Limit Volumes Three and Four Review

limit vol 4

Shit gets real…er!

Or at least really ridiculous. Or something.

Despite the fact that I find it difficult to put down volumes of Limit once I start reading them, I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about the series as I sit her having crossed the halfway point. A sixth survivor surfaces and things improve briefly before everything gets even worse than before, and by the close of volume four we find ourselves with that same number of survivors remaining. These deaths do serve to push the survivors even further past their comfort zone, to place even greater stress on them as the stakes get higher, but I was left wondering at the necessity of it. After all, we’ve already got the pressure cooker setting firmly in place – teenagers from different social strata trapped in the woods after most of their classmates die, some injured, others with deep grudges, all struggling to make it out alive. What do we really get by throwing in an additional, and fairly sensational, story element? When lone boy and newcome survivor Hinata makes a drastic and somewhat bizarre decision at the end of volume four, it just comes off as a needless action for the sake of prolonging the story (SPOILER SPOILER: it also doesn’t make any sense at all – are we to really believe that no one else present hears the helicopter above them? those things are loud! SPOILER; SPOILER DONE).

Which isn’t to say that I’ve come to dislike Limit. I’m still gobbling the volumes, and look forward to the final third of the story. Things have gotten more ludicrous than I’d like, though, and I think it harms the quality of the story and my enjoyment of it. Good thing most of the characters remain solid and interesting. Konno is by far the stand-out, unsurprisingly given that she acts as our center, but Kamiya’s quiet determination and her imperviousness to opinion paired with her understated concern for others makes her incredibly compelling. I sort of wish there was an alternate version of the story out there that followed her instead of Konno, too. Morishige, unfortunately, slides further into absurd territory, which comes across really weirdly because we learn more about her life and circumstances across these chapters (unsurprisingly, her home life is incredibly grim, with depictions of domestic violence as well as some allusions to possible sexual abuse). It puts the reader in an awkward situation where we can recognize that Morishige’s got a pretty horrible life, but where the reader also sees that the way she is behaving toward the others and treating them is rotten and endangers everyone. Maybe this is the intent, but she’s gotten borderline comical in her behavior, which strains the story.

Vertical, as usual, delivers a fairly professional product here, although I was stunned to find a typo in volume four. This has never happened before in any Vertical release I’ve come across, hence my surprise. Can’t really complain about quality of final product otherwise, though – smooth translation, and the printing is crisp and clear. However, I will quibble with the size of releases – the volumes are the same size as those in Japan, yes, but I would argue in favor of Vertical having combined two volumes into one for the North American release. The volumes just go by too fast in singles.

The fifth volume will be hitting shelves roughly one month from now, and you can expect that I’ll be stopping by the local Barnes & Noble to snag a copy. Even as I chafe at the more over-the-top elements, Limit is still a story I’m eager to keep following. Looking forward to the final third.

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