Mirai Nikki – 16
“Nothing good comes from digging up the past.”
– Uryuu Minene
If you’ll forgive the hyperbole, I think that was the best Mirai Nikki episode for quite a while, and one of the best of the series so far. For the first time in several weeks everything was firing on all cylinders, with the mix of controlled chaos, memorable imagery and black humor just right. This was Mirai Nikki at its trashy best. It also benefited from a big dose of Ninth, who’s probably my favorite character in the anime version of the story (which seems to suit her character better than the manga does) and the introduction of Yukiteru’s father Kurou (Koyasu Takehito).
Kurou helps things in a number of ways. His character changes the emotional and tactical nature of the story, opening up some interesting angles we haven’t seen yet. He’s also voiced by an industry stalwart and major talent in Koyasu-san, who brings just the right tone of sardonic neediness to the role. He joins the story at the hospital where Yuki and Yuno are recovering from their injuries, and we get a little background on why he and Rea divorced, and on why Yuki is so keen to see them reunited. We also see that Ninth (as part of an agreement with Nishijima and Akise) is acting as Yuki’s “coach” – helping him to get stronger so, presumably, he can take care of himself without needing to rely on his on-again, off-again (sane-again, insane-again) girlfriend.
Like the masterful but insanely frenetic 5th episode, this one acts as a sort of perfect storm of strategizing, with several different plots and stratagems converging around Yukiteru. There’s Seventh – who have apparently decided to keep Yuki and Yuno’s phones intact as a means of information gathering and potentially taking down the other surviving diary holders. In response to this we have Akise, who devises a plan to use Yuki’s diary for misinformation, using Minene to convince Yuki that she has a secret plan to take down Seventh, thus buying time before Seventh would consider destroying Yuki’s phone. Akise also uses Nishijima to convince Yuki that Seventh is hiding at the “Mother’s Home”, the orphanage run by Eighth. And atop this we have Kurou, who confesses to Yuki that he has three million yen in debt (and that it was his mismanagement of money that led to Rea divorcing him) and is later spotted by Yuno, going through Yuki’s things at the hospital and telling someone on the phone that he’ll destroy Yuki’s phone soon, presumably in exchange for the money to repay his debts.
Again, we see a situation where Yuno is both Yuki’s greatest friend and greatest curse. It’s her paranoia that leads to the discovery of what Kurou is planning – she seems convinced he’s working with the still unseen Eleventh. But then she thinks nothing of killing Yuki’s father right in front of him – first by stabbing, then casually (and hilariously) attempting to poison Kurou’s tea without even bothering to hide it from Yuki. Yuni’s thinking is single-minded to the point of being alien – she seems quite taken by how much fun her Yukkii is having playing the absurd penalty game Minene has devised for him to compete against his Dad, but it’s a perfectly natural assumption to her that she should kill him in front of Yuki without a second thought. Yuki for his part seems perfectly willing to risk his life to save his father from Seventh, even after he finds out the truth – all in the quest to see the stars with his parents at last.
While Yukiteru is still undeniably weak (two chin-ups worth) a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and there’s a sort of resolve that comes to him at last in this episode – that he needs to take control of his fate by whatever means necessary. This comes in part through Ninth’s help, no question, though just what’s motivating her at this stage of the game isn’t clear – – and also from seeing yet another figure he should be able to depend on (Kurou) brought low by his own weakness Also not clear is who “Ta-kun” is, except that they spend a lot of time coordinating with Marco over the phone. When Yuki and Yuno are lured by Seventh to the Sakurami Tower to hand over Kurou or else, Ta-kun apparently blows up the building with all hands – including Seventh – inside it, leaving us with a vicious cliffhanger and Yukiteru with a terrible decision to make…