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IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT vol. 10 by Motoro Mase (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 17, 2014 by  



ikigami-10

Defiance against the National Welfare Immunization Act and Fujimoto’s government agency is having him followed! Do they suspect that Fujimoto is against the immunization act? Find out in the ninth volume of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT”. Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2005 Motoro MASE. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT Vol. 10

STORY AND ART BY: Motoro Mase

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shojo Beat

RATED: M for Mature (Parent Advisory – Explicit Content)

RELEASE DATE: August 19, 2014

Dear Citizen: You’ve no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why isn’t anything being done to stop this systematic decline?” Well, you’ll be happy to know measures are being taken. We, your government, have decided society needs a wake-up call. So beginning today, we will randomly select a different citizen 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 productive, active members of society. Thank you for your attention and your cooperation and participation in this new program.

 

Since a year after “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” vol. 9 was released, the final volume of Motoro Mase’s thrilling manga series returns!

The series about government worker, Fujimoto who must deliver an “ikigami” notice to a person who will be dying within 24 hours, as part of the National Welfare Immunization act.

In volume 10, Japan has sent observers to watch the Ministry of Welfare and Health in consideration of adopting the National Welfare Act.  Meanwhile, Fujimoto who has avoided all detection of his thoughts and emotions towards the National Welfare Immunization Act is caught in a trap.  Will he be brainwashed?

And the true reason for the National Welfare Immunization Act is revealed!

Find out what happens in the thrilling conclusion of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” Vol. 10!

What is “IKIGAMI-THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” about?

You’re a young person who has found love, a person who has a brilliant and promising career, a person who lives a life full of pain, a person who has goals and dreams. A regular person living in a country that receives an ikigami notice from the government’s National Welfare policy that in service of your country, you will be dying in the next 24 hours. As the government would say… for the greater good to maintain peace.

Motoro Mase’s ‘IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT’ is a manga series which gives readers a unique perspective on an alternate country where the government instills fear of death as a means to obtain a peaceful society.

The manga series focuses on the character of Fujimoto who works for the government and his job is to notify people with an “Ikigami” notice that they will die within 24 hours.

The premise of the story is that when a citizen enters elementary school and receives their immunization shots, the National Welfare Immunization is given. Among the immunization shots given to children, 0.01 percent of the shots contain a special nano-capsule. About 1 in 1,000 citizens are injected with the capsule and when they are between 18-24 years old, the capsule ruptures on a predetermined date and they person will automatically die.

The government believes that because citizens never know who has been injected with the capsule, they all grow up wondering if they will be the one that dies and so, this forces the individual to take life more seriously and become socially productive.

Since the law for the National Welfare Immunization was passed, crime and suicides in the country have fallen and the concern of birth rates have increased (note: In reality, Japan is concerned that their population is shrinking as many couples are not wanting to produce offspring and worry that Japan will not be productive in the future unless this is changed now. Also, the crime and suicide problems of Japan have steadily grown).

In the nature that someone does die, their family of the deceased is paid a pension but if by any chance, the person who commits a crime after receiving their Ikigami, the family will be denied the pension but also will be liable financially towards the crime committed by the deceased and in effect, will be ostracized by the community and will be forced to relocate.

Also, if anyone voices their disdain publicly about the National Welfare Immunization, they will also be dealt with and will be injected with the capsule.

But now Fujimoto begins to question the government’s National Welfare policy with doubts. His boss has warned him to keep it a secret or else the government will be watching over him and he himself can get into very big trouble. The problem is that the mere discussion or questioning against the National Welfare Immunization is illegal and can land him in big trouble. His boss has been quick in preventing of discussing his thoughts about the immunization and his job because of the ramifications Fujimoto may face. So, Fujimoto who has these conflicted emotions wonders if he should he be showing concern or should he keep doing his job, regardless of how the ikigami affects people.

As previous volumes have shown people and their families affected by the National Welfare Immunization Act, we have seen Fujimoto continually growing to be more defiant but yet trying to watch his steps and not be caught.

But this time…what happens when he is caught in a trap that could change his life forever?

Like all previous volumes of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT”, each storyline has been wonderful, intriguing, shocking, emotional and sad.

Volume 10 is the conclusion and the storyline that was created to give closure to those who have followed this story of alternate Japan and its government instituting the National Welfare Immunization Act.

It was also a storyline that many in Japan had readers criticizing Motoro Mase’s final storyline, while others who really enjoyed the twist!

Because of the nature of this final volume, I don’t want to give much away but I will say that I was surprised that the country that the National Welfare Immunization Act was changed.  Originally, the country was thought to be an alternate version of Japan, but in this final volume, Mase decided to show that the country experiencing the act is not Japan, but a country that featured people with Japanese names but yet, Japanese observers were there to observe the act in seeing if the act would be brought to their peaceful country.

Finding out the twist of what the National Welfare Immunization Act really was and why it was created by the government, was quite intriguing.  But why did Motoro Mase decide not to make Japan the country of origin?  For those who have been to Japan or have a knowledge of the politics can see a more political size of the author reflecting on the Japan today.  But also Japan and its relationship with the United States but also an observation that many for decades have been vocal about.

Does Japanese need to build its military as it did before World War II?  Or should it remain peaceful as it is now?  There are various points that Motoro Mase does make in this final story but for the most part, the most thrilling storyline is revolving around the character Fujimoto and what will happen to him after being caught?  And without spoiling this final volume, what I can say is that if you read up to volume 9, the conclusion of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” is worth reading!

The artwork of Motoro Mase was well done and I like how his style of artwork is much different from other manga artists and I know that writing this conclusion was not the easiest, considering the reaction of readers in Japan, it was no doubt a mixed bag.  And in some ways, I think it was a storyline that would probably be more accepted among readers outside of Japan, as we are in the outside looking in, versus those who live in Japan and can easily be critical of Motoro Mase’s message about Japan’s current state.

Overall, “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” was a long journey with thrilling, sad, happy and also dark storylines.  Everything has culminated up to this point and for the most part, with its twists and turns, I enjoyed this volume and the entire series immensely.

“IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” vol. 10 is recommended!

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