Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Vol. 1

Motoro Mase, Author, Motoro Mase, Illustrator . Viz $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4215-2678-2

The government is randomly selecting one person a day to die so that citizens will value life more. The victims are told 24 hours ahead of time with an ikigami, a “death paper.” Fujimoto, the main character, is tasked with delivering these messages, a job which brings him into contact with various lives and causes him to question the plan. The art is clear, gritty and direct, presenting the disturbing stories plausibly. Shadowing makes the expressions, often aimed directly at the reader, more powerful. Ikigami recipient Yosuke was abused as a kid by his peers, which made him resentful. At first glance, he seems like no loss, but how much of his lack of potential is his fault? Who made him a victim, and shouldn’t they be the ones to die? Is revenge any comfort? The question of how you’d live your last day if you knew ahead of time is a powerful one; to put the question within the context of building a more obedient, productive society is devilishly clever. This must-read manga is especially recommended for fans of Death Note ready to move on to a less fantastic exploration of the idea of predicting one’s demise. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/06/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!