What is the difference between a good anime and a bad one? If we could just pinpoint one factor deciding about it, life would be way easier than it is. Sadly, those factors seem to be hazy, blurred, hidden all over the place and changing with each anime. In Mirai Nikki's case the signals are surely mixed. Some factors tell this anime might be just what you're looking for - while others will scream "turn around while you still can!". Sadly, this one is a title that just can't be missed out, so you're in for a real treat if you keep watching it - and likewise, miss out a lot of great stuff if you just give up on it. In both cases, you will slightly regret not doing the other thing, but it all breaks down this review quite fine into two parts - why is it so bad? And yet, why is it so good? I'll try to answer both of the questions, so just make some coffee, grab a snack and enjoy the ride.
SHE'S COMING AND HE KNOWS IT
So now, since this title has been originally requested for TMC, I have to start with the bad parts. It's quite unfortunate, but who am I to complain? Well, if you followed my reviews until now - or, more precisely, if you read my Guilty Crown review - I said something about Mirai Nikki being one of the shows that stole the spotlight in fall 2011. If you watched it, you probably know why by now - because of its premise. The main, leading storyline of this whole anime is the survival game that takes place in order to determine who will take the god's - in this case Deus Ex Machina's - throne. It's quite unique and having the show look as it does, it was purely a pleasure to watch it. We got a fresh premise, fresh story, nice yandere romance, supernatural diaries and killing! What else do we need? Well, there actually is something that we need apart from that. It's for the pieces to fit in together, to make sense, and simply watching the first episode will just mess with your mind. It's not right. The way the plot has been unveiled to the starting viewer does not add up. Why so? Well, for the sole reason this whole survival game the anime prides itself in - doesn't really happen.
Okay, you know what, I'll stop right there - I don't really want to go all MatPat and unveil a theory I came up with for this anime, since you're not here to hear that. I'll just go with the facts creators handed us on a plate. The main protagonist of this show is Amane Yukiteru, a fourteen year old boy who alienated himself by his own choice. He's an introvert and keeps a diary in his phone, covering all the things around him. He also has two imaginary friends, Deus Ex Machina, the god of time and space and his servant, Murmur. This is pretty much my problem with this anime. They first uncovered these two as his imaginary friends, and then just went on with a 'nevermind, they're real, let's go with that'. And they expect you to believe that.
EVEN IF HE KNOWS WHY
Now, in most anime these days, there are many errors, problems that are either caused by the faulty script, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, brave new ideas or just money shortage. They usually exist on the sidelines, covering minor, not important backstories, odd frames, sound issues or generally something that you do not pay such an attention to. In this anime, the problem is much more major, since throughout all the episodes it's sticking the middle finger right in front of our faces. Meet Amano Yukiteru, the main character of this story, who besides being an alienated introvert is also an unbelievable wimp, a kid spoiled rotten with no guts to show for himself. This guy, for the remainder of twenty six whopping episodes, did nothing but rely on others to carry his sorry ass safely through this merciless survival game. And you know what, the creators actually want us to accept that - to treat him as the proper protagonist, cheer for him whenever things get tough, feel sad whenever he's depressed and furthermore, accept the fact that such a different, brave girl as Yuno Gasai, our yandere, actually picked this wimp as her chosen one. You know, I rarely feel hatred for the protagonists, they usually are clueless, sometimes cowardly, sometimes really dense, but most of them can be liked. To this day I've only hated wholeheartedly two protagonists - and besides the protagonist of School Days that just in no way can be accepted, the second one is actually Amane Yukiteru. Because, let's face it - if this anime makes a potential antagonist - Minene Uryuu - a more lovable character than our protagonist, something sure as hell is wrong with Yukiteru. Hell, pretty much anyone in this anime deserves to win this survival game more than him!
FOOTSTEPS IN THE HALLWAY
I'm not one, honestly, to grill the anime titles that I really enjoyed. But there's something about this anime that might make it not really approachable for some. Namely, the very best part of it, our iconic yandere, Yuno. For some she's pure awesomeness, but for others she might really seem offputting. She's a mass murderer, that's true, but also the only real gear that moves this construction forward. Even when there's a Deus Ex Machina character already in the anime, she's functioning as the bona fide deus ex machina that makes things happen. I'm usually less forgiving in terms of deus ex machinae in anime, but this one is a special case that I don't really mind - but then again, only because she's got actual personality to complete the picture with. It's also worth noting she has no real reason to be a yandere - Yukki didn't do anything special, just a little spirit lifting, and yet instead of going yangire, she went the hard way and fell for our good for nothing main character. How cruel this world really is...
BOY, YOU HAVEN'T GOT TIME
If you like deus ex machinae, then you're in for a treat, because we get yet another one in this anime. No, not the literal god of time and space either. Akise Aru. Just when you think there's no real way to settle things, and even Yuno can't help with that, this guy comes and twists things around. Time and time and time and time again. And most of the time the anime doesn't even know how to make us feel about him. It wants the watchers hate him because he opposes Yukki-Yuno duet, and yet, shows only his good sides as if he's the savior, which he usually is. It's just a lukewarm character, a Sherlock Holmes in acting, playing the Superman when he needs. And it doesn't really help that he follows suit and also is in love with Yukiteru. Yes, homosexual love. Only because he's a deus ex machina as well, I suppose?
YOU GOTTA GET OUT
In the end, I really enjoyed this anime. Maybe for the premise, maybe for the characters, or maybe for the fact it actually ends, but there's just something about it that made me rewatch it with pleasure the day after I've first finished it. And for that case, I've put up another thread to cover just the good aspects of this anime, so follow the link below and continue reading.
If you don't wanna read further though, I'll let you off the hook if you complete the punishment. Or you can just run it in the background if you're a masochist like me.
Punishment: 10 hours of Yuki, Yuki, Yuki