Mirai Nikki / Future Diary Manga Review

Note: this review covers the manga up to chapter 45

Admitted, the title of the manga sounds interesting if not a little bit strange. Future Diary. Future Diary? Is this the story about a girl in love with a vampire, reading her own entries in order to seduce him in glittering colors? Or would this be a bad sci-fi story of a guy writing about his path to becoming Darth Vader?

Although I wasn’t sure if the author would or could deliver on the potential I started to read it anyways. After reading the first volumes of Mirai Nikki one thing is absolutely clear to me: not only did the author of this manga deliver on the promise, he wrote and drew one of the best sci-fi action I’ve ever seen in any medium.

Mirai Nikki tells the story of Yukiteru Amano who is exceptional at being nothing special albeit being not very sociable. As a result he hasn’t any friends at all and compensates his loneliness by writing anything big or small he encounters in his cell phone diary – and by regularly talking to his imaginary friend, a god who rules above time and basically anything.

Up to that point his situation’s nothing special you couldn’t cure with a good kick in his ass. But then Yukiteru’s ordinary world crumbles because it turns out that his imaginary friend is not imaginary at all. Not only reveals the god himself to be the real deal but he also nonchalantly alters Yukiteru’s cell phone diary. From this point onward Yukiteru can read his own entries he writes some minutes in the future. There’s only one big problems with this deal: There are eleven other people with similar diaries out there – and everybody has to participate in a deadly game in which only one can stand at the end. From that point onward the twelve people have to use their own future diaries to avoid their own deaths while trying to kill the other players.

Meet the Mastermind behind the game: Deus.Ex.Machina. Awesome character design, silly name.

Meet the Mastermind behind the game: Deus.Ex.Machina. Fantastic character design, silly name.

Although the story at that point already sounds absolutely interesting, the author went even a little bit further by giving each and every player his own unique future diary because the future powers of the diaries reflect the past usage of their wielders. So for Yukiteru it’s about everything that happens around him since he always wrote that into his cellphone. Another player, a detective, only can read entries dealing with cases he’s working on because he only wrote such entries into his cellphone.

So it’s not that the future diaries are omnipotent. Each and every cell phone has a slight weakness to the “predictions” it makes. If the detective, for example, gets assaulted by someone who’s not part of a case, his diary won’t tell him that this will happen in some minutes. End of game. Admittedly, Yukiteru’s future diary is one of the most powerful ones because it simply records anything and everything of importance. You can hardly beat that one.

I think most of you can admit that the stuff above sounds like a hell of a premise and promise. The amazing thing is that Sakae Esuno, the author of Mirai Nikki, really didn’t waste anything when forging this story and went full force with this  premise. Every odd pages or so there seems to be a revelation, a twist or a mind-blowing development. But none of this stuff feels out of place or giving you the feeling it leads nowhere or takes one thousand pages until resolved (as in Lost).

Even more impressive is the fact that most turns in the plot are a result of the characters and their actions. They’re using their brains and their diaries in every second possible. In fact everybody including Yukiteru’s using his diary so constantly that I always started to freak out when Yukiteru didn’t have it in his hands.The best part of all this is that Yukiteru’s using his diary in a intelligent way, trying to change his own future by constantly changing his actions according to the entries he reads.

On a practical level this means that for example Yukiteru stands in front of a hallway and doesn’t know what might happen at the end. Will he get assaulted or not? No problem. He simply waits for a new entry in his cellphone which states he gets ambushed there. Result:  he changes his route and avoids being killed. The future got changed. (Note: of course it’s impossible to write an entry when you’re dead but I think that this is a twist of the game). Since all players are doing this, it’s normal that the future constantly changes (and with that the entries of every players) according to their actions and so you never know what happens next.

And don’t think for a second here they play by the rules. Far from it. Some players don’t even care for innocents. Instead they bargain them or use them Joker-style to reach their goal of winning the game. The happens right at the beginning of the game and makes clear to anybody that the author of the manga means business. You won’t believe it until you read it but witnessing a bad guy doing bad stuff and not caring about innocents or even using them to their own advantage feels like a breeze of fresh air you almost never feel from a Hollywood plot.

Everything I mentioned above is already enough to give a full recommendation but there’s one last element that lifts Mirai Nikki to the pantheon of heavens: Yuno Gasai.

Hi, I am Gasai Yuno. And.That.Is.Only.The.Beginning...

Hi, I am Yuno Gasai. And.That.Is.Only.The.Beginning...Gyahahaha!!!

Yuno Gasai is one of the most batshit insane crazy-girls I’ve ever encountered. She is so totally beyond nuts that even Hannibal Lector probably would run away from her. She is the epitome of mad while she’s also one big mystery regarding her past which makes her that more charming and interesting. You never know what stunt she will pull of now and how she turned out the way she is. When you think you’ve solved the riddle the author throws in another fact and everything turns again. The icing on the cake on her character is the fact that she herself is a player of the game, and hence has her own future diary. Combine all that and you have one of the best and craziest characters ever put to screen page.

You can feel that the author of Mirai Nikki absolutely loves the girl and her craziness so I was constant smiling as she does what she does and gives a shit about what others are thinking. Except for Yukiteru, which she loves in ways that get nastier by the page.

If you ever wanted to see a batshit insane girl in action, read Mriai Nikki now! If you only watched mainstream Hollywood movies you surely never have seen a similar force as her. Even Hit Girl from Kick Ass would be reduced to a whiny little 11 year old girl in her presence. Many other characters in Mirai Nikki are already batshit insane, yet they don’t reach that pure level of quality batshit insanity.

Preliminary Conclusion

Mirai Nikki is the result you get when the author doesn’t care for political correctness, doesn’t compromise one single inch and uses the manga art to its fullest regarding batshit insane expressions. If any Hollywood producer would ever read it, he probably would start crying like a sissy by knowing he never will reach this level with a  live action version – even if he wanted to. You know, the Righteous Reviewer Alliance lurks everywhere.

If you love lightning fast action-mystery plots with massive killings and a batshit insane butcher girl do yourself a favor and read Mirai Nikki. You won’t regret it. It’s captivating, it’s mind boggling, it’s intelligent. I loved reading every single page of it.

Rating
Non-compromising, mind-boggling, amazing.

Comments

  • Ami

    This is and always will be my favorite manga. The storyline is beautifully written and it has a way of making you love even the most insane character. I read the whole series in one week. Thats how good it is. And as for the ending? It delivers, producing a series of events you never see coming. Exceptional storytelling and a superb finsh. That is the key to an amazing manga. And this one definetally takes the cake.

    Ami, age 16

  • terrance addison

    Mane, i aways wanted to know if there was another anime out there that can outmatch
    higurashi and theres future diary. neva read or watched the anime if there is one and
    hope there will be but it sounds good so ima do me a favor and buy it. this character,
    Yuno Gasai, I saw one of her death glare artworks, and she looks like she can get
    to the rank of the legendary Yandere death angel, Shion Sonozaki. from that little
    description on top, i can see she a nuthead, but thats the best part about her.

    • Gunther Heinrich

      Last time I heard there was an anime series announced and some seconds of test animation shown in the interwebs. But since then I’ve read no news about it. I really hope the producers will stay close to the source material. If they do, Yuno gasai will for sure be the most batshit crazy girl ever put on screen.

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