I read a review of the first volume of Limit on another blog, but I cannot for the life of me remember which one it was. But it was that review that piqued my interest in the manga. Not enough to go out and buy myself a copy, but enough to borrow the first volume from a local library when I saw it. This is also going to mark the start of me dropping the Impression moniker from the title since I already mark my impressions via the category. So it’s a bit redundant to put it into the title as well. This also allows me to make the titles a bit more interesting. Format will remain the same for the time being, but I am considering tweaking it as well.
In Mizuki Konno’s school, Sakura Himezura is the most popular and powerful girl. Thankfully Konno numbers as one of her close friends, and she enjoys an easy and fun life at school as a result. However, this is all turned on its head when the majority of her class, Sakura included, dies in a car crash on the way to camp. Only she and 4 other girls survive. Out of the survivors, one is a member of her circle of friends, one is just a regular classmate, one is somewhat of an oddball, and one is the bullied outcast Arisa Morishige. To make matters worse, there is no reception and the girls are surrounded by cliffs and can do nothing but wait for help to come.
The bullied Arisa Morishige is elated by the reversal of fortunes and becomes quite unhinged. She takes the sickle the teacher had brought for the camp and begins to threaten the others with it. The oddball, Chieko Kamiya does nothing to stop her; and instead focuses on trying to get the group to stick together and survive somehow until help comes. The regular girl, Chikage Usui becomes scared and bends easily to Morishige. Meanwhile Konno has a falling out with her once friend Haru. When the latter does rejoin the group, Morishige demands that she and Kanno fight for a share of the food. Konno notices how unhinged Haru has become and tries to throw the stick away, but Haru misunderstands and thinks she wants to hurt her and grabs it before Kanno. She then turns it on Konno bringing an end to volume 1.
The idea of a role reversal in survival situations isn’t exactly new, and I kind of felt like the author made Morishige too much of a caricature for me to take seriously. That said, the look into Konno’s past and how she became how she is right now was actually very intriguing; and it made me more sympathetic to her. The fact that Konno has such a rich, complex, and realistic character makes me hopeful that maybe future volumes will elaborate more on Morishige and turn her into less of a caricature and more into a fleshed out character. The character of Kamiya is also interesting if only because I wonder how she became the way she is. She is obviously way too calm and Konno immediately picks up on it. So I’m interested in learning more about her.
The falling out between Haru and Konno was also well set up and handled. I can definitely see how Haru could come to resent Konno enough to snap at her when the latter seemed to so easily “abandon” Sakura, especially given how much Sakura meant to Haru and how Kanno easily outdid Haru in both looks and academics; which were things which mattered a lot in their clique. It was also quite understandable that the starving (and most likely emotionally volatile) Haru would misunderstand the reason Konno went for the pointed stick. Whether she actually stabs Konno with it is unknown at this moment and I am looking forward to seeing the outcome in volume 2.
I will say that having Sakura die so quickly was a missed opportunity in my opinion. I am really curious how she would have reacted to Morishige and their circumstances since the manga hinted at the beginning that Sakura is quite jaded about the world and believes only people who are cute/beautiful and smart can be on top. How this mindset would be affirmed or changed in these new circumstances would have been interesting. But I guess it would also have made it hard for Morishige to become as commandeering as she has since Sakura was pretty much the ringleader and the other girls just followed her. Morishige understood this, which is why she feels she can now bully Haru and Konno. They are not at all threatening to her. Sakura was the threat. Still, it’s not like Sakura could continue to be her usual self in the new circumstances either. She would have to adapt because she would die from dehydration, exposure, or starvation otherwise. And I honestly find that prospect much more interesting than this role reversal that has happened. On top of that, I actually wanted to see more of Sakura’s past. I am really curious how she became so jaded at such a young age.
Outside the story, the other thing that grabbed me was the cover. It’s so simple yet so effective. The plain white with the main character and the number 1 overlaid on her is very eye catching. If I had been browsing without any prior knowledge, this cover would have immediately caught my eye. The art is also quite nice; being very clean and subtle (with more realistically proportioned face and body for the characters), which works well for the more serious tone of the story. Yet even so, the art is distinctly Japanese and does not borrow much from American comic art (like say Sanctuary or Nausicaa).
All in all, I will be continuing to read this via library copies and if the story makes enough of an impression later on (which it does have the potential to do given Konno’s backstory), I may even pick up some copies for my own personal library. :)