Future Diary Volume 7 by Sakae Esuno
I enjoyed the first volume of this series. I’ve always meant to pick up more volumes but I was surprised to see that I’m six volumes behind. Future Diary is about a hapless boy named Yukiteru who is given a cell phone that displays his actions in the future. The twist is that he’s also caught up in a game involving a battle to the death with other future diary holders, each with a phone that has slightly different characteristics. He’s aided by a slightly unhinged girl named Yuno, who’s phone also details Yukiteru’s actions.
The seventh volume shows Yuno and Yukiteru fighting another male-female couple, Marco and Ai. Their phones are “journals of love” that note everything the partners do. Marco and Ai challenge Yukiteru and Yuno, saying that the battle will be a test of the power of love. Yuno moves to protect Yukiteru and Marco accuses him of being weak and hiding behind a girl. One of the things I like about Future Diary is the way it appears to play with some of the stereotypical roles in shonen manga. It is fairly common for the weak but growing in power shonen hero to get a devoted girl sidekick. Yukiteru has his sidekick, but her devotion combined with her stalker-like tendencies makes her personality quite unsettling. He isn’t sure if he can trust her or not, despite the fact that she yells in glee “Yuki gave me a compliment!” as she deflects a series of throwing knives aimed at her chosen partner. She’s so devoted to Yuki that her expressions of enthusiasm are unsettling. Yuki’s father returns and he starts to hope that his broken family may get patched up. But his father’s motivations seem just as questionable as Yuno’s and ultimately Yuki has to choose between them.
I appreciate Esuno’s art more with every volume of his manga that I read. He has a mobile, expressive line when drawing his characters. He switches from portraying enraged fighting to panic to pathos with ease. There’s a certain amount of world-weary cynicism in the way that Marco and Ai meet their ultimate destinies that I appreciated. Future Diary does appear to be a little more complex than the typical fighting shonen series, and the presence of characters who seem to be genuinely unhinged creates some surprising plot developments.
Review copy provided by the publisher