DVD Review: Mirai Nikki: Future Diary – Part 1
17/02/2016 Leave a comment
After several delays and an upgrade to Blu-ray the first instalment to Mirai Nikki: Future Diary, otherwise known as The Future Diary, has finally arrived in the UK; but was it worth the wait? and more importantly how does this latest KAZE release fair? Find out in our DVD Review.
Reality quickly unravels for antisocial Yukiteru when Deus Ex Machina calls him into a death match to determine the new god of space and time. Each mentally scarred player possesses a prophetic device tuned to his or her personality disorder, giving them control over their future… and the fate of their opponents. It’s their strongest weapon – and their greatest weakness.
Within hours of abusing his digital diary’s predictions, Yukiteru is cornered by a crazed classmate. Yuno – who is obsessively stalking him with her own psychic cell phone – is cute, sharp, and great with an ax. Still, her psychosis hides a vile secret. As a serial killer, a cult priestess, and a volatile escape artist take a stab at eliminating the teens, Yuki can cheat death under Yuno’s maniacal protection or – DEAD END.
Seductively brilliantly is term I would use to best describe Mirai Nikki: Future Diary, henceforth known as The Future Diary, and ironically enough only half of this brutally engrossed thriller is here in this first collection. A one-sided romance story gift-wrapped in a life and death murder game is what’s on offer and no matter which way you slice it; it’s bloody brilliant from start to finish – and in more ways than one.
It all begins with Yukiteru Amano an anti-social emo kid that spends his time either taking observative notes in his phones diary or secluding himself in an imaginary world. However this all changes when he discovers that his phones diary can accurately predict the future; or so he thinks at least. Instead he has unwilling being thrown in to a death game; whereby twelve mysterious combatants attempt to kill each other for the prize of becoming a god. It’s an ironic turn of fate that sees everything he once believed in turn against him; and even the imaginary world he once dreamt up is nothing but god-like powers at work coursing him into this other-worldly game.
Fortunately for Yukiteru he’s not alone; as female class-mate and straight-A student Yuno Gasai is also part of the game and she is fighting for a different reason. Unlike the ten other members of the game Yuno Gasai is actually in love with Yukiteru and as such she will do everything in her power to protect ‘her man’. It’s of course a one-sided love story and while Yukiteru pretends to show affection the more he becomes closer to her the more he fears her. I won’t spoil the fun but it leads-up-to one of the biggest mysteries of the series and even in this first half a lot is still yet to be explored with her personality.
Yukiteru and Yuno’s relationship is one of great importantance; and as such it gets a large amount of screen time. Sure enough however this isn’t a harem or love-dovey romance story; it’s a brutally deceitful death game in all shapes and forms. Potentially anyone is a diary user and as such throughout the thirteen included episodes we see a number of them pop-up and tempt fate in trying to kill Yukiteru and Yuno; each of which lead to disastrous results. This is the beauty of these episodes included in this set; the context of killing each other may be the same – but the concept behind each new encounter is superb and as such it leaves you wanting more. It’s kill or be killed and for the time being at least Yukiteru is the one tempting fate with Yuno doing everything to protect him… but that can only last for so long.
As usual KAZE returns true to form with only a small selection of bonus materials; namely trailers before the main menu and textless songs which are spread out across two of the three DVD discs.
It’s worth mentioning that at the end of each episode a Murmur Bonus is included; a small animation which sees one of the imaginary characters giving a report on events related to that particular episode. For instance when a new diary user appears this animation will see Murmur giving them their diary; while in other episodes – such as episode 10 – it may see her doing some playful commentary with one of the more ‘explosive’ character types. These mini-episodes are general more comical and light-hearted but they do fill-in-the-blanks to how characters received their diary so its nice that they are included; albeit at the end of each episode.
Media: DVD 9 x3
Running Time: 1:34:18 (Disc 1), 1:31:12 (Disc 2), 1:55.16 (Disc 3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps (English and Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
The first thirteen episodes included with this first instalment of Mirai Nikki: The Future Diary i found to offer an exceptionally engaging story with a beautifully crafted soundtrack that brings out the best atmosphere you could ever expect to receive from an anime. It’s brutal, it’s engaging and it’s got a great story to tell. The story itself sees class-mates Yukiteru and Yano in a death game which will see the victory awarded the spoils of being a god. Yukiteru isn’t interested in taking part, and just wants everything to go back to normal, while Yano wants nothing but to protect Yukiteru and become a couple with him; a feeling which is currently one-sided.
As such the love between these two characters is a cat-and-mouse type of scenario; with Yuno constantly expressing her personal feelings to Yukiteru and receiving a cold-shoulder in response. This ‘relationship’ side of the show does take-up a sizable portion of the story; but its the death game which sees twelve diary users, each of which can predict the future in some fashion, attempting to kill each other which is the highlight of the series. As mentioned each encounter with another diary user is vastly different and in turn offers a great piece of episodic story to tell. Episodic is a key term as while some characters will be spread over several episodes most diary users will only appear for two episodes at a time. This may seem like a bit of a let-down; but at least everyone gets a fair amount of screen-time.
While i highly enjoyed the series some questions have to be asked with this DVD release of the series by KAZE. Positive marks can be given for KAZE spreading the thirteen episodes across three DVD discs – as it means that picture quality remains consistent through and is better than six episodes per DVD. However negative marks have to be given for the lack of bonus content, which only see textless songs being included and the lack of a 5.1 Surround Sound audio track. The US Blu-ray (and i assume DVD) featured a 5.1 Surround Sound track which, during certain episodes, brought out the best the series had to offer and yet here on this UK DVD release all we have is a plain 2.0 stereo soundtrack. Of course if you plan on watching in Japanese then this argument is voided; as both releases only had stereo. In any event its strange how the audio would be altered; but at least chapter markings and subtitles are presentable and correct throughout the presentation. It’s also worth nothing that the murmur episodes at the end of each episode are also included; each of which showcase how diary users received their diary before being thrown into the game.
Excluding the 5.1 Audio Track and inclusion of additional bonus materials this DVD release of Miri Niki: The Future Diary – Part 1 is everything you would want; and in short what you get is the introduction, the build-up, a selection of fights of wit between diary users and some character background development thats just enough to keep you engaged and wanting one. This is a series i highly enjoyed and if you like shows such as Shiki, Another Danganronpa then you’ll love what Future Diary has to offer.
Mirai Nikki: Future Diary – Part 1 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.
Quick Look at the DVD: