Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit

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Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit
Ikigami vol 1.jpg
Cover of the first volume of Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit as published by Viz Media
Genre Psychological thriller
Written by Motoro Mase
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Young Sunday (previous)
Big Comic Spirits
Original run August 5, 2005March 30, 2012
Volumes 10
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit (イキガミ Ikigami?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Motoro Mase. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Young Sunday. A national prosperity law has been passed in a dystopian nation resulting in citizens between the ages of 18-24 being randomly selected to die for the good of the nation. These citizens are given 24-hour notification of their impending death. These notifications are known as "ikigami"—the ostensible reason for this system being to help demonstrate the value of life.

The manga was adapted into a live-action film titled Ikigami in 2008 with Tomoyuki Takimoto as its director.

Plot summary[edit]

In first grade, all students receive an inoculation. A small percentage of these inoculations includes a nano capsule which via radio-control will kill the receiver somewhere between the ages of 18-24. The government believes that the threat of unexpected death will increase prosperity and productivity in its citizens. And indeed this increased prosperity is evident, but at a great cost: innocent lives. Citizens who do not agree with the National prosperity law and who publicly voice their opinions are accused of "thought crime."

Kengo Fujimoto (Shota Matsuda) has been recruited by the government as an Ikigami delivery man. Whilst undergoing training he witnesses the "arrest" of a man (also undergoing training to become a deliverer) who commits a thought-crime when he yells to the entire room that the law is wrong and that his older sister died from the ikigami. The film follows Kengo as he delivers Ikigami to three citizens: a rising musician (Yuta Kanai) debuting in the music industry but struggling with leaving his friend behind as a busker, a shut-in (Kazuma Sano) who is the son of a council woman (Jun Fubuki) who supports the law whole-heartedly and attempts to use her son's upcoming death to gain sympathy votes, and a working-class debt collector (Takayuki Yamada) who is about to take his blind sister (Riko Narumi) out of the orphanage she lives in now that he is finally financially secure.

During the film we discover that thought-crime criminals are most likely brain-washed and then returned to society, strongly believing in the national prosperity law when they return. Throughout the film Kengo struggles not to commit thought-crimes publicly as he feels that the law is wrong. Towards the end of the film Kengo walks past a school where the year ones are entering; there are nurses encouraging children to have their inoculations. Kengo sees the man who was taken from his Ikigami deliverance training, standing in a lab coat encouraging the children to get their inoculations, supporting the brainwashing theory.



Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit is written and illustrated by Motoro Mase. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Young Sunday until the magazine ended on July 31, 2008.[1] The serialization of the manga continued in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits from its 41st issue.[2] Shogakukan released the manga's ten tankōbon volumes between August 5, 2005 and March 30, 2012.[3][4] The manga is licensed in North America by Viz Media,[5] which released the first tankōbon volume on May 12, 2009.[6] The manga is also licensed in France by Asuka,[7] in Spain and Italy by Panini Comics,[8][9] in Taiwan by Sharp Point Press,[10] in Korea by Haksan Culture Company,[11] in Poland by Hanami,[12] and Indonesia by Level Comics[13]


The manga was adapted into a live-action film titled Ikigami in 2008 with Tomoyuki Takimoto as its director.[14]


The manga was nominated for the Angoulême International Comics Festival.[15] As of May 2009, it has sold over 1 million copies in Japan.[16]


  1. ^ "Shogakukan Confirms End of Young Sunday, Judy Mags". Anime News Network. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "More Revealed on Aftermath of Young Sunday Mag's End". Anime News Network. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  3. ^ イキガミ / 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Ikigami 10 (Young Sunday Comics)". Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Viz Media Picks Up Miwa's Dogs, Mase's Ikigami Manga". Anime News Network. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Ikigami, Préavis de mort" (in French). Asuka. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Ikigami" (in Spanish). Panini Comics. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "Ikigami" (in Italian). Panini Comics. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  10. ^ 死亡預告(01) (in Chinese). Sharp Point Press. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "이키가미(The Ultimate Limit) 1권" (in Korean). Haksan Culture Company. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Ikigami" (in Polish). Hanami. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "Death's Notice". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Japanese Box Office, September 27–28: 20th Drops to #5 (Updated)". Anime News Network. September 30, 2008. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Manga Nominated for Awards at Angouleme Comic Fest". Anime News Network. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "Viz Media's Release of New Manga – Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Will Bring about Questions of Justice, Society and the Best Way to Really Appreciate Life". Anime News Network. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 

External links[edit]