One thing we like to do at Geek Insider is watch anime–especially ones about 12-man tournaments in which the participants must kill each other. Toss in diaries that can predict the future, stalker girlfriends, psycho terrorists, and some pretty over the top action and you’ve got the ingredients for an awesome anime. This week we watched–
The Future Diary
Yukiteru “Yuki” Amano is a loner who spends most of his time writing a diary on his cell phone or talking with his imaginary friends Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space; and Murmur, Deus’ servant. One day, Deus gives Yuki a special diary, mentioning something about a game. Strangely, Yuki’s new diary has entries in it spanning the next 90 days—entries about the future that come unnervingly true. Deus, the not-so-imaginary God of Time and Space, then forces Yuki to participate in a battle royale with eleven other people, each of whom also has a diary that can predict the future in some unique way. The rules of this “Diary Game” are simple: the contestants must try to find and kill all the other contestants before the world ends on Day 90, and only the last one standing can prevent the Apocalypse and become the new God of Time and Space.
Where To Find It:
Hulu: https://www.hulu.com/the-future-diary (Full series subs, free with ads, only episodes 1-4 for dubs)
Funimation: https://www.funimation.com/shows/the-future-diary/anime (Full series subs and dubs, free with ads, paid subscription removes ads and grants access to dubs)
Insider Opinion (Possible Spoilers!):
I almost panned this one, because, despite the premise being worth a look, the minute I laid eyes on the protagonist, Yukiteru Amano, I was immediately reminded of Shirō Emiya (Fate/stay night). I’m sorry, but I’m just not a fan of the guy. Still, the idea of cellphones that can predict the future proved to be one too intriguing to pass up. (I can’t help but imagine what kind of nonsense I’d get into if my smartphone could pull this off!) Luckily The Future Diary wastes no time introducing it’ diverse and eye-catching supporting cast which is largely made up of people with some sort of psychological luggage.
Since Yukiteru is our protag, the first instinct is to view him as “the good guy” and the rest of the diary keepers as “the bad guys.” The first two diary keepers Yukiteru must fight, Takao Hiyama, a serial killer, and Minene Uryuu, a terrorist, don’t help this one bit. However, as more diary keepers were introduced, I began to realized that there weren’t necessarily any good guys or bad guys. While never completely justified in their actions, it became painfully clear that the keepers were caught up in an unfair game in which the conditions were beyond their control. Humanity is a big theme in The Future Diary, with the cast being vocal about their own morality at times as well as that of their opponents. This helped me to view the other diary keepers as more than just “bad guys” put in place for the protag to overcome, but actual people with depth and, for the most part, it was fun to learn about them and their motives.
Another major key to The Future Diary is character growth, with a majority of the recurring characters changing throughout the 26 episode series. With the terms of the game established so bluntly in the beginning, and the almost surefire bet that the protag will win, the character growth went a long way in keeping me coming back for more. It was done properly here; the story did not shape them, but instead the characters told the story through their thoughts, words, and actions.
Lastly, I’d like to say that the story does seem a tad weak: 12 people in a life or death contest, only one can survive. Your mind may not be blown if you’ve seen the likes of BTOOOM! or Battle Royale, but I was surprised to find that every bit that The Future Diary is transparent about what is going on, it is equally secretive about what is going on behind the scenes. So much so that while enjoying the fun character interactions, gritty, fast paced action scenes, and the twisted antics of Yuno Gasai, you’ll find yourself beginning to ask questions and doubt some things. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I started to get the feeling that The Future Diary is the kind of mystery that offers you half-truths to hide the big, foundational mystery, and it works out well here. I can tell you right now that any guesses you may make early on in the series may come close to the actual ending, but nowhere near exact.
Overall it’s a fun series, but it’s packing some nudity and its fair share of violence (TV-MA). There are also some adult themes (one of the diary keepers is a victim of rape, for example) that aren’t suitable for children, but nothing comes across as tasteless. I recommend this one if you’re looking for an action/drama with a killer cast, and a good bit of plot twists along the way.