As far as I know, there are only three reasons why people watch Mirai Nikki: They think it’s utterly ridiculous and want to see how much crazier it gets, they’ve seen the manga and want to see just how closely the anime follows the plot of the manga, or they’re like me and unironically think the plot is fantastic in a sort of cheesy, ham-fisted way. There may be other reasons to watch, but I doubt any of them have to do with the volatile romance between Minene and Nishijima, whose hair continues to baffle and enrage me on a primal level beyond the realm of understanding.
I’m not going to say that the relationship between the two is particularly ill-fitting as a whole. Even though Nishijima has the combined personality of a paramecium and a park bench, he contrasts and fits Minene well… as long as it isn’t in a romantic sense. In a series like this where every plot event is only tangentially related to every preceding one, and where everything makes only the barest amount of sense necessary for the audience not to be completely incredulous at the insane events that transpire, it’s a little silly of me to criticize this element for being out of place. Nevertheless, something about it just doesn’t gel with the rest of the series.
Once again, it’s not like anything can’t happen in this world. After all, in only the second episode there was a school bombing where the culprit escaped on a motorcycle seemingly conjured out of thin air. If this wasn’t a clue that Mirai Nikki isn’t concerned with being too over the top to take seriously, I don’t know what is. The other romantic elements that are present aren’t all that poorly utilized either; Yuuki and Yuno’s relationship is appropriately creepy, while Seventh is all kinds of delightful specifically because of how much they love each other. So what makes this so damn cringe-worthy when everything else works well in context with the story?
My thinking is that when compared with the other two main romances present, it doesn’t work on the same unhealthy, yet oddly endearing level, despite being given some level of development. Yuuki and Yuno are, or were, two opposites that were only together because Yuuki didn’t want to end up dead at the hands of one of the other loons enlisted in this extended battle royale. Seventh were hopelessly in love with each other to the point of being completely unable to function emotionally when apart. It’s not something that’s pleasant to see, but seeing the level of devotion that the two share was almost precious in the most psychotic way possible.
Part of the reason might be that those two weren’t shown to have love at first sight like Minene and Nishijima were. Yuno and Yuuki’s relationship was a long, gradual, tortuous, and not at all seamless process with more downs than ups. It was a battle of attrition between the two to determine whether Yuuki’s sanity could withstand Yuno’s continuous bombardment of crazy, a battle that Yuuki has evidently lost. Taking up most of the series’ run, it kept things pretty damn interesting even when other, less competent elements were introduced like the gaggle of friends that I will forever feel unreasoning, mindless loathing toward. Seventh was also a gradual process, but was beneficial toward both parties and left a strong impression because of their chemistry.
Meanwhile, all we see between Minene and Nishijima is around 20 minutes of screen time together where they have a blatant love/hate relationship on a professional level, and your standard cool-headed nimrod trying to woo a tsundere on a more personal level. It feels shoehorned in, even when compared to everything else. While everything else was kind of eased in as it went along, the Minene/Nishijima thing was crammed in with little regard for everything else, leaving it feeling like a regular Hollywood action romance in a crazy Hollywood action film that has no accommodations for such things. It reached the point that when Nishijima became a fleshy bullet-cushion, I didn’t feel the least bit disappointed.
But other than that rather gloomy cloud hanging over this otherwise bright series, this episode is probably one of the best specifically because it’s so cluttered and action packed. There’s hardly a dull moment, even during the groan-worthy romance scenes, and Yuuki’s entrance at the end actually had me applauding and cheering. It takes a special kind of series to do that, and Mirai Nikki is just that special. I don’t care how it ends at this point, as long as it stays on this same course and never stops entertaining.