Man, how sweet would it be to able to anticipate future events? You would be God-like, no? I just have one question: why is the story about a middle school student? The premise sounds kind of cool, but I’m sitting here watching an introverted dweeb use his powers to cheat on his math quiz. I notice that a lot of people are looking forward to Mirai Nikki, so obviously, you guys don’t seem to have a problem with this. I dunno — for me, I guess the characters’ age just takes the wind a bit out of the anime’s sails. You could call this prejudice or whatever, but middle school students don’t often strike me as potentially complex characters.
Oh well, putting the children aside, Mirai Nikki does start off better than most shows. The first episode starts en media res, followed by a murder, followed by an expository voiceover from the main character, only to be followed yet again by another gruesome, blood-splattering murder. And what Mirai Nikki does here isn’t exactly revolutionary or original, but at least it attempts to hook us in. The anime doesn’t just info-dump; it intersperses some visceral scenes into the introductory episode to keep our interest. So y’know, kudos to that.
The first episode isn’t without its flaws though. I do think the pacing is a little too fast, but then again, this beats a slow burner any day. Or maybe Blood-C‘s bitter taste is still lingering in my mouth. In any case, if the plot’s going to collapse on itself, let’s go down in a blaze of glory. The more serious flaw in the first episode, however, is that the animation seems rather shoddy. The 3-D Deus Ex Machina, a.k.a. the God of space and time (I wonder what Kant would say about that), isn’t poorly designed; I just don’t like the world around him. Everything seems to be covered in a pink-purplish light that just looks lazy and, more importantly, ugly. I don’t suppose that’s a carry-over from the manga — where I assume everything is black and white — is it?
And it’s always strange to me when you’ve got these bizarre-looking gods and they all have the same dumb, old Japanese man voice. You couldn’t give me some incomprehensible alien language accompanied by subtitles instead? This is just a minor complaint, but it’s hard to buy into the mystique of these perplexing beings when they speak a human language (often fluent Japanese) like the rest of the normal characters in the show. I’m reminded of the shinigami in Death Note all speaking the same language — all sounding like dorks. Thank god anime has never attempted a legitimate Cthulhu anime; it would probably have been given a stupid voice too.
It also makes me laugh to see the stalker girl plant a solid kiss on the hero (who kind of sounds like Renton from Eureka Seven, a.k.a. a dweeb) right off the bat. We can’t even get a hug between normal couples in other anime series (coughHanasakuIrohacough). Apparently, the only way to kiss a girl is if she’s a nutjob. Isn’t it depressing that people have to be deranged — and in this case, a yandere — in order for there to be any physical contact in anime?
And I really could’ve done without the entire sequence following the serial killer’s death. All Deus Ex Machina does here is explain the rules, the nature of the game and spell out the fact that the participants can change their futures. First, we’ve just seen the main character avoid death and thereby change his future. Second, the nature of the game is nothing the audience couldn’t have surmised. If I know that there are three future diary owners, it’s natural to think that there could and would be even more. So in essence, the last five minutes is just the anime spelling everything out to the audience as if we’re blithering idiots.
Technical issues aside, Mirai Nikki is interesting enough for now to keep watching. And I like the little comedy epilogue at the end. It is kind of like an anime version of outtakes, but I also kind of see it as like a palette cleanser, i.e. reminding the audience not to take the story too seriously.