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Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit… Stripp’d

June 10, 2011

Gestalt Mash have my column on Matoro Mase’s manga serial Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit.

My column draws on the first six volumes of what will be an eight volume run if Viz Media do actually translate the entire series.  Set in an alternate version of contemporary Japan, the series is about a society that has decided to force its population to make the most of life by killing one citizen in every thousand at random.  The series examines this ideas from two different perspectives; on the one hand, it examines the psychological impact of the death sentences on the victims and their families while, on the other hand, exploring what the effects of this policy are on the Japanese body politic.  The result is a series of graphic novels that paint exquisitely detailed pictures of human grief and suffering whilst also slowly creating the impression that such a society is monstrous and must be overthrown:

Death has the power not just to end lives, but also to change them. It can change them for the better by prompting people to make changes, and it can change things for the worse by fostering a crippling sense of futility and loss. Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit is an exploration of the tension between these two reactions to the revelation that we too shall someday be no more.

The series has also spawned a film adaptation, which I also wrote about a little while ago for Videovista.

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