The group dynamic changes in yet another significant way.
Story/Art: Keiko Suenobu
Translation/Adaptation: Mari Morimoto
What They Say
In the third volume of The Limit the survivors’ worst fears have come true. One of their members has fallen. And this death amongst them will test the limits of their unity. New fears will be born from this tragedy and instead of using their combined strength to search for a way home, their lack of trust will force them all to retreat into their own micro-cliques. The balance of power is now undone, and a new face-another survivor-will eventually turn things upside down!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Limit started pretty strongly for me with its first volume, but the second volume felt like it fell into a bit of a trap where it wasn’t too sure of what it wanted to do. And it was suffering a bit from the way that seemingly nobody, through a series of circumstances, didn’t realize the bus was late or that anything had happened. It made sense as it unfolded, but it was also just a case of too many things going wrong to be entirely plausible in some ways. The book spent some decent time with the characters, especially as we saw the dynamic fluctuate with the kind of order that Morishige tried to bring about in order to establish control over everyone and bring some semblance of order that put her in the top position. But all of that went out the window when Usui booked it into the woods and too Morishige’s scythe with her.
The symbol and weapon of power was something that she clinged to desperately, which makes a lot of sense as her arc here shows more of her past and how she’s coping with what Usui has done and how it’s diminished her own view of herself in the wake of it. While the other girls aren’t quite so afraid of her now and are trying to figure out how to find and save Usui, Morishige is in a power-loss panic and is lashing out at them. We see through a few good pages of flashback how her home life was and the abuse she suffered there, which makes her not want to be a victim but rather the one who would make victims, which is often an unfortunate result of such cycles of violence. With the abuse she received from her father, seeing a small group of women that she could dominate felt natural and she worked to take advantage of it.
Where her time with them goes even worse though is when while out searching for Usui, Mizuki ends up stumbling from the fog and cold and gets saved from a near death thanks to the arrival of another student that survived but has been alone all this time. And unlike the others, this new person is a young man named Hinata that’s always had a bit of a crush on her. Hinata’s arrival in the group brings a strange sense of peace and safety about it, but Hinata doesn’t get all take charge. He does offer his opinion and there’s a sense of deference by the others that’s interesting to explore. The real problem though is that when Morishige returns and sees him there, it sends her into a real panic since she’s spent her life suffering abuse from men, physical and verbal, and his presence sends the remainder of her world crashing down. I like the way we see this group dynamic change here since it’s something that does happen, not that it’s right or wrong, and seeing the way moods change and participation alters really is quite engaging, especially when Hinata sees the hierarchy list that Morishige created and is trying to get the others to live by.
Limit hasn’t been all that uneven overall, but it’s pushed its ability for me to suspend disbelief in a few ways and that made the second volume in particular more difficult to contend with. The third installment brings some welcome change to the situation and has you wondering more of where it intends to go since the arrival of a new person alters the group dynamic a lot and the search for Usui brings its own change that will impact everyone in different ways. I also liked that, even briefly, we get the spread of what’s happening to the outside world where the parents and authorities understand that something has happened, but they’re not sure what yet and it sends its own kind of panic into the general mindset. Limit has a better third volume than I expected here and certainly leaves you wanting to read more.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vertical
Release Date: January 22nd, 2013