Deus Ex Machina is the God of Time and Space and a major character in both the Future Diary manga and anime. He creates the Future Diaries (with the help of John Bacchus) and holds the Survival Game to find a suitable successor to his title before his imminent death causes the destruction of the universe.
Able to manipulate time, space, and the laws of cause and effect, Deus is the most powerful entity in the series, acting as the judge of the Survival Game.
Deus is an extremely large and alien figure, towering over other characters at well over a hundred feet tall. His head resembles the skull of an unknown creature, with a golden crown on top and a shock of white and blue hair protruding from the back; he also has long, pale arms with claw-like fingernails. The rest of his body is hidden beneath a dark cloak with a high collar and golden adornments, with a red and purple band around the neck area.
Despite being a god, Deus is very laid-back and playful, seeking courses of action that will amuse him in addition to achieving his goals; unfortunately, he is completely apathetic and/or oblivious to the consequences of his "games". In his first appearance alone, he is shown provoking a war for fun, and he develops the Survival Game without considering the consequences for the participants being forced to kill each other. He also seems to have chosen several participants based on how "interesting" they will make the game, regardless of their motives to become his successor. As a result, many of the Survival Game candidates are planning to use their eventual godhood for selfish and destructive ends - some even plot to destroy the universe outright - and others have no desire to play the game at all. Furthermore, while Deus never outright lies, he is not above manipulating the truth to achieve his desired goals, such as evading Yukiteru's question over whether or not he could revive the dead as a god.
Although far from a benevolent god, Deus is not without compassion and has occasionally done good things without any personal profit. Prior to the Survival Game, he saved Minene Uryu from death despite her hatred of gods, offering her a Future Diary and a place in his game without coercion. Additionally, while Deus's rationale for holding games is often incomprehensible, he shows a clear sense of honor when the Survival Game is in progress, answering the participants' questions and doing whatever he believes necessary for the game to be as fair as possible. He appointed/created a special observer to collect information on the participants and report any serious deviations from the game, and sent Minene on a mission to stop Muru Muru from unfairly supporting Yuno. In the latter case, he even gave half of his own knowledge and powers to Minene in order to aid her mission, despite accelerating his own demise in the process.
Deus appears to have extended relationships with the different diary owners.
- He is rather fond of Yukiteru, at first posing as his imaginary friend and personally makes him the "First" diary owner. Deus openly supports Yukiteru throughout the game, unphased by Yukiteru's mishaps and believing it is all part of his future to become his successor.
- He also has a unique relationship with Minene Uryu, who does not believe in God and wants nothing more than to rid the world of the very concept of a deity (which would include herself if she won the Survival Game). After being made aware of Deus's existence, Minene openly hates him but is willing to ask him for advice, and even protests to receiving a portion of his powers when the time comes. For his part, Deus views Minene as an ally and admires her ceaseless determination in the face of adversity, choosing her for his plan to counter Muru Muru's scheming.
- Deus and John Bacchus seem to be good friends; they created the Future Diaries together, and Deus deliberately used Sakurami City as the stage for his game at John's request. For his part, John seems to care for Deus, but also uses Deus' needs as an excuse to push his own plans in the Survival Game, requesting that Yukiteru and Yuno be eliminated from the game to speed it up before Deus dies.
The fact that he interacts with certain humans (seemingly without any explanation) implies that Deus may, in fact, be fond of some humans, or at the very least those whom he finds to be interesting.
Powers and Abilities
Deus is an ancient deity who rules over time, space and the laws of causality. It is implied that he may be able to rewind time, but leaping back in time can create parallel worlds. He has control of the Akashic Records, the universal compendium of knowledge and history. He is shown to be able to create artificial lifeforms, namely Aru Akise, who he can program with a full range of emotions and desires; when their use has expired, he can deconstruct them just as easily.
Deus operates from the Cathedral of Causality, depicted as a large domed building with purple lighting. Deus sits in a large throne which hovers just above the ground amid a partial sphere of metal fragments; he can also summon a "resting sphere" around himself to conserve energy and have private conversations with others. The cathedral also has an arena where Deus and Muru Muru summon the diary holders for occasional meetings. The arena is covered with an endless cloudy sky, revealed to actually be a cover for the Akashic Records. As Deus's death draws nearer, his body, throne, and the Cathedral itself all begin to crumble and fall apart.
Despite his tremendous power, even Deus has limitations. He remains oblivious to the existence of the first alternate world, implying he only has power over the time and space of the universe he lives in. While capable of observing much of the world at once, he is not omniscient; being unaware of Muru Muru being replaced by her first-world counterpart, for instance. He also cannot resurrect the deceased, only restore their physical bodies as soulless shells.
While Deus's true lifespan is unclear, it is both finite and inextricably tied to the universe; without a God of Time and Space, all of creation will be destroyed. The Survival Game is an elaborate means for Deus to find a successor to continue maintaining the universe following his death.
The First World
Not much is known of Deus during the first iteration of reality, but he eventually reached the end of his lifespan and began seeking a successor to his title. At the suggestion of John Bacchus, Deus developed the Survival Game in order to find a worthy heir, creating the Future Diaries for Muru Muru to distribute to the candidates.
While the exact details of the First Survival Game are unknown, it apparently played out according to Deus's design, as he saw no need to act directly. It is suggested he died at 28th of July, shortly before Yuno Gasai won the game; Muru Muru would transfer his powers to the Second, marking her as the new god of their universe.
The Second World
In the series proper, Deus is introduced as Yukiteru's imaginary friend. He empowers Yukiteru's phone to become a Future Diary about three months before his predicted demise; when Yuno reveals that she also possesses a Future Diary, Deus notes that he never said that Yukiteru was the only one to receive the gift. Following Yukiteru and Yuno's victory over Takao Hayama, Deus summons the remaining participants to the Cathedral of Causality to formally introduce them to the Survival Game. After explaining its purpose, the rules, and some basic information about the Future Diaries, he specifically names The First (Yukiteru) as his favored candidate to succeed him. This would prompt most of the other participants to target the First as a major threat.
Deus continued observing the game from his Cathedral with little comment until Yukiteru found a secret room in Yuno's house. On a whim, he opened the door, causing a massive shift in the future that even shook the Cathedral. In contrast to Muru Muru's panic, Deus was pleased by the drastic change, calling it "a second miracle" after he had twisted causality to bring the twelve participants of the Survival Game to Sakurami City. As the shock to the timeline subsided, the God of Time and Space mused that he was right to have chosen Yukiteru for the Survival Game.
After Yomotsu Hirasaka, Tsubaki Kasugano, and Reisuke Houjou's eliminations, Deus sent his Observer to investigate Karyuudo Tsukishima, suspecting that he was trying to outlast the other participants by hiding in his mansion. Shortly thereafter, the Tenth contacted Deus and requested permission to loan his Future Diary to a third party; while somewhat perplexed by the request, Deus allowed it.
When Keigo Kurusu killed Karyuudo and betrayed his alliance much earlier than expected, Deus commented on the "third miracle" before realizing that Muru Muru had manipulated the Fourth into action. While Muru Muru dodged his attempt at punishing her, she admitted to motivating Kurusu into action in an effort to speed up the game, reminding Deus that they had very little time to find his successor before his death. While Deus accepted Muru Muru's logic, he regarded his servant with much more caution from then on, especially when she challenged him to wager on the winner of the Survival Game. Noticing that Muru Muru favored Yuno while he bet on Yukiteru, Deus directed his Observer to investigate the Second's house, suspecting that there was more to her than was readily apparent.
After the Apprentice Users made their appearance, Deus contacted Yukiteru (and possibly the other participants) to let them ask questions about the new diary users.
When Yukiteru's mother was killed by his father, Yukiteru asks Deus to revive her; however, Deus admits that he can't, citing the loss of his power as the day of his death draws nearer. In the final meeting of Diary owners, he almost erases Yukiteru and Yuno from existence when they fail to appear with the others, but they arrive just in time and reveal John Bacchus as the Eleventh. With all of the remaining Diary owners' identities revealed, Deus removes the shadows concealing each of them, allowing everyone to see their remaining competition for his throne.
Deus is later seen talking with Muru Muru after Minene's attack on John Bacchus, before dismissing her as he went to rest. Deus is soon visited by Minene in his resting sphere, who asks him about John's Future Diary; accordingly, he reveals the nature of the Watcher Diary and relates how he collaborated with John Bacchus to create the Future Diaries. Deus also takes this opportunity to transfer some of his powers to Minene so that she could stop Muru Muru's scheme to let Yuno win the Survival Game, expressing his suspicions that both Muru Muru and Yuno secretly hailed from the First World where Yuno had already become god. Before returning Minene to her world, he sealed the memory of his revelations within the depths of her mind, intending them to return to her when she was needed as his trump card.
By the time of John's death, Deus's condition had degraded to the point where the universe was starting to collapse, creating voids in the world that wreaked widespread destruction. At this time, he was visited by Aru Akise, seeking to confirm if it is possible to resurrect the dead. Contrary to what he implied to Yuki, Deus admitted that he can revive the body of the deceased, but not their soul. He then stopped Akise from leaving, revealing his true nature as the Observer before commenting that he has outlived his role. Slowly vanishing into the Akashic Records, Akise tried to prove that he has a will of his own; Deus calmly and easily disproved each of Akise's arguments, almost destroying him completely until Kamado Ueshita granted him an Apprentice Diary of his own. Amused that Akise was indeed capable of something outside his assigned role, Deus let him live on his own account.
Shortly after his meeting with Akise, Deus's body finally collapses entirely, leaving behind a core which would last long enough to grant godhood to the winner of the Survival Game. In this state, Deus warns Muru Muru that she must allow the game to run properly, as she's restrained by her seals to do so; however, his earlier suspicions proved correct. The Muru Muru that had assisted him throughout the Second Survival Game was actually serving the First World's god: Yuno Gasai, who had similarly replaced her own Second World counterpart in order to spend more time with Yukiteru. As such, Muru Muru was not bound to obey Deus's will, and thus continued with her own plans.
During the final battle, Yukiteru received assistance from Minene, who had survived her apparent demise in the battle against the Eleventh when Deus's parting gift activated. With her restored memories and newfound abilities, the former Ninth was able to bring Yukiteru to the third world that Yuno created in an attempt to repeat the Survival Game once more. Deus's core is eventually taken from Muru Muru by her second world counterpart, who bequeathed the core to Yukiteru after he won the game.
The Third World
The third world's version of Deus was approached by John Bacchus, whose Watcher Diary had gleaned information from Yukiteru's Future Diary after his arrival from the second world. Learning of his eventual death and failure to achieve his goals, John convinced Deus to cancel the Future Diary project, therefore nullifying what would be a third Survival Game. As Deus was still in need of a successor, he and John began pondering alternative options for finding a suitable candidate. Deus also tasked Aru Akise with tracking the changes to the third world brought on by the second world's incursion, granting him an assistant in the form of Gremory to aid him.
When Yuno unlocked the first world Muru Muru's prison, Deus personally stopped the third world Muru Muru from pursuing her further. He explained that the first world's Muru Muru had viewed the preserved memories of her incarnation of Yuno, seeing the trauma that the Second had suffered in the past two iterations of the universe. As a result, Muru Muru had realized the depth of her own mistakes and sought atonement; furthermore, Deus believed that Yuno's ability to remember and pursue Yukiteru through three separate timelines was a manifestation of fate. As such, he allowed the first world's Muru Muru to transfer "her" Yuno's memories to the third world Yuno before releasing her to assist his Muru Muru in bridging the gap between dimensions.
When Yuno broke the dimensional barriers between the third world and the second world, Deus observed her reunion with Yukiteru. Since both of them had won a previous Survival Game, he happily named Yukiteru and Yuno as his successors as joint gods of the third world. It is implied that this announcement either killed Deus shortly afterwards or simply designated the two of them as the ones who would receive his core following his inevitable demise.
- Deus Ex Machina is Latin for "God from a Machine" or "God of the Machine". In fiction, it is a term used to name a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object; thus saying "God made it happen" with no further explanation. This could be a reference to Deus's actions driving the plot of Future Diary, particularly when he directly interferes with the Survival Game; however, it may also be a reference to his pivotal role in the maintenance of reality or the mechanical appearance of his cathedral.
- In the English version of Future Diary, Deus occasionally uses the phrase "wheels within wheels" to describe his plans.
- Deus' theme song is "Egoist" by Yousei Teikoku. Unlike most of Future Diary's OST, this song was never used in the series.
- In the third opening of Future Diary (the one used in Future Diary Redial), Deus removes his face to reveal Yukiteru's head beneath it, alluding to the results of the Survival Game in the second world.