Anime of Tomorrow
Mirai Nikki (review)
Final impression – the journey is better than the destination (7/10)
Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (26 episodes) (title literal translation – The Future Diary)
Yukiteru Amano has been entered as an unwilling candidate into a survival game by Deus Ex Machina, the god of time who will use the contest to decide his most appropriate successor. Yukiteru was chosen, along with 12 other contestants, because they have been keeping impeccably accurate observation diaries that Deus deems a worthy character trait to qualify them for the role of the god of time.
As part of the game, each player has had their diary upgraded by Deus to predict the future out to a considerable amount of time. Their actions in the present could change their futures and those changes will be reflected in updates to their diaries. Thus the best candidate will be the one who can control their future and eliminate the others. But Yukki isn’t the most gung-ho about being unwittingly involved in this survival game no matter how big the prize, especially when he has to put up with his creepy, stalker girlfriend, Yuno Gasai, whose diary is capable of predicting his every move.
I’m not the type of fan who can fully enjoy a series based solely on the adventure. I need some measure of closure at the end—something to wrap things up or at least signify a proper ending. It doesn’t matter too much if I disagree with the outcome. After all, it’s at the writer’s discretion to tell a story the way they think it should be told, not to tell it the way I want.
That’s why I’m so conflicted about Mirai Nikki. It seems too focused on the path to the conclusion than on the conclusion itself, even if the voyage along the way was a doozy. The finale does an exceptionally poor job of signifying a true ending as it goes about a little epilogue with a real dearth of imagination. I just can’t imagine sitting in a self-imposed exile doing nothing but lamenting the loss of your loved one for 10,000 years. I was always a big believer in the concept of time healing all wounds; particularly those of the heart.
Many times in this series I think Yukki’s personality is just far too inconsistent; even taking into consideration the chaos that’s always threatening to envelop him at any moment. The pacing of the story also can’t keep a steady tempo with a lot of little bunny trails that seem to lead off to nowhere. But for all of my complaints it does do a good job of telling a story filled with a terrific variety of interesting characters with a multitude of motivations and flaws; all packed with some pretty grisly details that make me wonder if they’ll be uncensored on the blu-ray.
Can true love literally last forever even if you can never see that person ever again? Is it really healthy to remain true to your greatest passion or does there come a point when it’s best to just let go and move on? And what about endings? Is it best to have closure or can the journey be just as rewarding, even if the reward at the end is seriously lacking?