Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Future Diary Review (English)

Ah horror. I love you so much! You have always been so good to me! Let’s see what you have in store for me today.......... GOD DAMNIT REALLY?!?!?

The Future Diary is a 26 episode (and single OVA) Action/Psychological/Suspense series based on the manga by Sakae Esuno and published by Kadokawa Shoten. The anime from director Naoto Hosoda and Asread studio aired during the Fall 2011 season. A TV Drama, Future Diary: Another World gave it’s run in Japan in the spring of 2012. As of this review, Future Diary can be found thanks to FUNimation Entertainment (US), Kaze UK (UK), and Madman Entertainment (AUS). The OVA episode, Future Diary: Redial has not been licensed as of this review.

Oh Deus... You really don't live up to your name or anything...
Yukiteru Amano is a loner who never really interacts with people and prefers writing a diary on his cell phone with his only companion being an imaginary friend named Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space. However, Yuki soon learns that Deus is not a figment of his imagination but real when Deus makes him a participant in a battle royale with eleven others. Within this "Diary Game", the contestants are given special diaries that can predict the future with each diary having unique features that gives them both advantages and disadvantages. The prize? The title of God. But, for Yuki, it's not going to be easy. Especially when you have a crazy murderous stalker named Yuno Gasai having a weird obsession with you.

The animation of Future Diary is actually rather average. There’s nothing that stands out as awesome or amazing in the animation, but at the same time it’s not bad to look at either. It is still a huge gore fest with a lot of blood and many severed body parts in there.... also boobs.... but I kind of feel like this could have been done much better considering the nature of this show. I have seen better animated horror shows before and, even taking time of release into account, Future Diary just doesn’t hold a candle to some of them. Though all is not entirely lost as the majority of the theme songs do make up for it with Yousei Teikoku’s Kuso Mesorogiwi being my favorite. I’ll admit, I saw them in concert last year at Anime Boston and learned that this song was attached to this series from there so, as you may expect, my interest in the series kinda grew from there. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s all rather generic horror and love music that you can find in almost everything else in anime.

When it comes to story, Future Diary is a little bit of an oddball. Granted it has similar ideas as many other shows and films we’ve seen as of late (*cough* Hunger Games *cough* Battle Royale *cough cough*), but it does at least try its best to give you so much story packed into those 26 episodes that it may end up making your head spin! What I feel the problem may be is that it was trying a little too much, because by the end of the series there’s just a huge mess left in its wake. Not only does it end on a more sour note, but there are plenty of gaping plot holes that probably go through the entire earth. That’s how bad it is. I will mention that I took the effort to watch the OVA episode as well, and what I can say is it gives it a moderately better ending than the series itself, though it doesn’t answer the gaping plot holes so it’s not too helpful. I hate saying this, but as a fan of all things horror/mystery/psychological I am really disappointed in the story of Future Diary.

And Akise. The ones I would have loved the series to revolve around...
The characters are what drives this series. They each vary in all shapes and sizes from older men to young kids. What I like about this is that the secondary characters are rather enjoyable! From 9th’s crazy terrorist escapades to 12th’s weird sense of justice to the tragic story of 6th and a few others. Each of the Diary Owners have their own interesting personalities and stories that made the story of the series easier to handle. Each Diary Owner ends up with some sort of tragic story with some much more troubling than others, but that’s ok. The fact that we have a group of psychopaths vying for the role of God means that many of the characters may hope to change the past in some form or another in order to find more happiness for themselves. Whether that may be bringing parents back from the dead or making sure someone doesn’t get sexually assaulted (by the way there’s at least two characters that are raped in this series, FYI) it does give good motivation for these other characters. Though I just wish some of them had more screen time than others as many of the Diary Owners appear on a more episode to episode basis with many of them getting two episodes of screen time max, with 4th and 9th as the major exceptions. But now, we run into our biggest problem that many people have with this series, our leading pair Yuki and Yuno. The couple are just really obnoxious to watch! Yuki is a depressed sniveling wimp a majority of the time while Yuno is just bat shit insane and emotionally unstable. It’s a disaster! I honestly would have loved the focus to be placed on someone else, and I don’t really care who! Anyone would be better than these two idiots! The one thing I will give credit for, since I do love me my crazy psychos, Yuno is hilariously insane to me. There were moments where I enjoyed her craziness and got a good laugh out of it, but neither her nor Yuki are strong characters that should be carrying this series. If I had to pick who it should follow, I wouldn’t mind views from 9th or Akise in the least! Though I have heard of a manga spinoff where Akise has a bigger role, so I’m probably going to search for it now.

Yuki X Akise. F**K YOU YUNO!!
Palencia and Grelle as Yuno and Yuki = They tried their best but the characters sucks
The dub, by FUNimation standards, is a solid listen with a variety of good casting choices and rather poor ones. The strongest ones, I feel, are Emily Neves (Penguindrum, Canaan) as Minene Uryu aka 9th, Robert McCollum (Psycho-Pass, Rideback) as Keigo Kurusu aka 4th, Ian Sinclair (Space Dandy, Shiki) as Yomotsu Hirasaka aka 12th, Todd Haberkorn (Fairy Tail, xxxHolic) as Aru Akise, and J. Michael Tatum (Black Butler, Kamisama Kiss) as Marumi Nishijima though for that role it just barely makes it in. We get more voice work from Jamie Marchi (Black Cat, Sgt Frog), Monica Rial (RahXephon, Soul Eater), Kent Williams (Baka and Test, [C] Control), Leah Clark (Eden of the East, Wolf Children), Joel McDonald (Nabari no Ou, Baccano!), Caitlin Glass (Ouran Highschool Host Club, Full Metal Alchemist), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Case Closed, Trinity Blood), and Eric Vale (Deadman Wonderland, Casshern Sins) just to name a few other fun ones. Now here’s where the problem comes in and, of course it’s our main duo... Josh Grelle’s (Princess Jellyfish, Attack on Titan) Yukiteru isn’t terrible, not by a long shot, but it just didn’t do it for me this time around. He did what was given to him and I give him props but it’s not a strong performance compared to.... well..... everyone else. Ok, not everyone. Brina Palencia’s (Spice and Wolf, One Piece) Yuno is a little interesting to talk about because I feel that the role could have been done better. Palencia is probably the best in their pool of voice actors who can do the job, but there’s so much room for improvement here. Both Grelle and Palencia are fine, I’m not trying to be a hard ass. It’s just, compared to the rest of the cast, they were the weakest performances. It doesn’t help when their characters are bad to begin with so there’s a slight handicap right there.

By the end of the survival game, Future Diary..... Uhmm.... Well it exists. There are some enjoyable parts to this series such as the secondary characters and parts of the English dub, however all the negative points just weigh it down a little too much. Aside from average animation, the story isn’t all that strong and our Bonnie and Clyde aren’t overpowering enough to take the series as their own. The crazy twists and turns, and Yuno’s crazy self, are interesting to laugh at, but this just isn’t one to take seriously and you should just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. It’s not my favorite horror anime out there, no far from it, but I at least got some enjoyment out of it. My suggestion, place this one towards to bottom of you anime watch list.

Next time, the restaurant business will be our thing. Until then, otaku on my friends!

Final Rating - 4/10 I love me a good mind fuck, but this is just bad....

1 comment:

  1. I didn't like Future Diary overall too. Like you said, there are some interesting parts, but there are also a lot of negative parts that make you overlook the positive ones. It has a promising concept though, but the execution is just not pulled off well.