Love in Limbo, a series about souls finding love in the afterlife, is one of the more recent BL manga releases from SuBLime Manga. This short and sweet series features a pair of loveable leads and an intriguing world that our love-struck heroes must navigate as they search for happiness and redemption.
Having been responsible for the deaths of many people, a recently deceased military commander is sentenced to serve as a reaper in Limbo. Unfortunately, the commander has lost all memories of his previous life, the judgement he received and even of the fact that he is dead! Makoto, a caretaker in Limbo who has been assigned to assist the new reaper, gives him the name Calen and does his best to explain his new role to him. Limbo is the land where the souls of sinners go to serve their penance until they can be reincarnated, and Calen must both protect these souls from monsters and help guide them back to the land of the living when their time comes. Only once the number of souls he’s helped is equal to the number of deaths that he caused will he be able to move on himself. While initially confused, Calen is able to accept his new life thanks to the support and positivity of Makoto, and the two soon fall in love. Everything seems to be going great, but Makoto isn’t an ordinary soul like the rest of the people in Limbo. When he initially died, his grief-stricken father used dark magic to place his soul into a clay body, effectively bringing him back to life. But this process disrupted the natural cycle of his soul and caused it to fracture. While Makoto’s incomplete soul managed to come to Limbo when his father died, this was only because the dark magic tied their souls together. He isn’t able to be reincarnated anymore and, once his father is eventually reborn, he will likely disappear! Calen is determined to find a way to help his lover, but the only way to do that might put the fate of his own soul at risk!
The world of Love in Limbo is an interesting merging of ideas from western and eastern spiritual beliefs, where Heaven and Hell exist alongside of reincarnation. Only souls who have gone through the reincarnation process multiple times, and lived several good lives in a row, are judged worthy of ascending to Heaven. Conversely, souls that have become corrupted past the point of redemption are sent to Hell. The rest are sent to Limbo, where they live a peaceful existence, resting from the hardships of life and finding atonement for their sins, until they can be reincarnated. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work, but this system of eternal judgement is imperfect and sometimes harsh. Souls can become so worn out that they don’t have the strength to make it to Judgement and, instead of going to Limbo, they become lost in the space in-between the worlds. Even if a soul makes it to Limbo, they are not completely free from danger; terrifying monsters called Maws are an ever present threat and, if the reaper and the caretakers that assist him should fail to kill them, they could devour the residents of Limbo, at which point they would cease to exist. Given that Limbo is a carefully created world, it seems safe to assume that the Maws are there by design, perhaps specifically so the reaper and the caretakers can fight them and redeem themselves. This has some sinister implications, as it’s unfair to put all of those other souls in danger as part of someone else’s punishment, but, just like life, the afterlife doesn’t appear to be designed to be fair and the beings in charge of it aren’t necessarily merciful. Calen questions whether the angels, who lack compassion for the plight of the souls who become trapped in the interspaces between worlds, are truly just beings who have a right to judge the sins of humans. Even one of the angels in charge of overseeing Limbo questions whether the creator truly cares equally for all their creations, or if the whole system of life, death and rebirth, and the struggles of the humans caught up in it, is just designed to offer them amusement. This is some pretty weighty stuff for a short series of only two volumes to be tackling. While I appreciated the world building, not all of the questions that are introduced are resolved by the end. The darker elements of the world did serve to ratchet up the suspense, as we know that, regardless of how unjust his predicament may be, there isn’t going to be any divine intervention for Makoto, but I wish the series had been a little longer and able to explore some of these themes in a bit more depth.
But I didn’t pick up this book because I wanted to ponder questions of theology, I came here looking for a hot romance and, on that front, the manga delivered in spades! Calen and Makoto are a very cute couple, building a friendship first that naturally blossoms into romance as the two work and live together. Calen is usually reserved and serious but has a major soft spot for Makoto, who is enthusiastic and straightforward with his feelings. Their devotion to each other is very touching and, as an added bonus, the sex scenes are pretty steamy! I fell in love with this couple and with the rest of the supporting cast. Makoto’s father is a great character in his own right; while he acts caustic and is constantly annoyed with Calen and Makoto’s lovely-dovey behavior, he’s wracked with guilt over what his actions have done to his son. Makoto, on the other hand, doesn’t blame him and feels ashamed that his early death drove his father to such desperate acts. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are some moving scenes with these two later in the series that had me tearing up while I was reading it.
Love in Limbo is a delightful love-story about two souls who have endured many hardships, but who are able to find peace and happiness together. I really enjoyed this one and, even if there are some lingering questions regarding the nature of the world at the end of the manga, Calen and Makoto’s story has a very satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend this series to Boys Love fans looking for a sweet and spicy read.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
For more information on Love in Limbo visit SuBLime Manga’s website: https://www.sublimemanga.com/reader/771
Please let me know what you thought about this series in the comments and be sure to check out some of my other Boys Love manga reviews:
- Fourth Generation Head: Tatsuyuki Oyamato Review
- Monster and the Beast Vol 1 Review
- Star Collector Series Review
- The Wize Wize Beasts of the Wizarding Wizdoms Review
- Melting Lover Review
- The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese Review
- Yarichin Bitch Club Vol 1 Review
- Our Dining Table Review