BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (vol. 7) by Motoro Mase, translated by John Werry, English adaptation by Kristina Blachere

Ikigami 7In anticipation of tomorrow’s frightfest, thought I should share some deathly dystopian manga – ikigami literally translating to ‘death paper.’

While each volume could potentially stand alone as a series of individual episodes that detail how the chosen spend their predetermined final 24 hours, you’ll need to start from the beginning of the series [click here for previous volumes] to follow the story of Kengo Fujimoto of the Civil Registration Section whose job is to actually deliver said ikigami to the latest victim on behalf of the National Welfare Program. No, he can’t quit, and yes, he’s had to face quite a few moral dilemmas, not to mention having to survive a kidnapping and then a knife at his throat. But you’ll have to go back to get the full scoop.

In this latest volume, a young boy fascinated with photography dreams of taking over the local studio from its aging owner who is also his devoted mentor. As the boy grows toward manhood, the two differ on the changing technology that is redefining the art of photography, eventually parting ways after exchanging vehement, hurtful words. But when the now-young man receives the official news that he has just 24 hours left, he knows the one thing he must do …

The volume’s second half follows a talented boy who gives up the one thing he loves in life – street dancing – in order “to graduate from a good school” in hopes of satisfying his father who runs a cram school. The father promises to open a dance studio – “students could refresh themselves by dancing between classes … which will help them learn better” – within the cram school, and pass the whole enterprise on to his only son. In a horrific twist, what the boy thought would be a mere deferral of his dancing dream becomes a final death sentence … but he’s determined not to let his last hours go to further waste.

Even as Fujimoto struggles to be the ideal employee, the Thought Examination Board isn’t taking any chances. Up before Chief Examiner Satsuki Kaga (definition of scary!), he starts to question himself: “… will I be able to act like everything’s normal?”

‘Normal’ this is not, thank goodness. Although … for the next 24 hours, fear certainly won’t be abnormal! Let’s hope it’s only temporary!

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2011 (United States)
Ikigami 7 © Motoro Mase
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.


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