Anime based on elimination games are usually predictable and uninspiring. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) started out along the same path, but ended up being one of the more successful anime of the year. Produced by Asread, Mirai Nikki is a 26 episode anime based on the manga by Sakae Esuno.
The story revolves around a 14-year-old middle school boy named Yukiteru Amano. Yukiteru is a complete introvert that doesn’t like to get involved with others and even has his own “imaginary” world where he can talk to Deus Ex Machina (a.k.a. God). One day Yukiteru finds that the diary that he has been keeping on his phone is suddenly filling up with entries that predict the future. After narrowly escaping from the hands of a serial killer, Yukiteru finds out that Deus isn’t just a figment of his imagination, but an actual God. Deus informs Yukiteru that he has been chosen to participate in a battle royale with 11 other people that possess diaries that can predict the future. The winner will take over Deus’s place as God of the world. Fortunately, Yukiteru has an ally, Yuno Gasai, a girl in his class that’s obsessively in love with him. It’s kill or be killed as Yukiteru and Yuno fight to become the last two standing.
One of the striking things about Mirai Nikki is that it has no reservations about using extreme violence. Those looking for action will find plenty of it here. There is everything including stabbing, mutilation, guns, poison, and explosions. What makes it even more shocking is that most of the characters are still underage. The extremes to which the children in Mirai Nikki will go to achieve their goals is disturbing but it’s what keeps you on the edge of your seat through the series.
The personalities of the characters are definitely a strong point of Mirai Nikki. While Yukiteru is uninspiring, all of the other participants in the battle royale have some kind of quirk that makes them unique and interesting to watch. For example, one is the leader of a secretive cult that treats her like a god, while another is a young terrorist. Mirai Nikki doesn’t just leave it at that though, as most characters are given a descriptive background. The cult leader was once gang-raped by the very people she’s leading and the terrorist was orphaned in a war zone, leading her on a personal crusade. The most interesting character is by far, Yuno. She isn’t your typical head-over-heels in love girlfriend, but a psychopath bent on destroying anything that comes between her and her love. Yuno is the very definition of a yandere, which is someone who is so in love that it causes them to act in extremely violent ways.
For such an intriguing series, it’s disappointing that the animation quality ranged from poor to average depending on the scene. Nothing really stood out that made me think “wow, this looks nice”, with the majority of scenes being of acceptable quality. Unfortunately, there were a few moments where I thought that characters looked more like stick figures than anime. The animation isn’t essential to the story, but the varying quality level detracts from the overall enjoyment of the series.
If you don’t mind some inconsistent animation and want to see some bloody action with a good plot, then definitely check out Mirai Nikki.