Monday, May 28, 2012

Anime Review: The Future Diary

I noticed that starting last year I always seem to be watching at least one action-y, gore-y show a season (which sometimes is horror like Blood-C and other times really isn't like Deadman Wonderland). Currently Zetman is filling that slot for me and back in the fall and winter The Future Diary which I had read the first volume (of the manga) a few years earlier and surprisingly managed to avoid all spoilers for the show as it was airing (well, except for one which sounded more like a promise of awesome than a spoiler and didn't make it into the show anyway). With a show that's so heavily twist-reliant I really recommend trying to avoid spoilers but I recommend avoiding spoilers for any series anyway (and as usual I shall try to keep this a spoiler free review, if I have to spoil anything it'll be in the footnotes).

The Future Diary

 Summary: Deus, the god of space time, is dying and with his death reality will collapse as well unless he can find someone to replace him. To determine his successor he selects twelve people, gives each of them a diary that can predict the future (based on how each of them used their own diaries), and the last person standing is the new god. The quiet, anti-social Yukiteru Amano isn't too happy with this turn of events but quickly finds that it's fight or be killed and teams up with another with another participant, the stalker-ish Yuno Gasai, to try and survive the game.

The Good: I was surprised that some of the side characters ended up being fleshed out and rather likable characters, even if they were still completely nuts. The pacing worked well and the twists certainly kept the show entertaining, and sometimes their ridiculous implausibility made the show quite entertainingly, although I suspect the story wasn't going for comedy in those instances. The best way to sum up this series is that it was entertaining in the way a summer blockbuster film is entertaining, fun but in a few years time you'll have seen so many others that you won't remember much about this one.

The Bad: Despite the fact that I grew to like some of the side characters more than I expected I could never get myself to care about any of the characters the way I normally do with a show. Almost everyone became so crazy that they almost stop being characters and are reduced to plot devices so it's a good thing that the plot was interesting. That said, the show is so twist heavy that I wonder how much re-watch value the show has. Yes it can certainly be fun to go back and see things be foreshadowed but so many of these twists came out of nowhere I simply don't see if there would be that much entertainment and for me my favorite shows are ones I want to re-watch because I can always find something new in them.

The Audio: Funimation sadly did not translate any of the opening and ending songs and when I tried translating the first ending song, piecemeal and with google translate, it just turned out to be a very odd love song (which makes more sense in retrospect) so this is one of those odd cases where I liked how the songs sounded more than what they meant. But overall none of the music left a really deep impression on me, if I had watched the show on DVD I would have skipped both of them after the first few times and none of the background music really grabbed me either.

The Visuals: As odd as this sounds when talking about a story in a visual medium, none of the art or the animation left an impression on me, good or bad. Everything was simply there, the art wasn't stunning but it wasn't the cheapest I had ever scene and all of the designs (sets/backgrounds, characters) were like that as well, they didn't add or take anything away from the overall product. And I suppose that is a bad thing, stories should be told in the medium that fits them best and, if the art wasn't contributing to the story, I wonder if I would feel any differently about it if it had simply been a novel instead.

In short, this felt like a series I watched and, while it wasn't bad, simply don't feel the need to purchase or rewatch. I can probably recommend it to a some of my friends and for anyone who is curious in checking it out Funimation has it streaming for the US and Canada and has licensed physical media rights as well (I believe both DVD and BRs). 

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