SJ Reads: Ikigami

I love a lot of manga because Japan seems to open itself to plotlines that we don’t always think up and play with concepts that we take for granted. Like growing up and living full lives. Come with me today as we explore the world of Ikigami…


To inspire people to full lives as productive citizens, the government has selected certain individuals to die within 24 hours once they get a notice. The main character delivers these death notices or Ikigami, so we see the world both through his eyes and those who are marked to die. Each situation is unique and hits upon different personality aspects of humanity, as well as the overall theme of if it’s better to live well and short or give in to systemic desires.

Unfortunately I’ve only read volume one so far, but I’m hooked. This is definitely a series with mature content matter, so it’s not for everyone, but I tore through the first volume in 45 minutes. It’s that enthralling. I viscerally felt for the people involved, as well as the main character having to deliver all these notices to people. Nothing about this is easy or light, but it’s enthralling and worth exploring. In volume one the story about the guy bullied in high school using his last 24 hours to get revenge was unsettling, but I could still feel for him. The story about the musicians was so sad, it really is great proof of how this medium can play different emotions within a genre. What could have been a run-of-the-mill horror series becomes something much deeper and worth delving into.

Get it here

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