Limit (vols. 2-3) by Keiko Suenobu, translated by Mari Morimoto
First things first: you need to start with Volume 1 – that’s where the fear begins. Volumes 2 and 3 won’t offer much reprieve, but readers just might find a few life lessons within.
Here’s the set-up: Five survivors – all girls – of a tragic school bus accident are stranded in a deep ravine. Morishige, the one girl that everyone bullied has taken control, thanks to a threatening scythe she’s quick to point in the most effectively dangerous directions. Morishige is intent on payback, and with her hierarchical system from “Empress” to “Slave,” she’s determined to incite horrific violence as she wields both stick and power.
Little by little – and in order to survive – the girls (and the readers) get to know each other throughout volume 2: Kamiya’s practical knowledge and cool head will ensure the girls won’t go too hungry, Konno and Ichinose will need to figure out how to work together, and Usui must fight to get a hold of her understandably frightened though debilitating imagination. And then there’s the possibility that someone else might out there …
As volume 3 opens, Morishige is scythe-less, Usui is missing, and the group (most of it, anyway) is thrilled when another survivor appears: “When the bus fell off the cliff I was thrown out of the window, but somehow survived …” When he finds out about Morishige’s diabolical plan, his reaction is surprisingly caring: “We’re all survivors here … Let’s all go home together. We’ll hang tight,” he offers gently to a shocked Morishige. What no one knows is that going home for Morishige is the most horrific option of all …
Remember Lord of the Flies? Yeah … not exactly a happy ending. Are our children really like this? What might they do if the trappings of so-called civilization were suddenly stripped away? How can we ensure their survival – especially when we’re not around? Quoting from the final page: “… before a chain of woe starts.”
Tidbit: What a surprise to find myself quoted on the back cover of volume 3! “I can’t remember the last time I was this freaked out by a manga …,” I said of volume 1. As a parent, that freak-out certainly continues in 2 and 3!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2012, 2013 (United States)