YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world.
Episode 11

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 11 of
YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world. ?

Well I sure hope Takuya learned something from all of this, at least. His hilariously uneventful non-adventures with Mio come to a close in this episode, and there was thankfully enough escalation to keep this conclusion from being as boring as the lead-up. But it also ends up having frustratingly little story impact, either within this current timeline or within Takuya's fourth-dimensional journey overall. I guess Mio, being one of the central ladies in Takuya's harem, had to have some sort of plotline, but by the end, I found myself seriously wondering what the point of it all was.

Takuya's primary takeaway from this extended detour seems to be minor bits of information that he'll need to know for later. His father's cyclical history theory that involved dimensions crashing into each other was explored last episode, and this week his journey with Mio into the center of the mountain reveals an ancient device at the heart of the lightning strikes that have been causing so much trouble for the Geotech crew. Takuya realizes that the machine can be destroyed—with amazing ease, too! He just hucks an old sword he found into the base of the ancient murder machine, and it lightning-strikes itself into an explosion. Presumably his stepmom's crew in this timeline will have an easier time with their excavation now, and Takuya can potentially take this thing out in his other run-throughs as well?

He also stumbles upon a spare jewel for the Reflector Device, granting him a special tool to help progress his save file, since I don't think he's used the thing as anything besides a quicksave key yet. He comes away with the knowledge of how Ryuzoji's mind-control abilities are being used on Mitsuki, which I sincerely hope gets followed up on. The relationship between Takuya and Mitsuki was one of the only interesting elements of this arc, but it only ended up getting teased as a distraction to the abysmal Takuya/Mio storyline. So those snippets of info and that absurd attempt at a romance plot kept us going down this route for, hold on, let me check…

Six episodes?! I can't tell if that's way too long or it just felt like it was; I know the Ayumi arc in the first quarter of this show didn't feel this long. The most frustrating thing about this is that a key point of this story is that the unfortunate timelines still persist; all the ‘bad endings’ that Takuya leaves behind won't go away, and the people left in them will continue living their lives. So there is a moral component behind what he does and when he does it. This comes up in this episode, where he puts off leaving Mio behind even as the situation worsens because he wants to make sure things are as sorted as possible without time-travel. Takuya being keenly aware of this point at least shows some growth on his part in regards to his quantum shenanigans.

But then he and Mio get pulled out of the collapsing cave, and the will of the timeline itself immediately pulls him back like it did after he helped Ayumi. “That solves everything here” he declares, even though it 100% does not. At best, Yuki's messed-up feelings for Mio came to light, but his actions still resulted in her father getting entangled in scandal and her getting deported (which no one remarks on in this allegedly happy ending, but I have to assume that's still happening). On top of that, the tiny bits of information Takuya uncovered indirectly led to Mitsuki's hilariously over-the-top death in this timeline. Takuya assures Mio that he'll work things out for her in another timeline, but that doesn't really do anything for her being dead and this Mio having to remember watching her shoot herself before getting crushed by a giant boulder. You're gonna carry that weight.

If anything, the way this timeline worked out could have functioned as a bittersweet meditation on the consequences of Takuya's time-travels, and how he has to leave some bad situations behind with no hope of righting them. But instead, the remaining characters and causality itself pat him on the back for a job well-done, even as we're staring at the aftermath of what I'd consider a depressing shaggy dog story at best. The nods this episode makes toward the quandary of Takuya leaving unresolved timelines behind could have built up the nobler potential of his role as the hero of this story. But by declaring mission accomplished and sending him sliding back with a few new clues and a shiny new item, it unwittingly exposes the darker reading of this journey. Takuya's best efforts are spent helping only the ‘last’ runs of his friends and family, the ones he truly sees himself moving forward with in life. This makes his heroic actions seem like a more lopsided selfish act, reducing these other people to props around him to be manipulated to his satisfaction, with the worse-off versions that don't help him solve mysteries or get new toys being discarded to their own devices.

I sense that YU-NO wants to deal with some darker concepts, but I don't know that it intended to come off quite this nihilistic. Hopefully the next arc focuses more on events that Takuya can change to truly make things right for everyone, instead of obtaining everything he can from a timeline only to peace out at the end and leave it as ‘good enough’.

Rating:

YU-NO: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world. is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


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