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Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Vol. 7 Paperback – August 9, 2011
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About the Author
Motoro Mase was born in Aichi in Japan in 1969 and is also the artist of Kyoichi and, with Keigo Higashino, HE DS, which, like Ikigami, was serialized in Young Sunday. In 1998, Mase's AREA was nominated for Shogakukan's 43rd grand prize for a comic by a new artist.
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The first story focuses on a young man named Taka who used to visit Ikeyama Photo Studio and is introduced to SLR technology. Despite the emergence of digital cameras, Mr. Ikeyama still believes that SLR technology is important and even shows young Taka a classic Mikon F camera (note: Yes, a spin on the classic Nikon F camera).
Needless to say, he and store owner Mr. Ikeyama develop a strong relationship and Taka enjoys being around Mr. Ikeyama and the store that he asks if one day, he can work at the store.
Ten years later, when Taka is accepted to a technical school for photography, he is even given a classic Mikon F by Mr. Ikeyama but immediately, amongst his peers who are now into digital cameras, they make him feel that his camera is obsolete and let him know that DSLR is the way to go and that he should abandon SLR’s.
When Taka goes to visit Mr. Ikeyama, all is good until Mr. Ikeyama asks him how the Mikon F is doing and Taka explains to him that SLR’s are rarely used. This leads to an argument by Mr. Ikeyama, who is still a big supporter of analog technology and against digital technology that the argument becomes so heated, that Mr. Ikeyama has a heart attack.
Since that day, Taka has not visited Mr. Ikeyama and now that his career as a photographer is going so well, Taka still feels that he wants to work with Mr. Ikeyama but his hopes are dashed when he receives an IKIGAMI. How will Taka live his final day alive?
For the second story, we are introduced to a B-Boy (break dancer) named Katsunori who is teaching one of his protege’s Nobuo on how to improve his dancing.
Katsunori is a great dancer but he has agreed to quit dancing in order to focus in getting into a good school. His father who owns a cram school has made a deal with his son that if he is willing to take over the cram school when he gets older, his father will also make the second floor of the building into a dance school.
Fast forward a year later and Katsunori who has been working hard in school has become overweight and has not danced at all for an entire year. Despite his dreams of being a dancer, Katsunori is wanting to make sure that the deal he made with his father becomes a reality and that a dance school does open up in the building.
When Katsunori runs into Nobuo, he gives him advice on dancing like he did a year earlier but the other dancers can’t understand why Nobuo follows Katsunori because he’s overweight and doesn’t look like a dancer. When Nobuo gets injured, his friends call Katsunori for help as they need to get into a competition and need a person to replace Nobuo.
But Katsunori tells them no. For Katsunori, he put away his dancing dreams temporarily to make this deal with his dad come true.
But unfortunately, life changes for Katsunori when he receives an IKIGAMI.
Like all previous volumes of “IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT”, each storyline has been wonderful, intriguing, shocking, emotional and sad.
For volume 7, the two people focused in these two stories are good individuals. And are normal people who are pursuing big things in their life and all seems to be going good, that is, until they receive an IKIGAMI.
And for these two individuals, both try to live their final day, the best they can.
Both stories are well-written and really make you care for the two individuals who are dying but also the storyline continues to build on the story of Fujimoto who we are not starting to see him grow discontent towards the National Welfare Immunization but to make things worse, at work, those who are in support of the immunization are cranking down on rogue employees and those who may have been dissuaded by those rogue employees.
We know that Fujimoto’s story continues to build and build with each volume but I can’t help but think that things are going to get very dramatic and serious. So, it’s more or less one thing that continues to make the reader stay with this manga series for the long haul.
From Mase’s awesome character designs and artwork to the overall storyline, this is definitely a manga series that is worth recommending.
It’s a serious and compelling manga series but just so captivating to see how people deal with death. And definitely a unique storyline that anyone can get into and really enjoy.
“IKIGAMI – THE ULTIMATE LIMIT” is highly recommended!