Future Diary Review

By: 14thLord

Release: 2011
Genre: Action, Psychological, Supernatural
Also known as: Mirai Nikki, Future Journal

Ah Future Diary, also more popularly known as Mirai Nikki thanks to the low advertised release of the Funimation dub. What might have caused such a low level release you ask? Well, it could have something to do with the copious amounts of fully drawn breasts, and heavy mature elements being commonplace. Dont mistake that I'm talking about it being an ecchi, if anything it's the opposite. Be warned, if you're easily affected by mature content. This anime is not for the sensitive.

This anime is difficult to categorize into primary genres, because as it goes on, the genre mixes and changes. The tone will just as quickly go from light hearted comedy with fan service moments, to serious action, romance, and drama. In the end though, I believe it's Action, Psychological, and Supernatural that triumph for my genre categories.

The general premise of the show is Deus Ex Machina, (God of the world), decides to create a game. With 12 contestants in total, the winner shall succeed him. Each contestant is given a Future Diary, that is, their Diary now has entrees from the future. The entrees are those which the person would have eventually made within the next 90 days. Sounds simple enough, but here's where it gets interesting. In order to win, you must kill all other diary holders within 90 days. Usually these diaries were cell phones, but not always was that the case.

Yandere. If you've yet to hear of that term, let me explain it to you. Yandere is the combination of two Japanese words, Yanderu which means sick, and deredere, which means strongly and deeply infatuated. Knowing the meaning of these two words, one can simply assume the phrase to imply love sick, but it goes far beyond that, to an unhealthy obsession. It goes on to feature cute girls with blood splatter and butcher knives.

Now that you know what Yandere is, let me introduce you to the driving force of the anime. Yuno Gasai.

While not exactly the main character, few can say that Yuno doesn't drive Future Diary, from a watcher stand point or a plot point.

This is yet another anime that features what I found to be a very unlikable protagonist that is constantly making the dumb decisions that are the “moral” decisions. Please meet our central protagonist, Yukiteru Amano. A longer and more complicated name to remember to those not too faimilar with japanese names, but luckily he's often simply called Yuki. Just dont get him mixed up with Yuno due to beginning with the same two letters.

Of course Yuki's strong desire to do what's “right” often ends up with him nearly dying, before somehow surviving by chance and claiming victory. Throughout the anime, I must have called him an idiot or expected him to make a stupid choice at least once per episode. Not a good track record, Yuki.

While there exists a mystery element in who the other Future Diary holders are, it fails to take advantage of such elements and reveals things as soon as they're brought up. With the exception of the mystery behind Yuno and her love for Yuki, that is.

Such elements brought up but never utilized include the identities of the Future Diary users. Often they're revealed almost as soon as they're introduced. Oddly enough, all of them seem to know of Yuki from the beginning despite the anonymity of when they all met one another when Deus Ex Machina, god of the world, introduced them to one another. In addition, the Future Diaries are all supposedly unique to each person, but often people end up with either useless Diaries or it doesn't come into play except for awkward moments during fights. This is easily explained away due to the fact that Diary holders can just as quickly change the future, which causes the Diary updates.

Important note, if you watch this, there exists a single Ova titled Redial. This is a MUST watch, or else the ending will be a “What?” moment in a bad way. Unfortunately, Funimation has yet to dub this and there's no news of if or when it would be released.

Characters: 8/10
While Yuki is a weak protagonist, Yuno is a very strong character in and of herself. That and considering the surprising amount of depth within the other diary holders made this anime very enjoyable to watch and discuss. It's the characters that sell this piece, and how human they act when under such situations.

Plot: 7/10
The premise of this anime, I'll admit, was a tough sell. The idea of people combating each other with cell phones that could see the future did little to interest me. It felt a bit on the shallow end, and to be fair, it was. The plot doesn't do much in moving until vastly later on, but once it started going, I was hooked. I was at the edge of my seat, eagerly putting on the next episode until the climax. Unfortunately that climax ends up being quite premature as the episodes continue to drag on in an awkward manner. Despite a lot being revealed, it never captivated me as much as the episodes between 13-20 did.

Fun Factor: 9/10
Yuno sells this series and makes it very fun. She is absolutely MAD and that's a massive understatement. The series goes through fun action sequences with amazing moments of Yuno being absolutely scary and bonkers. I admit, that character alone made this series SO much more fun than it would have been had there been a normal character in her place. Throughout the series, Murmur, (Dues Ex Machina's small chibi assistant) gets into absolutely hilarious antics that had my friend and I on the ground laughing.

Music & Animation: 8/10
The animation, art, and the soundtrack aren't anything incredibly remarkable. That isn't to say it was a bore, but I won’t be eager to listen to any of the music outside of watching the episodes.

English Dubbing: 10/10
Funimation has come a LONG way since the early 00's. The voice cast was simply amazing throughout the series with very charismatic actors. You may recognize Yuno's voice actress, Brina Palencia from her work as Holo (Spice and Wolf), Ciel (Black Butler), Nina (Fullmetal Alchemist). Brina Palencia brought so much more life into Yuno, making a big selling point to watching the dubbed version rather than a sub with a more generic sounding voice actress. Special appreciation goes out to Leah Clark (Murmur), Kent Williams (Deus Ex Machina), and Ian Sinclair (Twelfth).

DVD Extras: 8/10
I figured to make a extra section where I'll briefly lay out the extras that come with the DVD's / Blurays to the curious buyer. Future Diary is split into two $40 DVD sets, the "limited edition" part one coming with Future Diary themed valentine day cards, and a bland box placeholder until you get part 2. The Box art and the DVD art itself is surprisingly bland despite the anime being nicely stylized, and I'm not too sure I'd say I personally liked it. Besides a few random Funimation trailers, it comes with a "Omake" which I didn't exactly understand, since it seems to be just the same episode as it's the "omake" of, except without the dubbing. Subs and language can be switched from the main menu, and it comes with 4 episode commentaries, each featuring 2 cast members discussing the episode and floating off topic. These commentaries were fun to watch, with my favorite being the last one which features the voice actors of Yuno and Yuki discussing things that my friends and I found ourselves discussing either later or prior.

Overall: 8/10
While the story is a bit weak and drags at points, the diverse and lively cast of real believable characters really made this anime something special. The premise itself of Future Diaries is very original and makes this a unique experience. Again, this anime is graphic and requires mature audiences that can handle these tones, which I find regrettable. Unfortunately because of the mature content, the United States distribution is far smaller than it deserves to be.

PS: Watch after the credits of each episode for amazing and hilarious moments with Murmur.

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