Title: Future Diary aka Mirai Nikki
Format: 26 episodes
Date: 10 Oct 2011 – 16 Apr 2012
Synopsis: Amano Yuki is a boy who loves solitude. He enjoys carefully watching the world around him and lives his life as more of an observer than an active participant. When he is alone, he converses with his imaginary friend, Deus, the God of Time and Space. One day, Yuki discovers that the diary in his cell phone can predict the future. Though such a device proves to incredibly useful at first, Yuki soon discovers that he has been unwittingly chosen for a tournament whose victor becomes the next God of Time and Space.
Tone: Starts off menancing before devolving into a joke.
Yuno: The moe incarnation of insanity.
Future Diary is an anime about people in a Highlander only-one-can-survive tournament, with each contestant having a unique diary that can tell different aspects of the future. Unlike Death Note, this is not a cerebral thriller where characters out-think one another in convoluted mind games, but a more shounen style series where rather straightforward uses of logic or pure plot contrivances win the day. Though the show normally would have been relegated to the “amusing but forgettable” bin, Future Diary gets its blood soaked cutting edge from the psychotic girlfriend character Yuno.
For all you males out there, have you ever dated a crazy girlfriend? If yes, have you ever dated a girlfriend who stalks your every move and will likely hack you into chunks if you so much as mutter the word “No”? If so, then your situation describes Yuno, a cute girl with a frighteningly unhinged world view that sends chills right down to the bone. She is the volatile ball of insanity that pushes the show from “meh” to “unforgettable.”
Though the series could have become a disturbing thriller revolving around the relationship between Yuno and her target of warped affection, Yuki, the rest of the series actively subverts this core piece of drama by being silly… really really silly. The show features a gothic lolita terrorist who can summon motorcycles from under her dress, a blind man who fancies himself as a member of the Power Rangers, and a four year old kid with an unusual fascination of puppets. If this were an ordinary shounen action series, such embellishments would have been fine, but for a show driven by the dynamic between Yuno and Yuki, it throws a titanium wrench into the gears and drags the whole concept to a dead stop.
A strong lead character could have compensated for the absurdities, but after the sheer sense of terror that Yuno commands dissipates, it becomes apparent that the lead protagonist is not impotent out of fear, but instead is a natural pushover. This, mixed with the aforementioned silliness, turns the remaining twenty-odd episodes into a giant mess of interesting but poorly executed ideas.
If you were to ask me what the series is about, I would say: “Yuno.” If you were to ask me what the series is really about, I would say: “Well, nothing really, but Yuno is pretty interesting.” Therein lies the problem with the show; there are no underlying themes or grand ideas guiding the narrative. Future Diary is just a hodgepodge of amusing events that occur. Some events are so off-kilter and extravagant that they come across as interesting, but overall they have no sense of meaning or real sense of direction. Watch the first few episodes to see a prototype of a really cool show, then skip the rest because the whole thing falls apart.
The Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Shadowmage