Anime Sunday: Mirai Nikki / The Future Diary

So today I’m going to talk about a little anime called Mirai Nikki, aka The Future Diary.  Let me start by saying that if you haven’t checked out this anime or its corresponding manga yet, you should do so now.

Mirai Nikki is probably one of the best, most original, and captivating stories I’ve seen in anime/manga since Death Note.  Death Note has turned into one of those shows at this point that everyone and there mom knows about and loves – at least in the context of anime.  I know a good dozen people who now claim to be anime fans just because they love Death Note.  So when I say Mirai Nikki is the best I’ve seen since Death Note… I’m appealing to those people.  Though really, it is still incredible, and entirely worth your time, whether you watch the anime or read the manga.  I’ve done both and love both.

Mirai Nikki, or The Future Diary, is sort of about exactly what it sounds like it’s about.  It’s about a Future Diary – or actually, it’s about twelve of them.  The story follows Amano Yukiteru – aka Yukki.  As the story starts, Yukki is sort of a loner and a loser.  Seriously, he really is.  He spends all of his time avoiding socializing and keeping a diary on his phone of everything that’s going on around him – though it’s important to note he doesn’t make any entries about himself.  Just everything else.  On top of this, he has no friends except for an imaginary one named Deus, who is supposed to be the ruler of time and space.

Well, as it turns out, Deus isn’t imaginary.  He really is a god, and he really is the ruler of time and space, and Yukki can really see him and communicate with him.  Yukki of course doesn’t realize this until one day, Deus grants him a Future Diary.  Yukki wakes up one morning and finds his diary already loaded with entries for that day… which all end up being completely accurate.  So of course, he freaks out a bit when he realizes Deus isn’t in his head, and he really can ‘see’ the future.  And then he starts to abuse this ability.

Now this leads to all sorts of trouble, but it essentially sets the story up to reveal that Yukki – and eleven others – have been granted these Future Diaries as part of a survival game.  The game consists of them using their diaries to try and kill each other.  If there diaries are destroyed or damaged, they die as well.  All of their identities are kept secret from each other initially, and they have to seek each other out.  The Prize?  The winner takes Deus’ place as God of Time and Space.

Pretty Sweet.

Now, none of this is what makes the story so great – though it does make it pretty awesome.  No, the great part is the cast of characters – the other diary users.  Each of them is given a number – Yukki’s being ‘First’ – and the most interesting of all of them is ‘Second’, Gasai Yuno.

Yuno is… insane.  She’s also completely obsessed with Yukki.  Bat-shit crazy, and creepily devoted to him.  As a note, most Diary User’s Diary’s powers tend to be related to who they are or what they do.  For instance, Yukki’s Diary is The Observation Diary, and keeps track of all the events that happen around him, but records nothing about Yukki himself.  Essentially, exactly what he would have recorded on his own.  Yuno’s Diary is the Yukiteru Diary.  It records EVERYTHING Yukki does.  Everything.

Creeped out yet?

At first, Yukki doesn’t understand why Yuno’s so obsessed with him.  While Yuno actually is in his class, they’ve never really spoken a lot.  However, Yuno is also powerful – mostly because she is insane and eerily devoted to Yukki.  She saves his life more than once, and will do just about anything Yukki tells her to do.  However, she is so devoted to protecting Yukki, that she will often completely disregard his wishes in order to do what she thinks is best.  Which usually involves a lot of blood or death.

The strained relationship between these two becomes the central focus of the story, even with all the strange, crazy, Future Diary battles going on around them.  Yukki is forced to rely on this insane girl to survive while not sure if or when she’s going to suddenly turn on him.  At the same time, you’re made to wonder the same thing.  You wonder if Yuno might just snap at any given moment – and there are plenty of moments – and just kill him.  As well, Yukki is eventually forced to consider the idea that Yuno’s insanity might be… okay.  That maybe it’s alright if she’s insane, because she loves him.

Anyway, the story grows increasingly dramatic and intense and keeps you guessing the whole time.  There are a dozen different plot twists that throw you for a loop but make perfect sense in the reality crafted by the author [Sakae Esuno].  I personally enjoyed the manga much more, as the pacing is slightly better.  The anime’s first season [12/13 episodes] really flowed quite nicely, but the pacing in the last have felt a little off to me.  Though I’ve still enjoyed it immensely.

You can actually catch the anime a number of places legally, including Funimation and Hulu.  The manga was originally translated and published in English by Tokyopop, but they’ve since gone out of business.  Not to encourage you to pursue illegal sources, but it can still be read a few places online.

The 1st OP for the anime also sets the tone very well:

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