Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ikigami - The Ultimate Limit by Mase Motoro

This is a bit of a different review for this here blog. BUT, I just finished reading Ikigami (English Version) and I was shocked to actually like it. I'm not a graphic novel reader and I out grew comics years ago. I know several adults who still get enjoyment from them but they don't work for me. Not usually. But, when I was in Kinokuniya bookstore the other day, I was looking at the over-priced English book section and happened on this series. The cover caught my attention. And I purchased the book based on the back cover blurb. (The book was wrapped in plastic so I couldn't open it and take a quick read.) And, based on the back cover blurb, I purchased 3 books of the five in the series. The sixth book in the series wasn't there.

What's on the back cover?
Dear Citizen:
Thank you for your loyalty. You've no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You've probably asked yourself


Rest assured that measures are being taken. Beginning immediately, we will randomly select a different citizen each day who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is and how important it is to be a productive, active member of society.

Thank you for your continued attention and your cooperation and participation...


Now, is that a back cover blurb or is it a back cover blurb?

The story itself is really good. There are two stories here including the role of the Ikigami delivered - just a city office worker.

The manga starts off introducing us to a slightly future world when all school children are immunized. In the injection is a nano-bomb, but only 1000 get this planted in them. The bombs are set to go off at a certain time and the government knows who and when and they prepares an Ikigami for them. The person is notified 24 hours before they die. The children are kind-of brainwashed into believing this is for the good of the country. Mase Motoro also spends some time on building the back story and creating a government ideal that is almost believable.

The first story is revenge on being bullied. Standard fare but a good warm up and an excellent way to tell us what happens if the person who gets the ikigami commits crimes. The second story is about a couple of buskers, one gets a contract to sing and in doing so he gives up on his best friend. Later, one of the gets an ikigami and tries to make up with his friend and be all-he-can-be  the only way he knows how.

Throughout this book, there are interjections of the real story, the office worker, Fujimoto, and his job of delivering the ikigamis and his wondering if this law is actually a good thing. But these worries he must keep to himself, as it is the duty of any citizen who learns of / hears a person being a social miscreant to report them. All social miscreants will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

I'm not a manga reader by a long shot, the only other manga I read was GTO, but I saw the movie first. This manga series is (so far) pretty darn good and I'm onto the second manga now.



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