Part of Mirai Nikki’s appeal is its continued molding of seemingly innocuous actions perpetrated by seemingly upstanding people into a depraved, quivering mass of bloody violence bordering on the uncomfortable and fetishistic. It constantly shapes our perception to fit its own demented universe, where the surface always belies the real personality underneath, and absolutely nothing is as it seems at first glance.
Even if the events are so laughably over the top and grotesque that they can’t possibly elicit anything but a barely-stifled laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the situations presented (Robotic hounds, I’m looking at you), the series does well at changing our expectations to fit what it gives us. The biggest strength of this is the ability to suspend disbelief on its own terms, changing the audience’s thought process from a slightly jaded “Pfft, that could never happen,” to “That actually doesn’t seem too implausible given what we’ve seen so far.” It succeeds a good portion of the time at making me think that most of what goes on could reasonably happen in this universe, as far as both the events and the general level of stupidity are concerned. And even when I’m not convinced, (Like at one point in this episode, but I’ll get to that later) it’s still a damn good time that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.
I daresay that for a thriller that realizes just how camp it is and milks it for all its worth, you won’t find anything that takes advantage of this self aware quality quite like Mirai Nikki does. It’s far from perfect by other standards, but it surpasses its own magnificently. And hell, for 23 minutes it even manages to change how the audience (by which I mean me) perceives what happens.
The events of this episode fall into that “so absurd you can’t help but laugh at it” category, with Not-Kaworu and his gang of meddling kids attempting to save Yuuki from Yuno’s crazed clutches, throwing out clichés like mad in order to do so. Of course they succeed and all turns out well (Even if they somehow never noticed a ventilation shaft earlier to save them from the gassing), but it’s this temporarily distorted perception that makes it such a nail-biting experience. It also helps that Yuno has reached some kind of psychotic zenith, really sending chills down my spine with her much more emotionless, placid voice. However, this isn’t the reason I decided to go with that meaty three paragraph introduction. If it were, that would be the worst post padding that I think I’ve ever done. No, here’s the real reason why I wrote 272 words of incoherent babbling praise.
Look at that for a second. Let every grotesquely, sickeningly “cute” feature of that… thing seep in and creep you right the fuck out. If I just saw that… thing for the first time without knowing about anything else in Mirai Nikki, I’d just think “Goddamn that woman looks stupid.” But now, after being subjected to everything else that this show has to offer, I can comfortably say that she’s possibly the most terrifying thing here aside from Yuno. So thank you, Mirai Nikki. Thank you for making me creeped out by a plump, cartoonish woman with a squeaky voice that I otherwise wouldn’t acknowledge.