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***NO SPOILERS***Mirai Nikki (or The Future Diary) is the story about twelve people who have been thrust into a battle royale by the god of time and space; Deus Ex Machina. Now Deus, his body is falling apart and his power is fading, so he enters these people in a madcap elimination game in order to find out who he wants to succeed him. But that wouldn't be interesting enough, would it? There's a stipulation. Each of the twelve keep diaries based on what interests them. When the clock starts on this insanity the diaries transform. They now have the power to tell the future based on whatever the owner used it for prior to the events unfolding. These new future diaries are both the contestants greatest strength as well as their most crippling weakness. This due to the fact that not only can they be obfuscated and over-relied on, but also they're a literal weak point as their destruction kills the owner. At the forefront of this symphony of destruction is Yukiteru, a rather weak and helpless boy who is the First amongst the numbered entrants and so he is the target of much of their machinations. Will Yuki be able to stave off the constant threats of death and reign supreme or will he be taken down under the might of eleven other twisted individuals each with their own reasons to thirst for power? There's only one way to find out...
Okay, this series is one that's filled with questionable writing quality and plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. And yet as far as sheer fun I've had during the duration of a anime Mirai Nikki abso-fxxxing-lutely takes the cake. The entire time I was viewing this from beginning to end I had an absolute blast, and that's due to the fact that it just sort of forcibly shuts your brain down and takes you along for Mr. Bones Wild Ride whether you like it or not. A large part of this is due to the fact that the story is a damn interesting premise as you mix future sight and grisly murder and powerful backstories and a cast of insane players into a final product that is now my fifth favorite series. I'm gonna have to warn you right here and now however, this anime absolutely does not pull any punches. There's sex, nudity, rape, stabbings, shootings, hackings, beatings, poisonings, child abuse, and a whole plethora of other things that are not for the faint of heart. Basically, do NOT watch this if you're the sensitive type or underage. If you can make it past all that however what you get is one of the most interesting shows I've ever seen.
Want to know the main reason why I like it as much as I do? Well to sum it up in two words; Gasai Yuno, the poster girl for yandere and the Second in the game. She absolutely steals the show. Forget Yuki. Forget all the other diary owners. Hell, forget Deus Ex Machina. All we need is the adorable pink haired tempest of insanity and jealous hatred. The best way to frame her state of mind is with her diary. The Yukiteru diary. That's right, when the other owners have things as far reaching as clairvoyance or justice every fiber of her being is focused on the object of her determined stalking: Yuki. She is madly in love with Yuki. Like seriously in the name of Haruhi it's taken to an uncomfortable amount and yet I'll be damned if it's not one of my favorite romances ever, fxxxed up as it may be. She is the reason that Yuki doesn't die within seconds of meeting any other diary as where he is helpless Yuno is an absolute demon at killing people. You think the owner of the Murder Diary might be more effective at this pursuit than her? HA. DON'T MAKE CD-i GANON LAUGH. When anything even remotely threatening stands in the way of her ~Yukki~ her policy is to stab/shank/slice/hack/disembowel first and ask questions later. Even if you're not posing a hazard to him at all, hey, if you get anywhere close to her love SHE WILL END YOU. In essence it's due to a very simple fact; Yukiteru is her very reason to continue living. You see why as you progress through the show and see her tragic backstory and what caused her to turn into something so sadistic and frightening. I came for the insanity and stayed for the emotional tapestry of development. Long story short she's now my favorite anime character ever and one I tend to obsess over myself from time to time. HAPPY END.
I could go on about her but I doubt my fanboyish gushing is gonna keep very many readers interested through seventeen more paragraphs of Yuno so I'll move on. Oh yeah, we have a main character... I should probably talk about him. Many call Yuki a whiny b*tch who never stops being one but I strongly disagree. He starts off as pretty damn useless at the beginning, sure, but as the story progresses he starts having more and more moments of sheer badassery as the series goes on. I like the changes made to his character throughout the show. Also concerning his position as the oft-unwilling receptor to Yuno's yandere love I can't really blame him for how he acts. Everything he thinks he knows about the enigmatic girl is tested, shattered, and tentatively reforged just to be broken apart once again. At the start he has no feelings for her and only plans on using her to survive as she's already proven herself beyond adept at holding her own against attacks. Little by little though he begins to understand what makes her tick and slowly reciprocates his own tentative feelings back to her. Unfortunately he also has a habit of relying on her too much to get him out of sticky situations and its something he needs to have some sense knocked into himself for. All in all though he actually ends up being awesome many times in the anime (particularly in a certain scene involving the Sixth, her followers, and Yuno that I won't spoil).
As for the rest of the diary owners you might have thought with so much attention going towards Yuki and Yuno becoming one the other ten would be neglected. In many other series you'd be right but Mirai Nikki don't play by them rules. Every single one of them is memorable. The most obvious amongst them is the Ninth Uryuu Minene, a domestic terrorist. She starts off as something I was firmly convinced was going to be a throwaway enemy-of-the-week type situation but I was horrendously mistaken. She fully comes into her own and behind her vicious demeanor lies a reluctant heart of gold. She weaves in and out of the story and ends up one of the most integral characters to the plot behind the First and the Second. There's also the Fourth, Kurusu Keigo. He's one of the few allies Yuki and Yuno have and is a honest detective that strives to take out criminals. But the main characters must remember above all that anyone can turn on them at any moment and remain suspicious about his true motives behind this seemingly peaceful gesture.
I could make paragraphs on every single diary owner (and believe me I'm having to fight my urges to do just that) as they're almost all characters deserving of their own little piece of the pie, but I really want to leave some surprises in store regarding their identities and how they act. I haven't even touched upon the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth. Rest assured though they all impart their own unique flavor on the events happening on-screen. I especially like the Seventh despite the short length of time this diary owner gets in the series. And... oh, wow, that's not even all to talk about. There's Deus Ex Machina and Mur Mur who are playing their little game of chess from their vantage point in the heavens like they're the Golden Witch or something. There's Hinata, Mao, and Kosaka who all become friends with Yuki despite the pink shadow staring daggers at them. And last but not least there's Akise Aru, a boy who fancies himself a detective and looks like Joshua from TWEWY. He is extremely intelligent and probably the main person to influence the storyline short of the deities and various diary owners themselves. He may also own a diary of his own... One more thing of note, the major characters in this series are heavily influenced by mythology. In particular there are clear allusions to the Roman gods that manifests itself in everything from names to mannerisms.
The visuals of the series are well above average if not outright great or particularly unique. It does have a really nice dark theming to it, and manages to balance this out with a lot of lighter moments that provides a great mixture to enjoy. The character designs however are freaking amazing. Yuki, Yuno, Uryuu, Kurusu, Akise, they're all absolutely fantastic designs that set them apart from the norm. There's not a lot of generic looks here, and that's really saying something considering that there's about twenty major characters throughout the series. As for the OST I can't really say anything as there weren't any major standout background tracks. But, wait for it... short of Steins;Gate this show has my favorite openings and endings I've seen yet. Fantasy Mythology is the first opening and the one most people associate with the show. It has an incredible aesthetic backing it, plus the song itself is damn good as well. Blood Teller is the first of the two ending themes and shows the diary owner's shadows disappearing one by one. Dead End is the second opening for Mirai Nikki. Some would say that it's a disappointment compared to the first, and to that all I can do is wave my private parts at their aunties. I love everything about it. The camera angles, the colors, the lyrics of the song, every single facet of it is just something I can fervently appreciate. I've listened to the full song 98 times so far, with no sign of stopping. And finally we have Filament which is a tune unlike the first three and is set to a backdrop of Yuno embroiled in various suffering and emotional turmoils. All four are truly something special as far as I'm concerned. I have no opinions on the age old question of subs and dubs, but I watched subs myself.
Final verdict: 9.5. Mirai Nikki may have some very obvious writing problems but they are utterly drowned out by the fun that the series exudes. There was not a moment where I felt the pacing was off, the characters are all interesting as almost anything I've experienced, and to top it off the visuals are done very well with some truly flawless OPs and EDs to draw you in and ease you out. There's not really all that much more I can say that I haven't already went on about incessantly. So long as you can deal with lots of violence and sexual content as well as lack the drive to pick apart and critique the inconsistencies in the story at the drop of a hat there's something pretty close to nearing paradise on the other side of the tunnel. I imagine others... no, I know for a FACT some others don't think of this series nearly as positively as me but hey, YMMV. If this sounds even vaguely like your cup of tea then by all means go for it. It's my fifth-favorite anime for a reason, so you might as well see it for yourself. And then you too can reach your happy end.