Ikigami

I wrote a recommendation sort of post for this movie, which is based on the amazing graphic novel -of the same name -by author and artist Motoro Mase.

In reality I wrote more about the song featured in the film – “Signpost”. But since the story of Ikigami holds a mystery, and the movie had its share of suspense, I thought sharing it for this highlight would be a good idea 😉

So here is the post I wrote back in September of 2010 for my personal blog Sine Cera.

Spoiler code: YELLOW (in case you haven’t check out our spoiler scale this means there will be some spoilers that might reveal some parts of the story in the film ONLY. But no major plot twist revealed. I will highlight with yellow the paragraph to be weary of if you are someone who minds a bit of spoilers. Anything else, is information that is given at the very start of the story)

After getting inspired by Ikigami, The Ultimate Limit, I remembered watching the movie and falling in love with the song Michishirube (Signpost)

Ikigami (the 2008 Film)

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit

Ikigami follows Fujimoto on his foreboding job and the stories of those who are beset by a terrible fate, and must succumb to it.

In dystopian Japan, there is a law which purpose is to instill fear of death into citizens, so that each person can learn to value life and live in a more peaceful society. The law is enforced by inserting a special nano-capsule in the syringes that are used during their National Welfare Immunization Act, which is given to each citizen at the age of six. The nano-capsule -injected to .01% of the citizens- moves to rest on the pulmonary artery and bursts at a predetermine date during the age of 18 to 24 of each citizen, resulting in their death. The citizens never know who got injected with the nano-capsule, so that they grow up with the uncertainty of living past the age of 24. This way, people will learn how to appreciate life, and live righteously.

Fujimoto (the main character) is a young man who has made it to the age of 25. He escaped death, but he is now burdened with the mission of notifying those who will die, presenting them with their Ikigami (official death papers).

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, is a manga by Mase Motoro, of whom I could not find any other information than the place where he was born, Aichi Japan, and that aside from Ikigami he has another manga from 2003 titled; Heads. Mase Motoro is a great mangakan; not only can he draw, but the story he comes up with are very intriguing and touching.

The manga was such a success in Japan, they came up with the movie in 2008. Of course, that the movie does not have all the stories that are in the manga, in fact the movie is based on the first two volumes. Each manga volume brings two different stories, and the director, Tomoyuki Takimoto, was able to fit four stories in the movie and managed to successfully connect them all to the main character in a way in which the outcome of each story unfolds within a believable time frame, given that after Fujimoto presents each person with their death papers they only have 24 hours to live and Fujimoto gets involved in their death someway or the other.

The song Michishirube is sang by one of the characters in the movie. He is someone who has neglected his best friend after being signed with a big production company. After learning he is one of the few citizens chosen to die for his country and the welfare of its people, he uses his big chance at fame to honor his friend by singing Michishirube (Signpost) a song supposedly written by his friend. Of course that the original song is by the band PhilHarmoUnique, and it-is-awe-some. I couldn’t find information on PhilHarmoUnique, I cannot provide you with anything other than the song. Nevertheless, I have here lyrics, and videos with the song sang by both; the actor in the movie, and the band.

First is the actor from the movie, this was my favorite scene from the movie, is very touching knowing the full story behind it. (If you mind a bit of spoilers, be careful with the video as it contains a clip from the film) 

This is a fan made video with the band singing the song; this is a longer version from the one in the movie since it’s the original. (the fan made video has pictures of the film) 

And here are the lyrics, in Japanese and English: 

Romaji — Michishirube

Mou sukoshi de watashi no tanjoubi ga
yatte kuru kedo tada rousoku wa feuru
Migi e hidari e oshikakaru mono no
Baransu no naka de kokoro wa yureu

Arasoi wa kirai da ga kokoro no naka de wa itsumo
Dareka ni pisutoru wo muketari shiteru
Hito wo tsukiotoshitemo agaritai hyoushoudai
Nanika ga hoshikute nanika wo mezashite

Daremo ga gendai ni michishirube wo sagashite iru

Ikiru to wa nan darou ka?
Tatakau koto ka
Tatakai wo sakeru koto ka
Tadasisa to wa nan darou ka?
Machigawanu koto ka
Miushinawanu koto deshou ka

Mada asa ga kite kao wo araeba
Watashi ni owari ga aru nado mizu ni nagareru
Kuyashii kurai ni kakko yoku itai
kuyashii kurai ni yoki hito de itai

Namida de karete egao de shiwa ga fuete
Itoshiki hito to nanika wo seoi koshi wo maruku suru
Kurushii kurai ni shiawase de itai

Kurushii kurai ni shiawase ni shitai

Sore demo sore sura wasureru toki ga aru

Yasashisa to wa nan darou ka?
Yuruseru koto ka
Yusuresu koto deshou ka

Ai suru to wa nan darou ka?
Omoiyaru dake ka
Utagau kokoro wo mo kakusu koto deshou ka

Ame ni mo makete kaze ni mo makeru keredomo
Itsuka watashi mo michi shirusu

Ikiru to wa nan darou ka?
Tatakau koto ka
Mamoritsuzukeru koto ka
Tadashisa to wa nan darou ka?
Fumihazusanu koto ka
Jibun dake ga ushinawanu koto na no ka

Kore kara saki ayumu ippo ga
Shiniyuku ippo de naku
Ikiyuku ippo de are
Kore kara saki utau kotoba ga
Hazukashinagara mo
Hito no kokoro wo utsu you ni to
Sore ga watashi
no michishirube

English –Signpost

It”ll be my birthday soon
But that will just mean more candles
My heart sways in the balance
Between the things that crowd me
From the left and the right

I hate fighting, but in my heart
I’m always pointing a pistol at someone
I want to get up on that victory stand,
even if I have to push others down
Wanting something, aiming for something

Everyone’s searching for a signpost these days

What is living?
Is it fighting?
Or is it avoiding battle?
What is right?
Is it not being wrong?
Or is it not losing sight?

Morning comes again and I wash my face
Washing away the fact that I will someday come to an end too
It’s galling how much I want to be cool
It’s galling how much I want to be good

My tears will dry and the smile lines will grow
My back will grow bent, shouldering something with my beloved
It hurts how much I want to be happy
It hurts how much I want to make you happy

But still there are times I forget that

What is kindness?
Is it forgiving?
Or is it not forgiving?
What is love?
Is it just sympathy?
Or is it concealing a doubting heart?

The rain gets me down, and the wind does too
But someday I’ll show the way

What is living?
Is it fighting?
Or is it continuing to protect?
What is right?
Is it not stepping off the path?
Or is it not losing yourself?

I want this next step
to be a step towards life
Not death
The words I’m going to sing
May be embarrassing
But I hope they’ll resonate in people’s heart
They are
my signpost

Posted on September 2, 2012, in Films and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have not yet watched this..but as soon as I started reading this blog and looking at the pics of Shota,I want to start watching asap!!!!!

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