The Mirai Nikki adaptation had been met with trepidation before it aired. Most bloggers were confident in the source material, but not necessarily sure of the studio that decided to adapt it. With the only Asread work that I’m familiar with being Shuffle!, something so monumentally dull that I could predict the proceedings of each episode with my awe inspiring powers of precognition, and everything else being generally referred to as either “Alright” or “Total shit”, these fears aren’t exactly misplaced. However, I’m happy to say that the first episode defied all expectations by not being god awful, aside from the slightly jerky CG involving the lord and master of time and space. While this is not likely indicative of the overall quality of the adaptation, I can say that this opening episode left me cautiously optimistic for what’s to come.
Mirai Nikki, translated as Future Diary, is based off the manga of the same name that’s a colorful mix of elements from Battle Royale, Donnie Darko, and the Fate/Stay Night universe. The story follows one Yukiteru Amano, an introverted middle school student who whittles away his time writing every moment of his life in a diary on his cell phone. One day, during a trip into his imagination to visit the Lord of Time and Space Deus Ex Machina (Frank the Bunny in more deistic trappings), Yukiteru is given access to the Future Diary, something that, what else? Foretells the future.
As Yukiteru grows to use it more and more, he earns the curious gaze of his classmate, one Yuno Gasai. After being followed home by Yuno, who he learns is also a host to a Future Diary, he uses her help to confront a serial killer, another player in the game. Yeah, turns out the whole deal with the Future Diary is a game, with each person involved out to kill the rest in order to take Deus Ex Machina’s place as the unchallenged Lord of Time and Space. What ensues will likely be a long string of betrayals, temporary alliances forged, and blood and gore in excessive quantities. Basically, it’s everything an anime should be.
Seeing as I know absolutely fuck else about the source material, as far as I know it was a very comprehensive, well executed first episode that set things up beautifully to come crashing down around Yukiteru.
Throughout the episode, there is one very important strand of logic that’s best to hang on to in order to soak in the full effect of what’s transpiring: The separation of “reality” from Yukiteru’s state of mind. Yukiteru is made known to be a child who doesn’t have an entirely firm grasp on reality, a schizoid whose elaborate fantasies are eventually made reality through means of his issuance of the Future Diary.
Norio Wakam- I mean Deus Ex Machina brought up a valid point, saying that his existence in Yukiteru’s imagination means that he exists in some form, despite the very notion of a master of time and space. And he obviously has some connection to the real world if he can interact with other people, all of whom seem somewhat familiar with him, so maybe Yukiteru isn’t quite so crazy as we’re led to believe. Or maybe he’s just as crazy, and I’m just trying to think up pointless conjecture to prove a point that doesn’t need proving.
Actually, come to think of it, it reminds me more of Donnie Darko than I first thought. Yukiteru is essentially Donnie, just with a diary instead of an innate sense of prediction and Deus Ex Machina is still Frank the Bunny, whose goal remains completely ambiguous but likely has nothing but less than good intentions for our main characters.
With all that said, I give the first episode of Mirai Nikki a tentative recommendation. It isn’t perfect, with quite a few hiccups that occasionally intrude on the general experience, but it’s one of the most intriguing shows of the season so far, and that will hopefully not end on bad terms.