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IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT vol. 9 by Motoro Mase (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 6, 2013 by  



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. 9

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 20, 2013

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.

“IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” returns with the second to last volume of Motoro Mase’s manga series about government worker, Fujimoto who must deliver an “ikigami” notice to a person who will be dying within 24 hours, as part of Japan’s National Welfare Immunization act.

In volume 9, Nurse Oba is a caring nurse working the neonatal section of the hospital.   Always wanting to save premature babies who have a chance in life, life changes for Ms. Oba when Fujimoto delivers her an ikigami notice.

Meanwhile, Yoshiki is a teenager who had positive things going for him as a standout soccer player until he was involved in freak accident when a student named Isokichi Futaba, accidentally lost control of chairs on the stairs and fracturing Yoshiki’s pelvis.  But to make things worse for Yoshiki, he receives an ikigami notice from Fujimoto, knowing that the immunization shot that Futaba was supposed to get when they were children, went to him.  And now he’s going to die.  How will Yoshiki respond to the ikigami?

Meanwhile, in Japan, things are heating up when the an ally plane shoots down a Federation spy plane…will their be war in Japan?  And as Fujimoto continues his job, he realizes that examiner Kaga is having him followed.  Fujimoto wonders if the government may know his true feelings about the National Welfare Immunization Act.

Find out what happens in “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” Vol. 9!

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 Japan 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 Japan 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 Japanese 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 Japan have fallen and the Japanese 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.

All previous volumes of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” have shown us how the Ikigami has affected many lives and how people went on to live their final day in their life. Some who wanted to share their final moments with love ones to those who wanted to destroy others.

But each time Fujimoto delivers an ikigami to a person or a family member, he sees how their deaths affect them, but now it’s starting to affect him!  The problem is, if any govt. worker is to show their feelings about the National Welfare Immunization, they may be brainwashed or killed?

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

Volume 9 continues the trend of the previous volumes but this time around, instead of how a person values their final day of life or how they lived their final day of life, this volume shows us how two people respond to the ikigami but show their defiance towards the National Welfare Immunization act and want it stopped!

In the first storyline, we see a woman who receives an ikigami, wanting to get through the mothers and parents of the children, begging that they do not let their children receive the immunization, while the doctor who has been responsible for injecting many children, sees a piece of himself die as children turned teenagers or young adults die many years later from the immunization shot that he gave.

He knows its his job but yet it’s hard for him to know that these young children that he had taken care of as their physician, one or some of them will die due to the immunization act.

The ninth volume also introduces us to more of Fujimoto’s psyche as his job has him being followed for some reason but the emotional toll its taking on Fujimoto.  But also a possible war that people are concerned about.  While I hope the war is not a major part of the storyline (as it was just introduced in this volume), I am wondering how Motoro Mase will eventually end “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” with one more volume left.

As in previous volumes, I really enjoyed the artwork of Motoro Mase.  He has a unique style when it comes to chracter design but also enjoy his experimentation on certain panels for his artwork.  But he is able to convey various emotions, especially sadness, anger and despair when people receive their ikigami.

Overall, “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” is recommended for manga fans who want a darker storyline. A storyline that doesn’t deal with any special powers or anything adventurous. It’s a manga series that shows us how people in an alternate Japan are living with a policy in which people randomly die in order to keep the peace in a country and forcing an individual to take life more seriously and become socially productive.

Volume 9 features two heartbreaking stories of an alternate Japan in which the government randomly has young people dying for the sake of preserving the peace.  But this time around, we see one’s defiance towards the National Welfare Immunization Act.  Also, seeing Fujimoto’s life changing as the emotional toll is getting the best of him but why does the government agency he works for, is having him followed?  Find out in the ninth volume of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT”! Recommended!

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