Manga of the Month: Limit

Limit (リミット) by Keiko Suenobu

narutaki_icon_4040 The precarious balance of power that governs high school is taken for a dark and tragic ride in Keiko Suenobu’s Limit.

After a bus accident strands a few surviving high school girls in the woods, their vow to find help and get out the mountainous region quickly becomes a regime of suspicion and fear. Each person is tested when lies, jealously, and bullying weigh on them as each one is confronted with their choices and pasts.

Konno is a girl who quickly conformed to the high school scene to be accepted and in turn she pushed down others like bookish Kamiya and isolated Morishige. The tables are turned when surviving their ordeal becomes of paramount importance. Retribution is a tricky business and as is a redemption that may never come. Every girl has a story to tell and learning about each other pushes some closer and other further apart.

Despite the violent and often hopeless nature of Limit, it also works to create bonds and just a glimmer of hope at key moments. The affects others actions have on those around them and the devastation of high school life is on full display. A tense read for sure as you wait with bated breath for the next twist in their hope for survival.

~ kate

Ongoing Investigations: Case #223

hisui_icon_4040 Recently the Binbougami ga! manga came to an end. It was just a series we randomly decided to watch during the SWAT reviews on the off-chance it might be enjoyable. But since then it has become a staple of my comedy manga diet along with Hayate and Yamada and the 7 Witches. But it seems just as quickly as I found the series I discovered it was coming to an end. Overall 15 volumes is hardly a series cut short. But when you enjoy something like this it seems to come and go in the blink of an eye.

But in the end that might be for the best. 15 volumes distinctly lets the plot play out nicely with some mystery involving why Sakura has all the fortune energy she does. The pace let each story arc have a big reveal towards slowly but  surely building up Ikari and Kana’s story and then how it fits in the present. When Ikari is finally revealed he does not seem to be teased for too long but at the same time he does not just pop up out of nowhere.

The final storyline is fairly conclusive. All the major plot lines are tied up strongly while still leaving some things moving in the background. I was a little surprised that the ending had a distinct bittersweet quality to it but it is a wonderful send off to Sakura and Momiji’s awkward but delightful friendship. It was probably the best way for those characters to say goodbye to each other.

It is interesting that the story did become a bit of a fighting series by the end. When Ranmaru and Nadeshiko are really integrated into the storyline they tended to get an opponents they needed to fight at the end of every major story arc.  That really started with the Tanpopo story arc but in many ways the Tanpopo arc is not just a major turning point it is the official start of the middle of the manga.

I still think chapter 23, the photo booth story, was my favorite chapter. It was a simple one chapter story that perfectly encapsulates the main characters personalities and what makes them great.

If anything Sakura’s mother probably gets glossed over the most. Her father gets a whole storyline devoted to him so I assumed the same would happen for Sakura’s mother. But the closer to the end of the series I got the more I realized it was just not coming. Sakura’s mother clearly appears at the end of the manga but overall she just never got a chance to be in the series.

Just an odd observation.

Man. Binbougami ga! was a really fun ride. Sadly when the anime ended they never even got up to the point where Nadeshiko formally became a cast member and was not just some odd rich ninja girl who appeared in side segments. I really hope that now that the series is over they will go back and animate the rest of the series. Some of the later stories are just begging to be adapted. Also nothing else I am sure that Narutaki wants this and this. And we can all agree that is a good thing.

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narutaki_icon_4040 Limit vols. 4-5 made me say both “AHA! I knew it!” and “OHO! I didn’t think it happened that way!”

The intensity really ratcheted up once one of the survivors died because everyone was already on edge and suspicious. The added new death just tore the already precarious truce apart. I of course enjoyed the added mystery element of this part of the story as well.

The next volume is the last. I’m very curious what kind of ending Limit will give us, will it get a tragedy or will rays of hope pierce through the gloom?

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #221

hisui_icon_4040 This week’s Ongoing Investigation theme is the first episode of shows that Narutaki would not watch unless you put a gun to her head. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is mostly not here because it is getting a whole episode review of its own tomorrow.

No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! is here because she found out it was popular on 4chan. Therefore she refuses to watch it out of principle. I can’t really blame her.

I’m Not Popular can be summed up simply. It is a magnum opus of schadenfreude. Tomoko Kuroki is a loser. A sad pathetic loser. A socially awkward plain-looking girl who revels in putting a positive spin on her stunted existence. She mostly winds up digging herself deeper into a world of isolation and delusion while feebly attempting to change her life.

And you are to revel in this fact. Like Charlie Brown running towards the football you know that it will be pulled away at the last second. The thrill is seeing how despite common sense the scene is set up and then the cathartic release of her misery being the end cap that ties it all together.

Clearly the audience is supposed to view Tomoko with empathy on one hand as most of the audience understand on a certain level what it is like to be shy, neurotic, paranoid, bitter, and delusional. Those are all common feelings and situations to anyone who has embraced a geeky lifestyle at some point or another. But on the other hand your mostly supposed to be laughing at Tomoko. So it is not like the Big Bang Theory that claims to be about nerds but clearly has no idea what their actual lives are like. But it is clearly laughing at the misery of someone who can’t change their life while grokking what that feels like.

I’m not going to claim to totally understand the female geek experience. I don’t want to mansplain this. It is just something about the show feels like a geeky guy trying to extrapolate what a girl’s experience would be like using their own memories more than a female author exploring her social pariahdom. Nico Tanigawa is a pen name for two authors so I don’t have any definitive proof of what either of their genders are. But maybe I’m just assuming that the genders are more separate experiences than they actually are.  If anyone is actually a female fan who has experience with this I would actually like to know what they think.

I will say that with that all laid it is obvious why this series is so popular with places like 4chan. It is the exact mixture of self-loathing and perverse self-congratulation that would hit their sweet spot. It simultaneously loves and hates its protagonist in equal measure. But in the end shakes its head at its failure of a lead and laughs at her. If that is what interest you then I suppose you know what you’re watching this season.

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narutaki_icon_4040 I read Mixed Vegetables vol. 4. Now that Hana has actually started on the path to her dream by working in a sushi place, she is finding herself more and more concerned about Hayato’s plans. Unlike Hana, Hayato hasn’t owned up to his parents about his dreams. He doesn’t want to take over the sushi shop and desperately wants to be a pastry chef, but this volume of the manga calls that into question a bit.

I do kind of miss their relationship from the first volume, even if they were just pretending to be into each other, it had a fresh vibe to it. Still, they are slowly falling which is sweet and there doesn’t seem to be any artificially obstacles as yet.

I also enjoyed Hayato and Hana’s mini-adventure of trying to help out one of the sushi chefs who happens to be in love with their teacher. Seeing them team up for this purpose was sweet and funny.

P.S. this volume highlights the hot dads a bit.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

Continue reading