Mirai Nikki Ep. 3: How to achieve contrast

The anime has the following dilemma: how to make Yuno appear even more deranged? As an audience, we already know that she’s nuts; she’s a stalker, after all. As a result, how do we lull the audience into a false sense of security so that when crazy Yuno shows up, she becomes even more effectively creepy? I can thus understand why the first half of the episode was an incredibly lame “romcom” sequence at an amusement park. Still, I don’t think the nerd-wankery nonsense (“Yuki~! My top fell off!”) were necessary.

This week’s episode took a while to get going. Only after the power went out at Yuno’s home did the anime begin to pique my interest. Seriously though — Yuno pressing her naked chest against Yuki at the park? I was ready to throw in the towel at that point. Like I’ve said above, I get that the anime was aiming to establish a contrast between the two disparate depictions of Yuno, but did this necessarily require indulging in generic anime fanservice?

You know exactly what I’m referring to: Yuki’s eye-rolling commentary on how “Oh, I guess Yuno’s just a little girl after all.” At the end of the day, I guess a nerd has to feel as though he’s still manlier than his yandere girlfriend despite the fact that Yuki needs Yuno’s constant protection. Still, it’s very likely that she was just hamming it up in the fake haunted house. After all, it was her idea to go inside. Acting like a frightened waif who needs a man’s protection is often what it takes to get a guy to warm up to you, and lo and behold, that was exactly what happened. ‘Cause honestly, do any of us really think Yuki could be braver than Yuno in any situation? Of course, making all of these assumptions about Yuno didn’t exactly make the romcom sequences any more interesting to watch.

I rather liked the ferris wheel scene in comparison; not only did it help to develop the kids’ fledgling relationship, but it also made us think that maybe Yuno isn’t so bad after all. This is the false sense of security that the anime needed in order to make yandere Yuno seem even crazier. Am I creeped out by Yuno at the end? Not really, but I can see how having her act like a nutjob for an entire episode would have been over-saturation. At some point, we’re going to grow numb of her antics and it shouldn’t happen at just the third episode.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a Yuno convert. Compared to most anime with their blushing, doting maidens, it was certainly a billion times more interesting to watch a crazy girl stalk some dorky introvert. Having said that, however, I still don’t think Yuno’s an awesome character that I’d root for or anything. At this point, I’m just hoping for a School Days-esque finish for our couple. I don’t know what breaking the “causality continuum” means, but hey, maybe one of the dead bodies in Yuno’s strange room is Yuki! In any case, this would certainly be paradoxical. Here’s to hoping.

Everything else
• The Deus Ex Machina scenes are really lame and pointless. Who the hell was he talking to? Why was he just narrating to himself? Basically, his role was to inform the audience that important shit is important, but this is nothing that needed to spelled out. The screen was shaking, Yuno’s diary erased its happy outlook, the other diary-owners were freaking out — we get it, Yuki opening the door was bad juju. As a result, it was not remotely necessary for Mr. Plastic Face to give us a running commentary on the blatantly obvious.

• Yuki always ends up screwing himself, doesn’t he? Last week, he rushed himself headfirst into his captor’s arms. This week, he apparently spoiled his own happy ending by being such a curious cat. Still, I’d like to know how he and Yuno would’ve gotten a happy ending had Yuki not opened the door. Had things stayed the same, were the other diary-owners, i.e. everyone after Yuki’s skin, just going to give up? Are we going to get some alt-timeline OVA to show how this would’ve happened or is this something that will be explained later on in the series?

• I don’t really have much to say about any of the scenes regarding Ninth. So I guess she was orphaned by war and tragic backstory is really tragic. At the moment, however, there’s just not really that much subtext to discern from her story other than to say really obvious nonsense about how her difficult upbringing gave her the conviction to survive. Don’t get me wrong — her scenes were mildly interesting, but unless you want me to give you an episode summary, there’s just not much for me to say about them. Her moments in the spotlight were neither exemplary or terrible.

23 thoughts on “Mirai Nikki Ep. 3: How to achieve contrast

    1. E Minor Post author

      Shrug, I can see how the ferris wheel scene was hammy too, but I still have the impression that the haunted house scene was more calculated.

      Reply
  1. wanderer

    The kinds of hypotheticals you’re thinking about near the end of your post will actually get answered over the course of the story. I actually think more planning went into getting those worked out carefully than went into anything else (including the story itself, sigh).

    Without having seen it I’ll assume it’s following the manga closely: in the manga I assumed Yuno deliberately undid her top but was legitimately afraid in the haunted house; the former as a calculating move and the latter due to some mix of guilt and anxiety over what’s in her house. Yay ambiguity and unknowability.

    But if they’re showing the eye-plucking scene they’re also pulling in material from the side-story manga, which should help the main story make more sense.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I just don’t get why she’d be legitimately scared in the haunted house. The girl is living in a gloomy house with dead bodies stinking up one of the rooms. If you’re not scared by actual dead bodies in your own home, why would some dinky faux haunted house do the trick? As for Yuno undoing her top on purpose, yeah, I guess it’s likely, but clothes always fall off of female characters in anime that it’s really hard to tell either way. Of course, I might’ve just missed an obvious clue or something ’cause I was really bored of the episode at that particular point in time. I really didn’t care about the episode until the whole “causality continuum” nonsense.

      Reply
      1. wanderer

        At least in the manga there’s no explicit unfastening, but it seemed like a natural progression: bounce them to get his attention, no luck, so she goes double-or-nothing.

        Agree-to-disagree on the haunted-house thing: if she’s living in a house like she is and seemingly hasn’t cleaned that room up (and seems to be generally avoiding it) I don’t find the reaction in the haunted house that unbelievable.

        Reply
        1. AidanAK47

          On top of which being scared of the supernatural and being scared of people are two different things. As one knows that all kinds of yandere styled violence has no effect on the undead or ghosts. I even read another story which included a girl who dealt with psychopaths and murderers all the time but still couldn’t handle ghost stories.
          It’s basically a matter of mentality. I for one think it’s not far fetched that the all invincible Yuno has at least one thing she can’t stand.

          Reply
          1. E Minor Post author

            Yes, but a hokey haunted house is also another thing altogether and I wouldn’t put it up there with legitimately creepy ghost stories. On a related note, if we all think she undid her top on purpose and hammed it up on the ferris wheel, it shouldn’t really be all too farfetched either that she pretended to be scared in the haunted house. After all, she was the one who suggested that they go inside. We could just write off the entire trip to the amusement park as calculated on her part.

            Reply
  2. idiffer

    yuki may be screwing himself, but he at least knows how to throw darts, so he’s not a complete definition of uselesness . btw, he looks like a drug addict like 70% of the time.
    PS. fuck it, i can’t take it anymore. i’m just going to marathon the manga and be done with it.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Aw, what’s the fun in that? I guess I’ll be the only person who doesn’t know how the story ends.

      Reply
      1. idiffer

        well, it’s not set in stone yet. it’s just that the previous time i shared my thoughts on mirai nikki, some manga reader told me i was wrong in my predictions. it’s infuriating. i can’t just post whatever i think without those ppl who read the manga haunting me.
        + i think inushinde didn’t read the manga and is blogging the anime quiet nicely. don’t know about cart rider, but his posts are interesting or funny most of the time.

        Reply
  3. V

    I’d have to agree that the ‘YUKKIII MY BIKINI TOP CAME OFF’ scene was a bit unnecessary. And Yuno is just beyond hope now, she scared the crap out of me at the end when she peered through the mail box and said ‘good night…’ Urghhh.

    Also, gahhh this anime also has a thing for eye horror doesn’t it? Holy crap, poor Ninth!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      And Yuno is just beyond hope now, she scared the crap out of me at the end when she peered through the mail box and said ‘good night…’ Urghhh.

      That’s the problem for me. I guess I don’t have a good imagination ’cause I’ve never found anything in the anime style scary. Same reason I was sorely disappointed by the Fatal Frame series.

      Reply
      1. V

        Probably because I’m a sucker for quick little scares like that. I was too much of a wimp to try marathoning Higurashi all night last Halloween.

        Hmmm, Fatal Frame…. Girls with cameras that can capture ghosts, right? That’s what we call Project Zero here in Europe (for some reason). I have one of the games, and I played it, then got freaked out when I almost got killed by this ghost that seemed to come up right behind me and barely give me any time to capture it.

        For some genuine video game scares, might I recommend Haunting Ground, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Clock Tower 3?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Amnesia is so easy to abuse once you understand the monster mechanics. Plus flying old man dong. So it’s not really scary to me. I’m more into the games like Silent Hill and Siren.

          Reply
  4. idiffer

    @E minor
    so even higurashi didn’t scare you? it was the only anime that impressed me in the horror genre.
    @V
    I marathonned higurashi at night, lol) after that i had to watch some shitty romcom series about a moon princess or smth just to get back to normal.
    mirai nikki didn’t scare me one bit, really. to thwart higurashi will be a hard feat to accomplish for any anime…

    Reply
    1. V

      Hmm, I don’t think Mirai Nikki will thwart Higurashi, but we’ve yet to see it do so.

      To me, Higurashi is so scary to watch at night because you get so involved in the story that even the slightest little sounds freak you out. That’s scarier than any Paranormal Activity or [insert any overblown gorey horror movie here], in my opinion.

      Reply
  5. Bern

    Regarding the horror anime genre and scariness

    When i think about Higurashi I remember the mystery elements and characters being the highlights.. for me, instead of scary i thought there were a lot more disturbing scenes. I know the animation budget limited the effect gained from these scenes.
    However when thinking of Umineko, I feel the same way.
    (I’ve read 1 of the higurashi sound novels and 7 episodes of Umineko)

    Ghost Hound is probably my personal favorite of the genre largely because of its sound design(reminiscent of lain).. it helped create an atmosphere that i found pretty damn eerie(it also dealt with psychology which i found interesting)..
    Take note that it was aided by animation it received from production ig

    It’s all subjective though.. if you can gain any level of immersion in a story it can be scary.

    For some it’s hard to gain that immersion through animation.
    Cheap jump scares can always get you though.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I think the exaggerated faces ruined Higurashi. I know it’s supposed to be disturbing, but after watching stuff like Martyrs, it’s hard to see cartoon babes being flayed as disturbing.

      I really got into the mood of Ghost Hound but when it got to the point where there were ghost bugs flying around, I just couldn’t take it seriously anymore.

      Reply

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