Mirai Nikki — Final Impressions

Ahhhhnnnnn~ Yuki...

Don’t wor­ry… Ahnnnnn~… Read­ers… I’ll write for you.

The cra­zi­est ani­me series of the Fall 2011 just came to a close, but it left with me with some­thing that did­n’t live up to the zany expec­ta­tions of the mid­dle episodes. Not to say it was dis­ap­point­ing, but it felt that some­thing was miss­ing. No, rather, it felt like some­thing was out of place. It’s been a fun ride, Mirai Nik­ki, espe­cial­ly not start­ing off as a read­er of the man­ga, but I must say… why?

Everything was going well...Yuki...

Every­thing was going well… Yuki…

The sur­vival premise of Mirai Nik­ki is not a premise I have not seen in Japan­ese fic­tion before. You can thank Bat­tle Royale and Kamen Rid­er Ryu­ki for that. What brought me into the series was the pre­cog­ni­tive cellphones/diaries (which, admit­ted­ly, sounds odd­ly famil­iar) and of course, the com­mon­ly-crowned Queen of Yan­dere, Gasai Yuno.

Because the basic premise isn’t real­ly any­thing unique, you can see a bunch of basic tropes and com­mon ele­ments that are used in var­i­ous oth­er series of the same con­cept. Amano Yukiteru, an expy of Ikari Shin­ji of Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion, is also an expy of Kido Shin­ji of Kamen Rid­er Ryu­ki (two Shin­jis… fun­ny how that works out). While Amano is meek, as opposed to Kido, who is more coura­geous, he shares Kido’s ini­tial desire of not want­i­ng to take part in the sur­vival game and wants to use the pow­ers giv­en to him for more pos­i­tive things rather than kill, meet­ing oth­er neu­tral and chaot­ic evil par­tic­i­pants in the process. One can also make a cer­tain par­al­lel to works like Bat­tle Royale, in which an aver­age school stu­dent is forced to take lives in a game that isn’t in his con­trol.

Opening spoiler. Awesome.

Open­ing spoil­ers. Awe­some.

But Mirai Nik­ki offers a unique twist to the sur­vival game genre by decon­struct­ing every trope employed by var­i­ous oth­er gen­res, mak­ing the piv­otal plot point of the series cen­tered on the rela­tion­ship of our (real­is­tic) 14-year-old main char­ac­ter… and a girl­friend that hap­pens to be forced on him by the end of the first episode. Gasai Yuno isn’t your typ­i­cal mag­i­cal girl­friend that wakes up with you in bed one fate­ful day, declar­ing her inno­cent and undy­ing love for you; she’s a crazy stalk­er that wants you all to her­self. While we have many oth­er exam­ples of the yan­dere in var­i­ous types of sto­ries, Gasai Yuno sits on the trope and makes it her bitch. You can usu­al­ly (for­give me if I’m using the phrase incor­rect­ly) “smell that bitch from a mile away”. With Yuno, she’s unpre­dictable and it’s hard to tell if her cute out­er shell and her inner psy­chot­ic self are the same per­son or the result of a split per­son­al­i­ty because the “act” seemed tru­ly gen­uine, and the mys­ter­ies behind her char­ac­ter makes it even more eerie. Kudos to the orig­i­nal man­ga­ka for know­ing how to make a yan­dere girl so… intrigu­ing.

That, cou­pled with ele­ments such as gang rape, child killers, and decap­i­ta­tions with noth­ing hold­ing it back oth­er than Japan­ese tele­vi­sion cen­sor­ship, Mirai Nik­ki is cer­tain­ly the type of ani­me that evan­ge­lists would love to shoot down with their protest signs.

For a terrorist, she really is soft on the inside, isn't she?

She real­ly is soft on the inside, isn’t she? Well, I mean for a crazy ter­ror­ist.

What’s strange about watch­ing Mirai Nik­ki is the fact that even the char­ac­ters that do the most atro­cious things can man­age to be lik­able at some point. Uryuu Minene, the Ensem­ble Dark­horse of this series, is a prime exam­ple of this. Despite bomb­ing schools and killing schoolkids (and, yeah, being a crazy ter­ror­ist) in her very first appear­ance, some­thing that I per­son­al­ly found appalling, her char­ac­ter devel­op­ment, sad back­ground sto­ry, and quirks quick­ly made her a valu­able ally and a fan-favorite.

If it’s one thing I got to hand it to Mirai Nik­ki, it’s the fact that Esuno knew how to appropriately/realistically por­tray the faults that every per­son has. They’re only human after all. The Fourth Diary Own­er, Kurusu Kei­go, comes to mind, with his betray­al being fueled by the good inten­tions of sav­ing his son, at the cost of his integri­ty as law enforce­ment.  Like Ikari Shin­ji, I think Amano Yukiteru gets too much flak from fans. He’s a with­drawn 14-year-old mid­dle school­er who is thrown into a blood­bath… you can bare­ly get 14-year-old kids to go up to their rooms and do their home­work let alone “man-up” and take part in a mur­der game, I think they need to cut him some slack. I was in his shoes once, and if I was thrown into a killing spree where my entire fam­i­ly was caught in the cross­fire, I would­n’t have made per­fect deci­sions either. Of course, this is an exam­ple of ani­me fans miss­ing the point. Again.

I want your dick, Yukiteru-kun. <3

Akise Aru: The most badass bisex­u­al of 2011–2012.

Enough of the praise and onto the neg­a­tive aspects of the show! One of my favorite male char­ac­ters of this show was Akise Aru. Despite the homo­erot­ic flash­es to Kaworu of Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion (jeez, I’ve been men­tion­ing that a lot, but the white hair, Ho Yay with the main char­ac­ter, and Ishi­da Aki­ra just makes it way too much of a coin­ci­dence), he was pre­sent­ed as a unique char­ac­ter in that he was­n’t a Diary Own­er but could still hold his own against the future seers, and his abnor­mal detec­tive skills help bring the sto­ry togeth­er from an out­side stand­point. If the police depart­ment and the Diary Hold­ers, too absorbed into the game, could­n’t delve into the more mys­te­ri­ous aspects of the game, it was up to Akise.

How­ev­er, his rev­e­la­tion as an arti­fi­cial human cre­at­ed by Deus and his over­all char­ac­ter­i­za­tion felt very weak as we don’t real­ly get to see him as much as we could, and his love for Yukiteru seemed rather forced, much like Kaworu’s “love” for Ikari Shin­ji (yaoi fans are going to shoot me for that). It cer­tain­ly could have been explored more. I know that a side-sto­ry man­ga of him exists, but I don’t think Asread had the bud­get to include it in the series.

QUALITY

Even Yuno is speech­less.

Speak­ing of bud­get, the ani­ma­tion seemed to take a dive halfway through the series. The ear­ly half of the series had ani­ma­tion that ranged from aver­age to crisp, the char­ac­ters were well-pro­por­tioned, and the over­all art looked nice. That screen­shot of Akise a few para­graphs ago can attest to that.  But some­where along the lines after Yukiteru start­ed break­ing down, the ani­ma­tion’s lev­el of flu­id­i­ty decreased by a dras­tic amount and the amount of times the char­ac­ters went off-mod­el sky­rock­et­ed. Even the last episode, where I expect­ed most of the bud­get would go into, did­n’t look as nice as some of the ear­li­er episodes, and that’s kind of dis­ap­point­ing.

 

Poor girl was denied of screentime

I felt sor­ry for this Yuno… she was lit­er­al­ly denied of screen­time…

One of the aspects that made this series a fun ride was the amount of twists they man­age to squeeze in, whether it be forced or not. Over­all, out of all of the series’ attempts at shock­ing the view­er, the most shock­ing rev­e­la­tion did­n’t come as a sur­prise to me, believe it or not. I’ll even go as fair as to call­ing it “pre­dictable”, at least for peo­ple that are good at tak­ing in con­text clues and mak­ing edu­cat­ed guess­es.  I’m refer­ring to the reveal that the Yuno we got to know in the series is a time leaper that replaced the orig­i­nal Yuno of the main world we see in the series. Take note that I did not read the man­ga before the ani­me. Every con­text clue they put into the episodes were as obvi­ous as the nose on my face.

Overbearing girlfriends T_T

Over­bear­ing Girl­friends: The True Face of Evil.

First off, we had the first episode in which we were treat­ed to an unex­plained pro­logue where Yuno is cry­ing over a dead Yuki and then the scene switch­es to Yuno in drea­ry room, talk­ing to her dead “mama and papa”, and being killed by a mys­te­ri­ous assailant. Not only that, but the Yuno dur­ing the first scene calls Yukiteru “Yuki”, while the Yuno that got killed called Yukiteru “Amano-kun”, imply­ing that these scenes don’t exact­ly take place in chrono­log­i­cal order (of course, with this pro­logue alone, I just thought Yuno was some creepy rean­i­mat­ed corpse or some­thing, since that open­ing scene gave me the impres­sion that this was a hor­ror ani­me). Right when Yukiteru finds the dead bod­ies of her par­ents in episode three, I felt some­thing fishy going on, espe­cial­ly after Akise’s inves­ti­ga­tion that led to his the­o­ry about Yuno being able to supress her mem­o­ries. It was­n’t until the episode where Yuno keeps Yuki on lock-down that I put all the pieces togeth­er. There was a mys­te­ri­ous, uniden­ti­fied third body found buried in Yuno’s home.

Oh, so Yuno won the game before and became god, went back in time to be with Yuki again, and killed her oth­er self so there would­n’t be a para­dox.” It did­n’t help that when the sec­ond open­ing rolled around, it threw in words like “time leaper” while two Yunos were duk­ing it out and “com­bin­ing”, fur­ther sup­port­ing my belief.

I believe that was sev­er­al episodes before the reveal. As expect­ed though, when I pre­sent­ed the the­o­ry on a mes­sage board, some­one treat­ed me like some crazy con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist. Now I take plea­sure in know­ing that I was right all along. Again.

It’s fun­ny, because it takes us to anoth­er par­al­lel to Kamen Rid­er Ryu­ki, where the main antag­o­nist is will­ing to cre­ate as many time loops as pos­si­ble in order to obtain the out­come desired. Except, in this case, it isn’t the game mas­ter (for Mirai Nik­ki, that would be Deus) that’s manip­u­lat­ing the game to serve his own ends, it’s one of the play­ers that’s the main antag­o­nist.

Daaaw

Big DAAAAAAW

Final­ly, here we are, the last episode. The cen­ter of all my mixed feel­ings. While I have a shame­ful love for the series, the last episode is a giant mixed bag for me. While I thought the mid­dle of episode had a beau­ti­ful res­o­lu­tion to the game, with Yuno real­iz­ing how much of a mon­ster she’s become in the pres­ence of her third world self, and Yuki becom­ing god after a trag­ic sui­cide, the epi­logue was a bit of a down­er. At least, in a dif­fer­ent way for me.

THIS IS MADNESS

ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF MIRAI NIKKI. ONE THOUSAND YEARS.

This is also tak­ing the man­ga end­ing into account, as I became curi­ous after hear­ing from a friend that the ani­me is sim­i­lar, but not the same, due to being short­er. Ham­mers aside, I think a forced hap­py end­ing for the sake of hav­ing one is one of the worst things they could have done with a series like Mirai Nik­ki, as one of the redeem­ing qual­i­ties was the theme of human desire lead­ing to destruc­tion, and destruc­tion lead­ing to sad­ness, and I think that was pulled off quite nice­ly despite how much some peo­ple think it’s a train­wreck.

Third World Yuno gain­ing First World Yuno’s mem­o­ries was such a kick to an ass after the “no res­ur­rec­tion rule” was shoved down our throats, and how much it was stressed that despite being coun­ter­parts with the same his­to­ry, the peo­ple in this alter­nate uni­verse are not the same peo­ple we to came to know. Mak­ing it a fake res­ur­rec­tion — a dif­fer­ent Yuno with fake mem­o­ries. Of course, Yukiteru is alright with this, despite show­ing him­self to be rather appalled at the thought of being replace­able for anoth­er ver­sion of him­self in the eyes of the First World Yuno. I guess the killing of all the Yunos was the only thing that both­ered him… the more Yunos, the bet­ter, I guess?

DEMI-GOD BABIES

DEMI-GOD TERRORISTS MAKE THE BEST MOMS.

And as much as I like Minene, I feel that she got off rather eas­i­ly… hav­ing babies with the Third World Nishi­ji­ma and prepar­ing to have a three­some with her Third World coun­ter­part. What a nice exam­ple of Kar­ma Hou­di­ni. I would have pre­ferred she died valiant­ly, because the redemp­tion would­n’t have cheap­ened her char­ac­ter.

SMELLS GOOD

That nice smell of putting your arm in your ass and pulling out a hap­py end­ing.

I guess what I’m say­ing is, the impres­sion I got from the end­ing was: It’s alright to kill the peo­ple you love as long as you have the pow­er to hop uni­vers­es and replace them with their coun­ter­parts.

Although, it’s actu­al­ly quite fun­ny in ret­ro­spect. Sec­ond World Yuki gets to feel up and deflower two Yunos after one of them killed his, First World Yuki gets to min­gle with one Yuno with­out los­ing his vir­gin­i­ty because she acci­den­tal­ly screwed him over… and Third World Yuki does­n’t even get to inter­act with his and is stuck with bor­ing ol’ Wak­a­ba, who bares a dis­turb­ing phys­i­cal resem­blance to his moth­er. I blame the Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion par­al­lels.

HENSHIN

The man­li­est char­ac­ter in the series.

Ide­al­ly, if I was writ­ing this man­ga, my ide­al end­ing would have involved Third World Yuno and Yuki meet­ing under nor­mal cir­cum­stances in the new world (final­ly form­ing some­thing sta­ble and pos­si­bly more gen­uine), Minene some­how induc­ing her own change of heart in the third world (so Babies Ever After still remains), all of the alter­nate Diary Own­ers lives would remain the same as what we see here, and our Yukiteru over­look­ing the new (pos­si­bly more peace­ful) par­adise he had cre­at­ed, yet still sad because he is essen­tial­ly alone because he killed off his loved ones, and thus has no one to share it with. There is the prob­lem of find­ing a new god for the Third World, but I’m con­fi­dent that there are lots of oth­er ways to have Deus find oth­er ways of deter­min­ing a new god, oth­er than say­ing “YO, YUNOCEPTION. GOD STATUS. SAY HI TO MY BRO YUKITERU”. It might be a lit­tle pre­dictable, but at least it does­n’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Becom­ing a god isn’t worth killing your friends… what a beau­ti­ful Aesop that would have been. I’m sure the ever-so-hand­some defend­er of jus­tice, Twelfth, would agree with me. I find it amus­ing that after all of that work try­ing to save the sec­ond world, they just leave it bar­ren in the end.

NORIO WAKAMOTO FTW

Over­all, the end­ing to Mirai Nikki is a mixed bag, but the ride cer­tain­ly makes it worth the watch. What makes this series stand out from the rest, despite some pac­ing issues and some instances where you ram your head onto the wall because of how stu­pid it can be, is that the sheer enter­tain­ment val­ue keeps on sav­ing it regard­less and keeps you glued to your seat. I’m cer­tain­ly inter­est­ed in read­ing the man­gaka’s lat­est work, Big Order.

Oh, and did I men­tion WAKAMOTO IS A GOD?

HAPPY END

Looks like one Yuno final­ly achieved a HAPPY END.

8 thoughts on “Mirai Nikki — Final Impressions

  1. Minene was­n’t going to have a three­some.

    Yukiteru of world three was a dif­fer­ent per­son than the oth­er Yukiterus, so being with Wak­a­ba is prob­a­bly best for him. Also, we don’t know if the first Yukiteru had sex with Yuno or not, since they might have. She DID fake her mem­o­ries a lot, and she did­n’t want the sec­ond Yukiteru to know she was from the first world, so it’d make no sense for her to say she was­n’t a vir­gin.

  2. Also, how could Yukiteru 2 watch the third world go per­fect­ly if he’s the god of the sec­ond world and clear­ly can’t even watch the third world (oth­er­wise, why would­n’t he?)? So world three could still go as you said with Yukiteru 3 and Yuno 3 meet­ing, but Yukiteru 2 can’t watch it.

  3. The three­some thing and the rant about Yuno’s vir­gin­i­ty was more of a joke than any­thing using the infor­ma­tion we’ve been giv­en in the series. Though, in all actu­al­i­ty in regards to the three­some joke, I do think Nishi­ji­ma would be in favor of a Minene three­some giv­en the chance, or else my “Kill every­one you care about, replace them with alter­nate world coun­ter­parts!” stance would be hilar­i­ous­ly proven.

    On the sub­ject of my ide­al­ized end­ing, I nev­er said that Yukiteru would be able to watch what tran­spired in the third world. I meant that he would actu­al­ly be doing his job and over­look­ing the par­adise he makes in the Sec­ond World with­out any­one to share it with. Plus, if they were able to some­how con­nect the sec­ond world and third world in the real end­ing, I’m sure it would be pos­si­ble for him to be allowed to take a peak at it in my ver­sion of the end­ing… some­how.

  4. I liked the way the end­ing was done in the TV sea­son. The way it’s only hint­ed at how Yuuno comes instead of the HAMMER left a mys­te­ri­ous feel­ing rather than a WTF impres­sion.

    To be hon­est The sense of mys­tery behind the ani­me end­ing was done ALOT bet­ter than the utter­ly dis­ap­point­ing end­ing that the man­ga decid­ed to show. Some­times things left off as a mys­tery just seems to trig­ger a bet­ter impact.

  5. @fabrice: The fact that they even hint­ed at the ham­mer end­ing made me want to punch the screen (of course, this was after I wit­nessed the man­ga end­ing). 😛 As much as I feel sor­ry for the guy, I per­son­al­ly find that any type of hap­py end­ing for Yukiteru #2 is unfit­ting. The ani­me did lessen the amount of “What the hell?” that the man­ga had and I agree with you that some­times ambi­tious­ness is bet­ter than asspull hap­py end­ings, so I give it points for that. The only prob­lem that is leaves is the ulti­mate fate of the Third World now that it has no sur­vival game, which was only pre­sent­ed in the man­ga.

  6. Hon­est­ly what I loved about this ani­me was that it was­n’t so gener­ic. In all real­i­ty I don’t blame Yuki for killing all his friends, if I was put into a sur­vival game i’d do the same thing. We don’t live in a per­fect world and peo­ple aren’t per­fect and I real­ly hate how in ani­me’s the pro­tag­o­nist is always just a goody-to-shoes. Human’s are ani­mals and we are self­ish, destruc­tive crea­tures due to our nature. This ani­me points out those weak­ness, jeal­ousy, obesses­sion, pride, greed, it por­trayed all these weanke­ness­es quite well. I also enjoyed Yun­do’s char­ac­ter because I feel like I can relate…I think all of us gals have gone a bit crazy over a guy like that so I know where shes com­ing from. I don’t under­stand why she liked him so much, sure he gave her a rea­son to live but hes such a pan­sy, who could love a guy like that?

  7. @Dixie: Well, in terms of war, humans kill each oth­er out of neces­si­ty. But Yukiteru’s friends weren’t even part of the sur­vival game, so it’s arguable that they need­ed to be killed in the first place since most of them weren’t even threat­en­ing his life. If I were put into that type of game, I can sin­cere­ly say I would­n’t put my friends or fam­i­ly at death’s hands just for the sake of it, because after that I would­n’t have much to live for any­ways to be hon­est. Which WAS his reac­tion after that, but he dis­played more remorse for killing Yuno, who pret­ty much kid­napped and locked him up at one point, than killing his friends who want­ed to help him. To be fair, the whole time he had “I’LL BRING THEM BACK WITH THE DRAGON BALLS” on his mind, and his crazed desire of mak­ing every­thing to become per­fect made his bad choic­es under­stand­able, but real­ly he brought it upon him­self (and there­fore, I don’t think he deserves a hap­py end­ing).
    His degen­er­a­tion is real­is­tic, but towards the end it’s arguable. Oth­er than that, yes, i do agree that the ani­me presents the neg­a­tives of human­i­ty very well.
    “I think all of us gals have gone a bit crazy over a guy like that so I know where shes com­ing from. I don’t under­stand why she liked him so much, sure he gave her a rea­son to live but hes such a pan­sy, who could love a guy like that?”
    This is a lit­tle con­tra­dic­to­ry, by the way. o_O
    As for the ques­tion, I don’t think the aver­age irl girl would leave a guy just because he’s averse to killing peo­ple (I always thought the oppo­site was a lit­tle less, um, desir­able?). Unless you mean the whole seclu­sion thing, in which case, yeah, I can’t see it either. A “He’s kind of cute” crush would be pos­si­ble but I don’t see how a girl would be obses­sive­ly attract­ed to him to the point of stalk­ing. Unless she was crazy. Which Yuno was.

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