Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Vol. 9 Review


For our first manga review on Junkie Monkeys we are diving into the dramatic series of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit.

Before I get started on my review of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Vol. 9, let me catch you up to speed on the series.

Ikigami is dramatic suspenseful manga series that follows the lives of ordinary citizens living in Japan. Unfortunately for these citizens, they live under the National Welfare Act,which requires every citizen to have their child immunized before school starts. Oh and I forgot to mention one little detail… one in every thousand vaccines contains a nano capsule that will kill the unlucky receiver anywhere between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. The sole purpose of this act is to let citizens know that they should live life honorable and to their fullest potential, or they may die an unfulfilled and dishonorable death. Each citizen that is injected with a nano capsule is notified within 24 hours of their death by an official carrier for the Ministry of Health and Welfare. These carriers deliver death notes called Ikigamis to the impending death victims.

In Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit we follow Kengo Fujimoto, a normal citizen who suffers moral struggles about the National Welfare Act. Mr. Fujimoto is put in a position that requires him to deal Ikigamis to those unlucky enough to receive one. Throughout the series we see Mr. Fujimoto question his problems with the act internally, but he’s highly afraid of being labeled as a social miscreant, so he keeps his thoughts to himself.

What’s unique about this manga series is that even though we follow Fujimoto throughout the series, each episode’s characters are always different. These episodes consist of a variety of emotionally touching stories involving Ikigami victims. In this review we will be touching up on episodes 17 and 18 in volume 9 of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit. I know it’s a bit late in the series, but hopefully this review inspires you to check out the full series.

Episode 17: National Welfare Immunization

Episode 17 of this volume is not one of the best stories, but it definitely lays the foundation down for a rebellion in the near future. It feels like everything is leading up to a boiling point and episode 17 is a critical moment for the series.

In a nutshell, this story involves an emotionally damaged woman and a doctor who is conflicted over the National Welfare Act. Dr. Nishi-kawa is scarred over the death of a young man who he personally injected years ago for the National Welfare Act. Hitomi Obo is a woman who was given a chance at life and feels that everyone deserves a equal chance in society regardless of how they are born. Unfortunately for Hitomi, she receives an Ikigami and later plans to send a powerful message before her final hour is up.

This episode features a lot of intensity, but falls short due to lack of an inspiring story. Without spoiling key details, I’m just going to say that if you are a fan of this series, you may be let down by each character’s persona. This portion of volume 9 is still worth a read, mostly due to the final act. Episode 17 would have benefited highly with more interesting protagonists, but it still delivers some impacting moments.

Episode 18: Two Fallen in War

One of the interesting portions of volume 9 is the fact that the country is in fear of going to war. Not only are citizens worrying about war, but more and more people are doubting their government and the National Welfare Act. Episode 18 is by far one of the most intriguing and amazing episodes in any Ikigami volume to date.

In a nutshell, this story involves several unique individuals. Yoshiki is a young man who once had a promising future, until it was ruined accidentally by another young man named Isokichi. Yoshiki lives with his family and his grandfather plays another important role in the story. Once Yoshiki receives an Ikigami, he comes to a shocking and surprising revelation that drives him to desire revenge.

Like I stated previously in episode 17’s portion, I will not spoil any key parts of this story. Episode 18, in general, is everything that has made Ikigami an amazing series. At first the story seems to revolve around two normal young men, but after a series of unfortunate events and when sins of the past are exposed, the plot increases dramatically. I loved every page of episode 18 and there are plenty of satisfying twists that will appease fans and new readers.

To wrap up this review, Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit volume 9 is one of the best in the series. Episode 17 lays the foundation down for another crucial future plot point, and Episode 18 brings back the crucial plot twists and amazing story telling that made this series great. If you love manga, then Ikigami is definitely a series you are going to want to check out if you haven’t already. Volume 9 is just the icing on the cake of this fantastic series.