Sensational Shojo

There’s no better way to greet spring than with a heart-warming, flowery, and not at all threatening shoujo series. In many ways, shojo is analogous to the new year as it is full of hope and blossoming youth.

Keiko Suenobu’s Limit may be shojo, but it is not as flowery. Instead this page-turner continues to be one hell of a ride as it constantly breaks down teenage relationships with an almost shocking mix of thrills and chills, akin to the harshness of winter. And volume four is by far the most enthralling yet, reaching the series’ darkest depths yet with murder and corruption taking the spotlight.

One of the girls has been found dead. With no one owning up to her murder, everyone in this small group of broken survivors find themselves at odds with each other. Because all trust is lost, conflict begins to boil over into violence. And with two already not returning home, will the rest of the group be able to pull themselves together, or will even more perish in this horrific tragedy?

Limit will grip its readers and force them into a place where appearance means nothing and a strong will is necessary to survive, making them reflect on their own lives. With incredibly strong writing and tension dripping off each page, Limit still brings as unforgettable experience this far in. This new volume of Limit continues the trend of each volume as rewarding as it is depressing, make sure to add it to your shopping list through this summer.

 

Game Changer

With school violence and bullying hot topics in today’s media there are no doubts as to why Keiko Suenobu’s Limit has captivated a growing audience. Scenes of shallow high school society that everyone has lived through has been eliminated from memory, as a dire, desperate world becomes fully realized through the pages of Suenobu’s comic. Limit deconstructs the relationships between teenagers and presents them in a setting where focusing on the superficial aspects of them will result death. Far away from their comfort zones, these girls might not survive this ordeal if they don’t survive each other. Unlike in high school, there’s no home for them to return to.

In this third volume, Morishige, the scythe wielding bully victim turned maniac dictator of the group, has lost her power, as one of her “underlings” has run off with her weapon. So will the other remaining girls in this Lord Of The Flies-esque situation forgive her for her dangerous actions or will they condemn her for what she’s done? The group’s dynamic is further changed once another survivor appears. However, the newest addition is not only a male, but also someone who’s been disgusted by how the group acted so far and begins to make a positive impact.

Keiko Suenobu is no stranger to writing manga that addresses the darker issues facing today’s youth. She isn’t afraid to put her characters in adverse situations to get into the thick of them and develop engaging narratives around them. Every moment in this unconventional shojo manga (girls comic) is chilling, making Limit one gripping and unforgettable ride every reader should take. Which is why rare shojo thrillers like Limit are poised to revitalize the shojo market at a time when the sector needs it the most.

Pressure Internalized

Like most Vertical authors, Keiko Suenobu is no stranger to writing works that addresses serious issues facing today’s youth, by often placing characters into some serious situations. Her previous manga, Life, earned her the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award, and her latest work, Limit, more than lives up to the standards set by it.

This second volume will continue to disrupt you at the core level, leaving you unable to put this book down even when you’re past your breaking point. From the start volume two is more introspective than the previous. That doesn’t mean it isn’t just as tense and terrifying, however. While the first volume of Limit directly dealt with the themes of bullying, this volume deals with the depths of this small band of characters. With the world of high school cliques and popularity they used to live in now demolished, these girls need to figure out how they’re going to survive this horrible ordeal. How are they going to deal with that pressure? They can’t hold out forever, will they ever be rescued? Will they all survive? Characters collide and true intentions are revealed in this thrilling volume of Limit!

“I can’t remember the last time I was this freaked out by a manga… Remember the hubbub over the 2002 non-fiction book, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman? Parents had quite the shocking wake-up call about what their little girls could really be like among their so-called friends. Limit strips away all that made-up glamour and privilege, and throws the girls into a brutal 21st-century Lord of the Flies survival-of-the-most-desperate-setting. Thus the nightmare begins… I’m still shaking (and with that cliffhanger-ending, can hardly wait to see what happens next).”–The Smithsonian Institute’s Book Dragon

MAXIMUM MEAN GIRLS

Fresh off the heels of our Paradise Kiss release, Vertical’s next new project also focuses on high school girls, however the themes are not as frilly and romantic. Instead, with Limit, by Kodansha Manga Award winner Keiko Suenobu, we are introduced to shojo’s dark side!  Part Lord of the Flies, part Mean Girls–and all shojo manga at its best, this engrossing, provocative look at the world of high school cliques and crowds, and the extreme things a person will do to survive should introduce western readers to a new dimension of Japanese girls comics.

When a group of high school girls is thrown out of their comfort zone, the rules suddenly change. Roles are reversed as the bullies become the victims while their former victims wield their new-found power to avenge past abuses. Friendships crash and burn, and new alliances are formed.  Sakura is at the epicenter of the elite circle at Yanno Prefectural High School. She’s pretty and smart, and everyone wants to be her friend. The two girls closest to her are Konno and Haru, who are constantly competing for Sakura’s attention–often by picking on other girls who aren’t in with the popular crowd. Tensions are already high as class 2-4 heads to the country by bus for a week of camping. Then the unthinkable happens. The bus careens off a cliff and everyone on board is killed–except five girls. Five survivors who must adjust to a dramatic shift in the social hierarchy if they want to stay alive.

Always attempting to expand the boundaries of Japanese culture in America, Vertical’s release of Limit will have readers re-evaluating the limits of not just shojo but manga as a whole.