On FUTURE DIARY
Future Diary aka Mirai Nikki is a series about a middle school kid named Yukiteru who’s all observant and distant and disaffected. He, apparently, has some imaginary friends called Deus and Murmur. However, these imaginary friends turn out to not be so imaginary. Deus turns out to be the god of space and time. Not only that, he’s turned Yukiteru’s cellphone into one that can predict the future. Oh: and there are also 11 other people who have this power, and now you have to kill each other so you can become my replacement as god.
Though I think the series is largely uneven and, by its conclusion, has completely jumped the shark, I do think it touches on some rather interesting ideas; or, rather, the central relationship and the character behavior/personalities offer more to chew on than whatever the central conceit is supposed to do. The relationship between Yukiteru and Yuno (his love interest) arguably drives most of the series’ action, but it also highlights the series’ attitudes towards dependent/abusive relationships. This is the only interesting part of the show.
Yukiteru’s diary and Yuno’s diary are oddly compatible, so they team up in order to survive the game. However, it’s less of a “team” and more of a “Yuno goes crazy any time Yukiteru is even remotely in danger.” The thrust of the entire relationship is thus: Yukiteru completely relies on Yuno to save his ass, and then feels horrible after she goes way overboard and kills everyone. Not only that, at points, Yukiteru almost begins to feel afraid for his life, that’s how intense Yuno is. Yuno pledges undying devotion and love and bodyguard services, and Yukiteru takes advantage of this, basically using her and lying to her, while benefiting from her protection. This dynamic is deeply screwed up.
First of all, we have the way in which Yukiteru almost seems like an abused spouse character. Because of Yuno’s diary ability, he can’t really escape from her (she knows everything he’s going to do), and it’s because of this that he allows himself to think of her company and her actions as normal. She’s just trying to protect me and win the game (because she likes me). But every time that Yuno goes all ruthless and flies off the handle a little more than the previous time, Yukiteru has to keep making compromises and excuses for her. He’s told repeatedly by other people that she’s dangerous or that she’ll be the death of him. Little by little, her behavior becomes rationalized and coded as “normal” or “acceptable” and soon the feeling that this is what he has to deal with to survive becomes inescapable. He’s trapped in the relationship; Yuno keeps him safe, and he can’t get away even if he wanted to.
Also of interest are any moments where there is opposition between Yukiteru and Yuno. There’s a particularly great episode where Yukiteru tries to make new, “normal” friends. They invite him out to take a look at a dead body (because that isn’t suspicious) and he cheerfully goes, because the prospect of getting away from what he knows is a toxic attachment to Yuno is mighty appealing. She tags along, but mostly watches from the sides, as Yukiteru laughs with everyone, cracks jokes, and whatnot. But then the narrative of the episode kicks in, and Yukiteru’s friends turn out to be not so friendly. Which is exactly what Yuno thought would happen. The drama of the episode is then about Yukiteru’s struggle to redeem this friendship, and make it real; and Yuno’s constant refusal to make friends with anyone else, throwing doubt on anyone who would get close to him, almost stabbing everyone whenever they do something unexpected. But this opposition never even lasts; Yukiteru’s too weak to ever put up much of a struggle. Even after everyone witnesses how crazy Yuno is, he still ends up making excuses for her. He’s terrified by her behavior, but he can’t quite say that he doesn’t need it. Yuno loves Yukiteru, wishes to protect him and all that; but it’s a love that’s selfish, possessive and obsessive. It’s a love that includes no one else. At points, it doesn’t even include Yukiteru. It’s her love alone.
And, ultimately, Future Diary, if nothing else,manages to dramatize this unique dynamic very well. Although it often succumbs to ludicrous plot twists, silly Yandere antics, and literal deus ex machine shenanigans, the series manages to show how crazy and twisted this relationship is. The series’ denouement shows the utter ruination of the main character; he’s destroyed everything he loves for a lie. And still he lives a lie.
How To Find It
The series is licensed and will be released by Funimation.
Future Diary (2011 – 2012)