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)