BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (vol. 10) by Motoro Mase, translated by John Werry, English adaptation by Kristina Blachere

Ikigami 10So this is it … the finale in one of the most bone-chilling, hair-raising manga series that I’ve been addicted to through the last few years. No surprise: it’s a doozy – and another reminder that as far-fetched dystopic as the fatal premise might be, it’s not nearly as implausible as we want to believe.

“[T]o make people value life,” one in 1,000 first-graders receives a fatal nanocapsule in his or her mandatory immunization; notice of death is delivered via ikigami (literally, “death paper”) to the victim (ages 18-24) exactly 24 hours before the predetermined moment of death. To catch up with the victims thus far, click for the full series here.

Although you could read the volumes in any order – each of the chapters are potential standalone episodes of the arbitrary ikigami victims’ final day – you probably don’t want to miss the ongoing narrative thread that follows Kengo Fujimoto’s initial misgivings about his new job through the rest of his 10-volume tenure with the National Welfare system. Stay orderly to stay tuned to Fujimoto’s personal relationships, his career challenges, and especially the state of his unsettled conscience. Living with death isn’t exactly easy.

Volume 10 opens with a final ikigami short, about a young National Welfare policeman who has lost much of his gentle humanity to the violence he sees and perpetuates in the name of protecting the public. His chance encounter with a young mother still mourning the loss of her daughter forces him to confront painful memories about his own relationship with his estranged mother.

The second half is perhaps what we’ve all been waiting for: what happens to young Fujimoto who’s been living with constant upheaval in his morals, beliefs, alliances, loyalty? And what of his mentor-sorta-confidante, the mild-mannered Mr. Ishii? And volumes later, does Fujimoto still pine for Dr. Kubo? With this last, final, there-will-be-no-more-to-come, all will be revealed …

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2005, 2014 (United States)
Ikigami 10 © Motoro Mase
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.


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