Future Diary: Part 2 Review

Anime

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Future Diary: Part 2
Studio: Asread
Publisher: FUNimation
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Price: $59.98 – Available Here

Overview
Many anime are given brief, twelve to thirteen episode runs where a second season may eventually come somewhere down the line, and other anime are given a lengthy two-cour season right off the bat. The advantage of the latter is the ability to properly develop backstory and drop numerous hints to viewers throughout the first half of the series and capitalize upon it in the second half. Now that Future Diary: Part 1 has concluded, the review of which can be found here, does Part 2 manage to bring everything to a satisfying finish?

Story
The God of Time and Space has given twelve people the special ability to predict the future. These futures are told on diaries that come in many different shapes and sizes and each one has a unique way or predicting the future or assisting the user in some way. The reason these twelve people were given these future diaries is to kill one another. When the last diary user perishes, the last one standing will be the new God of Time and Space as the current god, Deus, is slowly deteriorating and if he is not replaced, the world will be destroyed.

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Throughout the first half of the series, the story followed Yuki, a boy who spent most of his time simply observing life as it passed him by, and Yuno, Yuki’s stalker turned girlfriend as they battled against other diary users, eliminating half of them and gathering a few allies and friends over the course of the first thirteen episodes. However Part 1 ended with Yuno drugging and stealing Yuki away to an unknown location with two skulls in tow.

As such, Future Diary: Part 2 picks up immediately where the first half left off, with Yuki’s friends attempting to save him from the mentally shattered Yuno. When Yuki’s friend Kousaka’s cell phone suddenly announces that he is an Apprentice Diary User, the three manage to escape from imminent death and are able to rescue Yuki from Yuno’s psychotic grip.

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While Yuki tries to come to grips with the game after abandoning Yuno, the nature of 8th’s diary is revealed and he once again face off against numerous diary users to try and protect himself and the only person that he can turn to happens to be the one that drugged him, tried to kill his friends and continues to stalk him. As the number of diary users begins to dwindle, Yuki continues to have issues with what they are doing, but when two people very dear to his heart are suddenly taken away from him, Yuki changes his goal to winning the game, even if it means betraying allies and killing anyone that gets in his way.

There is much more to the game than meets the eye however as numerous revelations concerning Yuno and the machinations of Deus’ assistant Murmur begin to emerge. With numerous plot twists and secrets revealed, the second half of Future Diary becomes one that may be a bit difficult to follow for some, but very easy to understand for those who’ve been catching the numerous clues dropped throughout the series.

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With a full thirteen episodes to work with, Future Diary’s second half occasionally slows things down to flashback to explain a number of instances that may have left viewers scratching their head, such as why Yuno is so in love with Yuki and what the corpses found in her house ultimately were. For every slower moment however there are five more involving detailed plans and pieces of information falling into place as the surviving diary users go after one another and attempt to put an end to this game once and for all and become the new god of the world.

The nature of the remaining diaries, outside of ones already known to the viewer at this point, such as 9th’s, Yuno’s, and Yuki’s are more interesting than the ones encountered in the first half of the series, keeping things not only fresh but viewers on their toes as many of the diaries capabilities are kept in the dark until they are used and put the alliance between the three to a test.

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Not only are the diaries more varied, but the diary users themselves receive a bit more development as well, with explorations into not only the two leads’ pasts but developments for 9th as well. In fact, outside of Yuki’s change from a wimpy bystander to someone with a goal and the numerous mysteries surrounding Yuno, 9th ends up being the best developed character throughout the series as she changes from a homicidal terrorist who cares only about herself to someone who is willing to work with others and try to change things for the better, even if it means going back in time to do it.

Ultimately, once everything is on the table and all of the mysteries about Yuno and the game are revealed, there is quite a jump in focus halfway through Part 2 of the series, but it ultimately turns out for the best. Every mystery hinted at throughout the first part of the series serves as a building block to the ultimate secret that Yuno is hiding and what Yuki must do to put an end to it all, resulting in a sobering but hope filled ending that is a bit shortchanged thanks to details being explained in a certain OVA released long after the series’ release.

Visuals
The overall animation used throughout Future Diary continues to impress throughout this second half. Each scene is nicely detailed, Deus’ continuing deterioration progresses at a steady pace and the battles between the remaining diary users become more vicious and larger in scale. These fights occasionally suffer in some minor drops in quality, though the final sequence of events that take place are handled beautifully.

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The characters remain expressive and varied in appearance throughout this second half, even with 8th’s oddly proportioned designed. As far as blood and gore goes, there is actually more this time around as some of the deaths tend to be a bit more graphic than the first time around and there is also a bit of nudity and a number of dark themes shown in the second half.

Audio
While Brina Palencia didn’t compare to the Japanese voice actress for Yuno Gasai in the first half of the series, she actually manages to be pretty convincing this time around as Yuno begins to sink further into her obsession and madness. She still doesn’t quite fit the bill but her voicework does improve as the series goes on. As for the rest of the characters, the current casts’ voice actors portray the characters well enough while the new characters introduced in this half are also performed admirably enough.

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Throughout the second half of the series the various action sequences and dramatic twists are accompanied by fitting background music, especially with the final fight as the last two diary users come to a head. This second half features both the opening and ending theme from the first half for the first episode, but switches over to new themes after the second episode. The opening is “Dead End” by Faylan which is sung with English lyrics, albeit a bit poorly, and while impressive it doesn’t have the same impact as “Fantasy Mythology.” As for the ending theme, it is “Filament” by Yousei Teikoku and while the animation it is paired with is fitting for the series, it is a far cry from “Blood Teller.”

Extras
The bonus features for Part 2 of Future Diary remain similar to the ones included in the first half. There are your standard bonus features such as promo videos, the US trailer for the series, trailers for other FUNimation series, textless versions of both openings and both endings and finally an extra version of Omake #10.

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There are also two commentary tracks with this release, with episode 20’s commentary featuring J. Michael Tatum, the voice of Nishijima and he is joined by D. Patrick Seitz while the second commentary is for episode 23. This commentary features Josh Grelle, the voice of Yuki, and Brina Palencia who voices Yuno.

Overall
Thanks to the numerous hints and mysteries established throughout the first half of the series and built upon in Part 2, Future Diary consistently keeps the viewer on their toes as they never know exactly what is going to happen next, something quite interesting for an anime all about being able to read what your future has in store for you. With a plot that launches itself head first into the finale with plenty of time to spend on major revelations, Future Diary: Part 2 delivers a satisfying finish that is hindered a bit due to a poor ending point.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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