We’ve taken a dip into the Future Diary before on Geek Native. Years before a UK release, international reviewer L. Meridian offered us a glimpse inside. We were warned of impending horror despite appearances. This review looks at Collection 1, that’s episodes 1 to 13, and takes us into that horror.
Our “hero” is an anti-school chap called Yukiteru. As it happens he falls into that classification of anime hero I don’t particularly like – lacking in self-confidence, always worrying about himself, sometimes happy to be alone and sometimes madly trying to make friends and always constantly whining. In this case, though, Yukiteru’s annoying personality traits are so intense you could probably describe them as a psychological health condition.
You might be tempted to use the God of Space and Time he has an imaginary friend as evidence of Yukiteru’s unbalanced mental state except for one big catch. That particular God of Space and Time is real. In order to find a replacement for himself the god has picked Yukiteru and 11 other people nearby with mental health issues as “Diary Keepers” and put them in a battle for survival.
Each Diary Keeper has a future diary. It can see the future but only through the veil of the keeper’s particular psychosis. Yukiteru’s own insecurities meant that he kept a real life diary about pretty much everything he saw which makes his future diary pretty powerful. Later on we’ll meet a police detective who has a “case diary” and so his future diary is only able to see the future where it relates to police investigations. As a result diaries have different powers and limitations.
Whichever Diary Keeper is alive at the end of the game becomes the new god. Diaries are powerful but if they’re destroyed – and Yukiteru’s manifests as a mobile phone – then that kills the keeper.
The twist in the plot is Yuki. She’s intelligent, pretty and in love with Yukiteru. She decides to keep him alive. She’s a diary keeper too – with a diary entirely focused on him – and whatever her particular psychosis happens to be is incredibly dangerous. She’s deadly with an axe. She’s lethal.
I’ve rarely seen a character so well animated and portrayed as Yuki. I’m not saying she’s not creepy. I’m saying she’s brilliant. There are times she feels just like an anime school girl with a crush, being super loyal to her idolised boyfriend and then you’re minded she’s insane. This might just be a flick of the eyes, or a brief glimpse of an axe handle in her bag or something more full on like a look at her home life.
The UK edition of Mirai Nikki: Future Diary gets a 15. I wonder if they cut scenes in order to get it down that low. There’s occasional naked bodies and there’s gore. The storytelling doesn’t pull any punches – in fact, it very carefully escalates the mess the two central characters are in.
One diary keeper has a diary which says Yukiteru will fall in love with Yuki. At the beginning this seems hard to believe; in fact, because he’s that type of idiot, he finds himself in the situation where he’s forced to string her along. He doesn’t fancy her at all – in fact, he’s all too aware that she’s a deadly psychopath. By episode 13 we’re seeing the walls of reality begin to crumble (appropriate for someone who’s imaginary god friend turns out to be real) and we start to wonder whether Yukiteru might cave. The whole issue around the game only ending once we’re down to one surviving diary keeper lurks in the shadows like a coiled snake.
The final shot of Yuki is iconic. Roll on Mirai Nikki: Future Diary – Complete Collection 2! I need it now!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Future Diary is one of the best anime you’ll watch all year… definitely up there with Death Note.” quote=”One of the best anime you’ll watch all year… definitely up there with Death Note.”]
My prediction made without the aid of a future diary is that if you’re an anime fan, love some proper storytelling and interesting characters then you’ll adore Future Diary. It’ll rank up there with Death Note.
My copy of Mirai Nikki: Future Diary – Complete Collection 1 was provided for review.
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