All survival stories must come to an end.
So, here it is, the final volume of Limit, Vertical’s only shoujo title… and, apparently, it will forevermore be Vertical’s only shoujo title because it has had very poor sales. As such, Vertical has indicated it most likely will not be licensing a shoujo title again, which is seriously disappointing. The fact is, while I certainly love the likes of Kamisama Kiss and A Devil and Her Love Song, I love even more having more diversity in the marketplace, and when it comes to shoujo titles we seem to be limited primarily to romance. Vertical certainly gave us a rather different bird in Limit, and I truly wish we’d get more shoujo out of Vertical as a result. And while I would implore you to buy volumes of Limit, I think it is safe to say at this point that its too late to turn this around, sadly.
The low sales are probably reflected in the fact that it took me a while to get my hands on volume six. None of the local Barnes & Nobles bothered to stock it (I’d previously purchased volumes one through four in a couple of different of their locations), the local comic book store didn’t have it… finally I caved and ordered it online, because I really was itching to read the finale.
The previous volume ended on a cliffhanger, and we pick right up where it left off, the revelation that Hinata was responsible for Uzuki’s death still fresh. It seems as if we are fated to watch a second person go over a cliff’s edge, but pushed to the edge, our heroines aren’t about to let someone else slip away from them now. More information about primary protagonist Konno’s past is revealed (in particular we come to understand why the fish motif during some of her moments of introspection throughout the story), while some of the details regarding Morishige’s family situation are brought into focus.
This volume feels… well, I want to say ‘weirdly optimistic’, except it isn’t really weird given the way the story goes. But the fact is that after five and a half volumes of grim adventures in the woods, a la Lord of the Flies, it does feel strange to be left on a high note. At the same time, I genuinely like the note on which we depart with the cast – I honestly don’t think this is the sort of story where I’d be content with a drawn out deathfest. I really like these characters, and I like their growth over the course of the story – I prefer thinking of them continuing to grow into adults than to consider them as rotting corpses in the woods.
If I had a criticism, ultimately its that it feels too fast – while the seemingly fast pace suited the survival in the woods portion of the story, the portions covering after they’ve been rescued feels rushed. For having lost their entire class to a horrible accident (teacher included), the characters don’t seem particularly affected; perhaps we can understand, say, Morishige not being terribly bothered given that she hated them all, but it feels strange that Konno doesn’t appear to give her dead friend Himezawa much thought, or that no one seems to think much on poor Uzuki. Perhaps more generally it is best to say that I would simply like to have seen more of these characters as they try to navigate their lives back in “civilized” society; at the very least, you figure that its going to be a weird experience initially being added to another class.
Vertical continues to turn out fine work here, with a good translation and crisply-printed pages. I lament once again how tiny these volumes are, but the release’s dimensions were apparently at the behest of the original author, so can’t really gripe at Vertical for that.
I liked Limit quite a bit, even if I felt that the ending could’ve stood for more fleshing out, and I’m sad that it didn’t sell better for Vertical. The shoujo marketplace certainly could use more titles like this, but it seems like that’s going to be a pipe dream for now.