Future Diary Vol 1 by Sakae Esuno Manga Review

Title:  Future Diary Vol 1

Author: Sakae Esuno

Publisher: Tokyopop

ISBN:  9781427815576

May Contain Spoilers

Yukiteru is shy and reclusive, and his only hobby is keeping a diary on his cell phone.  Other students have given up long ago on engaging with him in any meaningful manner, and Yukiteru pretends that that’s just fine with him.  His only friends are fragments of his imagination, until the day that  Deus Ex Machina, the king of time and space, becomes a little too real.  Before Yuki realizes what’s going on, his cell phone is recording entries from the future, and he’s caught in a life or death game of survival with other diary holders.  The winner will become god of a new world – too bad Yuki doesn’t want to have anything to do with it!

Future Diary kicks into high gear, providing an intriguing premise with plenty of psychological thriller elements.  Yuki goes from being in the background, recording the events taking place around him, to being on center stage, running for his life.  When Deus Ex Machina, a friend from his imagination, becomes unsettlingly real, Yuki’s passive existence takes a stunning change.  Now he can no longer watch what’s going on around him; he has to take part, or he’s going to end up very, very dead.

I felt a little bad for Yuki.  He longs to have friends and companionship, but afraid of being hurt, he’s isolated himself from everyone and everything around him.  Because of his  compulsive tapping at his cell phone, people think he’s a little off his rocker, and now they avoid speaking with him.  Yuki’s imaginary friend, Deus, is a god who is usually up to no good, and when he transforms Yuki’s cell phone to send texts from the future, this new power comes with a price.  There are others with magical diaries, and there’s about to be a battle amongst them.  The last one standing becomes a god, too.

Yuki doesn’t have any ambition to rule the world, so he’s only playing the game to survive.  He receives unexpected help from another diary holder, and spends most of the book in a state of terror, trying to keep from getting himself killed.  It would be pretty creepy receiving a text announcing your own death, and these don’t brighten Yuki’s day.  After receiving these disturbing messages, he has to quickly think of a way to outwit his current opponent or it’s curtains for him. 

The pacing was blistering, but the outcome of this volume’s big confrontation was very dissatisfying.  In addition, Yuki is so timid that he can be irritating, so it’s a good thing that he’s found Yuno, a girl with enough courage for the both of them.  She is Yuki’s strength, and she is the one cast in the role of the protector while Yuki trembles at her side.  It was a nice switch having the girl be the stronger character, and with Yuno by his side, it’d be hard for Yuki to lose.  She makes things happen, and even forces him to find some strength and determination of his own.

Despite a big let down at the end, Future Diary offers a thrilling rollercoaster ride of terror and excitement.  

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by Tokyopop

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