assumption I am liable to just storm out of the metaphorical theater and ask for my hypothetical money back. OK, so, we know that both Yuno-1 and Yuno-2 were diary holders. What does that mean, in terms of the theory I put forward last episode? It means that Yuno was in the game before being sent back in time. It also confirms that the currently-living Yuno is our timeline’s Yuno, unless future Yuno went back to right after our Yuno got her diary and killed her. And I don’t see what she would hope to gain from that. Oh, maybe she would have had to, in order to take over her place in the game. Future Yuno counts as Yuno, but if Yuno’s dead maybe a different diary-holder gets chosen. So which Yuno are we actually dealing with?
So if Future Yuno was a diary holder, what was her game like? Why did she go back in time? It makes the most sense to think that she went back in time because Yukiteru died. And even though she’s a diary holder, she can’t bring him back by becoming a god, but time-travel lets her skirt that requirement. But how did she convince Deus to send her back? She didn’t. If a diary-holder wants access to power over space and time, it’s obvious how she can get it. Future Yuno won the game, hoping to revive her beloved Yukiteru, and ran into the same problem that Yukiteru is running into now. So to get around the problem and save Yukiteru, she sent herself back in time, in the process losing her powers over time and space, and then… She murdered her parents and was subsequently killed by her past self? Why would a battle-hardened survival game winner lose in a fight with a novice? So maybe this is Future Yuno after all. That would explain why she’s such a badass, and so crazy – she went badass and crazy in the course of the original survival game, when she allied with Yukiteru and subsequently lost him.
So why hasn’t she been able to use her future knowledge to her advantage? Future knowledge would help explain why she was so vicious toward Tsubaki even before she betrayed them – perhaps Tsubaki tried something similar in the original timeline. But Yuno has seemed not to know the identity of some of the diary holders, or the nature of their abilities. She tumbled to the five-year-old diary holder pretty quick, I guess, but she also thought Akise Aru was a diary holder, and she didn’t know about Ai and Marco, or about the mayor. I guess it’s possible that in the original timeline some of them killed each other off without her getting to see who they were and what their powers were?
So, Future Yuno won the game, but Yukiteru died. And then she went back in time to try to save him. She killed her past self because she refuses to share Yukiteru with anybody, including herself. And now she’s doing a better job this time around, and Yukiteru is going to be saved. It’s just the two of them, and Yuno can give her life for him. So why does Akise Aru think Yuno is a threat to Yukiteru? Surely he would not think a thing if it were not true. But what would be the point in going back in time to save Yukiteru just to kill him again? If she’s not going to die for him, why bother?
I refuse to believe this has all been a ploy on Yuno’s part. The story would mean nothing without the romance in the center of it, and practically speaking that would be a long time to keep up an act. She’s been willing to die for Yukiteru in the past. She’s done things like offer her throat to his knife. Maybe Akise Aru is really just jealous of Yuno? He thinks he has convincing proof of her betrayal on his diary, though, and surely he would not think a thing if it were not true. But what on earth could she possibly gain by killing Yukiteru? She’ll win the game if she does, but who cares? She’s already won the game once, and gave it all up to head back in time, that’s the assumption we’re working under. What’s she going to do with the power of space and time that she couldn’t have just done the first time around? It just doesn’t fit.
(By the way, Yukiteru, you retroactively lost your right to complain about Kousaka bullying you. You shot him for telling you truths you didn’t want to hear. You’re an asshole.)
Bonus Image Corner:
What sort of idiot believes in free will in a world where people can pull information from the future?
That face might be too crazy even for me.
Another romance we didn't have time to explore.
There you go Yuno, that's about the level of crazy I like in my faces.