Two anime, multiple phones
If you take a snap shot, Future Diary and Eden of the East has a lot in common.
Both shows feature a completion to save the world with the use of a cell phone.
While the other elements around this motif are very different they both try to tell a similar stories with similar trappings i.e romance, comedy and so on.
Neither story are what I'd call amazing but both have their own pros and cons, here are a few that come to mind.
Before we get too deep into it, let's recap the plots of both shows:
Eden of the East revolves around Akira, who ends up naked outside the White House with a gun, a cell phone and no memory of his life before then. He then befriends Saki a fellow Japanese citizen who's on a college graduation trip.
The two head back to Japan and Akira slowly finds himself in a game to "save the world."
Akira soon finds that he has a large pool of money at his command to help him in his actions.
However, he isn't the only one with money, as eleven other players have the same advantage. The only thing that separates the competitors are their methods.
What the winner get's isn't made all that clear at any point but what is clear is that the other players want to win for different reasons.
On the other side Future Diary follows main character Yuki.
While he doesn't have many friends, he enjoys writing down the things he sees in a diary on his phone. The one friend he does have is an imaginary god named Deus Ex Manchina.
Deus, as it turns out, isn't imaginary and ends up giving Yuki a gift. His cell phone is given the ability to predict events that'll happen in his day.
A fellow classmate, Yuno who has a similar diary in her possession, soon approaches Yuki, however her diary only tells her things that'll happen to Yuki. This is due to her stalker like obsession with Yuki.
Yep she's crazy
Shortly after that it's explained to Yuki that he's in a game of his own. The winner is the last of the diary users that'll become the new god.
Each of the diary users have different abilities ranging from scrolls telling them the future to digital recorders telling it's user the way a bullet will bounce of a wall.
While these two shows sound very different there are still a few areas they can be compared. Let's start off with a basic idea.
For this one we're gonna have to get into spoiler territory.
Both stories deal with saving the world, however they're both take it in different ways.
In Future Diary, a new god must be found in order to save the world from its own doom. Eden of the East deals more with a one man's idea of what's right and what's wrong.
Both stories deal with the making of a new world, FD takes it literal with the main character having to use his god like powers to create new life while Eden deals with the youth of the world taking the leads from the older generation.
While Eden might have more of a clear message about the world we currently live in, it fails to use the plot to make a solid and well-told story.
For such a large plot and world, the show is only given 11 episodes and two 90 minute films to get to its conclusion.
While a good story could have been told, Eden doesn't really want to tell it most of the time.
Most of the show revolves around the relationship between Saki and Akira rather than the game that Akira is playing.
A large chunk of the show is filled with the couple running around trying to figure out the reasons behind Akira's memory lose. The only time the game seems to move is when another player confront the two.
FD on the other hand has a plot that moves a great deal faster. Story arcs last over the course of a few episodes and many of the other players are shown and have their backstories explained.
The fact that FD has 26 episodes really helps the story development as they can afford to take time to develop more of the plot and the characters.
And you thought you were attached to your phone
Despite the extra time, the overall story and world of Future Diary isn't as interesting as Eden of the East, and that's what's most frustrating about these two shows.
Eden needed to more time to work on its plot instead of focusing on the romance between Akira and Saki.
Instead the show ends with a confusing set of circumstances, which leads to Akira erasing his memory again (for reasons that don't make sense).
Due to the memory lose the next two films end up treading over much of the same territory as the show and ignoring most of the new developments that do happen.
A lot happens in the films that don't get the explained it needs and it leaves the audience wondering what the hell just happened?
To be fair the same can be said about the end of Future Diary as it soon moves from a survivor horror show to a time traveling story.
Despite this, the ending was clear and, for the most part, was explained.
If Eden could of developed more it could have been a much greater show that it turned out to be.
Now being the lonely loser that I am, it's safe to say that I'm no expert on romance in fiction or in real life. But it's clear to me that the relationship between Yuki and Yuno isn't that great.
While most relationships are built around love and trust, theirs is built out of fear of Yuno skinning Yuki alive is he leaves her.
At one point in the show Yuno even kidnaps and drugs Yuki and hides him in abandoned hotel and yet the two still end up having a relationship in the end of the show.
However, in Eden of the East the relationship between Akira and Saki is one of the show's strongest features.
Come here often?
The two show an attraction to each other from the beginning and they end up spending a lot of time together throughout the series.
Sure Akira has a kidnapped a bunch of people (see next section) and ends up whipping his memory twice but their relationship is nowhere as messed up as Yuki and Yuno.
NEETS VS. TIME TRAVEL
Both stories have elements that can confuse its audience about characters back-stories. But, once again, one show makes the twist much more clear.
In the world of Eden of the East, a terrorist attack ends up destroying a large part of Tokyo, however no one dies in the attacks despite it happening in a populated area.
Additionally around that time a large group of young NEETs, Not in Education or Training (Geeks and Nerds, my people), disappear from Tokyo.
Over the course of the show it's explain that Akira and other's in the game banded together to unite the world by attacking it (much like Ozymandias in the Watchman) however Akira ends up using a youth army to abandon the area soon to be attacked.
Shortly after he pays for NEETs to be transported (kidnapped really) away from the country and wipes his memory.
This twist ends up being one of the few things that gets explained throughout the show. After Akira uses the NEETs again to stop another attack he soon becomes a folk hero.
Akira's image ends up being used as a new symbol for the youth movement, almost like a new Nike logo.
Air King, Just Do it
This is probably the most interesting part of an Eden of the East and it surprising doesn't come out of nowhere.
Early on in the show Akira is approached by someone who ends up escaping the NEETs and recognizes him walking the streets of Tokyo.
This ends up being one of the few story elements that's setup and paid off in Eden and it's really effective.
On the flip side in Future Diary, near the end of the show the characters find out that there whole reality is one created by Yuno.
The game has already happened to Yuno as she one in her own timeline but was so grief struck by the death of Yuki who she grew close to that she ended up recreating the world in hopes that Yuki will kill her and win the game this time.
Much like the Eden of the East twist this one is also teased.
At one point of the show supporting character Aku discovers that Yuno isn't who she says she is as he finds a body in her house and matches the DNA to that timelines Yuno.
It turns out that timelines version was killed by the current Yuno in order to keep up her story.
Once Yuki refuses to kill Yuno again, she goes back in time again to try once more. Yuki travels with her and ends up having to kill her and win the game.
Both of these twists are interesting and add to their respective shows.
However, while Future Diary's twist is cool it ends up making the show quite confusing in the end.
The show takes a dramatic turn that ends up turning the show into something completely different. While M. Night Shyamalan might think its cleaver, it hurts the show in the end.
However, Eden of the East's twist ends up answering a number of questions and advances the story a great deal.
Again it's just a shame that the rest of the series drops the ball a bit.
While there are a number of other things I could examine these three examples best show how these shows use similar ideas and take in different directions.
Eden of the East had a developed world, an interesting plot twist and solid romance it suffered from a lack of proper story-telling. Future Diary took the idea and created a some mystery by teasing the Yuno wasn't who she claimed she was, a over the top premise but went too far in a different direction in the end.
Neither of these anime titles are what I'd call perfect, but they are solid watches, so go give them another look.
Both titles are available through Funimation and Mad Man Entertainment.