What if you could tell the future? It’s an idea that humans have pondered upon for centuries. We are creatures of desire and the desire for some foresight is one that many have had at one point or another. Will you ace your exam? Will your crush return your feelings? Will you win the lottery? When will you die?
Future Diary embodies this desire in its high stakes battle of survival. What would happen if God gave you the power to see the future? How would you use that knowledge. That is the fulcrum of Future Diary, a compelling survival game anime with one hell of a hook.
In a game of life and death, the power to tell the future can be game changing. Such is the case with the survival game at the centre of Future Diary. Each player in this game is given a ‘Future Diary’ which provides them with reports of future events, at times even report of their death.
It is a tense tale to say the least and Future Diary wrings out every ounce of suspense it can. Each episode in this first collection by and large revolves around a villain of the week structure, but it works well at introducing the premise and crafting engaging insular story lines within the grander story at hand.
A real highlight in Future Diary is the superb cast of characters it features. Characters like Yuno and even our ‘hero’ Yuki are multi-layered characters with a surprising amount of depth to them. There in lies a great deal of intrigue, as the story unravels so too do these characters true selves. It is truly a thrill to watch.
The interactions between the characters is just as much of an interesting experience. They develop together as the series progresses and make for what is one of the bet ensemble casts in anime for quite some time. The chemistry between these characters is simply electric, making these insane situations they find themselves in feel very genuine, something that is really no easy accomplishment especially in a series with such a high death toll.
While there is some pacing issues in some points, giving a feeling that some steps were skipped over in the story telling process, Future Diary never ceases to be interesting. It just keeps throwing curve ball after curve ball at viewers and treats them with a relative amount of intelligence, taking a light-handed approach rather than a heavy-handed one. It doesn’t hold your hand through everything and trusts viewers to understand and following its story even at its most perplexing.
What really stands out about Future Diary however is that despite how dark and brutal it may be, there is an underlying playfulness to it that gives it a genuine sense of fun to proceedings. Because of this Future Diary transcends being just another action anime and becomes something truly memorable.
Visuals and Audio
In terms of aesthetics, studio Asread have done a great job in giving the series a unique look. It borders between grim and light-hearted in a strange mash-up that manages to work wonders here. The character designs are very memorable and often betray their true selves in superb juxtaposition. Yuno for example appears to be a sweet wholesome girl, but her looks betray her personality. It is that contrast that makes this such a visually stimulating experience. What we see isn’t always what it seems and Asread studio capture that brilliantly.
As for the score, Future Diary hits all the right notes, reaching great heights in the big moments and remaining consistent even in the quieter moments. Consistency is a valuable asset to any anime series and Future Diary is all the more stronger because of it.
This release also happens to feature an English dub alongside the Japanese audio track. The English dub comes from Funimation and it must be said, they have done a great job with it. The casting is spot on and brings this series into English in a big way. Each performance echoes the original Japanese while also transitioning it into English superbly.
In terms of extras and bonus features, Madman Entertainment have done a solid job in bringing this anime down under. They have included a multitude of special features that prove to be great value for money for this release. Included are insightful episode commentaries, textless opening and ending themes, TV spots and trailers. The real highlight though has to be the bonus ‘omake’ shorts. They provide further depth to the characters as well as being worth a real laugh, they are well worth the watch for what they bring to the table. All in all this is a great all around release for Madman Entertainment.
Future Diary is one of the most must-see anime releases of the year. The central survival game at the core of Future Diary is half Battle Royale half Eden of the East, a mash-up for the ages no doubt. It is a compelling thrill ride that shocks as much as it excites. With the first collection concluding in a way that leaves you begging for more, you’ll undoubtedly be left hanging on the edge of your seat after this one.
Despite its minor pacing issues, it proves to be a pulse-pounding action anime the likes of which don’t come by often. The series has a killer hook that will keep you engaged from start to finish. Whether its brutal battles or explosive confrontations, you won’t be able to look away from Future Diary.
This release from Madman Entertainment is one that you don’t want to miss out on. Future Diary is all kinds of fun and an anime you won’t soon forget. If your future doesn’t have you watching Future Diary it is time for some serious course correction. Future Diary is bloody good fun.
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