Following on from my post a couple of weeks ago listing out my top 5 anime so far, I thought I’d start re-watching them (because, you know, they are my favourite) for the purpose of reviewing. First up is the #2, Future Diary, otherwise known in Japanese as Mirai Nikki.
To avoid giving away any spoilers, I will give a background from our protagonist’s, Yuki’s point of view at the end of episode 1.
So essentially, we’re talking about a Battle Royale: 12 people fight it out to the death, in this case to succeed the God of Space and Time. The story’s main two characters are the ‘games” first and second participants- Yukiteru Amano and Yuno Gasai. Each player in the game has a diary that can tell them certain aspects of the future that will in some way aid them in surviving through the game. Yuki is the typical anime loser turned hero with the help of his psychotic yet incredibly cute stalker, Yuno.
Yuki is entered into the game by his ‘imaginary’ (or not as it turns out) friend and God, Deus Ex Machina. With his newly gained diary he is given the knowledge of everything that happens around him before it happens. It is just after he is first targeted that he meets Yuno, who rather gruesomely, helps him survive. The story isn’t particularly split into arcs as such as most of the diary users get at least a couple of episodes to interact with the lead characters. It is not until the last few episodes that this pattern stops.
Again, trying to avoid spoilers, it should be said that the ‘complications’ that arise as we find out more and more about Yuno’s past actions do create plot holes as we go beyond. That said though, they don’t really take away from the story as a whole. The one part of the plot that does let the story down is the ending, that isn’t explained at all, in any way. Not only will it leave you feeling disappointed, but also annoyed that someone thought it was a good idea to make such a huge jump from one point to another.
Unless you watch the OVA episode: Mirai Nikki Redial. Sort of explains how things link up at the end, making the ending much more palatable.
Several of the characters in Future Diary are developed excellently. Besides Yuki and Yuno who I will come to in a moment, Minene Uryu (Ninth), is given a lot of screen time for both filling in her background as well as developing her as a character that is affected by what goes on around her throughout the show. This is refreshing in as much as it seems to be the norm to ignore anyone who you couldn’t call a main in terms of ongoing development. The same can be said for Aru Akise who, though not a diary user, becomes fundamental to the story because of the intrigue he provides.
|Maybe it’s just me, but regardless of everything, I couldn’t
stop myself liking Yuno
The two main characters are especially well done. As you would expect in an anime that focuses on such a strained relationship, the emotions they both experience are often extreme. It would in this case be fair to say that Yuki is more predictable but there is a noticeable progression from the character he was at the beginning to the character he was towards the end. I could happily argue that Yuno didn’t develop at all throughout the story and what appears to be her development is in fact just a facade. However, I won’t because I think the writing of that progression is done very well and deserves praise. At no time after the first couple of episodes (until the ending) did I truly fear Yuno, but at the same time, I never really trusted her not to do something crazy. As I said in my list, I’m dying to write an entry solely on her development, but maybe that should wait until my content dries up a bit?
The only negative to come out of the characters is that despite his ongoing development it takes a while for you to really feel sympathetic towards Yuki. He depends upon Yuno for the first 3/4 of the show. That said, with Yuno being quite as complicated as she is, it might just be a good thing that Yuki turned out to be such a straight forward kind of guy. After all, not everyone’s comfortable with killing people.
Sound, Artwork and Animation:
Because of Yuno’s nature, this show is creepy. There isn’t really any way of getting around that and the sound and artwork don’t let the feeling down. When she’s angry you know it; even before we see the shot of her terrifying homicidal face, the backing music gives it away perfectly. The openings and endings are also very good, with the first opening Kūsō Mesorogī being especially good both for the track itself as well as the animation itself- highly recommended even if you don’t watch the show. The animation throughout the show is generally to a high standard though there isn’t anything that particularly stands out, apart from maybe when Yuno goes on a rampage… which happens vaguely often, but there we are.
|Yuno isn’t the only interesting character in Mirai Nikki|
Episode 18, Interference. There are lots of good episodes that I could have gone for here, but I plumped for the 18th. It’s true that Yuki is growing as character throughout the whole season, but it’s this episode that really sees the most obvious change within him. This is the episode where he stops playing to survive and starts playing to win. It sets Yuno up with a perfect opportunity to work her magic in the final episodes and actually makes Yuki vaguely exciting for the rest of the show.
Future Diary is a very enjoyable anime to watch. I’ve watched it through twice now and I can’t say I enjoyed it less the second time round. Further to that, I think there are some aspects of the series that makes it objectively really good. Primarily of course, that would be the character Yuno, at no point could you second guess her actions even though her motives were essentially honest from the start. It also takes the format of a battle royale and gives it an original twist in the form of being able to see the future. I’d have no hesitation in recommending this show and am sure I will be re-watching it in the not so distant future.
What did you think of this god choosing game? Am I making it out to be better than it was? Did you hate the ending so much you wanted someone to pull one of your eyes out? Let me know what score you’d have given it and feel free to shout about why I’m wrong in the comments below.