Ridley Scott intended for his cyberpunk/future noir film Blade Runner to have an ambiguous, non cut-and-dry ending, but the original American theatrical release in 1982, the studio insisted on a cheesy voiceover by Harrison Ford at the end, essentially pulling a “perfect happy ending” out of nowhere. The 2007 Final Cut, which we were lucky enough to experience on the big screen, ditched that voiceover and restored the open ending.
Why are we bringing up Blade Runner’s alternate endings? Because for us, this Future Diary OVA was that voiceover ending: tacked-on, cheesy, and unnecessary. We didn’t have a powerful need for a happy ending; the original one was fine. We were fine with Yuno and all of the others involved in the game returning to their normal lives, and the ambiguity of Yuno kinda sorta remembering someone. We were fine with Yukiteru brooding in the void for millennia with only Murmur and his brain for company.
Okay, so maybe we’re being a bit harsh. It’s been over two years since Mirai Nikki wrapped, and for many it was probably a thrill to see all the characters alive and well simply enjoying regular life. There were probably quite a few who relished Yuno picking at the scab in her brain until she finally ended up in the position to get her memories fully restored, enabling her to find Yukkii and reunite with him. And that’s fine. We’re just saying it wasn’t really our thing.
Rating: 4 (Fair)
Stray Observation: The strange realm in which Yuno races to the Murmur holding her memories looks a bit like Orphan’s Cradle, the final dungeon in FFXIII…only less pretty.
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.
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?
‘Nurse’ Uryuu / Ninth is acting as a coach for Yuki to toughen him up, claiming she has a plan to defeat Mar and Ai / Seventh. In reality, she doesn’t, but she must make him think there is so it shows up in his diary. Yuno watches from afar, and is concerned when Yuki’s dad shows up. Her concerns are justified; his dad is only there to destroy Yuki’s phone so his debt will be forgiven. But Yuki is blinded by happiness and the prospect of his parents remarrying. Finally meeting with the Seventh duo, his dad even manages to break Yuki’s phone, but it’s a decoy; the real ones are hidden in Ai’s bouquet. When the tower they met in starts to crumble, Yuki has to choose between Yuno and his dad’s hand to save his life…
What? Really? Yuki’s deadbeat dad shows up this week? Was that really necessary? Isn’t there enough going on? Yuki’s mom has been presumably around this whole time, but we’ve only seen her in a few episodes. Even more aggravating, Yuki goes right back into weak little weenie mode when he sees said dad. Hoping your parents will remarry is all nice and good, but getting him to promise same without any input from his mother? All so they can “see the stars?” What is he, seven? Uryuu tells him he’s too quick to give up and let his weaknesses discourage him. In this case, his weakness is a longing for a happy, complete family; something both his enemies and his father are all too happy to exploit.
Unfortunately for Yuki, his dad isn’t really interested in reconnecting this week. He’s three million yen in debt, and someone – presumably a diary holder like Eleventh – has offered to eliminate that debt if he breaks Yuki’s cellphone. His dad may not be aware that will kill his son, but who cares? He’s a weasel. And his continuous cheating to beat his son in a variety of challenges set by Uryuu doesn’t help his likability. The two saving graces of this episode were Uryuu – who was surprisingly civil and helpful this week – and Yuno, who proves that even without her phone, her instincts vis-a-vis Yuki are almost always right. When Yuki has to talk her down from stabbing his dad – only for her to start adding poison to his tea – was one of the more gut-busting scenes of the series. She may be nuts, but she’s not stupid, and as always, is trying to protect Yuki no matter what.
Amano’s school is bombed by the terrorist Minene Uryuu, AKA the Ninth. She then holds the school hostage and promises to finish the job until they hand him and Yuno over. They do, but the Fourth, a policeman, arrives and evens the odds. They’re able to defeat the Ninth with teamwork, but she escapes before they can kill her. Amano, Yuno, and the Fourth agree to form a “Diary Alliance”.
A school being bombed: we remember that about the brief OVA preview for this show. Turns out the perpetrator is a psychopathic pink maid with purple hair who was able to fill a school with bombs and mines. She wants godhood, and she’s good and ready to kill whoever gets in her way. This episode did a good job establishing just how much danger Amano is in, but also how his future/destiny is always changing as his actions deviate from what the diaries say.
And it isn’t only his phone. Everyone has a special diary that gives them an edge. Amano’s sweats the details; Yuno’s is all about him, whom she calls “Yukkii”, while the detective and bomb maid have diaries of investigation and escape, respectively. It’s a neat plot device that I hope the series continues to use in clever ways. It is indeed an interesting narrative that comes right out and gives you an outcome, and then puts the onus of preventing that outcome on the characters. It’s also nice that they didn’t forget about Amano’s prowess with darts, which will surely keep coming in handy moving forward.