You may have figured this out already, but Mirai Nikki probably isn’t the best choice if you’re looking for something to restore your faith in humanity.
OP: 「空想メソロギヰ」 (Kuusou Mesorogiwi) by 妖精帝國 (Yousei Teikoku)
You may have also figured out that there are no sacred cows in this story either, and I’m glad it’s so obvious – this alleviates some concern on my part that Asread would soften the material for TV. I think exploding middle-schoolers (and French-kissing middle schoolers) are a pretty good indication that the manga is going to be adapted pretty much as is content-wise, which is a good thing because any attempt to sanitize Mirai Nikki would effectively kill it. It has to punch you in the face to be really work.
And effective it is, at lest so far for this manga reader. I’m impressed that Asread have managed to capture the paranoid, exhilaratingly out-of-control feeling from the source material. It’s not an adaptation that throws a ton of polish and ostentatiousness at the subject – the voice acting is heartfelt but raw, and the animation is hardly cutting-edge. But it has a certain amount of style to it, capturing the look of Sakae-sensei’s drawings while adding a little theatrical flourish. The OP and ED match the manic tone of the show quite well, especially the OP. Asread may not be a top-tier studio, but what’s clear to me after two episodes is that they know what they have here – they understand the material. And frankly, that’s more important.
What I especially love is the way the anime captures the trapped feeling Yukiteru has at the moment, when all this is new to him. I can’t talk about later events, of course, but it’s important to understand who Yuki is and the fact that the kid you see now isn’t necessarily the one you’ll see later – this is the boy who just found out he’s in a game where losing means death, and lots of scary people want to see him die. And the only person he can turn to for help is just as scary – though also hot, which can’t be discounted in the 14 year-old mind – his very own stalker. You see something of Yukiteru’s survival instinct and cleverness creep in here, as he makes a conscious (and very wise) decision that allying with the insane Yuno Gasai is better than going it alone. “Protect me.” Two simple words, but a watershed moment in the series, and ones not everyone would have had the smarts (and cojones) to say.
Ah, Yuno. She’s a girl, she’s a noun and a verb, she’s a trope. If you think about it, this is a perfect match – a guy with absolutely no self-esteem and a stalker who adores him utterly. If Asread are playing up her horny side a bit I’ll forgive it, because it’s so much fun to watch. All you need to know about Yuno (for now) you see in the scene where she runs through the school setting off bombs after seeing Yuki betrayed. You may think you know yanderes, but typical yanderes are to Yuno are what dirty magazines are to real live supermodels. She’s the gold standard, the real deal – and what really makes Yuno great is that she’s totally sincere. Everything Yuno does makes perfect sense to her. She has so many other admirable qualities – loyal, fearless, brilliant. It’s just a shame she’s…
If things seem to be moving quickly story-wise, it’s not Asread rushing them – it pretty much plays that way in the manga in the beginning. Two new major characters this week – Ninth, Uryu Minene (Aizawa Mai) and Fourth, Kurusu Keigo (Tanaka Masahiro). It should be obvious by now that each diary has a unique ability to read the future, all with limitations. What’s more, each of the diary owners is delightfully unique, and their diaries match their personalities and circumstances. Ninth seems pretty straightforward – she’s using her “Escape Diary” as a terrorist, and saw Yuki as an opportunity to draw out her real target, Fourth, and kill two birds with one gigantic cluster of bombs. In the end she sacrifices her own eye to save her diary from the dart that will pierce the heavens. Fourth seems pretty straightforward, too – wanting nothing more than to use his “Criminal Investigation Diary” to keep the peace. To this end he offers an alliance to poor innocent kids Yuki and Yuno, to meld the power of their three diaries into one unstoppable force. What could be better?
Without even touching on the attention required to follow a story where nothing and no one is as simple as they appear, it can be difficult just to follow the diary entries (I pause a lot, obviously highlighting the advantage of manga for material like this). There’s a lot of information being thrown at the audience, which is why I rather enjoy the fact that Asread have chosen to use the omakes not just to highlight Murumuru in comedic situations, but to offer a little explanation about the events that have transpired – retroactive spoilers, if you will. I think that’s a really clever idea and should prove very useful for viewers not familiar with the source material.