What it’s about: Yuki Amano is a loner, and more, he’s lonely. Inside and outside of school, he spends his days meticulously cataloguing everything he comes across in a diary and daydreaming about an alien figure he calls “Deus Ex Machina”. One day, Deus offers him a gift – the diary that Yuki so obsessively records his present in will instead show entries from his future. But it comes at a cost: eleven other people are given variations of the “future diary”, and are told that by eliminating all of their peers they will ascend to godlike power. The show follows the ensuing battle royale from Yuki’s perspective, as he struggles just to survive.
Why you should watch it: The lynchpin of the entire series is the relationship between Yuki and his obsessive stalker/girlfriend Yuno. Alternating between creepy and funny, adorable and horrifying, she’s one of anime’s most memorable characters. The show itself maintains a good level of tension and a brisk pace, with action scenes every episode and constantly shifting alliances and betrayals as all the actors seek to win the battle royale. It’s a thriller in the purest sense of the term.
Caveats: Logic has no place in the storyline – you’re going to need a hefty ability to suspend disbelief. Things will happen at convenient times for convenient reasons, and you more or less have to learn to roll with it. Yuki’s character is ridiculously passive, mostly in order to highlight the difference between himself and Yuno.
Themes: Love and codependence. Almost every character is motivated by love in one form or another, and the show likes to play with the moralities that result from some of the more twisted types of relationship that develop.