May 16, 2015
Motoro Mase – Viz – 2011 – 10 volumes
Ah, this volume is slightly less depressing, and more about good things coming from the people who were served their Ikigami.
In the first story, a young man developed an interest in photography after being mentored by the owner of a neighborhood studio. He goes to a technical school to learn skills to take over the shop, but the owner is devoted to analog, and the youth learns that digital is the way of the future, and they part ways in anger. When the young man gets his Ikigami, he goes back to the shop owner and learns the shop is failing because nobody uses analog film anymore. He wishes for the chance to save the shop himself, but instead inspires the owner to find a way himself.
In the second story, a young teen who loves dancing quits and studies for a year in order to take over his father’s cram school and open a dance studio there (the exam school is failing, and the dance studio course is an idea to save it). When he gets his Ikigami, he wishes he never quit breakdancing in the street. Though out of shape and overweight, he competes in a competition before death, inspires his dad to open the dance studio anyway, and gradually changes local opinions of “street dancers.”
There’s not much else in the way of overarching plot here. The Messenger begins to get scrutinized by a National Welfare governing body, who feels he isn’t paying enough lip service to their noble cause.
And… that’s it. The deaths are not exactly inspiring (they’re still a little depressing), but at least this time I don’t feel like I need to smother myself in shoujo fluff when I finish.