12 Days of Anime begins today. Be prepared for an absolute truckload of posts before Christmas given all 3 of The Cart Drivers’ writers are taking part.
Fandom fantasising over the desirability of certain characters baffles me. For example, in the land of the shoujo romance, you have the abusive haughty asshole who mentally and/or physically hurts the female lead being considered the hottest thing ever and threats of rape are just lol so funny he’s just awkward, he’s so dreamy. On the female character side, you have the queen of the yanderes, Gasai Yuno, except there’s a key little difference here. The stereotypical alpha male is just an asshole. Yuno is flat out psychotic.
In the early episodes of Future Diary, people were genuinely angry that Yuki wasn’t accepting Yuno’s advances. To me it seemed cut and dry. She was a psychotic killer, so that’s a rather significant mark against her being ideal girlfriend material. But to these people, Yuno was loyal and loving, having eyes only for them and being kick ass to boot. It lent itself to the lazy fantasiser, who wants a girlfriend to fall for them without any effort on their part.
But was the show itself presenting Yuno as ideal girlfriend material? They did go on two dates together, and all went pretty well. Yuno lost her bikini top in one. In the other, she put on lots of pretty dresses. OK there was the small issue of her dead parents in her house, but that’s part of the ideal girlfriend. She will destroy anything that comes to get you, but to alone you she is the Yamato Nadeshiko. This Japanese idealised version of the perfect girlfriend, just coming in a slightly different fashion.
This rather rubbed me the wrong way, because it went against what I felt the show was trying to do. Yuki running away from his issues and failing to accept reality kept shoving him in further shit. Handing yourself over to Yuno would be the perfect way to abscond all responsibility. I must admit I also didn’t have a whole lot of confidence that Future Diary would cover this issue properly because Future Diary is insane. Completely and utterly batshit insane, ignoring logic for the sake of the grand and the crazy. However, just because it adheres to Future Diary Logic doesn’t mean it can’t also tell a fine story within its insane general proceedings.
So what does happen when Yuki finally gives in and lets himself be taken in fully by Yuno? She drugs him, drags him to an abandoned hotel and ties him up in a chair so he can’t escape, makes him pee into a bottle, and generally does all the things you would expect a complete and utter loony to do within this fucking insane world of Future Diary logic. That final shot where Yuno is perched on a throne in her underwear with the skulls of her parents in each hand is such a perfect moment that defines why I loved that show. It was bonkers, but managed to tell its story using those bonkers tools.