Future Diary Volume 1 by Sakae Esuno
Future Diary combines teenagers and mayhem in a murderous game that produces a manga similar in tone to Death Note. Yukiteru is a confirmed loner. He doesn’t hang out with his classmates, preferring instead to spend his time updating the diary he keeps on his cell phone. Yukiteru fills his days by observing the world around him and communing with his imaginary friends when he’s alone in his room. Yukiteru is visited by Deus Ex Machina, the ruler of space and time. Deus has a pesky servant girl named Muru Muru. Deus comments that Yukiteru is lonely and asks if he wants to change his life. He hands Yukiteru his cell phone and says that he’s been entrusted with the future. Yukiteru wonders if Deus is planning something, but quickly dismisses the feeling because “it’s just my imagination.”
When Yukiteru goes to school the next day he sees that his diary in the cell phone is already filled in. He reads about a serial killer that is going to run by his school. He gets a notice that there will be a pop quiz in math class, and then reads all the answers. Yukiteru realizes that his imaginary friend isn’t so imaginary after all, and he’s freaked out by his new knowledge. Deus tells him that if his cell phone is damaged, Yukiteru will die. Yukiteru starts acting more confident in school, and he notices that a female classmate of his seems to be glancing at him. Yuno leaves a sculpture of Muru Muru on her desk and Yukiteru reads that he’s about to be cornered in a building by a serial killer.
Yuno reveals that she has a diary too, except hers is the “Yukiteru Diary”. It shows what’s going to happen to Yukiteru in 10 minute increments. She says that she has the future diary of love and “Yuki’s future belongs to me!” So now poor Yukiteru is about to be killed and he has an unhinged stalker hanging around to help him out! Deus reveals that multiple people have future diaries and whoever manages to live after being targeted for murder by the other diary owners will inherit his role as ruler of space and time. Yukiteru is the primary target. Will he survive?
It is probably an aspect of my own twisted personality, but I find series like this about teens dealing with murderous opponents very entertaining. At one point Yukiteru’s school is laced with land mines. There’s a hint of cynicism shown in the way Yukiteru’s classmates react to being threatened with bombs. While the murder game structure isn’t a particularly unique plot, I was curious to see how Yukiteru was able to overcome his passivity. The art in Future Diary is attractive and dynamic. It is hard to tell from just the first volume, but I think this would be a good “read alike” title for anyone who enjoyed Death Note and wants to read something similar. Future Diary has more predictable plot elements and character types than Death Note, but it was still very enjoyable to read.
Review copy provided by Tokyopop.