For most people, Valentine’s Day is either the most sugary or a bitter day of the year, one that they spend with the person they love most or imagining that they’re with somebody that they love. Afterward, the tables are turned and those in the former camp are regretting spending as much as they did, while those in the latter are buying up discounted chocolates by the armful. Mirai Nikki manages to celebrate this day by airing an appropriate episode regarding those eternal fixtures of this most divisive of days: Bunny-suit-clad stalkers, parricide, and the murder of faceless goons. T’is the season!
For everybody who’s been following this series, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Yuno has long since lost her mind and is hellbent on making sure Yuuki follows suit. That fact’s been pretty firmly established since the beginning, and most of the series’ conflict has been from Yuuki’s perspective as he balances Yuno’s obsessive devotion and his reservations about losing what remains of his sanity. As he learns that his father murdered his mother in a state of hysteria, he’s pushed even closer to the edge, breaking him out of his withdrawn shell in ways that aren’t terribly flattering for him.
What makes this episode as effective as previous ones that shed light on Yuuki’s relationship with Yuno is the fact that we see both Yuno’s past and behavior, and a way that Yuuki’s slowly starts to mirror it. Growing up in an abusive household that kept her on too tight a leash, Yuno eventually snapped and murdered her parents in what I assume was a very slow process. If she were perched on the fine line between sanity and a lack thereof before that point, this easily pushed her into the latter category with no hope of return. It becomes all the more painfully apparent, even though it wasn’t exactly difficult to picture based on what we’ve seen before, that the only thing that’s kept her going is her unhealthy fixation on Yukiteru.
As tragic as this is, the real point of the episode that I somehow extrapolated from the bunny suit escapades was that Yuuki’s descent into madness is slowly but surely reflecting Yuno’s. While his parents were far from abusive, his father being more neglectful than anything, him losing them over the course of the survival game and the constant presence of Yuno have definitely had an adverse effect on him, really showing when he almost singlehandedly dispatched a group of attackers that brought down his father. Compared to the previous displays of Yuuki’s courage (Being chided into lifting a piece of cement floor by Seventh), there’s a much greater sense of desperation with the loss of his parents.
What really drove the point home though was Yuuki sitting in front of a wall in the dark, numerous pictures of his deceased mother adorning it. He isn’t quite the same ineffectual male lead that we’ve come to know and tolerate; he’s changed, for better or for worse. It’s only a matter of time until we see if his life will go down a similar path to Yuno’s, or if he’ll continue fighting her ever-encroaching influence of craziness. Either way, I think we’re in for one hell of a ride.