Haiba Sumio is a student at a Tokyo High School with an interesting ability... He occasionally falls asleep and wakes up with premonitions of the future written out on his "Dream Diary." With this ability, Sumio helps out people in trouble before anything bad happens, until one day when his peaceful life completely changes.
In the anime and manga world we are used to see recycled ideas all the time: we see people getting into a fantasy world having to battle for their survival, love stories between highschoolers, magical girls all over the place and also, we get our dose of survival-highschool-supernatural mysteries; but what differentiates one from another is the way the story is taken and the little details that makes it stand out from the rest. Be the characters, their development or the moment when the plot gets a twist and shows its shred of originality, we have to eat our words sometimes. Enigma is not the
case, giving nothing remarkable and losing against its peers.
The story is something seen before and IMO we've seen better versions of it, but this is not the main problem. While the art is ok good, with well designed characters and some interesting ones, like Mizusawa Aru, they are all very typical and stereotyped: we got the all-can-do, always-finds-a-way main character, his childhood friend who's in love with him, a sidekick, some preppy girl and a thug. I have to say that Matusirigi is one remarkable exception as I found him very complete, with him having a purpose and being driven by his justice and moral sense to deal with his own burden. We get development and backstories, which variates more or less depending on the character and that's something I have to applaude, like in the case of Sudou where his backstory is really great, but explaining to us some things like the shyness of Moto or the motives for the attitude of Aru doesn't compensate one, if not the biggest, of it's flaws and that's Haiba Sumio, who takes all the spotlight while bringing nothing to the table. We have a very diverse, even with all their flaws, pool of characters and all the attention goes to Haiba, with a little gilmpse of the others from time to time. Seeing someone else take the lead, at least for a couple of pages, was a really appreciated breath of fresh air.
I really enjoyed Enigma at the beggining but as I progressed it became more and more tedious to read and it was losing some of the things that got me, somehow, hooked, making the last chapters a really difficult read. When we start getting revelations about who's behind all that's happening, the plot starts to get a bit promising only to get drown, once again, with a poor storytelling. I have to say that the last arc I found it, for the most part, really entertaining but kinda predictable, and about the ending, it was fine by me but may be a little too cheesy for some people. The author had in its hands the possibility to leave a good open ending, but it decided not to, a choice I don't fully support but it was something to expect.
Don't get me wrong, Enigma does have a couple of good things and others not so good, making space for other manga like the Kamisama No Iutoori series to give us an improved version of this. The good thing is that with only 56 chapters, if you decide to give it a try and end up not liking it, if like me, you're someone who can't leave things half-read, you would not invest much time on it.
Strange powers, creepy phenomena, sadistic games- it's all been done before. Still, this particular spin on the concept is fast paced, well drawn, and perfect for Shonen Jump. Lots of other manga of this type can become tedious due to overly complicated, slow story lines. Not Enigma. This story is fast paced and stays that way through all the chapters that have been released. It's not too predictable, and the puzzles the characters must solve are neither painful to read nor cheap. The art is pretty standard, although the main character's design is a nice twist on the standard hero. There's a pretty obvious dark
theme running through the art, but the whole thing is moving too fast to conjure up a thick atmosphere. Several characters personalities have been archetypes so far, especially the childhood friend. Even so, the characters are likable, and the mangaka is smart enough to jump right into the action without wasting too much time trying to endear them to the reader. When she does focus on making them likable it works well enough, if not exceptionally. All in all, this manga is a good read if you're looking for a shonen series that's a bit outside the norm. So far, it reads more like psyren than Death Note, but for some people that will be great. This seems like a title that would be excellent for marathons, given the frequent cliffhangers and quick pace.