In the year and half I have been running Shallow Dives in Anime, there have been only a handful of anime that have really left me thinking about how I feel about them, that had been a real challenge to form an opinion on. Shinmai Maou no Testament is the first, Chivalry of a Failed Knight is the second. Today, I found the third.
It’s taken me days of pondering and thinking to pull together my thoughts on this show, and now I’m finally able to do so. Join me after the cut as I give my thoughts on the second half of Mirai Nikki or The Future Diary.
(NSFW picture up ahead)
(Check out my thoughts on the first half right here!)
My thoughts on Mirai Nikki, after watching the entire series and the OVA can be divided into two separate opinions. We will discuss both of these here. Overall to me, Mirai Nikki can be summed as the following.
1. It is the ultimate anime for the thirteen year old teenage boy
2. This is the first draft of a better, tighter and more interesting story.
Let’s talk about number one first. I don’t mean that as insult at all, not even a little bit. Instead it is the highest form of compliment to this series I can (and willing) to give. At thirty years old, I’ve been watching anime for at least twenty-two of those years. And throughout all of that, all of the series that have come and gone, there hasn’t been a single series that I think perfectly encapsulates everything a thirteen year old teenage would love, than Mirai Nikki.
Over the top violence! So much blood and gore! Balls to the wall action and explosions! Full on uncensored titty! That girl is really cute and crazy! Did I mention all the topless ladies!
If I had watched this show when I was that age, I would have no-holds barred, thought of it as a absolute masterpiece, one of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever made, and I am sure I am not alone in that. There has never been a show that goes right to the vein of what young teenagers stereotypicaly love. I am honestly impressed that such a show can exist in this state, and I can’t help but respect it deeply for that. However, I am older now, and while I will acknowledge everything I just said, I also have point number two to address. I said last time that it’s “good, not great.” Now that I’ve finished it, I think I was being generous.
Mirai Nikki is an absolute fucking mess of a show.
It has massive structural and story telling problems. Characters are inconsistently developed throughout it. Important plot points and moments are either skimmed over, or added in randomly. It is a show that throws so much at you, but never takes the time to really dive into it. And when it finally slows down enough to get its ending, not even that can save the show. Not even Yuno, who has at this point carried the entire anime on her insane yandere antics can’t do the entire job on her own.
Throughout this second half and in the first, I felt that Mirai Nikki was like a first draft of a better stronger story. Everything is here to make that work. The interesting premise, the compelling characters, the themes of love, survival, belonging and the will to carry on, but none of it has any real meat to them. There were so many times, so many times where I was watching that I was going “Oh, that would be really compelling if it was given a editing pass,” and that is the problem. Like with Yuno and Yukki’s internal struggles, Mirai Nikki is a story crying for a hero to come save it. To rewrite parts of the story, cut out the fat, and expand in the places that matter. There is just so much in this anime that it honestly feels the author Sakae Esuno was throwing random ideas at the wall and using whatever stuck, without any rhyme or reason to it.
Yuki’s heel turn comes too late in the story to save his character. Minene’s romance and character development are missing crucial elements. Yuki’s friends feel completely superfluous to the plot to the point of filler. The diary holders that are actually interesting (Macro and Ai) are not in the story long enough to matter. Akise Aru’s entire existence feels like the author just wanted his version of Evangelions‘ Kaworu Nagisa in the story. The only silver lining to this is that Yuno’s plot twist and motivations are legitimately interesting, but it can’t save the rest of the story, but that is just more proof of the story being a first draft of a better work.
Mirai Nikki is an anime that I am glad I have watched, because shows like these are excellent thinking exercises. It would be easy to call the show trashy and horrible, but a challenge to actually try and put into words what is a real fucking hot mess of a story. I stand by everything I said above, it is the perfect anime for the thirteen year old boy, but it is also a story that needed another pass to make it really stand out. What we have instead is a high-octane, id-driven and adrenaline fueled action fest that will speak to the inner teenager in all of us, and a story that will make you pull your hair out with its inconsistency and insanity. If you haven’t watched this show before, then you should give a look just to see what your own opinion is. I don’t know if you’ll agree or disagree with me, but you’ll go on a wild ride regardless.
2 thoughts on “Mirai Nikki Episodes 13-26 + Redial: Seeing what Sticks”
This is one of those series that I just couldn’t finish — yet. I got 18 episodes in and stalled. The reason was simple.
Yuki was a complete, unadulterated, blithering idiot.
He had Yuno, the in show’s equivalent of a carrier battle group, willing to do anything — ab-so-effing-lutely anything — to keep him alive.
And he hesitated to embrace her?
I don’t mind character growth arcs. I get that characters have to grow through learning. But Yuki was so unbelievably stupid that I couldn’t take it.
I don’t celebrate murder. Parenticide is one of those things I frown on. But if I had been in an insane game with insane rules and insane players, I would have put my complete faith in Yuno. Because in the world of insanity, she was a goddess of destruction. And I would have made her _my_ goddess.
I’m only a few episodes short of finishing it. I need to get it done. But dang, I’m just having a hard time getting past Yuki.
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Yuki really is a fucking dumbass, and his growth comes too late in the story to save him.
On the other hand though, his reactions are actually what you’d expect from a kid in his situation, especially since he is a loner introvert with no real friends. A better draft would have fixed that, but oh well.
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