Tower of the Future Vol 1 by Saki Hiwatari Manga Review

Title: Tower of the Future Vol 1

Author: Saki Hiwatari

Publisher: CMX

ISBN: 9781401208141

May Contain Spoilers

Takeru seems like your average kid, stressing about high school entrance exams and prone to flights of fancy.  When tragedy strikes his family, he discovers that he didn’t know his parents as well as he thought, and the realization is tearing him apart.  He has some very difficult decisions to make, and he and his father are suddenly not getting along.  With his whole life changed, can Takeru find happiness again?

This was a very unusual read.  On the surface, it’s a heart wrenching drama about a boy who’s life is shattered by the death of his mother.  When she makes a confession to him while she lies dying in the hospital, he has to reassess everything that he’s ever believed about her.  He always thought that his parents were happy and content, but now he knows that they were hiding a secret, and she was putting on an act all this time.  He feels betrayed and he feels like they have both been lying to him for years.

While Takeru’s father fully intends to honor his wife’s deathbed wish, it causes nothing but friction between Takeru and his father.  Takeru just can’t accept everything that he’s learned, and he blames his father for all of it.  He won’t listen to any explanations, instead condemning his father’s indiscretions without considering that there might be another side to the story.  You can actually feel Takeru’s pain – he’s just lost his mother, and now he and his father are fighting because of a ghost that haunts his father’s past.  Takeru has a lot more to worry about now than getting into the school his mother wanted to attend.  He also has to deal with fears, jealousy, and doubts about both of his parents.  Everything seems so overwhelming for him and he’s struggling to keep a sense of normalcy.

What makes the book so weird are the fantasy elements that a peppered within the plot.  Takeru has a very vivid imagination, and he is often consumed with thoughts of stories he is writing.  People he meets are injected into the plots, where he is the hero.  In addition, there is a strange little kid who Takeru is constantly running into.  The little boy knows more about Takeru than he should, and he is a big mystery here.  Who exactly is he?  I really want to find that out, as well as how Takeru’s imagination fits into the overall plot.

Tower of the Future is a very different read.  It took me about three tries to get through the first chapter because it starts out like a fantasy series, but then settles into more of a high school drama.  It’s a little slow paced, but there are very real emotions radiating through the panels.  Definitely worth checking out a few more volumes.  I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to read this first volume.

Grade:  B