IKIGAMI: THE ULTIMATE LIMIT • Motoro Mase • VIZ • 18+
In an authoritarian alternate Japan, all citizens are injected with a time-delay poison wich will kill one out of 10,000 people, determined randomly, sometime before their 25th birthday. Fujimoto, the nominal main character, is a young office worker who has the dubious job of delivering ikigami (“death papers”) to the unlucky ones 24 hours before they die. And why kill them? In the words of one of the government characters, it’s to make people value life (“It can be either a death sentence…or an invitation to really live”). The unlikely science-fiction premise is really an excuse to tell anthology-style stories of how people act when they know they’re going to die: a young musician prepares for a final performance, a bullied young man indulges in a spree of murder and revenge, etc.. Unfortunately, although the art and storytelling are very competent, with polished realistic artwork and lots of intense close-ups, the stories are heavy-handed and obvious, invariably involving life lessons and a redemptive “happy ending.” (This review of Ikigami volume 1 was originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
** (two stars)
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Leihtah posted this photo of herself incognito with her manga. Thanks for the great blog post! I’m glad you liked Manga: The Complete Guide, and I hope you like the new manga I’m sending you!