Future Diary: A Critical Analysis part 11 (Episodes 21 and 22)
Welcome to the next part of my detailed critical analysis of Mirai Nikki/Future Diary. As always, let me state that the point of this series is not to be hateful toward this anime. I actually really like this Future Diary. It's just that I'm trying to practice being more objective and skeptical. With that in mind, please enjoy my thoughts on episodes 21 and 22.
Episode 21: Personal Identification Number
A lot happened in this installment of Future Diary, including the deaths of Ninth and Eleventh. There were few significant problems that I could find in this episode. One recurring issue is the way this show frames the character of Ninth. It makes her seem like a reasonable person who has the right to lecture and judge others for character flaws. In reality, Ninth is a terrorist who is much of a crazy killer as Yuno. Yet she gets so self-righteous with Yukiteru. I'm not saying she had no good points to make with regards to Yukiteru and his wish. However, just because she has insight about that doesn't mean she is a good person. We as viewers shouldn't be viewing Ninth as some kind of hero. One could argue that it was too convenient for the bank vault to be the Gasai Bank. However, the anime did set up the Gasai couple as elite bankers, mentioning in multiple episodes before this. Therefore, I think it's alright that the Eleventh chose the Gasai Bank. It's still weird that Yuno's eyes would be registered in the retina scanner though. That was a bit too contrived. There's no logical reason the Gasai couple would include their daughter's eyes. Other than that, the episode was pretty solid.
Regarding Yuno in this episode, I have a note to make. I'm continually shocked at what a cold-blooded liar she is. She's lying to Yukiteru about the winner of the game being able to bring back the dead. She already knows firsthand that it's impossible. So, no matter how much this lie will hurt him, Yuno doesn't care. She's also perfectly ok with killing people despite knowing there is no way to bring them back later. This girl is a real piece of work. Her psychopathic tendencies never cease to amaze me.
Episode 22: Disconnection
This is the episode where Akise confirms the truth with Deus: that his power cannot bring back the dead. Some may point out that this is an arbitrary limitation of Deus' powers. But we've known for a while that Deus' powers are finite and limited, and he's never claimed to be all-powerful. The line had to be drawn somewhere. I don't think it's really a problem that this limitation exists, and I don't think it's too arbitrary or unexpected.
Another important thing that happened in this episode was the reveal that Akise is a specially created servant of Deus. He's been given the illusion of free will, but everything he's done has been part of Deus' plan. Akise's job was to monitor the diary owners and keep track of certain information for Deus. However, Deus says he will recognize Akise as an independent individual if he can provide one example of something he did according to his own will. The answer Akise arrives at is that he got his own future diary from Eighth. This was not part of the plan, so Deus acknowledges Akise and allows his continued existence. But I want to talk about something else that happened in that interaction. We need to address Akise's love for Yukiteru.
The problem that arises here is that Japan is a homophobic society, and anime's representation for LGBT+ characters has been terrible. With Akise, Future Diary had a chance to present an interesting gay character. But they failed to make this character's love truly powerful, because they decided to attribute it to Deus' plan and not Akise's true will. Deus states that Akise's love for Yukiteru was a fabrication. This was an irritating move on the part of the creators. I think it's rather cowardly. All that being said, there is still a way to appreciate Akise as a gay character with a valid love.
Akise says something interesting to Deus after being recognized by him as an individual:
"An observer should only observe. But that wouldn't be truly moving forward. This time, I will change the future myself. Even if everything up till now was under your instruction, from here on, the will driving my actions is my own. I will help Yukiteru."
In other words, Akise is now the master of his own actions, and he still chooses to help Yukiteru. He still loves Yukiteru. For the short remainder of his life, he does everything he can in the name of his love. That's beautiful. As you can see, Akise can still be appreciated as a gay anime character.
The real issue with episode 22 was the unbelievable stupidity and cowardice of Yukiteru. He killed his own friends, who had been trying to save him from Yuno's influence. Despite being told that bringing the dead back to life was impossible, Yukki refused to even seriously consider that as a possible truth. This is just stupid on a whole new level. Even if he believed they had betrayed him and seriously wounded Yuno, killing his friends makes no sense. I know Yukiteru was being manipulated by Yuno, so the fault isn't entirely his. But some share of responsibility still goes to him. To put it simply, Yukiteru's stupid actions make it difficult for audiences to continue to care about him. That's an issue.
The remainder of the episode was intense as Yuno and Akise faced off. There was no way Yuno could have won without that trick where she used the other Yuno's future diary as a substitute. Even as he's dying, Akise finally realizes the truth about Yuno. With the last of his strength, he tries to tell Yukiteru, but Gasai finishes him off first. It's important to note that Yukki saw part of the message Akise had typed out. However, he didn't see all of it or fully understand it. And he didn't bother to look into it, but instead trusted Yuno.
Yuno and Yukiteru are the last ones standing.
Takeaways from These Episodes
There were definitely a few issues in episodes 21 and 22. I've already described them, and I've briefly restated them in the table graph below. However, I haven't yet mentioned any of the strengths of these episodes. There are a few of those too.
As I frequently point out, the OST for Future Diary is amazing. I love listening to the instrumental music. It was as exciting and emotional as ever in these two episodes. The visuals are also good, with intense action scenes, crazy face expressions, and colorful violence. I'll always love all the character designs in this anime. Besides audio and visual, there are other strengths too. For example, the hints and foreshadowing given about Yuno and her identity are superb. The lack of significant plot holes in Yuno's plan from start to finish is also impressive. There's always some good writing to be found in Future Diary.
Glorifying Ninth (Ep 21)
Yuno's eyes conveniently registered(Ep 21)
Issues with Akise (Ep 22)
No huge plot holes
Yukiteru being terrible (Ep 22)
Use of foreshadowing and hints to the mystery of Yuno
Thanks for reading~