Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Children of the Sea, vol. 1

By Daisuke Igarashi
Published in the US by Viz’s Ikki Comics

Slugline:  Manatees make for good au pairs.

Ruka has been banned from handball on the first day of her summer break so she has to deal with her father, who works at an aquarium.  While there she meets Umi and Sora, two boys who were raised by sea manatees.  Umi and Sora feel a connection with Ruka and act on it by first making sure that she sees a falling star with Umi and later taking her with them when they 'borrow' a boat to swim near where the meteor splashed down.  There they see thousands of fish with phosphorescent spots, reminding Ruka of when as a child she saw a ghost disappear from an aquarium tank.  Umi and Sora seem to know more than what they are saying about what is going on, but Ruka is drawn ever closer to them even as she tries to recover from their dive.  As she practices snorkeling, Sora's weakness and the unusual situations in the surrounding ocean becomes more pronounced.

This is a series where the beginning scenes seem to tell a minor and unimportant story (a kid being kicked out of a school sport, visiting a friend in a hospital) but will lead to major events.  Exactly what those major events are remains uncertain, but you can feel the weight of them in the actions of the the characters as they also seem to be anticipating something.  When the first volume is broken down by scene even though it is longer than the traditional manga volume not that much happens in it.  But the tension and sense of rising action is managed so well that is easy to overlook it.  What also makes this an unusual manga is the art is very impressionistic rather than the heavily stylized like most manga. This is very effective in the underwater scenes, as it helps it give a sense of otherworldliness, that there is of the nearby world that is intimately tied to our own yet still is unfamiliar.

Children of the Sea, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

No comments: