In a dystopian nation, a public prosperity law like no other is in effect: The National Welfare Act, in which citizens between the ages of 18-24 are selected to die for their country. Twenty-four hours before a nanocapsule carries out their death, the chosen receive notifications called "Ikigami" from government messengers. The government gives only one ostensible reason for the act’s purpose—to spread the value of life.
Kengo Fujimoto is a newly instated Ikigami messenger who is indecisive on his stance of the act. Curbing his hesitation to avoid the watchful eye of the national police, Kengo decides that delivering the Ikigami will help shape his opinion.
Ikigami follows how people act knowing that their final hours are upon them. Whether committing acts of kindness or crimes of passion, the chosen's actions have profound impacts on those around them, and it will ultimately lead Kengo to his decision.
Ikigami was serialized in Young Sunday until its final issue on July 31, 2008. Serialization moved to Big Comic Spirits on September 15, 2008.
The series was published in English as Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit by VIZ Media under the VIZ Signature imprint from May 12, 2009 to August 19, 2014 and in Polish by Hanami from June 2010 to July 2013.
A live-action film was released on September 27, 2008.
It's not surprise that this isn't a well known series among foreign readers.
This doesn't have "happy go lucky" themes, extremely likable characters, corny jokes, sexy characters, or action that many readers thrive on.
This, instead, focuses on the gripping reality of death in a whole new way. It centers around the idea that 1 in 1000 people are injected at a young age with a nano bot. This nano bot, if pre-selected, will kill the host in order to bring about "a better life", one that has little waste.
What comes with this is the inner turmoil of man and how they face the idea of death.
Death does no affect just the one who dies, but all who are connected...however minuscule this connection may be.
If you are a fan of short stories and gritty story telling, I recommend this.
The story expressed in Ikigami is done in two parts, first is the episodic form which follows a separate person during the last moments of their life and how they cope with their newfound mortality. These each are taken from a unique perspective and give a great amount of character and world building all expressing the morose themes of the series in a natural fashion without blatantly spelling it out to the reader. The second follows the man who delivers said ikigami and how he copes with his work. Each chapter begins and ends with his thoughts on each case and the over
arching plot that develops through them.
The characters under this story format are surprisingly fleshed out and many experience an entire character arch which feels natural and progresses without being too rushed. My only nitpick on this is that with the format we are not able to become too attached to a character or those around them, and are instead forced to detach ourselves from them and become more akin to an onlooker of a show than an actual member of the cast, so to speak.
The art is very standard, and on the surface can even be criticized for not being able to stand out. However, the art is well done and well fitting to the darker and more somber themes of the story, and when the visuals do pop out with excellent detail, they truly stand out and in turn express extremely impactful moments of the series. This contrast between rather standard and truly incredible art allows for a more in depth dissection of the characters and plot which wouldnt be possible if the art was done to be more consistently pleasing to the eye. So while the series would look better if the art was of greater quality, I would probably not enjoy it as much as I have under its given form.
The episodic form of this story is surprisingly attractive and approachable as a reader. As each arch is very well developed and succinct, but still making a reader ache for more. As such it is perfect for the reader who wishes to stop and think on a piece, the binge reader who just wants to keep going on, and the re-reader who analyzes each page multiple times. The themes and questions on human nature and the necessities of societal structure are truly compelling as each chapter gives its own impression on each. And the best part about the thematic message is that the series trusts the reader to think for themselves and in turn does not spoon feed you a right/wrong, and leaves the message for the reader to determine.
Please note that this series is not for the faint of heart, and does not back away from themes of domestic abuse, rape, poverty, politics, suicide, and murder. As such, it is not a show for the easily offended or the faint of heart. However, if you are the kind of person who enjoys deeply philosophical discussion and are not deterred by realistic depictions of the aforementioned topics, then I implore you to read this, as this is not just an absolute masterpiece manga, it is a masterpiece in literature as a whole.
This manga is a masterpiece! The story is stellar in a very Heideggerian fashion. I wonder if my beloved german philosopher would think the same, as even experiencing the death of another won't help you comprehend your very own death. Indeed, it is the most intimate experience one can ever ineluctably achieve.
The plot made us self reflecting on our own life and on what and where we are going with our path. All humans have an extremely strong an innate desire for at least one thing. Some will argue it's true love, or freedom and happiness, in the case of Miss Kubo and our
But we all had that kind of thoughts: If only I could leave this place, I would truly live... If only I could... I would... We're all humans after all, all animate creatures trying to fill the void of our very own existence. May this story be helpful for people who lost their way.
Life's too stale. So let's spice it up by letting someone random EVERYDAY that in twenty-four hours, they will die. While that seems incredible, that's only 365 people a year. Japan's population is around 128 million, so if death rates and birth rates are about the same, it'd take a shade over 350,000 years to kill everyone. Probably wouldn't happen.
Plot drives this manga, and I love it for this. Too many manga try to get by using cool, likable characters and a lame story concept or plot. The manga consists of three chapter segments that tell the story of a person's last day on
Earth. The one consistency in all the chapters is a man working for the government agency that runs ikigami, and the things he learns by working there.
It is an excellent story concept. The thing I don't like is that the mangaka focuses too much on the person going to die. While this is fine, I want to see more of how the doomed person's family, friends, etc. take it. I also want to see how a typical person living in Japan deals with the idea that tomorrow could be their last. It's very buddhist, in that the people of Japan surely must live their lives to the fullest everyday.
Very realistic drawings. The art portrays a world that is very similar to ours. This is not some futuristic society. I believe the art is drawn to look like what a Japanese citizen would see in a typical day. Every person is not attractive with a good body, for instance. Nurses are not fifteen year old girls with D-cup breasts. They are tired old women who have seen people die everyday for thirty years. Mothers do not love their children. It is very realistic; disturbingly so, and it's nice to see a world like this.
The main characters (the ones sentenced to death) are fascinating. Love them. My problem with them is, as stated before, I want to see how the doomed person's loved ones react to it all, as well as the mindset of the society as a whole in how they live their lives. Do they treat everyday as a blessing? What is the attitude of a passerby to someone sentenced to death? Is it pity? Relief? The mangaka could have done so much more here. Don't get me wrong-- I love what he did do, just regret that he didn't do as much as he could have.
Love it. I love reading this manga, as it turns a nightmare into reality, and shows you what goes through a person's mind when they are told they are going to die. The psychological aspect is fascinating.
Ikigami is a good manga. It's not great, but it's not bad. It's a pleasant read if you're in the mood to think. This manga is seinen with hardly any romance, ecchi, or comedy, meaning most people won't even have this manga show up when they do an advanced search for a manga. What it does is rattle your brain for a good half hour, and have you thinking, "How would I spend the last day of my life?" If you're looking for a good psychological seinen manga, I would recommend Ikigami.
(This is my fourth review. If you liked it, I'm glad to have been of service. If you did not, and still read it all up to this point, did you really not like it? XD. In all seriousness, if you feel I could improve this review in any way, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment on my profile or a personal message. Thank you for reading.)