My favourite anime this year is so far, without a doubt, Mirai Nikki. In a year with Madoka Magica looming over everyone’s heads as the show that’s going to be pointed at for years to come as a high point in anime’s history, that’s an odd thing to say. Honestly, going purely off of their respective plots, Madoka wins hands down, but there’s something about Mirai Nikki that I absolutely love, and I’ve only ever felt it with very few pieces of entertainment, most notably my favourite film of all time, Fight Club. It happens when something is executed in such a manner that something explodes inside of me, letting me know that whatever it is I’m experiencing, it’s the best thing I could ever be doing in that moment, and Mirai Nikki captures that brilliantly.
Prior to the start of the series, I was anticipating Mirai Nikki, the premise sounded cool and I expected a fairly enjoyable thriller if nothing else, but there was one thing that was always nagging at me, and that was the studio behind the show, asread.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that they have never made a decent series, Shuffle standing out to me as nothing more than empty-headed fluff that, at best, made me chuckle, and at worst, upset me because of its sheer stupidity. One of the most notable aspects of Shuffle is that it doesn’t end quite as predictably as most had imagined, but when that’s all you’ve got going for you, something isn’t right, and the fact that Shuffle’s director was working on Mirai Nikki only served to sow further doubt in my mind.
Then the first episode aired, and I was impressed by the fact that it wasn’t utter garbage, no it was rather good, but it was only around episode 2 that everything finally clicked in my mind. The last ten or so minutes of the episode to be precise, where our protagonist, Yukiteru is running across a courtyard filled with landmines to get to Uryu, another diary holder and terrorist who has taken Yuki’s entire school hostage in order to eliminate him. The scene culminates in one helluva Eye Scream that gets me every time I watch it.
And that’s when it hit me, here was a show hitting all of the right notes, knowing when to be serious and when to pile on the camp. A show that keeps me enthralled, but tense almost the entire way throughout (except for some of those more comedic episodes), and most of all, a show that gave me that feeling of nihilistic, maniacal glee, with scenes that had me laugh almost in triumph, amazed by the sheer spectacle on display, and it did this all through a mediocre-at-best budget.
So here’s to you, asread. You’ve shown everyone exactly what you can do, and I, for one, eagerly anticipate more like this from you in future, don’t let us down now.