Interesting little story for you guys. The people who made the Spice and Wolf anime were a bunch of nobodies. They had only previously worked on awful fanservice anime. The studio that made the first season (before it was passed onto Brains Base) were a nothing studio called Imagin. While Spice and Wolf didn’t exactly take the world by storm, it’s popularity came as a massive surprise at the time. The staff of Spice and Wolf didn’t go on to fame after that either. To give you an idea, the two anime the director did after Spice and Wolf were Aki Sora and Yosuga no Sora. It’s fairly similar to what’s happening here with asread and Future Diary. They may not have much of a budget, but give them good source material and they’ll suddenly throw everything they have into it, proving to the world that they are not a bunch of talentless hacks.
Despite being the least action packed of the series so far, this episode of Future Diary impressed me the most. In fact, it’s because it had so little in the way of plot twists (comparatively speaking, this is still Future Diary after all) that made it impressive. The episode was mostly taken up with a cutesy high school student’s date and would have felt stupidly out-of-place if done wrong. But there was a sense of unease floating over the entire episode that made events feel wrong. You knew Yuno was off her rocker. It’s just not right to see her frightened inside a haunted house or being embarrassed that her swimsuit floated off in the pool. Peppering the episode with scenes of Ninth, doing her best Revy from Black Lagoon impression, helped add to that feeling. There are other little factors that help keep this episode from being dumb cutesy and totally out-of-place romance. The series doesn’t lose its dark sense of humour. I loved the scene of Yuukki making ‘splat’ sounds as he watched the people on the Big Drop.
Another thing that worked is that, on the surface, Yuno’s cutesy act didn’t feel fake, which only adds to the sense of unease. If she was carefully calculating her reactions, you’d feel like you were on safe ground. Yup, this girl is just a crazed stalker. But having her act so normal and cute left me treading in the waters of uncertainty. She believes she’s normal and you wouldn’t be able to mistake her for a psycho throughout this episode. It helps that her character design isn’t amazingly attractive or anything. Well sure, she has pink hair, but this is anime. She’s practically plain by anime character design standards. It makes her all the creepier somehow. Instead of the scary monster from another dimension peeking through your letterbox, it’s a normal high school girl.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Future Diary without some dodgy logic. I don’t think hypnotism works quite like that, but I’m willing to let that slide because of how effective the scene was. Besides, Future Diary has sort of covered its bases with the revelation at the end of the episode. Some people in the comments from the last episode were wondering how come all the diary owners ended up in a small space in Japan. Turns out Deus mucked about with the laws of Time and Space to make that happen. But Time and Space don’t like being mucked about with, and now the realm of logic has been distorted. Future Diary has created a world in which crazy shit can happen and has to happen. OK, it’s a bit of an ass-pull, but as I’ve said before, I’m willing to let Future Diary pull this sort of stuff because it has the tone of a pulpy thriller. It knows it’s ridiculous and plays that side up.
Holy crap, I love this show!