King in Limbo opens with a dream that the reader knows must have importance, though that hasn’t been revealed yet. In fact, King in Limbo has a lot of mysteries going on. It takes place in 2086, and it’s been eight years since the pandemic called “The Sleep.” People think they’re safe again, but it appears that the pandemic is returning.
The main character is Adam Garfield, an American officer who loses a leg from a bomb explosion. He thinks that means it’s time to retire, but he gets roped into helping fight the pandemic. While in real life pandemics might be fought using vaccines, this manga offers something very different: the ability to “dive” into people’s minds in order to help them get better. One man, known as “King,” is especially good at this, and Adam is supposed to work with him. That’s because Adam is a lucid dreamer, and he scored great compatibility with King on a test. That said, working with King is difficult, to put it lightly. But the man knows what he’s doing.
King in Limbo is being published in the omnibus format, so the first book is actually volumes one and two of the manga. Things start out on the slower end, then pick up as King gets involved with the story. There are multiple twists and turns, and a few shocking moments. There are still many mysteries, and it will be interesting to see how the mangaka pulls everything together. This book was not written in response to COVID, but was originally launched in Japan a few years before the general populace was thinking about pandemics.
King in Limbo is off to a fascinating start, feeling like a slow burn that’s going to keep heating up. Both Adam and King are intriguing characters, and its takes on psychology and tech feel very apt. It also has a different, unique feel compared to a lot of manga out there, and has a lot of potential to grow.
Story & Art: Ai Tanaka
Translator: Ajani Oloye
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.