By Sakae Esuno
Published in the US by TokyoPop
Slugline: Knowing the future means knowing how you are doomed.
Yukiteru doesn't have any friends but he consoles himself by having a hobby, which keeping an exhaustive diary of the events around him on his cell phone. It is one of the few things he talks about to what he considers to a playful yet dangerous imaginary god of time and space Deus. The imaginary god turns out to be very real when Yukiteru's diary changes to show what he would have written for 90 days into the future. At first Yuki enjoys and exploits having future knowledge but this ends when Deus' playful and dangerous nature is revealed. It turns out Deus gave 12 people future diaries based on diaries that they were already keeping and whomever is the last one alive will replace Deus as the god of time and space. Yukiteru's initial enjoyment of his diary only made him a prime target of a serial killer and a terrorist bomber, both of whom are diarists. As a mixed blessing, a fellow student at Yuki's school, Yuno Gasai, had been stalking him and her diary is filled with details of his life, which helps him survive. The detective Keigo Kurusu has his own criminal investigation diary and is determined to end all of the mayhem that the future diaries are causing and the three of them ally together by the end of the volume to stop the other diarists and keep Yuki alive.
Think of this as a less dark version of Death Note. Not to say that this light and fluffy, but it isn't quite as nihilistic as Death Note was. At least, not yet, though the series could easily go very dark or get less intense fairly easily from this point. The fact that I don't which direction it will take is a good sign. The good guys have some major problems, with Yuki's near breakdown in the face of danger, Yuno having more than a couple screws loose and Keigo almost a little too willing to sacrifice Yuki . The mechanism of the diaries help drive the action, though while some of the diaries at least for now seem like that they can get a little silly. As an example, a bomber keeping an escape diary? But the story grabs hold of ordinary people, throws them into deep end of the pool and we get to watch them react and struggle to survive in a very realistic way.
For those that are curious, here are our reviews for Death Note 1-6 and 7-10.
Future Diary, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga