That oversized head. I know I mentioned it last post, but it’s worth repeating again because of that scene where the…thing had to strip down. That was creepy in an Apocalypse Zero kind of way. Look at the difference in size between their heads! You could fit 20 of his heads inside hers.
Another thing I mentioned in the last post was how consistently well paced the series had been so far. I guess I jinxed it then, because suddenly the creators realised they had rather more material left to adapt than they realised and bowled through what felt like 3 episodes worth of content. In fact, it wasn’t even that so much as the cuts between scenes were all over the place. Character motivations were introduced and resolved way too quickly, which is generally something Future Diary does really well. It felt like there was a whole load of character interactions and backstory that was meant to occur prior to this episode but somehow got cut out.
Take the above scene for example. I didn’t comment on the whole Yuno has buried herself in the ground thing in the last post because I had no idea what that was supposed to turn into. However I was struggling to understand why it was considered even remotely relevant at the time. Why would Yuki care if there was some other Yuno at some point? The only Yuno he’s ever known is this brand of psycho. Turns out Yuki completely agreed with me and the dilemma was resolved within about 30 seconds. That’s cool and all, but it rendered the dramatic cliffhanger at the end of the last episode irrelevant. There’s obviously more to that story though. Knowing Future Diary it will be something insane, like Yuno vomited out her own bones and replaced them with handmade ones with Yuki’s name inscribed upon each one.
Scrubbing my mind of the image I just created, the main chunk of this choppy episode surrounded the relationship between Minine and her detective friend. This was where the main disconnect for me. People who have read the manga highlight that there was more development of their romantic subplot in the manga. Generally I like Minine, but I like how she’s a side character who involves herself in the plot when it feels suitably dramatic to do so. Tossing in her romantic subplot would, to me, have felt to be getting too far away from the main story. But not doing so led to these barrage of revelations about their relationship feel all over the place. I know they had some chemistry going, but a random proposition? And then he suddenly gets shot down barely 10 minutes later? I know it was a death flag and all, but I didn’t understand his reasoning at all.
As much as this episode felt completely messy, there was still plenty in here that I liked a lot. Norio Wakamoto’s reveal that the game was cooked up by the mayor was an interesting reveal, because it answered a question I had been wondering for a while as whether Yuki was inherently special because Dues was in his mind. Not the case. Yuki was just one of many, except where Yuki just accepted that CGI Norio Wakamoto was in his mind, the mayor questioned Dues and eventually tried to spin Dues’ problems into his own plans. From what minimal characterisation we have gotten of the mayor, that’s really fitting for what we know of him. Which speaks to strong characterisation in general, but we knew that about Future Diary already.
What was much more interesting was the sheer concept that Dues has problems. Yes he’s dying and stuff, but the general idea I’ve been running with is that Dues was running this game simply for shits and giggles. Not the case, he’s got his own agenda and Murmur is working some completely different agenda against him. I like how political their conversations seem to be. It’s like they both know they’re fucking with the rules of the game, but neither of them will call each other out on it directly. Plus there’s the question of what their agendas really are. A lot of the aura Dues gives out is like he’s and old codger who can’t keep up with these young ‘uns of today, frequently giving in to people and simply agreeing with the things they suggest to him. For the master of Time and Space and Cottage Cheese that he is, when he falls asleep in his throne when you talk to him, he’s not particularly intimidating. So congrats to Future Diary for managing to make a giant CGI monstrosity a flawed and relatable character. But yeah, Future Diary does good characterisation. What else is new.
And then there was this. I don’t have anything in particular to say about this, beyond the fact that it was pretty fucking awesome. Remember back in episode 15 where we went without Yuno for maybe half an episode and the elation upon seeing her return was pretty strongly felt? This episode managed to do that with Yuki. That’s some big achievement for a character who earlier in the series was possibly one of the wimpiest male leads in anime ever.