Mirai Nikki – 14

Akise trys to negotiate with Yuno, but she alters her memory to forget about them. Kousaka is about to give up hope when his phone suddenly becomes an “apprentice future diary,” listing his brilliant successes, the first being escaping from the gas chamber. When he reaches the control room, an agitated Yuno pretends to make nice, but once he releases Akise and Mao, Yuno shoots him with a dart gun. She’s about to kill him, when Yukiteru – awake and freed by the tied-up Hinata kicking his cuff keys to him, rips the gun away. With three more apprentice diary holders on the way, Yuki has Nishijima get them out all out of there. Yuno remains.

Meddling Kids Akise, Hinata, Mao and Kousaka really got themselves into a pickle, with Hinata tied up as Yuno feeds Yuki (and helps him wee-wee) and the rest about to asphyxiate in a cloud of gas. When Akise’s bargaining fails, its all up to Kousaka, funnily enough – someone who’s been pretty useless and whiny up to this point (and is responsible for locking them in the room in the first place). The series introduces the birth of new future diaries, making his “Kousaka King” variant in the nick of time. It isn’t perfect, as it only sees his successess and not his failures, but thanks to some good luck (Yuki coming to at the right time; his key landing close to Hinata), it gets the job done.

With Kousaka and the trio of apprentices sent to the abandoned hotel to kill Yuki (led from their home by a woman with a freakishly big head), we now have this bred of not-quite future diary holder, and Kousaka would seem to be an apprentice to become the next Eighth. We’re wondering if this is because no one has killed everyone else fast enough, or if this just a system we weren’t told about until now. That Yuno is merely left behind – not killed outright – she’ll remain a threat to the end, but in the meantime, there will be some new faces going after Yuki. We’ll see how much more involved his friends get.

Rating: 3.5

Another – 02

Sakakibara continues to converse with Misaki, which perplexes her. It appears he’s the only one who can see her, or wants to. He askes Nurse Mizuno about any schoolgirls dying at the hospital, and she later confirms it, but Sakaki’s phone drops the call abruptly. Following Misaki, Sakaki initially loses her when she turns a corner, but comes across a doll shop, where he finds her in the basement, near a doll that looks vaguely like her. She offers to show Sakaki what’s beneath her eyepatch…

So far, we’re less enamored by the characters than we are with their surroundings and the manner in which their presented. The entire setting is thick with gloom and imminent dread. Quick cuts and sharp, unsettling sounds keeps us on our toes. With a different presentation, this would be a quaint and beautiful town, but every fiber in our being is repelled by it and the secrets it contains. Similarly, Misaki is every bit the broody ghost, popping up in the middle of school amongst the living. Sakaki cannot help but drop everything and be drawn to her. And creepy dolls. My God, are they creepy. 

What is Mei’s story? Why is she still hanging around? What does she want? What’s the deal with Akazawa and her “countermeasures?” We don’t know yet, and suspect concrete answers to such questions may not be immediately forthcoming, but we’re enjoying the buildup so far. An aside: the ending sequence is very calm and airy and accompanied by a soulful, hauntingly beautiful piece of music (“anamnesis” by Annabel); it’s like suddenly coming up for a breath of fresh air from the depths of a dark, tense sea.

Rating: 3.5

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 12

Dio saves Alvis from Federation assassins as the grounded Urbanus is attacked. Ades means to hit Glacies with an enormous aerial strike. Meanwhile, Fam, Gisey and Millia are guests of Dian, a respected Glaciesian “wing maiden” paying them back for saving her comrades earlier. Millia, who speaks her tongue, interprets for her, and they repair the vanship. Fam tries to instill in her her own ideal of what the sky should be: fun, freedom, and peace, not an eternal battlefield. Dian is dubious, she was at the last Grand Race and doubts another will make any difference. After letting Dian try out their vanship, Fam, Gisey and Millia take off for home, but when Gisey spots the Ades fleets approaching Glacies, Fam turns around to warn Dian.

It’s far easier – and to some more satisfying – to wage war than it is to prevent it. Many philsophers argue that humans are always going to branch off into factions and fight each other about something; it’s just in our nature, and that of other animals. Glacies is a cold and remote land full of surprisingly warm people, but they’re extremely weary of outsiders, because they feel the best way to avoid war is to simply avoid contact of any kind with other factions. It’s worked so far for them, but at the cost of isolation. Aside from loving her sexy Russian accent, we really liked Dian’s character for her unique perspective on the world.

She cannot fathom why a vanship would lack weapons, any more than she can fathom why Fam would help people in need – even potential enemies. Fam would say it’s the right thing to do, but for Dian, the right thing to do is the thing that keeps you alive. While Dian may still be confused by such foreign ideas, a seed was definitely planted in her head: not all outsiders are out to get you. Some are cute girls who just want to be your friend. More takeaways: Fam may be a good pilot, but Dian demonstrates rather hilariously that she’s not much of a fighter; and when you crash in a foreign land, it always helps to have a princess who is fluent in the native language!

Rating: 4