Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Vol. 1 (v. 1)

by Motoro Mase | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 1421526786 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 8/2/2013
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, August 2, 2013
I ordered this manga from Barnes and Noble after reading about it in TV Tropes, where the series was described as "put Battle Royale and Death Note in a blender and hit 'puree'." How could I resist? And it turns out that I like the story very much, dark though it often is...

The premise: in an alternate-history near-future Japan, the government encourages citizens to be productive, highly-motivated members of society - by injecting randomly-selected children with a nano-capsule that will rupture on a pre-determined date some time between their 18th and 25th birthdays, killing them instantly. They're notified of their time of death 24 hours in advance (the notices are the "ikigami"), with penalties for their families built in to the program in case the doomed individuals decide to use their final hours for mayhem or revenge, and with a designation of "hero" if they take their deaths quietly. [There's a touch of Machine of Death here, in the variety of ways in which people react to this knowledge, though in this case the "how" is well-known while the "when" is the critical factor.]

The book opens with a look at the life of one of the "death messengers" tasked with delivering the 24-hour notices, one Fujimoto. Through his eyes we learn what the program consists of, why it was implemented - and what happens to people who protest it (hint: not good). Fujimoto takes on the job with the party line "it's contributing to our nation's welfare" in his head, but he can't help having some doubts - though he knows that if he expresses them he may wind up being monitored for treason himself.

The book then shifts viewpoints to another character, showing his current life and his traumatic youth - all leading up to the revelation that he's one of Fujimoto's clients, and showing what he chooses to do with his final 24 hours of life. It isn't very pretty, and however horribly he was abused as a child his revenge is extreme... but there are even more twists to the tale.

Another story deals with a street musician who was successful with his friend and partner, but who parted from him when he got a recording deal and his friend did not. The story follows each of them as their lives diverge, and then deals with the results of the delivery of an ikigami - though in this case the recipient chooses a different way of spending his final hours. I got a bit teary during this one.

It looks as though this is the series format, an anthology of case-histories linked by Fujimoto's job, and - perhaps - growing doubts as to the meaning behind the ikigami program. And the stories themselves feature some marvelous human drama, with twists and turns depending on how each person reacts to the knowledge of impending death. I'll be reading more of this series.

[There's a 2008 live-action film adaptation that I'd like to see some time...]

Update, Jan. 2015: There's a review of this on Unshelved.com's Book Club now.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Released 8 yrs ago (11/12/2013 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


This book's going into my From the Beginning manga bookbox, which will be on its way to its first stop soon. Hope someone enjoys it! [Do check the forum page for the bookbox instructions; I want to keep the contents to the first one to four volumes of longer series, complete 2-, 3-, or 4-volume series, or stand-alone books.]

*** Released as part of the E-less release challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by quietorchid at Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Monday, November 25, 2013
Interesting manga. You think it is going to be a Battle Royale (Hunger Games), but instead it is an examination of what does make life worth living? Is it living to the fullest? Achieving your dreams?

In the future, a government is adding an extra bit of urgency and spice to life by spiking a minute amount of childhood vaccinations with a nano particle that kills x number every year. The recipients of the fatal dose are warned of their impending death 24 hours before it occurs. A clever idea, and we watch as people decide what to do with their last 24 hours.

Released 7 yrs ago (7/23/2015 UTC) at Little Free Library #710 - 533 Dale Street N in Saint Paul, Minnesota USA


Left on the shelf to find a new reader!

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