Title: Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Vol 3
Author: Motoro Mase
May Contain Spoilers
Congratulations! You have been randomly selected by the government…to DIE in 24 hours! R to L (Japanese Style). Sometimes people do "shoot the messenger": Featuring Episode 5: Life Out of Control & Episode 6: The Loveliest Lie Dear Citizen: Thank you for your loyalty. 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? Rest assured that measures are being taken. 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 a productive, active member of society. Thank you for your continued attention and your cooperation and participation…
This series can be so somber and thought-provoking. Fujimoto has a crap job; he has the unenviable task of informing people that they are scheduled to die within the next 24 hours. Ugh! And I thought being a bean counter had its ups and downs!
There are two story arcs in this volume, and both feature gripping stories about young men who just haven’t managed to fit into society. They are both struggling, trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them when they get the bad news that they are going to become unlucky statistics in the National Welfare program. While one of the young men lashes out in fury, the other tries to make amends for a shady life of lies and con games so his sister can live comfortably after he’s gone.
In “Life Out of Control,” Naoki only wanted to please his politician mother. His poor grades earned her distain, and soon he becomes a shut in. I felt sorry for this kid, who spent most of his life unloved and ignored. When his ikigami comes, his mother only wants to use it for her political gain. Talk about scummy! Gah! It’s not a surprise when Naoki decides to punish her for making his life a living hell.
“The Loveliest Lie” tells Satoshi’s story. He and his sister are orphans, and he’s been trying to muddle through life as best he can. It hasn’t been easy, and he’s done some pretty shady things to try and provide for his younger sister. When he receives his ikigami, he quickly decides to use his sacrifice for his sister’s gain, but he can’t let her know what’s going on. Fujimoto learns the hard way that being diligent isn’t always a good thing.
I like Fujimoto, but it’s taken a while to get there. He started as a cog for the government, blindly carrying out his duties, and even threatening to turn his girlfriend in for questioning National Welfare. Now that he’s delivered quite a few ikigami, even he is beginning, however quietly, to wonder if it really is the best way to promote the public good. Does a death lottery really make people embrace life and propel them into productive lives? Or does it make them more apathetic? Fujimoto’s gradual reversal of opinion makes for some very compelling reading, and I wonder how he’s going to be able to carry out his duties if he continues to question the ultimate goal of job? He is starting to question everything that he has been taught, and his internal rebellion is not sitting well with him. For Fujimoto, doing what is right has always been a priority. But what if what’s right isn’t what he thought it was?