Mirai Nikki – 26 (Fin)

As she prepares to kill her, Yuno recalls how her past self used to dream of becoming a happy family. When she delivers the killing strike, it hits her father instead, shielding his daughter. Kurusu arrives and holds Yuno at gunpoint. In the Deus fragment, Yukiteru gradually realizes there’s something he needs to do; his parents support him. He breaks out of the fragment with the Second Murmur, who catches Kurusu’s bullet. Yukiteru tells God-Yuno to kill him, but she stabs herself instead, as neither of them could stab the other in the end. Amano wins the game, and the Third World begins. All the former diary holders, including the other Yukiteru, carry on normal, happy lives, but Yukiteru remains in a void for 10,000 years, unwilling to create a world without Yuno…

Mirai Nikki delivers a powerful and rousing finale, in which everything Yukiteru and Yuno did, and everyone they killed are restored to the time before the game touched them, and it seems to be for the better. The Yuno who sought to reset the game and court Yukkii once more decided on her own to stop the cycle, and while Yukiteru’s love and devotion to her played a part in it, witnessing her mother and father and the other her come together also had an effect. Her father was always away at work, her mother suffered from depression, and she took it out on Yuno until she snapped, locked them up, and let them starve to death. In short, this Gasai Yuno had bad luck. The cards just didn’t fall her way.

But something Yukiteru did in that fragment, whether it was intentional or just the result of his determination, gave Yuno and everyone else a second chance at life, including himself. In the new Third World, the third Yukiteru doesn’t even know Yuno, but Yuno seems troubled by something she forgot, while the Yukiteru who became a god wallows in self-pity in some void, alone save for Murmur…for ten millenia. After all those happy endings, seeing him end up there was equally troubling. So Yukiteru and Yuno are troubled, despite how things worked out – and you know what that means…their story doesn’t end here.


Rating: 4

Car Cameos: The cops show up in black-and-white Toyota Crown GRS180s, while Kurusu and Nishijima pull up in what could be a black Subaru Legacy B6 (judging from the headlamps), an interesting choice of detective’s car.

Mirai Nikki – 25

Yukiteru flees to the school with Minene and Past Yuno, but with her Yukkii diary it doesn’t take long for God Yuno and Murmur to find them. After warning Kurusu about his son’s heart condition, Minene duels with Murmur as Yuno chases Yukkii. Finally, she catches him in a Deus Fragment, an illusory world in which Yuno doesn’t exist and all of his dreams can come true; even his parents are alive and together. Yuno releases Murmur’s seal, making her infinitely more powerful, and Minene is killed. As Yukiteru loses himself in the fantasy world of the fragment, Yuno prepares to kill her defenseless past self…

Throughout this episode, God Yuno struggles with her feelings for the Yukiteru trying to save her from herself, but ultimately she fights them back. She reveals the truth that Yukiteru probably knows, but neither of them have brought up before: Yuno would have loved anyone if she became dependent on him – as she did Yukkii – just as Yukiteru would have loved anyone as long as she protected him. It’s harsh, but it’s true. Still, she doesn’t want to lose him, nor does she want to return to the second world, so locking him away is her answer.

In the fantasy world of the Deus fragment, she even dangles a pliable Wakana before him. Initially, he protests, but once she seals him in he seems to go along with things. After all the crap he’s been through, could he be ready to settle for the dream world Yuno’s given him? Is it better than death, or worse? At what point will he forget his world isn’t real? Minene is dead (again) thanks to a downright frightening Demon Murmur (after a stunningly-animated fight), so it would appear he’s fresh out of allies with godlike powers to free him. We’re very curious to see how this all comes to an end, and if the other diary holders – still alive in this world – still have a role to play beyond Yuno’s prey.


Rating: 3.5

Mirai Nikki – 24

Yuno prepares to kill Yukiteru so Murmur can help her become a god and restart the cycle, but Ninth flies in to save him. Deus brought her back to stop second and Murmur, who try to escape by time warping, but Ninth follows them with Yukiteru in tow, to two years in the past in a third world. Despite Ninth’s warnings, Yukiteru interferes with the third Yuno by calling an ambulance, but Murmur and God-Yuno show up, forcing Ninth to retreat. She urges Yukiteru to choose who he really wants to save.

With the second world about to end and no winner to the game yet, the series had nowhere to go but the past, and so back we go, to a third world where one of two things will happen: either Yuno will kill herself again, restarting that vicious cycle we talked about last week, or Yukiteru will stop her. Both have powerful sidekicks in their corners: it’s great – and indeed actually plausable within this series’ mechanics – to see Ninth alive and kickin’, now infused with Deus. Watching her fly around, manipulate matter and travel back in time like, well, a god, is fun stuff.

Yuno, meanwhile, has Murmur, who as it turns out isn’t playing favorites out of some desire to rebel against Deus. This particular Murmur isn’t beholden to the dying Deus, but to Yuno. When Yuno became a god, Murmur became her loyal servant. We love how things are fitting together in these final weeks. And now we see how Yukiteru could bring back his parents, friends and Yuno: by becoming a god, going back in time, and preventing the game from ever being developed. That’s the key to saving everyone. Is that what he’ll choose to do? Will the ‘rules’ allow that?


Rating: 4

Bakuman 2 – 25 (Fin)

The manuscript for the first chapter of Perfect Crime Club is ready, but Hattori believes the character names and design needs work, as does the title of the manga itself. Ashirogi Muto misses the New Years party to perfect their work, as does Fukuda with a motorcycle shonen one shot that will appear in the same issue. Ashirogi meet their new assistants, Orihara, Moriya, and Shriatori; the latter two get into a debate about why to draw manga.

Takagi finally comes up with the name PCP (Perfect Crime Party), and the team belts out the first chapter. It takes first place in Jack by a landslide, earning more votes than either CROW or +Natural’s first chapters, an encouraging start. Mashiro shows the rankings to his uncle’s grave, but the real challenge has only begun, as the chief editor vows to cancel PCP if it can’t consistently keep up with CROW or +Natural.

First, lets get this out of the way: PCP (the drug) must not be a bug problem in Japan, otherwise, Hattori or someone else would surely have discouraged the use of that particular acronym to title anew manga. That said, this second season was going to end on one of two notes: either PCP took first place, or it didn’t. Victory or defeat. Hope or despair. Thankfully, it took first place, as it was meant to do. What we didn’t expect was for it to win by such a large margin. Nobody did; not even the setback-fatigued authors.

The battle has only begun. The competition is stiffer than ever, with two Niizuma Eiji drawn mangas, one of which is written by a girl who considers Takagi and now Hattori her nemeses. Hell hath no fury and all that. Not to mention Fukuda, who has a much more straightforward mainstream manga about motorcycles that the kids will love.

They also have to contend with a chief editor who is still not happy about Ashirogi quitting Tanto, and even more unhappy that he was rebuked in the vote to allow PCP’s serialization. Moritaka Mashiro is a step closer to making his dreams come true, and PCP has the makings of an anime…but there’s still at least a third season’s worth of tribulations to contend with before that happens. He sure hasn’t made it easy for himself.


Rating: 3.5

Bakuman 2 – 24

The editors in the serialization meeting change their votes one by one until the chief is the only one to vote against it, and Ashirogi Muto’s Perfect Crime Club is approved for serialization. After recieving the news and being congratulated by Team Fukuda, Mashiro finds a USB in the slice of cake Miho made for him, on which is a recording of her singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

The news also comes down that Hattori and Miura will switch places, so Hattori will continue to be Ashirogi’s editor, while Miura takes on Iwase, who is none to happy. After hearing about the initial losing vote to Niizuma, Mashiro decides that Takagi will only give him scripts without layout, so he can better utilize his own imagination. Takagi agrees, and they prepare the first chapter.

Ah, for once, another Ashirogi Muto defeat is turned around at the last minute (or rather, the first minute of this episode), and in an unlikely adaptation of “12 Angry Men” (seven in this case). they get their shot. It’s almost as if the editors had forgotten about the readers and put Ashirogi Muto’s fate in their own hands, rather than those readers, which would have been totally unfair.

But getting those initial doubters to come around will require revision to Perfect Crime Club: enter Hattori, who immediately makes an impact with Ashirogi before officially taking the reins from Miura (who is also impressed with his authors’ professionalism.) When Takagi tells Hattori Mashiro is “saying crazy things”, we worry momentarily, but the drama is quickly dispelled once he explains himself. The ball is in their court.


Rating: 3.5

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 21 (Fin)

Fam and Gisey confront Luscinia as the Grand Exile continues to deteriorate and the fleets within it do battle. Luscinia cites the failure of the last Grand Race to refute Fam’s insistence a second one will succeed, but Fam vows to “keep flying” and believing in her dream no matter what. Moved, Luscinia hands Sara over to them and goes down with te Exile. The Silvius and most of the other ships manage to escape, while the Exile crashes to the earth after clearing the sky. A new era of peace is then ushered in by a second Grand Race.

Luscinia tells Fam he’s glad she’s come, as she’s ultimately able to get Sara to safety. It would seem that in the end, his motivations to use Maestro Sara and the Grand Exile were more nuanced than he led on. Bringing the world to heel wasn’t his sole intention: he wanted to change the world, and apparently, the Grand Exile’s destruction did the trick. Satisfied with how things turned out, Luscinia was content to check out. Did he plan this all along, or was it a sudden change of course, necessitated by his being cornered? Whatever the case, the Last Exile sequel comes to a close with a very happy, almost ideal ending (with a few gratuitous cameos for the fans).

Of the franchise we can say this: when we first saw it, the first series provided some of the best visuals we had seen in anime.This wasn’t quite the equal of the first series in some areas (neither series is perfect), but it was still a visual feast that was great fun to tune in to every week. We can argue about the impracticalities of airship battles or the tremendous luck required for Fam and Gisey’s vespa to dodge every single bullet fired at them, but at the end of the day, it’s good clean fun with a simple message of peace. Overthinking is to be discouraged.


Rating: 3.5

Mirai Nikki – 23

With all other diary holders destroyed, the world will end on July 28 until either Yukiteru or Yuno are killed. After a few days of reflection and guilt for doubting Yuno, Yukiteru decides to express his love for her. The night before the last day of earth, they make love, as Yuno’s diary said they would. However, when Yukiteru brings up Akise’s text about Yuno being the winner of the last game come back to the past, she snaps and tries to kill him. Murmur shows him the past, and how the Yuno he loved and who loved him was killed by her copy.

Now that was awesome. The other diary holders may be dead, but this episode opens up a whole new can of worms by finally confirming that Yuno is far more than she seems. And hey, our man Amano finally gathered the courage to finally get it on with Yuno, even if it was the wrong Yuno. Mirai Nikki got super-metaphysical this week in order for Murmur to show him the truth, but we can hardly fault the means when the ends are this satisfying, and fit so well with what we’ve seen of Yuno and the game.

It would seem they were already in love in the first world, but her plan to become a god for him failed, and he didn’t wake up, so she went back in time to be with him. Only there was that other Yuno in the way, so she killed her, making that mysterious third body. Of course, nothing either she or Yukiteru do will change the fact that they can never really be together, as the world will end if one of them doesn’t always die. Is this a cycle that can be broken? We’re guessing not if Yuno becomes a goddess again…


Rating: 4

Chihayafuru – 25 (Fin)

The club watches dishearteningly on TV as Master Suo utterly dominates his opponent. After the match, everyone feels like they have a tall mountain to climb, but Tsutomu encourages Chihaya, telling her she has at least 20 one-syllable cards to Suo’s 28. Arata also watched the match, trying to visualize playing the Master with his card layout before him. When Taichi calls him, he tells him there are other ways of winning beyond “game sense.” Murao returns to challenges Arata to a game. Miyauchi defends the Karuta Club’s right to its clubroom by stating how quickly its progressed, but promises to double the membership by five; a daunting task that Chihaya is eager to complete.

Queen Wakamiya and Master Suo suck. They suck all the fun and excitement out of karuta with their android-like perfection. It stinks. Worse still, they were never taught by anyone, meaning they will never themselves teach. They’re a couple of useless prima donnas sitting upon the thrones. They need to get out of the way, or they’ll both destroy the game they love so well, much like a forester will lose his purpose if he cuts down all the trees. Just wanted to get that hate out of our systems – today we say goodbye to one of the better character-driven series of the last six months.

There wasn’t a character we didn’t like (beyond the aforementioned Queen and Master, curse them), and whether they were playing karuta or not, they were extremely fun to watch. This final episode is very open-ended, and even leaves open the chance for a sequel series down the road (we’re not currently aware of one), but if it ended here we’d be more than satisfied. Even though we’re sure we’d never be any good at karuta, it was fun to see a depiction of people who were.


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 20

With Maestro Sara and Grand Exile under his control, Luscinia demands an immediate end to the fighting. Millia ignores his threats and prepares to face the Exile and the First Fleet head-on in the Silvius. She sends Fam, Gisey, Dian, and Alvis to rescue Sara. A huge battle ensues, in which both an Anatoray fleet of reinforcements and the return of Sorush’s fleet help the Silvius draw nearer. After Grand Exile’s weapons blast holes in its own fuselage, the Silvius enters the ship itself and launches vanships. Fam, Gisey, Dian and Alvis negotiate the pipes and tunnels of the ship, and finally find Luscinia and anunconscious Sara at its core.

We were operating under the assumption the episode count exclued the two recaps, where 21-2=19. Then, we counted the recaps, making the total episode count 19+2=21. But there are 21 total non-recap episodes, so 21+2=23, with a final epilogue the week after next to technically make it 24. Okay; we’re all good now, this is the second-to-last episode. Whew. With that out of the way, we feel like this is Last Exile stoppage time. Obviously big, bag ol’ “cower to my power or die” Luscinia isn’t going to have his way when all’s said and done. It all comes down to whether he’ll have to be defeated and will die for his ideals, or if he’ll have a change of heart and stop trying to conquer everything.

As of this episode’s end, the odds are somewhat against him. Grand Exile isn’t nearly the indomitable ultraweapon he was making it out to be. Sure, it can destroy another Exile (Millia’s, courtesy of Dio) with one shot, but the cannon that fires it is also destroyed. The tentacles are scary fast and powerful, but they can’t seem to neutralize all the allied fleets that amass. The Exile itself isn’t even complete, and it seems to be deteriorating as the battle progresses. Fam, Gisey, and Dian are right up in his business, and Maestro Alvis is their ace in the hole. So, the question Luscinia needs to ask himself is: does he feel lucky?


Rating: 3.5

Guilty Crown – 22 (Fin)

Shu is moments too late to save Inori, and the newly awakened Mana’s dance begins the fourth apocalypse, as countless people around the world become consumed by crystal. Using his friends’ voids, Shu duels with Gai, but is disarmed and struck down. Just when all hope is lost, Inori calls to him from a crystal flower, and he draws her back out. Her song dissolves the crystal all over the world.

As GHQ headquarters collapses around them, Shu stabs Gai, and the two cross over to the Naath Utopia, which lies beyond the apocalypse. Gai tells him the only way for Mana to be put to rest is by letting her finish her role. Shu returns to the real world, where Inori is almost totally encased with crystal, and eventually disintigrates. Together, theyabsorb the last remnants of the apocalypse virus. Years later, the world is back to normal, Shu survived, and he still pines for his lost love.

Well, it was quite a ride, but all things must end, and end Guilty Crown did. It wasn’t the best ending ever but at least we pretty much knew what was going on, and no last-minute twists or contrivances came out of left field. There was naturally the final boss battle, where Gai who claimed Mana while Shu dug down deep and called upon the power of Inori. Gai was redeemed, as he says in the end he did what he did hoping Shu would come stop him, and he did.

We really dug the new music saved for this finale, including a pretty badass remix of the first ending theme. But we do feel ourselves hard-pressed to offer more than faint praise for this last episode. To be perfectly honest, the trio of sci-fi shows that came around in January (Aquarion, Moretsu and Lagrange) have caused our interest in Guilty Crown to wane. In that sense, it’s a good thing the series is over.


Rating: 3

Chihayafuru – 24

The club converges on Taichi’s house to watch the Queen and Master matches. Yumin loses the first game by five cards, and Wakamiya Shinobu puts her away in the second game by thirteen cards, despite gaining 10 kilos by eating ice cream. Yumin is disheartened, but vows to return next year to challenge her again. The Master match follows, and three-time champ Suo Hisashi beats his opponent in the first two games by the same differentials as Shinobu.

First of all…suddenly making Wakamiya Shinobu a fattie was quite the curveball. Not only did it confirm her eccentric personality, but it introduced a glimmer of a hope for Yumin. Alas, once Shinobu loosened up and realized that her body, not her hakana, was heavy, she was back in her sharp, crisp, impossibly fast rythum, to the point where Yumin couldn’t even contest cards. Regardless of her weight, Shinobu has a special connection to the cards – she loves them and they love her right back.

A child of divorce, her grandmother’s condition for letting her and her mother live in her house was for her to learn a useful skill. Karuta probably wasn’t what she had in mind, but perhaps she saw Shinobu’s love for it. Shinobu wasn’t interested in making friends or joining a club. She only wanted to play karuta. In a rather depressing little moment, Taichi tells himself he can’t dedicatehimself to Chihaya. Whatever buddy, ignoring people is rude!


Rating: 3.5

Mirai Nikki – 22

Akise learns he’s just an observer created by Deus to collect information. He’s about to decompile into raw data when Kousaka finishes turning his diary into an apprentice future diary using Eighth’s phone. Deus releases him back to the real world, where briefly separates Yukiteru and Yuno, using his new Detective’s diary to predict their actions. Hinata warns Yukiteru that even when he’s a god, he won’t be able to bring anyone back. He doesn’t believe her, and kills her, Mao, and Kousaka to get to Eighth. Akise destroys Yuno’s phone, but she has another identical one, and she slits his throat, but before he dies he types a message into his phone that Yukiteru reads…

What if you’ve been working towards something, sacrificing your morals in the process, only to learn that that thing is impossible? Well, as in Yukiteru’s case, you’d probably be in denial, but believe it deep down. But having come so far and killed so many, what does he have to lose by killing a few more? It’s pretty obvious now that as a god, he could bring back the “flesh” of his dead parents and the friends he so quickly and thoughtlessly murdered, but he’ll never be able to bring back their souls. That sucks….

Akise Aru is revealed as another part of the game, and one that was supposed to remain neutral, at that. But he fell in love with Yukiteru, and managed to survive long enough to possibly deliver him the information that will save his life, even if Yukiteru doesn’t want to live anymore at this point. What would it matter to Yukiteru at this point if his Gasai Yuno is really a fake…or even a doppleganger of some kind, who wants to kill him? She’s already succeeded in killing everyone else in the game. We’re curious to see how the series will use the remaining four episodes, which seems like a lot to be left considering how much has happened.


Rating: 3.5

Bakuman 2 – 23

Miura reads Ashirogi’s manuscript for Perfect Crime Club. While at first he finds its crimes petty, the realistic art and serious tone draw him in. He believes it will be a hit. While at any other serialization meeting, it would easily pass, the editors have to determine whether it will be able to beat Crow and +Natural, right now. Their deliberations go on a long time, as Mashiro has a Christmas get-together with Takagi and Kaya. The resulting vote at the meeting is tied 3-3, and the Chief editor with the tie-breaking vote. He believes it’s good, but not enough to win. With the final vote 4-3, Perfect Crime Club will not be serialized by Jack.

Bakuman is full of foolish promises. The idea that Mashiro and Miho cannot possibly be together unless they achieve their dreams is getting to be a major problem. Huge chunks of their youth have been spent away from each other. Yes, they love each other, but the idealism of their promise is starting to strain credulity. Case in point: Takagi and Kaya have Mashiro over for their first Christmas as a married couple. Why isn’t Miho there? Because of that silly promise, made when they were still kids. We know this issue has been covered exhaustively and they both seem to be committed to keeping the promise, but these constant drawbacks make the dreams they seek to achieve seem more like mirages; impossible to ever reach. Time will tell, we guess.

That’s beause of another dumb promise: to create a manga that can defeat Niizuma Eiji, or leave Jack for good. Ashirogi Muto has been through the pressure cooker enough; there was no need to gamble themselves into a corner. We held out hope Perfect Crime Club, which is the most original and best-thought-out manga Ashirogi’s created to date – would at least be given a shot to compete, but the Chief Editor took their gamble to mean that they the editors – and they alone, not the readers – would be the arbitors of the manga’s fate. With that, it seems like Ashirogi Muto’s Jack days are finished, unless Hattroi and Miura have any other tricks up their sleeve.


Rating : 3.5