I’m not sure how many times you need to have seen an anime for it to qualify for this brief, but certainly one show I’ve seen more than once that I enjoyed on the second, and third watching, was Mirai Nikki.
2011 was a bumper year in terms of anime but I wouldn’t be surprised if most people picked Future Diary out as the most memorable, if perhaps not the best, of the lot.
The story centres of Yukiteru Amano who, little fault of his own, finds himself drawn into a ‘battle royale’ style fight for his life. The god of this world, Deus ex Machina is dying and needs to find a replacement – of course the best way to do this is to choose 12 dysfunctional people to fight it out! Everyone’s phone is given a particular that allows them to view some aspect of the future – Yuuki is serial loner who blogs everything that happens to him on his phone, so he gets to see the future of everything around.
Enter the most recognisable female anime character of the last fifteen years: Yuno Gasai.
For reasons that are left unexplained, Yuno is obsessed with Yuuki, and as such her phone tells her everything that happens to Yuuki. Creepy, right? Yuuki begrudgingly teams up with Yuno in what turns out to be a pretty good team. Of course though, a stalker with a well honed tendency for violence has more going on than immediately meets the eye…
I like most aspects of Mirai Nikki, but what really makes it stand out for me is the sheer lack of predictability. Apart from Yuuki, who is unfortunately one dimensional, the characters are difficult to second guess and Yuno herself is real enigma right up until the moment all is revealed. Take ninth (as a character I mean!) for example – initially shoe horned into the typical ‘evil character’ role – half way through the show however you can see that she is far more conflicted than many shows would allow her to be.
It’s also generally entertaining: this is fast paced and brutal anime that doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to plot twists and do anything to win tactics.
Each time I’ve watched this back, I’ve noticed small details that I missed before. That said, I can’t ever remember watching it and thinking it really gives away something for the first time viewer – it just makes everything fit together better once you reach the finale.
I don’t know when I’ll get time to rewatch this for a fourth time, but when I do, I’ve got no doubt that I’ll enjoy it!
Inspired to pick up a copy of The Future Diary? Get the blu-ray and DVD here.