Welcome all readers to a rant about one of my top 30 most beloved anime, The Future Diary (Mirai Nikki)! Herein are 10 complaints I gathered from critics and my responses to them.
1. Yukiteru is a main character nobody can relate to.
I find Yukki quite relatable and somewhat likeable. If more people were honest with themselves, or were more aware of themselves, they would probably feel the same. Even without any kind of deep-rooted insecurities or anxiety disorders, most people would react similarly to Yukki if thrown from a sheltered life into a bloody, battle-royale death game. How would you handle it? (And for those who claim they wouldn’t be traumatized because they are “tough,” keep in mind that everybody responds to trauma in different ways. If it doesn’t effect you very much, that means you have no inner battle to fight, and thus are no tougher than those who wade through the hell of dealing with trauma.)
I don’t think it’s fair to despise Yukki because of his physical weakness, feelings of fear, or emotional reactions like crying. His real problem is that he rarely invests. Because of his unaddressed insecurities and inferiority complex, Yukki holds himself back. It has nothing to do with being “unmanly.” The core issue is that Yukki gives up without trying enough. Losing would still be admirable if he had given it his best shot. Being afraid all the time would make him impressive if he took action in spite of his dread. Even small people can put up a fight and feel pride in it. Minene said it best: “Even if you’re weak, there are miracles you can reach if you keep trying to the very end.”
And Yukki does try… sometimes. But as we see, he still tends to give up too soon, and regresses after each improvement. In addition, Yukiteru never learns what to do when his efforts don’t win him the result he wanted. These flaws, though, don’t mean that nobody can relate to Yukki. Plenty of people go through continuous failures and don’t know what to do. In reality, a lot of people spend time grieving over the unchangeable past, refusing to move on, just like Yukki in the final episode. I can empathize.
2. Yukki has no character growth through the series.
I fully agree. Yukki is much worse off (mentally) at the end of the series than at the start. That’s not something I fault Future Diary for, because it’s the obvious and intended outcome. Yukiteru is not meant to be some Shounen protagonist who always stays cheery or strong, and he’s not meant to be an example of a weak character who grows over time, either. He is a person so deeply flawed and traumatized that his story can only end in disappointment. Unlike Yuno and others, Yukki never reaches redemption because he didn’t try to move on from his grief and his massive mistakes.
3. The fan-service was forced and in poor taste.
To be honest, I’m confused about the anime community’s reaction to fan-service in Future Diary. There are loads of Ecchi anime, and even in PG-level Shounen shows there can be over-sexualization of characters. Usually, everybody is obsessed with fan-service or Ecchi scenes. Many enjoy the sexualizing of (anime) middle school children. So why were people so completely turned off to the nudity in Mirai Nikki? Suddenly they were saying, “The anime was trying too hard,” or “It’s in poor taste.”
There are two main reasons: first, a lot of people are weirdly afraid of 2D breast nipples, and second, these people only like nudity if it’s a light-hearted and “funny” Ecchi anime. To those two groups, I say, f*** you. I do not understand the desire to only have nudity in stupid, Ecchi anime. I can’t make heads or tails of the sentiment. As for why so many people don’t want to see nipples, I’m equally at a loss. Nipples are awesome.
As far as fan-service goes, what was shown in Mirai Nikki did not seem over-the-top at all for an anime rated R-17 or TVMA. It would be a whole other story if the series had a PG-13 or TV14 rating, but it doesn’t. Of course, like with all fan-service, the detail in the nudity scenes is not needed for the story or showing the mind-state of the characters. It’s there for “eye-candy.” Ninth, Yuno, Hinata, Mao, and Sixth do not have realistic or varied body types; they are all drawn to appeal to male fantasies. But this is true of fan-service in nearly every anime.
In summary, the nudity was not too abundant to feel forced or tick me off, and not realistic enough to force me to get a towel and care of some business. As long as it doesn’t cross those lines, I don’t see any problem, personally.
4. Yuno’s Yandere character type is not attractive at all.
Are Yanderes attractive in anime? Would a real Yandere girl be attractive? Frankly, that’s entirely up to individual tastes. Also note: just because someone likes a Yandere character in an anime doesn’t mean they’ll like the same type of girl in reality. As I am in reality, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the kind of love a Yandere could give. Things would be different if I were in Yukki’s shoes. If I needed someone to protect me as badly as he did, I’d put up with her negative behaviors. I’d accept that she was crazy and that being crazy is necessary for survival in these insane conditions.
There’s a good deal of critics that say that Yuno is “only” a Yandere. Well, I believe there’s far more to her character than being Yandere. Plus, she is a Yandere for a reason. In some anime, characters are Yandere (or Tsundere or Deredere) only because they were created to be those character stereotypes. On the other hand, Yuno has reasons for being the way she is. If you need some of those reasons spelled out, see the next two paragraphs. Otherwise, move on.
Yuno was adopted by the Gasai couple, and we don’t know at what age. She could have had experiences at a foster home that predisposed her to having low empathy. Yuno’s parents were neglectful and mentally and physically abusive. Children who grow up in such dangerous environments sometimes shut off or suppress their empathy.
Mrs. Gasai frequently locked Yuno up in a dog cage and denied her meals. At the same time, she still loved her daughter. Yuno could see that she was loved, which created deep confusion. She came to believe that locking people up is a way to show love, and that you can treat someone inhumanely and still love them. The grief and guilt from indirectly causing the death of Yukki in the First World traumatized Yuno, warping her mind even further.
These details are what made Yuno “yanderu” or crazy. It’s only natural that such a twisted person would be mentally unstable in her love life, too. She became obsessed with Yukki because he was the gentle person she needed. “Dere” refers to showing love. Thus, Yuno became “Yan-Dere,” seriously crazy but seriously in love. As you can see, complex reasons made Yuno the way she is.
5. Yuno is an atrocious person.
She seems sociopathic, unable to feel empathy or an appropriate sense of shame. You could argue, though, that she does feel empathy, but to a lesser degree than most people. Even sociopathy exists on a scale. Killing her parents was a tragic accident which shocked and changed Yuno irreversibly. Yet, regardless, she continues purposely killing people in the survival games. She even tries to kill people when it’s not necessary. Yuno is a vicious murderer, but so are the other characters in the series. With all she has been through, Yuno’s insanity is understandable. Yet, of course, just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it’s morally right.
6. The show is edgy, trying too hard to be dark just to be popular and sell.
Well, if that’s true, I don’t really have a problem with it. Every anime is going to need marketing tactics. When they feel too forced, the tactic failed. For me, though, the violence didn’t feel forced or excessive at all. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen many anime with far more darkness and violence. Thinking the show is too edgy can be a valid point depending on the person. It’s all up to the individual.
7. The Characters are Typical (Yukki and Yuno at least).
As I stated in Part 1, using character archetypes is not always bad as long as each brings a little variance and originality. In Future Diary, most characters succeed with this. That includes Yukki and Yuno. If Mirai Nikki were like mainstream Shounen anime, nobody would be saying “Oh, the characters fit into such typical categories.” Everyone would just accept “The Anxious Kid” (Yukki) the way they accept “Optimistic Protagonist,” “Ninja Girl,” “Muscle-head,” “Yankee,” “Tsundere Girl,” and “Cool Glasses Guy” in standard anime. Because Future Diary is different and, for many, uncomfortable, people are much harsher when evaluating the characters.
Perhaps it’s called-for to be a harsher critic of an R-rated thriller than a PG-13 Shounen. A more mature audience might call for more complex characters. Alright, I accept that. I still think that Yuno and Yukki are complex enough as-is, though. A lot can be found out about them with several watches or even close enough inspection of the first watch. If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, the characters of Yuno and Yukki are flushed out and analyzed in Section 3.
8. Yukki and Yuno are not a good couple or have no chemistry.
Agreed, but that’s the point. It doesn’t count as a fault when it was the show’s intent to convey this. In a sense, Yukki and Yuno are good for each other because they balance out each other’s weaknesses, as we saw when they fought Marco and Ai. They’re a good enough couple to survive and win the death game, but when all that stress is gone, they each go back to being neurotic and unsafe. There is nothing remotely like natural or healthy love between Yukki and Yuno. They are satisfying their needs using each other: Yukki needing someone to protect him, and Yuno needing someone she can obsess over and fight for. They only fall in love from prolonged time together.
9. The ending was completely unsatisfying.
People who always want happy endings are bound to dislike Future Diary. Those people are somewhat shallow in my opinion. But there are also those who expected more resolution at the very end of the series because the tone in episode 26 was a hopeful one. I can respect those people, and agree that Yukki’s character resolution was disappointing (even if we include the OVA, Mirai Nikki Redial).
Yukki’s character conclusion shows him regressed instead of improved. It’s implied that he did not save the Second World, thus making Yuno’s sacrifice in vain. Yet, I’ve always been pretty satisfied with the ending because I saw it coming and I think it fits well with the show’s dark themes.
In my mind, the ending was realistic. Not everybody “makes it” in the real world. They don’t become people we can approve of or be proud of. Grief and guilt destroy can people to the point where they can no longer function. Addicts who attempt sobriety end up relapsing, and some die because of their unending addiction. People can become so shocked or fearful that they have to live in a hospital or a group home. Some people can’t work, some people stay homeless, and some people kill themselves.
Yukki was set up to be a tragic character all along. After he killed his own friends and then lost Yuno, the despair left him dead inside. Nothing can wake him up again except for Yuno, who debatably was part of the reason he got to that point. Yes, this kind of ending is depressing. But it’s realistic, and I like that. One can also argue that Yukki’s ending state was a stark moral lesson: because of his tendency to not try, or to give up too soon, he ended up losing everything and becoming a soulless person.
10. There is an abundance of plot holes.
I would be very interested to have some examples of these numerous, gaping plot holes that critics always mention. None ever stuck out at me, and I’ve seen Future Diary seven times as of March 2019. After thinking hard about it and re-watching most of the series for the eighth time, I was able to come up with a few examples of what people might misinterpret as plot holes. They are actually cases of viewers seeing an apparent “hole” and not doing the thinking required to fill it in.
10-1. If Yuno was a God for the whole series, why didn’t she use her powers?
It’s entirely possible that Yuno has no God Powers anymore after fixing the First World and then jumping over to the Second World. If that’s the case, everything god-like Yuno seems to do is actually being done by Murmur. But let’s leave that aside for now and assume that Yuno has some divine powers. Why doesn’t she use them to win every battle and get out of every bad situation?
To start with, there’s the issue of practicality. If Yuno used her God Powers in a conspicuous way too many times, the Second World’s Deus would certainly notice. Then he would take action to correct the mistake in time and causality, eliminating Yuno and/or canceling the survival game. Murmur and Yuno can’t have that happen, so the only time they use the God Powers is with the quick time-leap to the past.
Consider that Yuno seems to leave most god-related things up to Murmur. In episode 24, it’s Murmur who takes Yuno to the Third World via time-leap. This could be because Murmur is the one in charge of the powers and is denying Yuno from using it. If this is the case, Murmur’s power either came from Yuno handing it over before the time leap, or it was power stolen from the First World’s Deus.
Related to this, we can’t be sure that Yuno always remembers she became God of the First World. If you don’t remember becoming God, you won’t think to try to use godlike abilities. In episode 24, we saw that Murmur sealed off some of Yuno’s memories. That might have included the memory of her having God Powers. It also explains how Yuno’s memory changed to perfectly suit her situations in episodes 10 and 14. Murmur is probably controlling Gasai’s memory.
10-2. Yuno created a mini-world for Yukki in episode 25. Why can’t she make one where she and Yukki can live peacefully together?
For that matter, why can’t she make mini-worlds to put everyone in and thus avoid killing anyone? After all, it’s suggested that sending people to another dimension automatically takes them out of the survival game. This is an example of something not being explained in the anime, but also being easy to figure out with just a minute of speculation.
The miniature world Yuno created for Yukki was extremely fragile, breaking the very moment Yukki made up his mind to go after Yuno again. The mini-world was really a way to stall Yukiteru while Gasai killed the Third World’s version of herself. It was also an attempt to avoid or delay killing Yukki. Yuno doesn’t have the power to create lasting mini-worlds or small dimensions.
10-3. Why didn’t Yuno just become God of the Second World and keep Yukki by her side?
We can assume that all characters must follow the survival game’s rules set up by Deus before it began. I mean one rule in particular: the one that says only one person, the last left standing, can become the God of the Second World. How does this tie into things exactly? Well, Yuno can’t simultaneously be God and live with Yukki. One of them must die. It’s the fate set up by Deus.
(If Yuno still had the powers of the First World’s God, she might be able to rewrite this fate; this suggests that, after all, she has no God Powers after time-leaping to the Second World. Murmur was the only one with divine abilities.)
10-4. Why does the survival game end with Yukki winning even though Minene is still alive?
That’s a good question, but it’s easy to answer. Minene’s future diary cell phone was destroyed in the explosion in episode 21. Her heart technically stopped, but before she could be blown apart, Deus interfered with time and space to bring her into his dimension. He then presumably revived her, or else she exists without a “real” physical body. Since Minene’s cellphone was destroyed, she is dead in the Second World and only alive within the Causality Cathedral (or in the Third World, once she time-leaps there). If the cellphone of a survival game contender is destroyed, the contender is considered dead. Killing a person is less reliable than destroying the cell phone.
10-5. Why didn’t Ninth do anything to stop Yuno before episode 24?
As you may recall, Deus bequeathed half his remaining power to Minene in episode 20. She had episodes 21 through 23 to change the outcome of the survival game and prevent Yukki and Yuno from messing up the Second and Third Worlds. Why didn’t Minene do anything until the last minute? Why would she leave it up to Yukki? Well, there are two possible reasons. First, it’s conceivable that Minene didn’t remember what happened with Deus until episode 24, when she stepped in to save Yukki. Still, she could have done more sooner if she had wanted to. It’s just that she didn’t want to.
This is simply Minene’s personality. She didn’t want to help unless she felt it absolutely necessary. While she has a soft spot for Yukki, she didn’t want him to win the survival game– until the only other choice was Yuno. Remember that it was Deus who pushed the obligation onto Minene to fix the survival game. Minene hates God, right? So why would she obey Deus in a timely manner? Now you should understand why Ninth didn’t take any action earlier.
This has been Anime Rants. Thank you so much for reading! It’s greatly appreciated.
Other Posts About Mirai Nikki/ The Future Diary
The Future Diary: Series Review
The Future Diary: Thematic Analysis
Yukiteru Amano Character Analysis
Yuno Gasai Character Analysis Part 1
Yuno Gasai Character Analysis Part 2