ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Comics & Graphic Novels

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: A Manga Review

Updated on September 13, 2013
Ikigami, written and drawn by Mase Makoto
Ikigami, written and drawn by Mase Makoto | Source

In a dystopian future Japan, our main character is a Death God of sorts. The government, which seems to be of some vague fascist variety, has implanted one in thousand kids with a nano-bomb, set to go off at some point when the kid has turned into a young adult, at some age between 18-24. The government claims this raises people's appreciation for life, it decreases suicide rates and crime rates. Its critics argues the government is playing Russian Roulette with its citizens, and that this murder game is merely a way to make people fear and obey the government. As per usual in dystopian stories, any critics are charged with thought-crimes and moved somewhere secret.

This is only our backdrop. Our story follows Kengo Fujimoto, a governmental worker who does not concern himself much with if what the government is doing is wrong. Sometimes it worries him, but he is not sure if these murders are wrong, and he is afraid of the punishment for questioning these things, so he keeps quiet. Kengo's job is delivering Ikigami's to their recipient. An Ikigami is simply a notice that the receiver is that special one in a thousand who will die, and the notice is delivered merely 24 hours before the predetermined time the citizen will die.

A Look Into Their Final Hours

In the earliest chapters especially, Kengo is not the focus. Unlike most dystopian stories, which concerns themselves with politics and ideas, Ikigami mostly deals with the dying people. The typical scenario is that we get to know a group of people, usually with some sort of problems, and only after an extended period of time does Kengo come in to deliver an Ikigami. After that we see how this affects them, how some goes out to get revenge on those who have wronged them, some finally dare to do what should have been done a long time ago. Either the dying person or someone else learns some lesson, and at the end we see Kengo summing up the story for himself, trying to draw some wisdom from it, or else reject the lesson entirely. He is not always an entirely sympathetic character, but in the end he is a good guy trapped in a situation he does not want nor want to fight to get out of.

Usually we deal with their relationship to the people they leave behind, and in a couple the entire thing is seen from someone else's point of view. The stories are usually not entirely linearly told, but are so simple in structure that following the plot poses no problem. The dying people we follow are interesting and complex, and watching these people deal with their final hours would be the main draw of the series.

Corruptionists

Later on, we get more of the political angle. There is a resistance to the murders, and the “corruptionists” as they are called try to motivate change from the shadows, although some go for a pure terrorist angle. Kengo's worries and doubts about the system he is a part of was always the main thing about his character, that plus his despair as his own family grow afraid of dealing with the Angel of Death that he has become. When the corruptionists are introduced, he becomes tempted to join them, and he meets someone he believes is a member of this organization. But how can he be sure?

Human Warmth

There are a lot of things to love about Ikigami. The stories are usually tragic, but there are those certain ones which ends on as much of a positive note as a countdown of ones final hours can possibly do. There is the story of a musician coming back to life after hearing his friend play his song on the radio. The friends dies from the Ikigami shortly after. This makes no logical sense, but an emotional sense. And for all of the tough realism and general oppressive feelings that Ikigami emits, it also manages to show genuine love and emotion. And that is the reason to read it. What we see is that no matter what the circumstances, oppressive governments, random murders and it all, some warmth might still pull true. Absolutely recommended, as long as you do not demand a happy ending to all of your stories.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)