A bit late, but I wanted to sample all the anime from the new season before deciding what to post about here. Having done so, Mirai Nikki was the series that stood out. Its not necessarily the best of the season, its still too early to decide that, but its definitely the series that I felt I could write about most easily. I’ve not read the manga, so as usual I’m going into this with very little info, although Gasai Yuno’s relatively infamous reputation precedes her…
The first episode begins with aforementioned character, Yuno, leaning over the immobile body of main character Yukiteru Amano. She tries to wake/revive him, but he doesn’t respond. By his side are a large number of medicinal capsules. Then, the scene changes, and we find Yuno locked in a cage in darkness. A shadowy figure, whose only visible features are their scary eyes and their axe-wielding arm, proceeds to swing that axe… and the view switches to the floor as blood splatters and pours all over it. This prologue ends with a weird, creepy face in the darkness, while Yuno whimpers for help from Amano. All this happened in the first 40 seconds.
I’m not going to jump to conclusions about what happened there, as I haven’t a clue. But with an opening like that, I’d hope anyone who wasn’t already familiar with Mirai Nikki would be able to figure out what kind of series it’s going to be…
No OP this week, so we move straight from this prologue into the true beginning of the story. The protagonist Yukiteru Amano, conscious at this point in time, is introduced via his own narration. He’s an antisocial boy, who seems to spend every waking moment observing the world around him and writing a diary of the day’s events on his phone.
His classmates avoid him, thinking he’d never agree to join in anything they invited him too, and they’re probably right. But, as his internal monologue narration is keen to stress to the viewer, even he has friends. In his head. Now as a 14 year old, he’s at the age where it’s JUST A LITTLE weird to have imaginary friends… but in this case I understand the appeal. Because his imaginary friend is the god of Time and Space, and IS VOICED BY NORIO WAKAMOTO!
This guy, named Deus Ex Machina, is rendered in CGI that makes him stand out quite a bit from the rest of the animation. But why shouldn’t a god stand out from the rest of the world? For me, it works nicely. He isn’t Yukiteru’s only imaginary friend either – moments later we’re introduced to a short, corn guzzling girl(?) known as Murumuru.
On this day, which I’m assuming had been fairly normal for him up until now, Deus asks him whether he would do anything to change his life if he could. Taking the boy’s silence as a yes, the god says that he will ‘give Amano the future’…
Changing scenes once again, we see a woman running down a street at night. She arrives at a door, and tries desperately to open it, banging and shouting to anybody who might be indoors. But it doesn’t open. Shortly afterwards, we’re treated to more scary eyes and blood splattered floors.
Back at Yukiteru’s home the next day, the boy wakes to find several diary entries for the day already on his phone that he doesn’t remember writing. Thinking that he must have written them in a half-conscious state before falling back asleep, he doesn’t think much about it at first. Until he realizes that everything written in the diary actually occurs at the specified time and place, exactly as written – his future for the day is right there for him to read!
All of the above listed events happen as predicted, and things continue in this way for the rest of his day. Yukiteru is understandably left with quite a few questions to ask his imaginary friend; he cannot understand how a god he made up in his mind could hold such power. To this, Deus Ex Machamoto booms out the following awesome response:
But with great power, comes great… weaknesses, in this case. Deus goes on to explain that the diary becomes one with its owner, and that loss of the diary means loss of the owner’s future – their life, in other words.
Any worries our protagonist may have about this drawback are soon forgotten, however, as he starts to reap its benefits. He scores full marks on all tests, which makes him even less popular, but at least he can predict where and when the bullies are waiting for him, and make detours to avoid them!
One day, during yet another test that he knows he’ll ace, Yuki notices someone glancing at him from a seat a few rows ahead of him. I wonder who this could be?
After the class has ended, and everyone other than Yuki has left, he approaches her desk to find a familiar figure left there for him:
As if seemingly having his mind read isn’t a scary enough experience, his future diary chooses this moment to add a few new entries:
At this point, Yuno appears from her hiding place in the classroom, and reveals that she knows his phone diary contains his future. Yukiteru does the most sensible thing possible in this situation, and runs for his life. After leaving the school, he notices that for the first time since he gained the Future Diary, the future written in it has changed – before the ‘Dead End’ are now several entries about Yuno following him, and his attempts to lose her. Sure enough, she heads him off in the street, and seems to be one step ahead of him wherever he runs. Desperately searching for a safe place, he enters the lift of a random building, and hits the button for the 14th floor. But before the lift doors can close…
So Yuki and Yuno are now in the lift together, and she shows him her phone – confirming that she is another Future Diary owner. Thinking of a way out of this situation, Yukiteru remembers his darts, which he assumingly carries everywhere with him. But before he can throw one at her, she… kisses him.
Needless to say, this makes him shut up and listen. Yuno says that the future stated he wouldn’t stab her… something that his own diary didn’t mention. She also assures him that he’s misunderstood her intentions, and that in fact she has come to save him from YET ANOTHER diary user – the murderer from earlier, who they refer to as Third (because he’s the third diary user).
At this point, Yuno decides to share with Yuki the entries written in her own diary:
Yuki notices that every entry is about him, and Yuno has no intention of denying this. For this is the Yukiteru diary, a ‘future diary of love’ that tells her the boy’s future 10 minutes in advance. Now, Yuki’s Future Diary gives him info about virtually everything, no matter how small or insignificant, because that’s what he wrote about in it previously. Knowing this, Yuki realizes that if Yuno’s diary has such a power, she must have previously been writing about him every 1o minutes…
The lift arrives at the 14th floor, but Yuno stops Yuki from leaving and sends the lift up further to the 17th floor. The diary stated that he’d die on the 14th floor, after all, and according to Yuno he’d be the first out of the survival game if that happened. Seems like Deus hasn’t shared as much info with Yuki as he has with his other friends… She explains that all diary owners are after each other’s lives, and since Yuki has been using his so much, he’s left a trail that Third was able to follow.
The lift arrives at the 17th floor, which also happens to be the roof. Yuno tells Yuki that they should face their enemy here, and that she has a plan. Shortly, Third reaches the roof, but the two are already hidden by this point. Frustrated at being unable to find them, he takes out his own Future Diary, which would presumably reveal their hiding places. Before he can use it, Yuno runs towards him, unarmed. Distracted, Third turns around… and the Future Diary in his hand faces straight towards Yuki, who throws a dart straight through it.
Third stumbles backwards, seconds later a hole appears in his stomach, mimicking the one through the centre of his Future Diary. Other parts of his body begin to twist and bend strangely, until he disappears in a vortex, as though flushed down a plughole.
I thought it looked pretty cool personally, but Yuno seemed to disagree.
Back in Yuki’s mind (or wherever he meets Deus, I don’t even know anymore), he demands to know what the god is planning. Deus answers that it is all just a game. Then, the scenery changes to something a bit less purple – a large platform seemingly in the sky, with spaces around if for 12 people… guess how many diary owners there are in total?
With the 11 remaining owners gathered (Third is, of course, already out), Deus re-explains what everyone except for Yuki already seems to know – the rules of the game. The goal is simple: people must use their diaries to track down other owners, and kill them. Everything that is written in a diary will happen unless its owner takes direct action to change that future, or unless the owner of another diary intervenes somehow. This includes ‘Dead End’ flags, which provide advance warning to an owner that someone has identified and plans to kill them, allowing them to at least try and avoid this fate. When explaining this particular point, Deus brings attention to the fact that Yuki (or First, as he’s known among the other participants) has already avoided a Dead End, making him the favorite to win… and painting a giant target on him. Lastly, the god reveals the grand prize for the victor: they will become the new rulers of time and space!
With everything explained, the game players leave one by one, each making some sort of threat or comment in Yuki’s direction (as if the kid wasn’t terrified enough already). But things could be worse. He has an ally, as Yuno is quick to… reassure him…
This raises an interesting point – ignoring other players for a moment, it’s hard to imagine Yuno killing Yuki. At the same time, he’d struggle to beat her too, since (as already demonstrated) she knows what he’s doing even before he does! So yeah, somehow I doubt this game will be as straightforward as it may sound…
And so ends the main episode! There’s a short extra afterwards, ‘Murumuru-sensei’s Reverse Future Diary’, telling the story of how Third became an owner in a surprisingly comical manner. Basically, he kept a diary of his murders, and when the chibi imaginary friend-thing shows up to explain the Future Diary to him, picking up his phone in the process, he ‘destroys the evidence’, slicing his phone in half and ending his own life. He is revived, but breaks his phone again, and presumably this continues for however long it takes to get the point across. 😛 A lighthearted ending to the show, as far as scenes featuring recent murders go.
That’s episode one of Mirai Nikki in 2,000 words! If only I could write my dissertation so quickly… Though having said that, this post took much longer than most that have come before it. Guess that’s what happens what you blog a series that isn’t painfully stretched out (like Kaiji), or one that has a plot (unlike Shukufuku no Campanella). There was a lot of stuff to introduce here though, so I hope and assume later episodes will have less content squeezed into them. Either way, I’ll try and be concise in future posts.