The problem with this season is the two series I had pencilled in for blogging were Last Exile and Guilty Crown. Now both of their first episodes impressed, but they were also shallow, which might make it difficult to come up with something new to say with every episode. So I’ve had to pick a backup series.
I didn’t really want to pick up Future Diary. I never like picking up series that already have massive fanbases of the source material or franchise in question. Problem is that, asides from Guilty Crown and Last Exile, the series that have impressed me the most this season are Persona 4, Fate/Zero and Future Diary. So I was going to have to suck it up and bear the constant remarks from manga fans who say stuff like “well in the manga what actually happened was this thing and I’m an insufferable twat who sees himself as the righteous bearer of The Truth from The Original Source”. No promises I’ll continue blogging Future Diary. I tend to like to stick to covering only 2 anime a season, so maybe Last Exile and Guilty Crown will blow me away with their astounding depth in their second episodes.
I know I should probably be blathering about what an utter nutcase Yuno is, but the star of the show in my eyes is our wimpy male lead. I loved this expression after Yuno fobbed him off to go to PE. It’s that look of utter dread at his own actions. He had seen what an utter nutjob Yuno was, yet he was the one to try open negotiations after their battle with Third. He knows the only way he can come out of this alive is to leave his future in the hands of Yuno. There’s something gloriously ironic in that, in order to become the Master of Everything, he first has to give up his own fate. It’s back to the total lack of control he has over his own life that I talked about in the first episode. This episode was an endless string of Yuukki with a look of helpless dread on his face and I loved it.
Another thing I like about Future Diary is the campy self-awareness it has. It plays the Battle Royal game and the themes at the heart of the story straight, but there’s just enough of a wink in its step to show that it knows how ridiculous it is. It manages to pull this off without being jarring about it (hello Kamisama Dolls, Angel Beats and every other anime directed by Seiji Kishi). That’s why the ‘wink in its step’ metaphor works. It still strides confidently towards its explosive, bloody finale, but it can look at the crowd midway through a booming speech and deliver a knowing wink. It can do both kinds of winks too, whether it be the dark humour of “lets just re-iterate how shitty Yuukki’s life really is” to the much more straight forward humour of the post-credit Murmur segments. That said, the first episodes Murmur segment was definitely better than this episodes. Yeah, I’ll talk about that a bit later.
While I like that Future Diary is a touch camp, this episode did get a bit silly at times. One-eyed motorbike nothwithstanding, there was also the need of a high suspension of disbelief when Ninth started detonating the entire school. How did she set them up? When did she find time to plant mines in the school yard? You’d think someone would notice, especially when they came into school in the morning. Her whole plan would have been ruined by a wayward dog. She hardly set the mines up while they were in class, seeing as the entire school overlooked that field. Also, with all those explosions going off a few metres away from the main characters, surely their hearing would have been shot by the time they reached the field, rendering Yuno’s shouted commands hopeless.
How did ninth and fourth find the main character so quickly anyway? Oh wait, we were explained that in the ending segment with Murmur. Her explanation aside, that has to be one of the laziest methods of exposition around. I guess Future Diary decided that, in order to speed up the action, they shoved all the uninteresting exposition to after the ending credits. I guess that works, but it is a very lazy method. Murmur’s explanation is a bit puzzling anyway. Did Norio Wakamoto just decide that the Master of Time and Space had to come from Japan? Maybe the Master of Time and Space Keyboard of his is in katakana. Also, isn’t it convinient that they were all within about 50km from each other. Maybe applying logic to Future Diary isn’t the best idea.