Friday, July 17, 2009

Future Diary vol. 1 Impression

In Sakae Esuno manga Future Diary from Viz technology is key as cell phones take center stage in a haunting and dangerous game where the winner becomes a god. You’ve never read a manga like Future Diary.

Yukiteru is that guy never noticed in class. He sits back, does not get involved and is always on his cell phone. Unlike most students on their phones Yukiteru is not talking but rather recording, keeping a virtual diary of everything going on around him. When he’s home he dreams of the imaginary Deus Ex Machina, King of Space and Time, but soon what he thought was just his imagination takes a drastic turn. The game is simple, organized by the very real Deus Ex Machina, there are twelve diary users, each with their own motivations for wanting the ultimate prize which is to be crowned king of a new world. Participants are eliminated when their cell phones are destroyed as Yukiteru learns upon using a dart to destroy a user’s diary before even knowing about the game. Each diary serves a different purpose from seeing briefly into the future to tracking crimes, escape routes and even the fate of individuals. Only with the help of fellow diary users can Yukiteru survive, such as classmate Yuno, but with some users out for blood it will be a dangerous game until the end. The real world is a battlefield where average people must protect their cell phones with their lives if they hope to win.

As far as stories go a manga based on an end game is nothing new but using the cell phone as the elimination device is very modern. As phones get more advanced why not use them as the main device in a new story. Yukiteru is a clueless protagonist who must come up to speed very quickly and the fact he is the first to take out one of the 12 is not lost on the remaining 10. He is now a target but finds allies with their own unique powers. In this first volume the story is just beginning (duh) but the mystery and questions that are set really urges the reader to want more. A great story is nothing without matching art and Future Diary is outstanding in it’s haunting design and delivery. The level of detail in character design, emotions, and settings is spot on perfect for the story and there is a haunting feel to the art reminiscent of the anime When They Cry. Each character has a bit of crazy to their look; it’s a very unsettling style that works well. Just check out the cover art of Yuno, a nice little girl that looks like something out of Ringu on the cover.

Overall this is a thriller manga that is oh so enjoyable. Suspense, horror and action are just a few of the high points of this manga and with excellent design behind it manga fans owe it to themselves to check it out, period.

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