The final 5 anime airing this season are Future Diary, Gundam Age, Un-Go, Guilty Crown and Last Exile. The season is sure ending with a bang, as has usually been the case. Time to throw aside all previous mentions of lacklustre season and dive headfirst into hype central. Well, hopefully hype central. I’ve written this paragraph before watching any of the aforementioned first episodes.
There was one short piece of conversation between the main character and the CGI monstrosity, Deus Ex Machina, that won me over to Future Diary (not calling it by the weeaboo name). The main character had just discovered that this creature he had invented in his own imagination had just given him a powerful tool and was claiming he was the God of Time and Space. Our main character was understandably getting kinda freaked out about this, so he confronts the god, telling him in a panicked tone “you’re not a god, you’re just in my imagination!”. To which our god replies “if I was a god, could I not appear in your imagination?”. It’s an incredibly clever little piece of wording, single handedly destroying what the main character had considered his own little world, revealing it was part of a much larger picture.
Future Diary is sort of like Death Note or Eden of the East. Give a group of people some sort of power and make them compete against each other. There is a key difference between Future Diary and these two series though. Both Eden and Death Note try to get us to ask what would we do if we were given this power, the assumption here is that you are the one with control. For Future Diary, giving the main character the access to his own future, if anything, takes away from his own personal freedom. Even better, his life is also at the whim of crazy psycho stalker girl, who is the very one controlling his fate. Then there was the scene at the end, where the main character suddenly has a selection of people with a similar power trying to take him out, meaning his life will now be a never-ending attempt to escape from the death flags these characters set up for him.
I was wary coming into Future Diary because the studio in charge of adapting it was asread, the calamities in charge of previous quality titles like Shuffle and the Minami-ke sequels. The animation, to put it kindly, isn’t great. Characters faces look derpy as hell when we zoom out from anything other than a close up, and any movement the characters do is limited and full of shortcuts. But the artistry is great. Let me make a bold statement here: The CGI in Future Diary is possibly the most effective use of CGI I’ve seen in an anime. I tend to rag on CGI because it makes the characters look other worldly and strangely static. Future Diary embraces this fully and makes the single piece of CGI in the anime be Deus Ex Machina, precisely because he is meant to be other worldly. He’s eerie as hell, floating around in that semi-sphere of his, his movements appearing unnatural compared to the real humans in the series. His dopey looking hair looks like it was designed by someone who only has a vague understanding of what hair should look like, but doesn’t know how it works, which is probably what is actually the case when Deus Ex took on that form.
Future Diary works. The premise and the characters come together into this neat little package that just clicks. Our crazy psycho stalker Yuno is not only a massively fun character to watch, but she fits in with the overall story of taking away control the main character has over his own life. Also, this main character has something resembling a personality for a bloody change. People may dislike that he’s a massive loser, but I hugely prefer these kinds of characters over Yuji Everylead the Bland. Plus his personality, one who doesn’t want to interact with anything and remain an observer, clashes with his new position of having his life being controlled by outside forces. It all fits together and goddam works!