By Sakae Esuno
Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological, Thriller, (Romance)
Middle school 2nd year, Amano Yukiteru, is a boy who has problem making friends. He thinks of himself as a bystander and will always write down everything he sees in a cell phone diary.
Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru began to imagine things like a friend called Deus Ex Machina who is apparently the Lord of Time & Space. Seeing Yukiteru’s miserable state, Deus gives him a new ability. His diary will now record events that will happen in the near future. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a game with 11 other participants. The winner will become Deus’ successor.
Undoubtedly, Mirai Nikki (Future Dairy) is one of the best survival-game manga in existence, along with Battle Royale, Btooom and such. The main reason that it is ranked so high on my list is that, unlike most other mystery manga, it accomplishes what a mystery thriller is supposed to do:
- start out with confusing yet attractive premise;
- then, slowly uncover the mysterious shrouds of the plot;
- finally, come to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion without compromising any of its previous assumptions.
Usually, numerous manga managed to do the first criteria. Some manga of superior quality managed to fulfill the second criteria. However, virtually none in this genre hit home on the third criteria (Battle Royale didn’t; and I doubt Btooom! can do it, either). Arguably, Mirai Nikki did.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about the quality of artwork in it. Since I don’t remember having any problem with its art style while I was reading it a while back, I would assume that the art is at the very least sufficient for setting a creepy mood, like at every moment something scary would jump out and attack our MC.
At this point, a word of warning must be brought to light. This manga is filled with blood and gore. Especially, at the most unexpected moments, people would appear and try to murder our MC. Mirai Nikki is not for the weak-hearted individuals! I will quote holdenn’s review on My Anime List, in order to give an accurate impression of what makes Mirai Nikki so ridiculously enjoyable.
“It is deliberately paced, but endlessly creepy, horrifying manga. Suspense is a key element in the manga. There is a sense of walls closing in, something approaching, getting closer and closer. An atmosphere of deep foreboding emanates from each diary holder, unaware of what each identity and motive are, it is disturbingly stirring for both Yuki and the reader.”
Finally, the characters. I think there is a character that deserves a special mention, Yuno (female MC). She is probably the most psycho, the most unstable character out of all manga that I have seen. This is contrasted by the fact that she also has a kind, gentle side, coupled with her fast thinking and meticulous logic deduction. She is definitely a fascinating character, and readers who love crazy psycho bitch might just fall in love with her!
Overall, Mirai Nikki is an impressive manga that manages to succeed in where others failed. As a Mystery, Survival Game, Thriller manga, it is a master piece that will be remembered.
Note: There is also an anime adaptation of this title, having the same story (and ending), and I heard it is well done as well. You can check that out if you tend to like the anime version of the same story better.