5 things to know about reality dating show The Future Diary

·4 min read
Maai and Takuto with a diary in hand in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)
Maai and Takuto with a diary in hand in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)

The Future Diary is the second of three series in the collaboration between Netflix and Japanese television network TBS. The first was Japan Sinks: People Of Hope, which just released its last episode on Netflix this week.

We've watched the first three episodes of The Future Diary which are now on Netflix. Here’s what you need to know about this reality dating show:

1. It's a reboot of a top reality series that made waves from 1998 to 2002.

The Future Diary was born from a TBS variety show about 20 years ago, and has been given a modern spin by Netflix and TBS. (Don't confuse this show with the psychological thriller manga by Sakae Esuno.)

This reality TV series makes two strangers live out a romantic storyline by following a rough “script” in a diary. The diary entries, each containing only a simple description, are handed to them step by step as they progress through the story.

The series stars 19-year-old university student Maai Nakasone and 24-year-old chef Takuto Wakamatsu. Interestingly, Maai is from Okinawa, situated in southern Japan, while Takuto is from Hokkaido, the other end of Japan. The pair are not allowed to make any contact with each other outside of the show, so this physical distance will play a part in strengthening their affection and longing for each other.

2. It features one of Japan’s most romantic cities, Yokohama, picturesque Otaru, and delicacies of Sapporo.

As the couple goes on dates based on the brief instructions in the diary, they also bring the audience on a tour around Japan. The first episode is set in Yokohama, a city south of Tokyo known for its scenic night views and harbourside landscape. The subsequent episodes then take the audience to Otaru, a small harbour city in Hokkaido with extensive, Instagram-worthy canals, and even make us jealous with the mouth-watering seafood in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

Maai and Takuto with Yokohama's night scenery in the background in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)
Maai and Takuto with Yokohama's night scenery in the background in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)
Maai and Takuto at the Otaru Canal in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)
Maai and Takuto at the Otaru Canal in The Future Diary. (Photo: Netflix)

3. Sekai No Owari produced and sings the theme song.

The Future Diary opens with snippets of some highlights that the audience can look forward to, which is made sentimental with the emotional ballad Diary by Sekai No Owari. The voice of the lead singer Fukase carefully conveys the soul-stirring feelings of the song that was created specially by the band for the series, with a part of the lyrics reading:

I’m in love but I couldn’t say I love you

It was nighttime and we held hands

If you read through the pages again, you’ll see that it was brilliant

Being able to meet you is enough to bring me to tears

Sekai No Owari’s Saori, who wrote the lyrics, revealed in an interview with Netflix that the most difficult part was not being told the ending of the series. However, her lyrics miraculously tied in perfectly with the scenes in The Future Diary, which she felt satisfied with and proud of.

4. Kenjiro Tsuda narrates the series.

To top it off, The Future Diary is narrated by Kenjiro Tsuda, who did the narration for Cells At Work: Code Black. He is also known for voicing Kento Nanami in Jujutsu Kaisen and Monspeet in The Seven Deadly Sins. His prominent deep voice stood out in the series, and added a tinge of mystery and melancholia to the diary entries as he reads them out.

5. It's filled with twists and turns.

From awkward introductions to getting to know each other, the semi-scripted exchanges between the couple leave the audience wondering if their adventures will lead to real romance. While the diary outlines the gist of the story — even the kisses are scripted — it is still up to the cast’s unscripted interactions to determine how the story will ultimately unfold. The script also creates challenges for the couple to overcome, which may have been thrilling for Maai and Takuto to carry out, but it's also exciting for the audience to watch.

The Future Diary is now streaming on Netflix, with new episodes every Tuesday.

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