by Keiko Suenobu
published by Vertical; $10.95 US
This third volume was a tad disappointing. After the excitement in the first two books of the series, establishing the situation of schoolgirls struggling for survival after a morbid bus crash, I expected to see more twists and revelations with a similar high level of emotional effect.
However, Limit Book 3 feels as though the author realized that there was potential in this concept to run a long while, so she started padding the storytelling and introducing more predictable events and characters. Exhibit A: A previously unexpected survivor, a cute boy, appears and cheers everyone up, as though the girls needed a guy around in order to be optimistic. Then they start cooking for him.
We revisit a lot of the same emotional ground for the characters. There is a new big reveal, but it makes the crazy manga artist seem more two-dimensional, revealing a stereotypical melodramatic background that causes her to be a man-hater.
I had thought Limit would be a thoughtful exploration of peer pressure and groupthink among teen girls, but what I’m seeing here makes me fear that it might turn out instead to be a reinforcement of the way things are “supposed” to be, codifying “proper” gender roles. Between the boy riding to the rescue and the girl interested in art shown to be retreating because she’s not able to fit in and doesn’t like boys the way she’s supposed to, I’m concerned about where this story might be going. Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions — I’m still interested enough to see what happens in the next book.
At least, in this volume, the bus is discovered to be missing, finally. I hope to see more about how the parents and others deal with that information in the next book.