“Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you.” – Mae West
Yet another of Anime on Demand’s acquisitions, Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) is thrilling, shocking, sometimes confusing and always gripping.
Mirai Nikki is the story of teenager Yuki Amano, a.k.a. First, a loner who devotes most of his time to his darts, keeping a diary on his mobile phone, and talking to his imaginary friend, Deus Ex Machina, God of Space and Time.
One day Yuki discovers that his diary predicts future events. He then learns that Deus is real and that Yuki is forced to participate in a 12-way game against 11 other anonymous diarists, each with their own diary that predicts certain future events. The game is a fight to the death lasting over 90 days. The last one standing will replace Deus as God. If no-one wins within the time limit, the world ends. To make things extra difficult for Yuki, Deus reveals Yuki’s identity and that he is favourite to win the game, meaning Yuki is forced to participate against his will.
Amongst the other Diary Keepers are a city mayor who came up with the idea of the game in the first place, an atheist terrorist who can easily escape from just about any situation, a seemingly co-operative police detective, a highly manipulative four-year-old, and deadliest and most disturbing of all, Yuno Gasai (Second) a psychopathic stalker in love with Yuki who is determined to protect him in any way possible and will not hesitate to kill anyone else trying to stop their “love”.
The plot for me is what makes this a great show. The idea of the game is exciting, putting me in mind of something like Battle Royale. Then there are the players. With twelve different diarists you have got a dozen different motives for winning the game and more than a dozen ways of contestants trying to kill one another. It is like Death Note but with extra variety. Forget heart attacks, there are bombings, stabbings, gassings and countless other methods used during the game.
If I were to have a criticism it is that there is so much going on that you have to pay attention. This is not the kind of show you can just dip in and out off. You have to stay alert and while there is much in the way of action, it is the plot that keeps the suspense going. Also, I am slightly perplexed by the ending of the show. From what I gather, there is a slight difference between the ending in the manga and the one the anime, which I feel is better.
But other than those minor quibbles, this is a great anime and I highly recommend it.