Review of Japanese Drama Series 'Future Diary - Another World'
About Future Diary – Another World:
Future Diary aka Mirai Nikki, a popular fantasy/science-fiction manga series, was adapted into a Japanese anime series. Also, this was adapted into an 11-episode live action series, called Future Diary – Another World, that loosely follows the story of the manga series. While Future Diary – Another World goes off on a tangent in regards to the original manga story, the series was very satisfying to watch.
I could compare this to The Walking Dead which is both a graphic novels and a live-action drama series in regards to their differences in story development. About a week ago, I came across this series by visiting the online streaming content site called DramaFever.com where I can legally watch various Korean and Japanese dramas for free.
But you can also watch Future Diary - Another World on Crunchyroll.
Due to the budgets for TV shows in Japan being lower than budgets for TV shows in the US, don't expect the live action adaptation to be anything like the anime series in terms of visual effects and super-powered battles. Unlike the manga and anime series, the live action series is more grounded in reality with a minimum on the supernatural stuff. However, as the series nears the end, there's the transition from supernatural to science-fiction.
If you have watched anything like Battle Royale, BTOOOM! or The Hunger Games, you should get the gist of Future Diary let alone Future Diary – Another World. Characters are pit in a battle royale, to the death, until there's only one survivor left. Contrasting to other movies or series, Future Diary has the participants utilizing “future diaries” in which enable them to predict the future; however, each future diary has a unique ability. The live-action series follows that; but, there are elements present in the series not present in the anime series.
Future Diary – Another World has similarities to live action shows & movies such as Bloody Monday, Liar Game, and Death Note. While the live-action series is different from the anime series, it's still worth giving a watch.
Future Diary – Another World follows Arata Hoshino, 21 years old and close to graduating from college, who hasn't given his future any thought. While being pushed by his parents to think carefully about what he's going to do, Arata continues to live his happy-go-lucky life. However, things unexpectedly take a turn as Arata's phone gets accidentally destroyed by his friend Kosaka-Kun. Arata is given a new phone by his other friend, Rui Moriguchi, which is one of the prototypes of a new smart phone from the Chronus Seed Corporation.
Excited, Arata thanks Rui for letting him have the phone. Things go as normal until Arata notices the “Future Diary” app. By touching the icon, the camera's phone takes his snapshot and immediately puts him into the “game.” This is where the live-action series follows the plot of the manga/anime. Then, the phone acts as a future diary as it starts predicting things several minutes into the future. He meets the mysterious Yuno Fursuaki who becomes his stalker and love interest throughout the series.
Arata is brought into the short-lived subplot of the serial killer called Southpaw. After helping Rui rescue his younger sister, Haruna Okie, they meet the mysterious Deus who tells them about this game. At the end, the winner gets their “wish” granted. Thus, anybody possesses a Chronus Seed smart phone becomes a player in the game. It becomes a battle of survival as Arata and Yuno, with the help of Rui and Haruna, as they survive against the other future diary holders. As the story progresses with each episode, the truth behind the game is revealed. Having watched the anime series, I assumed that the live-action series would be similar; but, I was mistaken. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.
I felt the story to be very satisfying as the live-action series was grounded in reality while keeping to the theme of future diary. While the story is different than the manga/anime, Future Diary – Another World was very satisfying. At first, I thought I wouldn't like the story; but, I'm glad I kept watching. It's a pretty good series, though short, ended up a very good note. However, it helps if you understand the original story before watching the drama series. The similarities and differences between the manga/anime and live-action series are apparent. To enjoy the series, look at Future Diary – Another World as its own story and not completely following the manga's story.
The cast of characters in the live-action series is smaller than the cast of characters in the anime/manga series. Instead of twelve diary holders, in the manga/anime series, there is a total of seven diary holders participating in the game. Unlike the manga/anime series, the live-action series features almost a completely different cast of characters. While the story is plot driven, the characters are crucial to the story. Also, the characters are either based of their manga/anime counterparts or a combination of other characters. The four main characters are: Arata Hoshino, Yuno Furusaki, Rui Moriguchi, and Haruna Okie.
Arata, based off Yukiteru Amano from the anime, serves as the primary main protagonist of the series. In terms of personality, Arata is very different from Yuki. If you have watched both the drama and anime series, you will know the differences. Arata, unlike Yuki, is very friendly and sociable. While Yuki doesn't have any friends to start out with, Arata has his friends Rui and Kosaka-Kun. Due to watching his father die, Arata tries to make sure that nobody else dies in the game.
Yuno Furusaki, based off Yuno Gasai, serves as the main female protagonist of the series. She is very much like her anime counterpart in terms of being the stalker and the romantic interest. However, she doesn't possess the murderous psychotic tendencies of her anime counterparts; but, she still has the obsession of protecting Arata from everybody. Like her counterpart, Yuno is very possessive; when around other females, Yuno is very hostile and defensive. As the series progresses, Yuno is shown to be a very integral part of the story.
Rui Moriguchi, the secondary male protagonist, is the catalyst of the series. He is the one that handed the phones to most of the characters. While Rui is Arata's best friend, he is shown to be mysterious and enigmatic. Like Yuno, Rui plays a very crucial part of the story. His role is similar to that of Aru Akise from the anime/manga series.
Haruna Okie, the secondary female protagonist, serves as somewhat important to the story. She serves as the female rival to Yuno. Throughout the story, Haruna serves as a foil to Yuno and expresses her distrust of her. Later in the series, Haruna proves to be very crucial in learning the truth behind this battle royale. Unlike the other characters, Haruna is very original as she isn't seemingly based on any of the anime/manga characters.
There's Megumi Fuwa, another diary holder, who is an original character. She's seemingly an original character made for the live-action series.
I was pretty satisfied with the cast of characters; but, I was disappointed that there was no characters based off of Minene Uryu who is very crucial to the manga/anime series. That was something I was looking forward to; but, I understood that adding her was unnecessary as I continued watching the series.
When grounding the story in reality, less is always more. For an 11-episode series, it's best to have a smaller cast than a larger cast. That means there's more focus on Arata and Yuno. Other original characters introduced are Yousuke Okuda aka Southpaw, Detective Kinjiro Hagito (a combination of Keigo Kurusu in terms of being a diary holder and Masumi Nishijima in terms of finding romance), Chronus Seed President Tohru Kibe (based off of John Bacchus), and Kosaka-Kun (based off of Kosaka).
I felt the music fit the feel of the live-action series. If the music was similar to the anime series, it would've felt weird and out of place. The piece of music that got my attention the most was the opening theme called “Another World.” Also, I enjoyed listening to the different variations of Another World. This is due to Another World having the grounded in reality feel while yet at the same time give off the feel of supernatural happenings. Plus, the tracks feel very uplifting as well. I would have to say that the music score for Future Diary – Another World is very emotional.
Normally, I have a low opinion of any live-action show based off a anime series or video game. But, Japan is one of those countries that does seem to get it right; that's even when the live-action shows go off on a tangent. Having watched the anime months before, I decided to give Future Diary – Another World a chance. I found it to be different but very satisfying to watch. It was a very enjoyable anime series to watch. But, I was disappointed that the series was only 11 episodes long as it had the potential to go up to about 13 to 15 episodes.
Even though the live-action series is different, fans of the anime and manga should definitely give Future Diary – Another World a chance. You might find it enjoyable.