I was EXTREMEY disappointed with this anime which (in my opinion) had a lot of potential, but fell flat. Not very likeably characters, bad plot and some ridiculous logic... no I'm sorry, but this is not a good anime. The only thing that made it watchable was the comedy and suspention. Even though I hated the story and many of the characters, I couldn't stop watching. It was never dull and had me saying "WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? HOLY SHIT!" many, many times.
The basic gist of Mirai Nikki is that God (or Deus) is dying and he needs to choose a successor; to do this he chooses a group of people and gives them 'future diaries' which hold various different properties (e.g. Random Diary; Investigation Diary; Picture Diary...). He then gathers them together and informs them that they are involved in a sort of Battle Royale in which the last survivor will take all and become the new God.
Although this sort of storyline is fairly popular and has been done before (Battle Royale, Hunger Games...), Mirai Nikki adds a certain flair to the whole formula. As well as being an action-packed emotional rollercoaster with great psychological tension and some big plot twists along the way, it's also a Romeo and Juliet style love story in that Yukki and Yuno aren't really supposed to be fraternizing because one's always going to have to kill the other eventually. Unlike a lot of more mainstream animes, Mirai Nikki isn't afraid to slaughter your favourite character after lulling you into a false sense of security, and the knowledge that characters can actually stay dead (unlike D. Gray Man, for example) does make the whole story feel a lot faster-paced and more interesting.
It's definitely worth a watch just for the story, especially if (like me) you love action and psychological thrillers. This is one of the better anime love stories I've seen as well - although they're extreme, the characters still seem somehow more human than your usual "Oh god she's wearing a short skirt I'll get a nose bleed and never talk to her other than when I bump into her and make her drop all of her stuff" rubbish.
I didn't see the end coming, and I'd advise paying attention to who's who and what happens with each person, because although it's not TOO confusing, I did have a bit of trouble keeping track of what the hell was happening near to the end.
This is where (for me, at least) Mirai Nikki lets itself down a little. I like the essential art style and the colour schemes are nice (especially once Yukki loses that stupid hat); I found it very easy to watch for the most part and the artists have used shadowing and sillouhettes really well in some of the more threatening scenes.
However, there are some very dodgy attempts at 3D-style graphics in the scenes involving Deus - I feel like they should have just left out that whole aspect. I think I can see what they were trying to do - God is 3D whilst the ordinary world is 2D - but it just didn't seem very well-executed. Another issue I had was the clumsy attempts to censor serious injuries; I can't give many examples here without spoiling some of the story; at one point somebody gets stabbed and there's really blocky censorship fuzz over the wound, which just takes away any realism or brutality for me.
Overall, though, Mirai Nikki's animation is pretty good - those 2 issues are the only things that really bugged me whilst I was watching it. I particularly like the insane facial expressions some of the characters pull; if nothing else these writers and animators know exactly how to do 'nutcase'.
The voice acting for Yukki and Yuno was a bit off - I felt like I was watching a pair of really tall five year olds a lot of the time - but it wasn't unbearable by any means. Yuno's constant cries of "YUUUKKKIIIIII!!!" grated after a while and I really considered dropping the anime near to the middle because Yukki just kept wailing and screaming and crying all of the time, but he stopped doing it as much eventually.
The other characters all have good voice actors, and even Yuno and Yukki's actors were good - the annoying mannerisms and high pitched squeals did actually suit the characters' personalities down to the grouns. It was mainly just an issue with my personal tastes - I really don't like anime characters who could genuinely be mistaken for babies if you weren't looking at the screen.
A major good point for Mirai Nikki is the OT. Easily one of my all time favourite anime opening tracks (and the 2nd one is really good too) and the ending credit songs are also great. The 1st is the best in my opinion though... it really just captures the whole feel of the series. It sets the mood for a psychological thriller about such a twisted girl/relationship.
Character development was very good and I felt like I really understood the main characters once the anime was over. I grew very attached to Minene and Yuno; especially Minene. She was (weirdly) probably one of the more balanced characters in Mirai Nikki - she didn't have any specific obsessions, she was fairly a-moral and she had character depth and development all of the way through the series.
Yukki drove me absolutely insane until about the last 5 episodes or so, but I get the impression that's intentional. I did keep wondering what on earth was drawing Yuno to him so much though; the series does sort of explain the whole situation but I still just think "Why Yukki, really?".
Yuno was an incredibly difficult character to get my head around - I just couldn't decide if I loved her, hated her, pitied her or felt like she was just beyond help. Over time you do start to get your opinions a bit more defined but even now that I've finished the anime I still feel a little confused about whether that ending is good or another would have been better.
Mirai Nikki is a fast-paced psychological thriller which, if you're anything like me, will have you on the edge of your seat and not wanting to stop watching. There's a (twisted but still there) love story for those of you who like the emotional side of these stories and there's more than enough action to make up for it for those who don't. I would recommend this anime to most anime-watchers I know and I feel like it's a must-watch.
*Death Note (this was the first anime that came to mind when I started watching Mirai Nikki. Gasai Yuno and Misa Amane bear more than a passing resemblance in their 'love' for Yukki and Light, and there's a running theme of wanting to become a God (albeit in different ways and for different purposes) which just makes these two anime series fit together for me)
*Boogiepop Phantom (although I don't think there are any direct links between these two, I felt like the atmosphere in Boogiepop was similarly dark to that of Mirai Nikki)
*C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (although the players in this game fight with their minds, it still bears a decent enough resemblance to Mirai Nikki for people to enjoy them both)
Well let us see, did I enjoy this anime? The answer is no, this is by far the worst anime I have ever seen. No other anime gets close to it.
The story revolves around Yuki and Yuno, 14 year olds who need to kill 10 (11) other people (all of which have diarys that tell them the future in different ways) to become god of time or something like that. Sound interesting? It sounded good to me. But then I watched the series, and I regret that. The plot is so badly written it is well a masterpiece in bad writing. The amount of plot holes is simply amazing, I was actually stunned. Since an essay could be written about the plot holes and I don’t want to bore you I will move on to the animation.
There is not much to say about the animation except the character design was terrible. That little god/moe/fat kid? Why does it exist? Well it’s there for the plot holes I think.
The sound…. People with accents as bad as that should be forbidden to sing songs in English. Seriously people if you have retarded accents don’t sing in English! Is that so hard? Also like everything about Yuki his voice was annoying as hell!
Well… Yuno was sometimes fun to watch. Everything else was just terrible! We have the fake terrorist who tries to kill a police officer twice and then marries him, we have the 5 year old who knows how to use gas masks and military poisons, we have the Nazi mayor, fake Kaworu who is here (unlike Kaworu) only for the yaoi flavor, Yuno, a stereotypical yandere who wants to have loads of sex and Yuki. He is THE WORST CHARACTER EVER MADE! He is like Shinji but without any sensible character development, any cool moment, lines, basicly anything cool. He is annoying in every way you look at him.
All in all I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, unless I was trying to show him/her I hate him/her. DO NOT WATCH THIS ANIME! You have been warned!
For extra detail check out the video I linked on my profile!
Mirai Nikki was the first anime i watched and defenitly has a spaicel place in my heart. I highly recommend this anime for everyone' it is amazing. the yuno and yuki love story is the best one i have seen in animes and the completely awesome action and emotional scences really made me feel the story. add all of this to the last episodes where everything compeletly goes nuts and mindblowing and there you got one of the best animes ever created. i also like that the story was serious but also had a lot of funny and crazy stuff. best anime in my opinion and i rate it 10/10.
Note: This review includes Mirai Nikki’s OVA “Redial” which for all intents and purposes I consider this series’ true ending. Minor Spoilers (that I consider necessary to review this show in-depth) follow.
The review score speaks a lot for itself.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this show that hasn’t been already said. The year/month is December 2015: more than four years after the initial 2011 run. Funimation has just released the “complete series” on Blu-ray, adding a final punctual note to a series that has seen great success as both a manga and anime. Even those who aren’t necessarily fans of this show would likely admit to this title’s lasting success and influence. Any time someone goes online and searches for anime recommendations with the key words “action”, “psychological”, “thriller” or “romance”; Mirai Nikki (Or Future Diary here in the West) will undoubtedly be bound to come up. Despite this, there is a simple fact that most viewers will either be engrossed by this series or ambivalent towards it. There are many writers online—many more skilled and articulate than myself—arguing both this show’s merits and weaknesses. I do not wish to compete or debate any specific side. My goal is to come to terms with my own feelings about Future Diary and convey this show’s notable points (as I saw them) and how it impacted me as a viewer.
This anime has influenced me. I’ll start by freely admitting my bias in favor of this anime. This is a review that, for me, must be written precisely because of how much I connected with it and its ideas. There pretty much isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t stumble upon Mirai Nikki/Future Diary in some form or another. For one, everyone talks about it! I’m sure for many of you readers out there feel the same. Either from browsing the numerous subreddits and recommendation threads or through online discussion. Every time I visit Amazon, for example, I see its image pop up in the recommended tab. How can I in good faith recommend and support an anime I refuse to review? As a casual viewer and member of a community, I can easily do so…but as a reviewer I don’t feel I can with conviction. And let’s just be clear—this anime does have a place in my heart. I’ve been a fan of any work with the denominators “action”, “romance”, “psychological” and/or “thriller” since day one. Japan can make a thirty unique variations of Battle Royale and I’d enjoy every single one.
So. What should be covered first?
This a constant issue when reviewing popular anime: where does one start? What topic does one explore that hasn’t already been discussed and analyzed? Normally, I’d opt to journey with the show as it presents itself from the beginning. But in this case I think I won’t. Instead, I’d like to focus on the primary aspect of this show that struck me hardest: the Romance. I loved this about Future Diary. The relationship between the main characters was both exciting and exhilarating, to say the least. A most handy aspect about the show is that it lays out everything (including the nature of the relationship) fairly early. A high school loner named Yukiteru Amano gets sucked into a Battle Royale type death game with the catch that he and eleven other individuals can predict the future and become god if they win. Most notable about this development, however, is that one of the other contestants happens to be a highly-attractive and intelligent girl with pink hair in his class named Yuno Gasai. What’s notable about Yuno is that she is both obsessed with Yukiteru’s every thought & move and also about protecting him from other contestants. She often goes to extreme and gruesome methods to accomplish these goals- as she sees Yukiteru Amano as the literal love of her life. Throughout the entire show she can be seen brandishing a knife or axe or firearm and using them to deadly effect. Oftentimes, she will do this amidst flying blood spatter and with a terrifying smile on her face. Though single-minded and nearly psychotic in her goal to protect Yukiteru, she can often be seen controlled and calculative (if necessary) to overcome any dangerous situation. In many of these said situations, her suggestions to Yukiteru are both highly reasonable but completely amoral. Very seldom does Yukiteru heed her advice without resistance, but sometimes—like when he is trapped by an enemy—Yukiteru is unable to stop her. I’ll delve into specific details of some of these events a little later, but notable examples include suggesting to sacrifice a number of fellow schoolmates to rabid dogs so they can escape; or massacring innocent people who had been hypnotized by another future diary user with an axe; or with a knife stabbing to death a little boy who had poisoned Yukiteru with nerve gas, or running through a series of motion-sensor explosives and causing the deaths of dozens of innocent classmates. The examples go on and on, and oftentimes I found myself astounded at her ingenuity, mortified by her lack of common morality, but nonetheless marveling (over a wrenched heart) at the lengths she was willing to go to for the person she loved. In this aspect, this amalgam can be partly attributed to good writing but also her incredible depiction in the anime/manga.
Yukiteru, for his part, doesn’t fit the bar nearly as well as his romantic interest Gasai Yuno. Pretty much every other character in this show pales in comparison both quality-wise and in consistency, but with Yukiteru his whole story is disappointing because, as a protagonist, he just had so much more potential for development. Now, that’s not to say that the rationale for having a weaker character doesn’t makes sense. For one, it lets the viewer self-identify with the main character and become more connected to the events of the story. In that regard the series works really well because the series’ first half is arguably much stronger than its later half. A second (and more important) reason for this choice is it allows for easier character development. Yukiteru is a blank slate, and to see how he grows as a result of challenges/dilemmas he faces in this death game is a very interesting prospect. Starting off with a serial killer chase, to playing cat-and-mouse with a terrorist, to becoming trapped by a group of zombie-like cultists, to playing hide-and-seek with a murderous child trapped in their own house, to being betrayed by a fellow ally detective and becoming fugitives. While the external conflicts are interesting and intuitive…You’d think something about this character would change after going through ordeal after ordeal. (At least relative to the death game) Yukiteru doesn’t even think twice about the people he’s killed, yet we supposed to empathize with him each time he’s shocked and struggles to come to terms with the fact that a fellow contestant is trying to kill him—even though oftentimes he allows himself to fall into a vulnerable position in the first place.
The irony in that statement should be self-evident.
Part of portraying a character with moral conviction is showing consequences when said character fails. For example, Yukiteru is completely against killing a child when they could instead neutralize him by capturing his future diary…until said child poisons/incapacitates him, and Yuno is forced to stab him death with a knife in order to retrieve the antidote. At this point, Yukiteru has failed. What happens following this failure? Nothing. All the frustration at his inability to influence the situation occurs while he’s in said situation—and never after the fact. The ordeal is resolved and never revisited by any of the main characters. He just goes pandering along exactly as he was until the next antagonist reveals him/herself. This type of dynamic occurs again and again and to me is particularly both disconnecting and frustrating. This is becomes a worse and worse issue on second and third re-watches. The disconnect gets worse every time one views it, and as a result hurts this shows’ long-term credibility.
Side Note: Fortunately, Funimation has done a lot to circumvent this damage by featuring an incredible release on both DVD and Blu-ray that additionally features a dub that, in my opinion, creates an entirely new experience from the Japanese. The fantastic dub reinvigorates what would otherwise be a dulled second or third viewing experience and re-imagines the characters somewhat. (Which makes the failure of Funimation to include the ending OVA Redial in their releases all the more tragic, I think.) The characters seem remarkably less juvenile in the second rendition—a dub that would alter the entire idea that these are even fourteen year old protagonists. In the English dub they sound at least 17 years old.
Anyways…In literary circles Yukiteru’s writing is referred to as the “And then”(or “And now” depending on tense) fallacy. Good writing doesn’t rely on “and then”. Truly great storytelling relies much more on “therefore”, “furthermore” and “because of”. Let’s use a prime example almost everyone knows of: The Odyssey by Homer. This is a good example because everyone knows the basic story and it also exemplifies how far back this principle extends. Odysseus starts off his troubles when he decides to ransack an extra city on the way back home from Ilium, (because of the need for him to sate the greed of his men) therefore he loses favor with the winds, which furthermore causes him to go off course and get lost for a decade. That’s good storytelling. For Yuktieru, however, it’s “We’re being chased by a serial killer, and now we’re being chased by a terrorist, and then we got trapped by an occultist and her crazy followers.” See the problem in this way of storytelling? There’s a disconnect in this writing process that leaves zero room for development. One “because of” can only extend so far, and even then… for Yukitero, the “because it’s a death game to be god” excuse remains somewhat unconvincing and is mostly applied to numerous antagonists rather than Yuktieru.
Notice the distinct contrast in how this principle relates to characters like Gasai Yuno. She’s the perfect counterexample. For Gasai Yuno, there’s never an “and then” for her. For Gasai Yuno, the situation always comes down to a “because of my love for Yuki, I have to do this” or a “My Yukiteru can’t see he’s making a critical mistake and I can’t stop him, therefore we [or I]’ll have to resort to this savage/brutal/twisted course of action to protect him.” Once established it’s just so obvious to the viewer that her character will do the crazy things she does- which is what makes her such a joy to watch, and what makes her such a strong character. As a exercise—apply those two quoted statements to Gasai Yuno in any action or context and, chances are, her actions will still make sense. Murder children to protect her Yuki? Check. Transcend humanity and become a god to protect her Yuki? Check. Jump dimensions and kill an alternative self and take her place to spend more time with her Yuki? Check. It’s for that exact reason that the story can be as ridiculous as it is and still be believable. A story doesn’t have to be believable in and of itself. Rather, it just has to be believable as it relates to the context of the character as the story presents them.
That’s how it should be for every character. While you twist words and apply the exercise for Yukiteru to a certain extent…it’s not that easy and, most importantly, it’s somewhat unconvincing within the context. In fact, the entire exercise exposes the fundamental flaws in the character’s (and plot’s) writing that I’m trying to explain in this prompt! Yukiteru is floundering in this situation for the xth time because…? Beyond the first couple of ordeals it can be argued that oftentimes Yukiteru himself is the primary reason many of the situations go so awry the way they do. Again, that would be fine if he develops somehow from his mistakes somehow. Here’s the craziest part: the development doesn’t even have to be that much of a positive one. For example, if he developed PTSD after the terrorist bombings and leading to the deaths of his fellow classmates and thus couldn’t function in further dangerous situations that alone would make Yukiteru Amano’s failings just as believable as Gasai Yuno becoming a coincidental yandere because of the trauma suffered under abusive parents. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but when viewed in hindsight it wouldn’t have taken much more effort on the writer/author’s part to fix most of Yuktieru’s biggest problems.
One positive way he does continue to develop, however, is how attached he is to Yukiteru. This is one consistent thread that most of the time didn’t disappoint me. But with regards to Yukiteru himself I found myself more-than-once cringing at his rationale and actions. Yes literally cringing, at how the writers decided to portray him in said romantic situations past a certain point. One of the worst examples was in the middle of the series when the two go wedding dress shopping. Right after she had stabbed to death a young child to death in a previous fight. He “goes along” with it after presenting her as his girlfriend as to defuse a psychotic episode.
It is after this middle point, I think, that these after-mentioned cracks start to show. For one- a frustrating question emerges: how many times is Yukiteru’s continued lack of development and shortsightedness as well as indecisiveness going to get him into life-threatening situations and still magically work out? Him reciprocating actions for Gasai Yuno is both riveting and believable. Him refusing to kill a child that’s trying to kill him is understandable and poses an interesting (but largely unexplored) moral dilemma. Yukiteru faced with the choice of using a policeman’s family as hostages in order to survive a hostage situation poses a exhilarating prospect for moral conflict. By the show’s middle point, however, him going so far out of his way for supposed “friends” who had just tried to kill him is ridiculous. Like a black blotch on a white wall, every misstep in judgment degrades the overall plot of the story. In this regard, it’s quite easy to see how more nonchalant viewers could become completely disconnected with this series.
The show does make it easier for its viewers by presenting them a set of rules, a number of primary characters, a consistent layout for motive/background, and an overall outline for the course of the story early on. For the rest of the series, the series more or less sticks to those stated principles. Even so, everything does sort of revolve around Yukiteru Amano and Gasai Yuno. Only one other contestant kills another contestant, with another few engagements mentioned with regards to Third, (A Serial Killer) Fourth, (Keigo Kurusu—a police captain) and Ninth (Minene Uryu—a terrorist) but not shown. Even despite the fact its been a while, I distinctly recall how the story drew me in the first time I viewed it. From the very first episode, Future Diary’s story is split into arcs based off how the dual-protagonists handle each distinct enemy or “event”. Some enemies, like ‘fourth’ (a terrorist) features a few cat-and-mouse engagements with shifting alliances (mostly with regards to Keigo Kurusu) but, for the most part, the series completely revolves around the main two protagonists. This certainly shows a lack of ingenuity on the author’s part— Battle Royale played engagements between contestants with a sharp ingenuity that, if unable to be built upon, should have at least been emulated for Future Diary. Even if god forbid it meant the story would have had to gone on longer than 26 episodes and an OVA.
Briefly, I’d just like to mention that many of the battles between Yukimeru/Gasai and their various opponents featured unique situations took clever psychological solutions (mostly) centering around Gasai Yuno’s devotion to Yuki. Not quite Death Note or Monster level psychological writing, but at times it was close. After a sluggish middle portion which develops Gasai Yuno somewhat as a yandere and a half-hearted play at a high school melodrama, the show gets back on track with arcs showcasing Yukimeru and Yuno’s final battles with the remaining contestants. The episodes featuring “Seventh” which are actually two contestants composed of the rambunctious and handsome Marco Ikusaba and the deadly and sexy Ai Mikami was my personal favorite arc of the latter half of Future Diary. While not quite as riveting as the earlier arcs, the final nine or so episodes of the series put the show back on track for a final climactic conclusion that’s…unfinished. It’s kind of depressing and anticlimactic, really. The final episode just sort of ends without a proper resolution after such a high note. Fortunately, a successive OVA episode called Redial was released about six months later which finishes the story on a proper note as depicted in the original manga. (Which makes it such a travesty that Funimation didn’t license and dub it.) It’s not exactly great, either, when one considers the somewhat ridiculous direction Redial goes in that makes it more of a fanservice production rather than an actual continuation of the series. Still though, its a proper resolution which is more anyone can ask for these days.
Even despite its flaws—I loved Future Diary. The protagonist Gasai Yuno and a number of antagonists like Keigo Kurusu “Fourth”, Reisuke Houjou “Fifth”, Minene Uryu “Ninth” and the frightening couple Marco Ikusaba/Ai Mikami “Seventh” and those particular battles/scenes featuring them were all very riveting even despite noticing some glaring flaws in the show’s writing upon re-watches. That's all I got off-hand, and the length of this review tells me I've gone far enough. Really appreciate everyone for reading this. There’s always more to say but I think I’ve stated my main points. The animation, soundtrack, and character design are all particularly spectacular in this production. Looks fantastic on the big screen with sorround sound, and the story’s/show's impact was amplified because of it. (On a first viewing to a newer anime enthusiast especially.) There's a certain unique art color and schematic to Future Diary that's fantastic. Even on DVD this series was a joy to own and is the pride of my collection. Just be wary of a future re-release on Blu-ray that will finally have the final episode or wait for the cheap S.A.V.E. / Classic release that's bound to come. Either way, this show is worth your time and money.
Cheers, and have fun!