Mirai Nikki review

It’s been a while since I wrote a standard anime review post (I believe the last one was for Steins;Gate in September). Since I can’t think of any theme-based post to write for Mirai Nikki, I opted for a general review of the series…

When I first started watching Mirai Nikki, I’ll admit that I thought of it as the offspring of Death Note and Eden of the East. It emanates the former’s taste for suspenseful mind games and questioning of morality when humans are given godly powers, and the latter’s overall premise of twelve individuals in a cell phone-based survival game. But it’s since established itself in its own right in my mind, and while not up to the quality of the aforementioned two series, I still found it above average.

The majority of Mirai Nikki’s episodes follow our two main future diary holders – the rather naive and bewildered Yukiteru and yandere poster child Yuno – as they work together to defeat the ten other diary holders in order to gain the powers of the enigmatic god of the world, Deus Ex Machina. Yuno’s blatant yandere-ness for “Yukki” and Yukiteru being constantly torn about whether or not to return the love and trust of this emotionally unstable girl who’s so quick to murder for his sake, makes them quite a gripping duo to observe. The series doesn’t scrimp on the various eccentric personalities of the other diary holders either, nor the interesting tweaks in how each of their diaries predicts the future. While some of them were given a more complete backstory and personality than others, they were all pretty memorable, and because they were all different in terms of character and diary power, I could never predict how their demise in the survival game would come about.

Unpredictability wasn’t limited to just the outcomes of each diary holder. It was also prevalent in the series’ other plot points such as Yuno’s real motives, who Akise is, and what would happen with Deus and Murmur towards the end of the survival game. I thought the foreshadowing and eventual revelation about Yuno was done very well, as was the establishment of Minene as a solid supporting character. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Yukki and Yuno’s classmates Hinata, Mao, and Kousaka. Besides the totally pointless yuri between Hinata and Mao, the three of them weren’t terrible characters, but they could have been a lot more likable too.

Speaking of the characters, that was one thing I realized while watching Mirai Nikki – almost all the characters, even ones we’re supposed to like, are murderous and selfish. As much as the series wants us to like Yukki’s dad in the end, killing your wife and abandoning your son is pretty unforgivable. Even though Minene becomes more or less an anti-hero “good guy” by the end, it’s hard to forgive the fact that she was previously murdering innocent children at Yukki and Yuno’s school. Having a tragic past like she did doesn’t automatically make your sadistic actions forgivable. And as interesting as the 7th diary duo Marco and Ai were, again, having a messed up past doesn’t make it okay to act like dicks to everyone else. I’m not saying that making the characters this way was a flaw; it was just something notable I wanted to mention and was why I could find them entertaining, but not very sympathy-invoking.

Like I said, the unpredictability of the series held up until the end as the latter episodes fell out of the “kill the next diary holder” formula and focused on wrapping up the show’s other plot points involving Yukki and Yuno. Unfortunately it got rather convoluted with introducing the three separate timelines, bringing Minene back, and suddenly making Murmur a key character. The fact that the Yuno we’ve been following was actually from another timeline did surprise me, and again is why I enjoyed the suspense of her character development. I also liked how Yuno became more dynamic in the end, and we finally see something besides Yukki – the relationship with her parents in this case – move her heart. The ending itself was surprisingly tragic, only offering a slight glimmer of hope in literally the last couple of seconds with Yukki and Yuno supposedly being able to see each other again. Exactly how this comes about and why it took so long isn’t explained, which unfortunately hurts my rating for the series as a whole.

Despite this loose ending, the rest of Mirai Nikki was a fun ride. It had its share of flaws, but for me, nothing too glaring. I enjoyed the wild diversity of the diary holders and the unpredictability of the storyline. The series can be pretty gruesome at times and has a noticeable lack of anything sunny and happy…but maybe those could be considered strong points to some people? If you want a darker twist on the Eden of the East plot with the supernatural elements of Death Note, I would give it a watch ;)

*Omake*: Just wanted to share this hilarious Mirai Nikki x Lucky Star crossover picture (I believe it’s an official one drawn by Lucky Star’s manga-ka, Kagami Yoshimizu)

8 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Cytrus says:

    I’ve only read the manga and I thought the author couldn’t draw or tell a story that made sense, but he sure had balls. It’s weird, but it’s gripping.

    Now, the manga ending was very clear – funny but good. From confused reactions on the net, I gather the anime probably omitted the very last part. They might be saving it for an ova or something?

    • Yumeka says:

      One of my friends who read the manga told me about how the anime ending was different. An OVA would be nice…a “future project” for Mirai Nikki was announced at the end of the last episode, so maybe we’ll see more of the story with that.

  2. Kal says:

    Didn’t see that one, might check it out. I do like anime that do not follow a specified path, and can be unpredictable. Even if the ending is a bit weak, if the whole trip was good, then it may be worth watching.

  3. KRILL says:

    I enjoyed the manga sorta kinda maybe a little bit. I only follow berserk, Naruto, judgement and claymore. This was interesting but it was mostly a meh and I couldn’t enjoy it enough to read all the chapters. As for the anime? Something about it just didn’t jive with me. I love action video games, LOVE action movies as well, LOVE action in my manga, enjoy reading books with action in them. Anime? I CANNOT watch it if it’s not slice-of-life, mostly believable compared to real life, and filled with VERY litte action IF any. UNLESS it’s horror or comedy violence or like a sport one(where I don’t mind the over top aspects). Horror and mystery, comedy, certain sport ones, and slice of life are all I can watch in anime t.v. series. I’m not sure why. Horror,comedy, and slice o’ life, are all I can watch with few exceptions. Anime movies? Actions fine as long as it doesn’t drive the plot as much or is senseless, for example I LOVE Evangelion. I don’t get myself. I just enjoy anime mostly for well done shows about human interactions as the driving force. So I liked Mirai Nikki up until the point it took an action turn. I was done after that XD I’m a mad dog! Hahaha. But yea, I would recommend the manga if you enjoyed this.

    • Yumeka says:

      That’s interesting that you prefer action in other mediums but not so much in anime. You’re right that at first Mirai Nikki was less action and more mystery/suspense as Yukki and Yuno had to outwit each diary holder. But at certain points there was more action, especially in latter episodes. I wouldn’t call it an action series at all, but it does have some.

  4. Nopy says:

    The unpredictability was what got me hooked on the anime too. It’s not unpredictable in the sense that random things happen, but in the sense that you can’t guess what the characters will do or what will happen even though the result is obvious when you do find out. I really think Yuno was the deciding factor between making Mirai Nikki a good series and a great series. Without her, the suspense and horro just wouldn’t have felt the same.

    • Yumeka says:

      Yeah, being as yandere as she is, Yuno added a lot to the show’s unpredictability as you never knew how far she’d go with her love for Yukki.

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