After being given a week to think it over, I get what episode 6 was trying to do. It put Yuuki in the one place he thought he was comfortable and added the layer of unease and fear to it. It appeared on the surface like a happy, if a touch dysfunctional, family home, but had the layer of crazy bubbling away beneath the surface, ready to break at anytime. It didn’t really succeed, mainly because it committed the cardinal sin of any entertainment by simply being boring, but at least it fits within the context of the show. Plus, when you consider what that episode was trying to do, it makes this episode that much better.
The idea behind this episode, and the last episode, and was it took the generic anime family home and made it a creepy place. Where everything on the surface might look normal but really it’s just a constant battle of wits and lucky breaks to prevent the characters from being electrocuted or poisoned. I guess this was also the reasoning by making these episode’s token psycho be a child. Something that, on the surface, is harmless and cute, but there’s the constant attempts to brutally kill you off. Compared to the series so far, where all hell frequently broke loose, Yuki really tried to keep everything under control. This is where his mum lives. He specifically orders Yuno not to bring the brutal murders of the game so far into his home.
Of course though, he can’t stop it from happening. It fits into the story of him constantly trying to prevent these crazy things from happening, but always ends up going along with the flow of events. It’s rather fitting, giving the warning bomb lady imparted to him at the end of the episode, that the one who ended up actually hurting his mum was Yuno herself. When he tries to confront Yuno and stop her from doin’ yo thang, it backfires and they almost get killed. It’s only when he accepts the flow of Yuno’s mind and attacks the kid himself does he succeed. It’s back to the central story here. The Yuuki’s only control he has over his own destiny is when he leaves it to the hands of Yuno.
I really like this show, have I mentioned that yet? I love how focused it is and how it sticks to its themes and strengths. Take the kid from this episode. Yes his knowledge of the conductivity of water when salt is poured in stretches the sense of disbelief a bit, as does the idea that he somehow fit a gas mask under his hat without anyone noticing, but as a character in the Future Diary universe he still works. It even did the classic Future Diary thing of humanising his actions. His attempted murders are his cry for attention when his life previously had been with two abusive cultist parents who totally ignored his child genius status. Guilty Crown, take note: You can have crazy psychotic villains and still make them human characters. Every character in Future Diary has had their motives explained so far and not with a handwavy excuse that they are ‘just like that’, with maybe the possible exception of Yuno.
In fact, let’s talk about Yuno. Despite anime fandom being apparently quite knowledgeable in what a yandere is, their prevalence in anime has been suspect in their absence. Maybe I’m just not watching the right shows, but off the top of my head the only other ones I can think of are School Days, which I haven’t seen, and that one from Shuffle (maybe asread just have a thing for yanderes?). Future Diary is the first anime I’ve watched with an almost textbook yandere. Crazy, possessive, clingy girlfriend who would happily dispatch anything that would get in the way of your relationship, including you yourself if you tried to break away. I’ve never really given the character archetype any thought before, but I can see how it works it context with Future Diary. Yuno is the imaginary perfect girlfriend gone horribly wrong. Like the titular Future Diary itself, it’s something that seems like a dream come true but only comes back to make your life worse.
Which is why I find it rather baffling that people fetishise Yuno. I mean sure, she’s attractive. She has to be for the trope to work. She has to appear like she could be desirable if it wasn’t for the psychotic side her possessiveness brings. But it’s the yandere side people find attractive. While it’s true that I may find Senjogahara from Bakmonogatari to be the sexiest thing since sliced sex, a rather possessive girlfriend in her own right, it’s the domineering side that’s being sexualised there. With Yuno, it’s the mental instability. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the show or anything, because she still works perfectly fine in context. I just find it bizarre that people fetishise the very thing that’s supposed to be off-putting about her. It’s like thinking the Future Diary would be great because your freedom over your own life has been destroyed, idolising the very thing the show is trying to say is bad. I dunno, whatever you guys are into I guess.