Despite the grim subject matter and violent deaths that make up the main plot of Mirai Nikki, it’s hard to argue that it’s a somber show. I think once you have a girl obsessed with explosives escape on a motorcycle in a cloud of smoke and a blind guy think he’s an eyeball themed superhero, you’ve abandoned any sense of dark, gritty realism. This world is less like the slightly dystopian Steins;Gate, purged of all color and humanity with only a few vestiges of true personality remaining, and more like the murk of Gotham City where colorful villains run amok and cause as much chaos as possible.
Mira brought up an interesting point, that Mirai Nikki is pretty much the antithesis of Fate/Zero. The two have a very similar premise, but the execution and tone are vastly different, with Mirai Nikki pandering to the audience’s campy sensibilities more than Fate/Zero. If we’re going to use food comparisons, Fate/Zero would be a perfect tiramisu, bathing in subtle flavor nuances with just a pinch of dark chocolate on top to provide a bold contrast to the otherwise smooth amalgamation of chocolate and espresso. On the other hand, Mirai Nikki would be a plate of roughly made, yet perfectly delectable pancakes smothered in syrup, difficult to eat in large quantities.
With that said, the dark back story for Sixth is mismatched and rather ill-fitting with the over the top hyperviolence that Mirai Nikki wallows in shamelessly. While rape isn’t any stranger to lower budget fare by any means, I still think of Mirai Nikki as a bloodier, slightly less enjoyable Batman than I do a grindhouse flick with few redeeming elements.
I guess my complaint is only present because of the other over the top display demonstrated in the episode: Twelfth and his super sentai-esque tag team of hypnotized followers dressed exactly like him with different colored retina costumes. When you have something like that, any sort of development as heinous as a rape back story will be looked at with a bit more scrutiny.
I have no familiarity with the manga, so I’m not going to assume this is a problem with the show itself, but the lack of a consistent kind of tone doesn’t do it any favors.
I guess what I’m trying to say through this rather oblique post is that Mirai Nikki veers between borderline comedic overkill and faintly serious plot with reckless abandon, and it diminishes the impact of both considerably if you don’t know whether it’s supposed to be taken seriously or not… which I certainly assume is the latter here. Once again, maybe it’s adopting from the grindhouse aesthetic of playing everything in a ham-handed, overexcited fashion with all the restraint of an average eight year old American child gorging him/herself on candy after Halloween, regardless of how serious some of the subject matter is intended to be. Though I guess it does take skill to give a character a tragic past and still make her entirely unlikable. Kudos, I suppose?
As far as being gratuitous goes, Mirai Nikki sure takes a sizable portion of the cake, way more than it needs to. This is hardly a bad thing though, and instead plays to the show’s strengths; namely the silly action, the Yuuki/Yuno relationship flip-flopping between that of a Bonnie and Clyde duo and Annie Wilkes/Whatever the fuck the author’s name in Misery was, and the cool opening song. I suppose it’s an unintended consequence that this cheesiness would carry over to the rape scenes, and make them ill-fitting among the more colorful set pieces. While it’s far from perfect, it doesn’t commit enough missteps to warrant REALLY earning a stern talking to in an indirect fashion through means of a post. So yeah, brownie points.