Title: Mirai Nikki
Genre: Action, Drama, Psychological, Romance, Thriller
Summary: Middle school 2nd year, Amano Yukiteru, is a boy who has problem making friends. He thinks of himself as a bystander and will always write down everything he sees in a cell phone diary. Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru began to imagine things like a friend called Deus Ex Machina who is apparently the Lord of Time & Space. Seeing Yukiteru’s miserable state, Deus gives him a new ability. His diary will now record events that will happen in the near future. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a game which the winner will become Deus’s successor.
Review: Here is an anime that I had such high hopes for. It was doing so well at the beginning. It quenched my thirst for completely twisted slaughter and character designs. The premise itself was pretty messed up and I couldn’t stop watching. Each episode it got dark and darker. It was probably the first anime to send a chill down my spine because of how scary Yuno could be. However, the appeal didn’t last and the series started dropping like a rock in water. It wasn’t so much the characters as it was the anime itself. While I stilled enjoyed the story till the end, and found that the episodes were keeping up to pace, it was rather obvious that the producers were running out of funding. Something that anyone would notice, even viewers who are not looking for faults for a review, is the artwork.
The artwork at the start of the series was absolutely amazing. It had a good mix between normal yet horrific. The characters facial expressions were the most dynamic I’ve seen. Yuno’s innocent face took a turn when she start showing her overly obsessive personality as she got closer to Yukki. The scene I remember clearly is Yukki sitting by the door, sweat dripping off his brow, and a look of horror cast over him. Suddenly he shifts his eyes to the mail slot, Yuno’s eyes staring right back at him. Eyes of obsession and lust. It was the first time in an anime that I’ve ever actually had a feeling of fear fall over me. The action scenes were also very entertaining to watch. A great mix of fast movements and vivid colors left a strong impression. Unfortunately these magnificent scenes didn’t last throughout the series. It was obvious the artwork was cutting corners. Lines wouldn’t be straight, and each frame would move slightly to make it seem as though buildings and arms were morphing. Lip syncing was also an issue to the point I thought my video player wasn’t rendering properly. It was a great disappointment for such a well done series.
The story for Mirai Nikki was one of my favorites because of the great cast of characters and twisted games. They didn’t try to make everyone some nut-job who was looking for thrills through murder. Admittedly each had their own dark secret or unique trait that made them far from normal, but for the most part they were believable. They all didn’t seek absolute power or want to destroy the world. It was nice to have a series that pit everyone against each other, but you never really root for one person. I felt that most of the contestants of this survival game just wanted a better future, or at least a future they felt was better. Most of them didn’t even actively find other contestants. I would be liar if I said I wasn’t a bit bias towards someone. I fell in love with Yuno for her devotion. She was scary, downright psychotic even. However, the one thing that she could never do is harm Yukki. She did anything and everything she possibly could to keep him safe. As a main character Yukki wasn’t my favorite at first. He was indecisive, scared of everything, and had nothing going for him. However, as things started wrapping up he changed for better. He started to take action instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for Yuno to finish everything for him. The only problem I had with the story was the ending. It wasn’t like it came as a blindside and subtle hints were dropped throughout the series; I just couldn’t get behind it. It is hard to explain exactly what I didn’t like about it without giving anything away, but I’ll just say that I couldn’t come to accept it wholeheartedly.
The soundtrack for Mirai Nikki was really well done. The opening, ending and background music all fit the series well. The opening specifically took care of the darker side the series. Both the lyrics and beat had a very ominous atmosphere. It was a hard rock that also helped people realize that this anime does have a lot of action in it. It’d probably give the opening and some of the background music a listen.
Final statements: I enjoyed the series despite its hiccups in art and ending. The character models were really well done and I liked the large variety in motivation to win the survival game. I’m glad they didn’t do some cookie cutter character design where everyone was some psychotic killer. I’m also glad they didn’t split the series into two seasons because I don’t think the flow would have been quite as good despite the drop in artistic value from having to do twenty six episodes in one go. A preferred watch for anyone looking for a solid series with action and a bit of horror.