Yukiteru “Yuki” Amano is just an average middle school student. Preferring to remain alone, he records everything he sees in his cell phone. Additionally, he talks with his imaginary friends Deus ex Machina and his servant Mur Mur. One day, he receives a special gift from Deus, a “Future Diary” in a form of cell phone that can predict the future. With his “Future Diary” in hand, Yuki is thrown into a battle royale with eleven other participants with Deus, revealed to be the god of space and time. The goal of this game is simple: be the last person standing before the 90-day deadline and become the next god of space and time. Yuki is forced to team up with Yuno Gasai, a fellow classmate of his, who has a strong obsession with Yuki, but there is more to her than what she shows.
To be honest, I had good expectations before watching Future Diary. I heard of the premise and how Yuno Gasai is considered one of the best at the yandere archetype. It’s a really cool concept, having twelve combatants battle it out for the chance to become a god. However, rather than go for good story-telling, Future Diary goes for shock value to cover up any little substance this show has. It has no real point, and that is what ultimately prevents this series from becoming any good.
Plotwise, Future Diary actually has a neat concept. It combines aspects of Death Note (with the artifacts that each participant uses) and Battle Royale/Hunger Games. Each “Future Diary” has a different ability that corresponds to the user’s personality. For example, Yuki’s diary, because of his detached personality and his observational behavior, tells the future of what he is thinking of at that time. Yuno’s diary, because of her obsession with Yuki, tells her every action that Yuki does in 10-minute intervals. However, despite having a cool concept, the execution of said concept is lacking. Too often, they go for shock value to progress the plot. We have instances of rape, attempted rape, acts of terrorism, and acts of torture. These atrocities happen to all ages of people, including middle-school children, which makes it even more repulsive and disturbing. The second half does get a little better, though it goes in direction of more action-based, rather than a psychological thriller. During this second half, though, there are some emotional moments that hit the heart well, and the last four episodes bring one plot twist after another that makes sense once you think about it. However, most of the time, you end up thinking how dumb most of the plot developments are.
The character cast as a whole are not interesting or even that likable. Yuki is a loner with no personality whatsoever. His decisions throughout the whole story are inconsistent, switching from cowardly to affirmative, and his character development about three-quarters into the series is so sudden that you wouldn’t think they were the same character. Unfortunately, all of that is thrown away in the final episodes. Yuno, on the other hand, is the considered the star of the series. She takes the “yandere” archetype to the extreme, making sure that NO ONE ever gets close to her Yuki. Drugs. Axes. Poisonous gases. She will use any means necessary to eliminate any of her competition. However, one person cannot carry the whole series. The rest of the cast has one or two defining characteristics and some sort of tragic backstory, varied from a police detective to a teenage terrorist to a four-year old boy! The fact that a four-year old boy is involved in this game makes this show more disturbing. Each participant is twisted in his or her own way, and we are supposed to feel for them when they die. However, some of the participants’ personalities are so uninteresting that no real impact can be made on the viewers. They only feel like their actions are needed to progress the plot.
There are a couple of notable voice acting performances in this series. Brina Palencia, as the voice of Yuno, brings a creepy vibe to her character. Anytime Yuno speaks with her monotone voice, you can feel a quiet but murderous intent from her. The other notable performance comes from Emily Neves as Minene Uryuu, the teenage terrorist. She brings a psychotic and a badass personality to her character. The rest of the cast give passable performances, but nothing too memorable.
Overall, this series had a great concept, but poor execution. There are some enjoyable moments spread out through the series, but the flaws mainly outweigh any good parts that Future Diary has to offer. It’s such a shame, really. This series has a whole lot of potential to be one of more memorable series. However, it is memorable for all of the wrong reasons.
Rating: 4/10 (Below Average)