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Children of the Sea, Volume 1

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When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans' fish.


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When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans' fish.

30 review for Children of the Sea, Volume 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    [This is where I grew up.] When I was in second grade, my class took a weekend trip to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. It was Spring 1982 and we stayed at a marine institute. I had always been familiar with the island as a distant portion of our smog-soaked skyline,[1] but this would be different. We had spent the better part of our Spring trimester studying the marine life local to Southern California. We were going out to it in a way that our own tide pools rendered imposs [This is where I grew up.] When I was in second grade, my class took a weekend trip to Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. It was Spring 1982 and we stayed at a marine institute. I had always been familiar with the island as a distant portion of our smog-soaked skyline,[1] but this would be different. We had spent the better part of our Spring trimester studying the marine life local to Southern California. We were going out to it in a way that our own tide pools rendered impossible. Limpets, urchins, sea cucumbers, anemone, sea hares, sharks, eels, plankton. Who knew what else. I was blisteringly excited for the opportunity. And it met and exceeded my expectations. Having grown up pretty much on the beach (a one-and-a-half–minute walk from it at any rate), I’ve long held a certain affection for the sea and all it holds. While a special joy for me surrounded the quality of the morning salt air that hangs so heavily in coastal regions, the creatures that inhabit the ocean—both at depth and in shallows—also struck a deep chord of interest. I’ve always been tied up in a romance with the ocean (my last eight land-locked years notwithstanding), but getting off that boat and stepping onto the dock in Avalon a little more than three decades ago was deeply affecting. I was for the first time seeing bright sea creatures outside the confines of an aquarium. The moment my foot hit the planks, I could make out the sunshine orange of garibaldi flirting beneath the surface. It was incredible and was indicative of the next forty-eight hours of attending presentations, handling marine life, snorkeling, and generally basking in the miracle of the sea. Sadly, as I grew older and other concerns began to jockey for my attention, I experienced a waning of interest in the sea as anything other than the locale of some of my favourite youthful pastimes[2]. It’s not that the undersea world no longer held any interest, but more that the magic of girls and videogames and comics were novelties expressing an entirely more visceral kind of power over me. I still found sea hares, -horses, and -cucumbers completely intriguing, but there was this wholly other kind of unshakeable mystery wrapped up in the lines, curves, and movements of Lori Loughlin, Kathy Ireland, and the woman on the car in that Whitesnake video. Sea cucumbers, for all their strange wonder, really couldn’t compare. When I first saw Children of the Sea on a shelf at Borders several years ago, I was intrigued by the physical mass of the book. It sat unobtrusively on the shelf alongside the other manga digests. There was only a single copy available, dwarfed in number by more popular (and now I know, more banal) series. It was, however, nearly twice as thick as the average manga volume—which helped it stand out. Picking it up, my early love affair with the oceans and their bountiful life came rushing back. This book was clearly something special.[3] And now that the series has at last concluded and its five volumes have secured roughly six inches of shelf space, I’m so very grateful to have noticed it all those years ago. This is one of my most treasured comics stories. [Poke.] Children of the Sea is in surface the story of two young teens: Ruka and Umi. Ruka appears the rather typical daughter of a broken family. She lives with her mother but hides out at her father’s aquarium. Umi is a boy who, along with his brother Sora, was found as a toddler being raised by a pod of dugongs. Both Umi and Sora are more at home in the water than on land and their bodies have specially adapted to deep-sea free diving and swimming incredibly long distances with an ease unheard of by normal humans. Ruka shares with them a special kind of vision, a way of seeing and hearing the ocean and its inhabitants that is unique among landdwellers. There is a sense of reverence and oneness between these three and the creatures of the deep. Strange things are at play in the world of the sea, and Ruka and Umi seem to be at the heart of this mystery. While Children of the Sea could have very well established itself as a race-against-time adventure of discovery and world-saving (and romance?), it instead develops much more organically, evolving its story in unexpected directions at a gradual, contemplative pace. Information about who Umi and Sora are, about what the ghosts of the sea are, about the histories of various support characters, about where any of this is going—it all trickles in while the reader is busied with absorbing the beautiful seascapes with Ruka. The series seems to have at stake various questions of identity and an exploration of the human/animal place in the universal scope of things. As well, author Igarashi contemplates a cyclical cosmology centralized in the songs of whales and some maybe-not-unrelated reincarnative processes. I adore comics when they are willing to go beyond mere plot-driven entertainments and trawl in more critical depths. This is part of why The Nao of Brown and Duncan the Wonder Dog are two of my favourite comics of all time—and I’m happy that Children of the Sea can make a home in that category as well. Visually, Children of the Sea offers readers an illustrative feast—double-page spreads of whales, rays, turtles, schools of fish that impress through their sheer cinematic scope. Igarashi uses an unpolished (perhaps gesture-based?) style of drawing that breathes life and sensuality[4] into characters and situations. His people aren’t just cartoon sketches; their dimensional presence (as rendered by Igarashi’s homegrown technique) is essential in conveying the naturalism required by his ambitious story direction. Igarashi tempts us to approach Children of the Sea in order to absorb it and be absorbed by it—to find a certain spiritual unity with the work—and the art assists this aim immeasurably. Easily the place where Igarashi’s illustrations are most powerful is in his depiction of the seas and the lives and worlds they hold. His seascapes are lush and the variety of sealife he grants panel time is extraordinary. He draws his protagonists, each of whom have extraordinary capacities for undersea maneuvering, engaged in a near constant ballet with their aquatic hosts. It’s delicate and lovely and foreboding. I don’t know if you’ve ever swum[5] over deep waters, but even confident swimmers are often overcome by dread of the fathomless depths yawning darkly open beneath. The sea, for all its strange unknowableness, truly strikes the human creature with awe. And Igarashi captures the smallest fraction of this terror in his art (which is more than most any other artist I’ve encountered). It’s the kind of feeling I think Lovecraft tries to feel his way toward when he describes the madness-inducing horror of his cosmic things. Or maybe it’s Moses, peeking out from behind the rock at Yahweh’s hindparts. In any case, that awe, terror, respect, and horror are present in Igarashi’s illustrations—and I’m so grateful to have encountered a book that is able to convey at least some small measure of this way of seeing. Children of the Sea's visual exploration is also incredibly detailed. Igarashi draws a lot of fish and draws them well. It took a long time for volume 5 to come out[6], but even a quick flipping through of its pages makes it obvious why that might be the case. Igarashi drew so, so much. Here is a small sample of pages: [Click for a larger version] For all that though, part of the wonder of Children of the Sea is that it’s more than just great art. This is a book of ideas, sometimes even big ideas. Even while proposing a fascinating cosmology, Children of the Sea starts off small, questioning the place of human primacy on the earth. There is a conversation in the middle of volume 3 that drives this home. Jim, an oceanic researcher, believes that Umi and Sora, while human, might be “special” in a manner similar to whales, whose cerebral cortices are much more developed than humans and whose peaceful lives might be devoted to thoughts entirely beyond the human enterprise. Dehdeh, a traditional navigator, counters his guess that either humans or whales are the special ones, pointing to the human propensity toward cataloguing and judging information based on what is analogous to our own experiences. By her watch, the human drive toward exhaustive taxonomy combines with our constant masquerading of subjective observation as objective experience to prevent us from recognizing the mysterious. As Dehdeh broaches our fear of the numinous (a fear from which the horror of the depths I mentioned earlier derives) and our unwillingness to account for it within our daily paradigms, Igarashi’s story continues to drive headlong into that kind of intangibility. Children of the Sea's central questions involve wondering at Sora and Umi’s nature, wondering why such strange things are happening in the seas, and wondering ultimately at the part earth’s unique seas play in the universe as a whole. And as if to drive home Igarashi’s point that we are uncomfortable with that which lies beyond the empirical, reader reaction to how Children of the Sea answers these questions will (I would guess) be largely one of frustration. There are answers, certainly, but there remains an expansive sense of mystery. That the final volume of the series is largely wordless is evidence that Igarashi is less concerned with putting a bow on his neatly wrapped gift to us than he is in granting the reader the privilege of basking in a taste of the potentially deeply mystic nature of things. It’s important that Igarashi leave us without the kind of concrete answers that we long for. Near the conclusion of the conversation in which Dehdeh expresses her thought that all species exist in a kind of universe-wide egalitarianism, Igarashi invokes Gödel’s incompleteness theorem in a bid, I think, to prime the reader to recognize that the events in the book’s conclusion will be beyond “reason.” Later, Dehdeh expresses that people love to attach meaning to every little thing and that the most precious truths are best left unspoken, hinting that to describe them would be to bleach them of their preciousness. Children of the Sea is a gradual and complicated work whose strengths probably most deeply lie in its mysteries. One needn’t understand the link the book proposes between the cosmic and the marine to find spectacular value in Igarashi’s vision. It may even be for the best if one doesn’t. A better approach might be to simply enjoy the wonder of the seas as they unfold page after page through these five incredible volumes, and maybe use the discussions of metaphysics as springboard for personal reflection on the things that are just plain beyond us. Igarashi may actually have given us a perfect vessel for the consideration of the enigma of a world-cartography that cannot ever be entirely dependable. And I love him for that. _______ [Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad.] _______ Footnotes 1) Those of you who visit the coast of Southern California today are greeted with crisp blue skies after the marine layer burns off by noon. Smog so thick it’d make your lungs hurt and your eyes burn is a thing of the past. Since the implementation of environmental protections, our air is surprisingly worthwhile. Whenever I hear people talk about EPA regulation as some terrible, mismanaged elder beast, I simply point out: But hey, you can breathe and isn’t that something? From the land where my house used to stand in the ‘80s, one can make out the details of the island with astonishing clarity across the intervening water. When I was a kid, a Catalina sighting was a fifty-fifty bet and a crisp vision of the island a rare treasure. More often than not, the entire land mass was obscured by the thick brown-olive band of quote-unquote air that divided the waters below from the waters above—Los Angeles’ own industrious attempt at reinventing the idea of firmament. 2)Principally these included boogieboarding and then skimboarding. The vast majority of my life’s potentially lethal experiences revolved around these two activities. 3) VIZ’s Signature line continues to distribute worthwhile books, series that challenge popular or common notions of what the medium is capable of or best-suited for. While most of the medium still adheres pretty strongly to genre conventions (crime, romance, superheroes, autobio, sports, horror, et cetera), there are still some books that seek to craft something truly literary. It’s easy to recommend a book to someone who likes noir detective stories, books chronicling the zombie-apocalypse, or even Austen-esque period romance. What’s difficult is when a friend tells me they like the works of Bolaño or Murakami or Hemingway or Salinger or David Foster Wallace or Alice Munro and would like to read a graphic novel in similar vein. These friends aren’t looking for a particular plotline. Instead, they’re looking for something thoughtful, critical. They’re looking for something that looks at the world and has something to say. They’re looking for more of what they like: challenging literature. And while I wish I could easily rattle off a list of comics that land squarely in that kind of category, it’s a pretty tall order. Certainly things are getting better and there’s more of interest available now than there was ten years ago, but the truly worthy books grow pretty sparse along the comics landscape. Fortunately, Children of the Sea just might be another entrant into that canon of valuable, interesting books that defies genre classification and holds its own as a thoughtful approach to the world. 4) Not in the sexy sense of sensuality that people like to use to describe why a film might be PG-13. More in the sense that his drawings exude a luscious kind of vitality. 5) Just a petty note: swum may be the stupidest-sounding word in the English language. Thank you. 6) Long enough so that I was worried that the series would be abandoned. VIZ’s overlong silence on the matter wasn’t encouraging either.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jan Philipzig

    Reading this book felt a lot like staring at aquatic life, even though there are not really all that many underwater scenes. Things appeared to be dancing to the beat of a different drum, so to speak - I did not quite get the story’s rhythm, characters, and meanings. “Maybe whales are able to put the sights and emotions they’ve experienced into a form that can be shared by everyone,” one of the characters speculates after listening to a whale song. Maybe. And maybe, one is tempted to add, this b Reading this book felt a lot like staring at aquatic life, even though there are not really all that many underwater scenes. Things appeared to be dancing to the beat of a different drum, so to speak - I did not quite get the story’s rhythm, characters, and meanings. “Maybe whales are able to put the sights and emotions they’ve experienced into a form that can be shared by everyone,” one of the characters speculates after listening to a whale song. Maybe. And maybe, one is tempted to add, this book tries to put the sights and emotions experienced by marine life into comic-book form, aiming to provide nothing less than a transformative reading experience: “When you see something special… do you think it changes something inside of you?” I am not yet sure whether this unusual series will be able to reach its own lofty goals, but the results so far are intriguing and strangely beautiful. And a little baffling.

  3. 5 out of 5

    luce ❀ wishfully reading ❀ semi hiatus

    the art is absolutely stunning. i am in love igarashi's art-style, from his character design to those panels focusing on the characters' environments. the story...i was intrigued at first but once we get to know sora i don't know....i really don't like him. i much preferred if the main dynamic had been between umi and ruka. i will probably read the other volumes, but i will be doing it because the amazing art. the art is absolutely stunning. i am in love igarashi's art-style, from his character design to those panels focusing on the characters' environments. the story...i was intrigued at first but once we get to know sora i don't know....i really don't like him. i much preferred if the main dynamic had been between umi and ruka. i will probably read the other volumes, but i will be doing it because the amazing art.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    A fantasy for younger people about sea conservation and mystery. A girl meets two children who have been raised IN the sea, and they deal together with the issue of disappearing fish and other sea creatures… Mystical/spiritual tone. The central focus for me of the series thus far is the high detailed art, to in part help us gain an understanding and appreciation of the sea. It's really lovely. I'll read more. A fantasy for younger people about sea conservation and mystery. A girl meets two children who have been raised IN the sea, and they deal together with the issue of disappearing fish and other sea creatures… Mystical/spiritual tone. The central focus for me of the series thus far is the high detailed art, to in part help us gain an understanding and appreciation of the sea. It's really lovely. I'll read more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 230915: possibly the most beautiful art i have seen in graphic work. in extensive depiction of the seas, the waves, the surf, the rain, the typhoon, the vast cloudless sky, the turbulent stormy sky, this is radically other than graphics set in urban worlds. there is some plot in flashbacks, some testimonies of varied ocean mysteries, some marine sciences, but philosophical insistence we humans know only a fraction of all reality if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 230915: possibly the most beautiful art i have seen in graphic work. in extensive depiction of the seas, the waves, the surf, the rain, the typhoon, the vast cloudless sky, the turbulent stormy sky, this is radically other than graphics set in urban worlds. there is some plot in flashbacks, some testimonies of varied ocean mysteries, some marine sciences, but philosophical insistence we humans know only a fraction of all reality... there are beautiful images of the aquatic depths, of shadowed fish, of humans, all the varied flora and fauna, from coral reef, deep sea vents, to angelfish, dugongs, sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and especially whales- a sense of this other world, a sense of what even the most careful human examination misses in this experiential knowing, those worlds of myth, of tales, of science from seas to space to cosmological speculations. there are several plots, there is much fantastical marking of characters as receptive or special, at the same time an apocalyptic fear of fish disappearing from the oceans... there is a great section showing destruction of a typhoon, of wind, rain, lightning- but then also a rational explanation of all the good such destruction brings. there is some talk of why Mars and Venus have no oceans- but by sheer number of other worlds there must be other oceans. there is maybe the distraction that everybody has huge eyes, but that is style. you get used to it. that it is hard to tell sometimes who is male and who is female, this is not important. more significant is weirdness of the two boys, but this becomes background and only really strong in the last volume... then the story is told almost entirely in images... great images... this is the art: the refraction patterns underwater, the leafy shadows from the surface forests, sandy beaches, the wavy sense of movement, the rain streaks, the rippling puddles or rain impacts, the snapping sails, the drumming waves on the boats... all of this creates a world much more... 'tactile', sensual in all ways, than most graphics set more in human worlds, almost like you can feel the heat, feel the seabeeze, taste the saltwater, absorb the red amniotic womb and passage of birth... this world is to me much more effective than usual architecture, monsters, mechanical creations, huge explosions and so on. i can see why this was critically lauded, if not bestseller. this is a manga unlike i have ever read before...

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    So, with Borders going out of buisness, I visited on the day when 80% of the store was empty and everything was 90% off. I essentially cleared off their manga bookcase which wenty from FIVE HUGE THINGS, to three small bookshelves that could fit in my room. And even those weren't filled, all of them probably could've fit on one. But enough of that, I basically took all the manga they had left figuring I could've selled the ones I didn't like, but one really caught my eye: Children of the Sea. It So, with Borders going out of buisness, I visited on the day when 80% of the store was empty and everything was 90% off. I essentially cleared off their manga bookcase which wenty from FIVE HUGE THINGS, to three small bookshelves that could fit in my room. And even those weren't filled, all of them probably could've fit on one. But enough of that, I basically took all the manga they had left figuring I could've selled the ones I didn't like, but one really caught my eye: Children of the Sea. It originally cost 15 dollars, meaning I only paid 1.50 for it. And to give you a bit of pretext: I'm not entirely sure I got my 1.50 out of it. So yeah, you can already see where this review is going. But let's discuss. The story opens with this old woman talking to her son, saying 'hey wanna hear a tale about the sea?' While she and her presumably ten or so year old son are in the middle of the ocean. Now with a title like 'Children of the Sea' I could already sense the 'Inconvenient Truth' message that was going to be shoved down my throat. We then flashback to when Ruka [that's the old woman] was 13. And right away she's just this huge bitch. She gets tripped in a game of soccer and how does she respond? She elbows a girl in the face so hard, that the girls nose breaks and she goes unconcious. Now, this isn't uncommon in manga, the protagonist starting out by doing something badass. But, since it happened off panel, and it's not justified in anyway, we right away hate the girl that's suppose to be our main character. Then she broods for about 20 pages, which is always nice, I love it when my main character sucks and is brooding. Then she meets thiese kids, Umi and Sora. Now, right away I don't like almost any of our main characters. Ruka is a brooding bitch for almost the entire volume, which is twice as thick as the standard size manga. Meaning we go through several chapters were Ruka doesn't change. Then Umi and Sora who have these vague, undefined powers. But more so than no backstory, these kids are also to perfect. Whenever the author seems to try to write in imperfections (they steal a boat and Ruka actually tries to stop them) they're inconsequential which means the kids didn't learn anything. Yeah, they're flawed to an extent, but that's overlooking the fact that the boat Umi and Sora 'stole' belongs to the aquarium that they work at. Oh, this is were it gets good, all three of these kids work at this aquarium. And again, vague, undefined supernatural things happen at this aquarium. There's no movement in the plot at all in this volume all that really happens is that Ruka works at the aquarium and she meets these two kids. There's this old man that I like at the museum but we only see him twice in this large volume of manga. And although it's slightly subtle about the whole environmental message, it's constantly beat into you page by page so it suddenly becomes less than subtle. If had one positive thing to say about this manga it would be that the art is nice, but you can cover trash with gold, it's still going to be trash. So let's recap: bad main characters, no plot, a message crammed down your throat, and undefined supernatural occurances. To give the manga credit it is senien which typically move slower than shonen, but that doesn't exscuse the fact that so little happened and nothing attatched me to these characters. Rating: Two I'M ON A BOATS' out of ten Reccomendation: Read it on mangafox if you must, but gaurentee you'll drop after chapter one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nelson

    "A whale's song is a very complex wave of information. Maybe whales are able to put the sights and emotions they've experienced into a form that can be shared by everyone. Have you ever been able to communicate even half of what you were thinking, Ruka? Perhaps whales are able to do that." Once in a while, I'll read a manga that seamlessly marries form and function. This is one such manga. Daisuke Igarashi has created such a palpable tone and atmosphere, coupled with a healthy amount of magical r "A whale's song is a very complex wave of information. Maybe whales are able to put the sights and emotions they've experienced into a form that can be shared by everyone. Have you ever been able to communicate even half of what you were thinking, Ruka? Perhaps whales are able to do that." Once in a while, I'll read a manga that seamlessly marries form and function. This is one such manga. Daisuke Igarashi has created such a palpable tone and atmosphere, coupled with a healthy amount of magical realism, to form this beautiful immersive experience that makes you FEEL the ocean. It feels like something between watching a Ghibli movie and a nature documentary, but really, the comparison I kept making in my head was to Taiyo Matsumoto. His influence on Igarashi is uncanny, and I couldn't help but compare this manga to Tekkon Kinkreet in form and feel, which is a huge compliment to Children of the Sea.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

    (Found while browsing in the public library.) A seinen title with a contemporary setting, somewhere halfway between hard SF and magical realism, as odd as that sounds. I'm fascinated and wish the library carried the entire series; I'll just have to buy the rest... So far probably my manga surprise of the year. (Found while browsing in the public library.) A seinen title with a contemporary setting, somewhere halfway between hard SF and magical realism, as odd as that sounds. I'm fascinated and wish the library carried the entire series; I'll just have to buy the rest... So far probably my manga surprise of the year.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    I've read the first three (they only have 1 to 4 at my library! Zoiks.) I would say I'm between a 3 and a 4 for all of them in terms of ratings. The art is great and the story interesting but a little loosely tied together and all over the place. The characters are complex and intriguing. Curious to see where it's heading. I've read the first three (they only have 1 to 4 at my library! Zoiks.) I would say I'm between a 3 and a 4 for all of them in terms of ratings. The art is great and the story interesting but a little loosely tied together and all over the place. The characters are complex and intriguing. Curious to see where it's heading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    It's an intriguing setup: a story about two kids who were raised undersea, who then meet a land-based girl who seems to also have a mystical connection to the same power. The book conveys a sense of the mystery of the ocean, along with the intrigue of scientific study. It took me a while to figure out who was who and what was going on (and I really thought Sora was a girl!), but once I got into the story, I enjoyed it a lot. I wish more than just the first few pages had been in color—not the who It's an intriguing setup: a story about two kids who were raised undersea, who then meet a land-based girl who seems to also have a mystical connection to the same power. The book conveys a sense of the mystery of the ocean, along with the intrigue of scientific study. It took me a while to figure out who was who and what was going on (and I really thought Sora was a girl!), but once I got into the story, I enjoyed it a lot. I wish more than just the first few pages had been in color—not the whole book, but there were some key pages that would have been really great in color.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alabaster

    The lackluster story and my indifference towards marine biology combine in a way that even enjoying Igarashi's brilliant style becomes impossible. The lackluster story and my indifference towards marine biology combine in a way that even enjoying Igarashi's brilliant style becomes impossible.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kaion

    Children of the Sea, Volumes 1-3 Absolutely gorgeous: if you're into marine biology at all, feel at home at the aquarium, or even just like watching underwater Nature episodes, you have to pick up Children of the Sea for Daisuke Igarashi's poetic renderings of underwater sealife (and VIZ Signature includes spectacular color pages with magnificent watercolor work). His art balances between realistic enough to illustrate the ocean and the creatures within in with fidelity (and his true interest and Children of the Sea, Volumes 1-3 Absolutely gorgeous: if you're into marine biology at all, feel at home at the aquarium, or even just like watching underwater Nature episodes, you have to pick up Children of the Sea for Daisuke Igarashi's poetic renderings of underwater sealife (and VIZ Signature includes spectacular color pages with magnificent watercolor work). His art balances between realistic enough to illustrate the ocean and the creatures within in with fidelity (and his true interest and research into the subject definitely show in the story), but also leaves his own personal imprint on the world-- a restless moody quality that goes well with the mysterious feeling of the story (like an ocean before the storm). I gave high marks to the Viz's first Children of the Sea double-volume, but in the two subsequent ones, the plot really started to bug me, in that it was overly mysterious and to be honest, not at all interesting to me. The main character in her early-teen disatisfaction is particularly irksome and bland (as well as the "Children of the Sea" that she befriends), and Igarashi overdoes it with the mystical talk, ill-defining what the stakes or interest in the story actually *is*, other than his beautiful art, of course. This should be vibrant and urgent (about sea conservation), but is instead stuck in foggy wishy-washy mode. I might check in for later volumes, might not. Rating: 3 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zaz

    The story was strange and didn't flow really well. It didn't prevent me to enjoy the read and I really liked all the water, the swimming and the fish. I also appreciated the diversity for the cast diversity (which is unusual in manga) and found Umi and Ruka interesting and pleasant to follow. The story was strange and didn't flow really well. It didn't prevent me to enjoy the read and I really liked all the water, the swimming and the fish. I also appreciated the diversity for the cast diversity (which is unusual in manga) and found Umi and Ruka interesting and pleasant to follow.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Meszler

    All of Igarashi’s artwork is stunning. You can feel the aquatic magic when you read this book. The way he visually represents looking upwards from underwater is pretty breathtaking; A feat considering most of the drawings are done with carefree line work and simple halftones.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Atti

    I liked it bu tit was hard to understand and I didn't get the ending at all. I liked it bu tit was hard to understand and I didn't get the ending at all.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ita

    The art style is beautiful and the illustrations feel so precious. The story was not what I was expecting but thats not bad, it made me curious and excited. Ruka reminds me of Chihiro from Spirited Away, a little rough around the edges, but ultimately, a real and fleshed out girl. It's nice. The characters all have their own personalities and I'm interested to see how their relationships develop throughout the series. The marine life is well researched and I find the author's dedication to accur The art style is beautiful and the illustrations feel so precious. The story was not what I was expecting but thats not bad, it made me curious and excited. Ruka reminds me of Chihiro from Spirited Away, a little rough around the edges, but ultimately, a real and fleshed out girl. It's nice. The characters all have their own personalities and I'm interested to see how their relationships develop throughout the series. The marine life is well researched and I find the author's dedication to accurately drawing the animals very impressive. There are moments where the suspense builds up but it never disrupts the flow of the story. Like waves.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Beautiful art, but the story is vague, sentimental, filled with a smug supernaturalism, the supernaturalism of coincidences, ineffability, and the rule of attraction rather than fireballs and gods. That’s one thing, but when it’s mixed in with 1) the usual indie glorification of the sensitive outsider and the divorced kids, and 2) the usual thoughtless Disneyfication of nature, the conceit just gets a bit much

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Very different from what I normally read; about two boys who lived in the ocean, raised by dugongs and the loner girl who befriends them. It has some elements of a supernatural story but still feels pretty grounded in reality. I think I will check out the second volume and see how I feel, but already I like Sora best.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caytie

    I loved this book so much. It was wonderfully drawn and such an odd story. I can't wait to pick up the next one! To see a more in depth review, visit my blog. https://booksandmadnesseverywhere.blo... I loved this book so much. It was wonderfully drawn and such an odd story. I can't wait to pick up the next one! To see a more in depth review, visit my blog. https://booksandmadnesseverywhere.blo...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tyra Leann

    "When you see something special... Do you think it changes something inside you?" "When you see something special... Do you think it changes something inside you?"

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taylor E Pla

    i wish gr had a post section like twitter or something bc i don’t wanna have to read a book to talk about books

  22. 5 out of 5

    natalie🌿

    I liked this but i don’t think it was translated in a way that lended itself well to the story. The art gave off a different feel than the text.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    What an unusual book. I'm most closely reminded of Saturn Apartments, not for the content but for the same slow and easy style of unfolding the story. Our viewpoint character here, Ruka, seems like a fairly typical troubled teenager. Things only get odd when she meets a boy named Umi, and discovers that he and his brother, Sora, were raised by dugongs. Manatees, yes. Something big is happening, but that's off to the side. Mainly, it's about the three teenagers, especially Ruka. I'm looking forwa What an unusual book. I'm most closely reminded of Saturn Apartments, not for the content but for the same slow and easy style of unfolding the story. Our viewpoint character here, Ruka, seems like a fairly typical troubled teenager. Things only get odd when she meets a boy named Umi, and discovers that he and his brother, Sora, were raised by dugongs. Manatees, yes. Something big is happening, but that's off to the side. Mainly, it's about the three teenagers, especially Ruka. I'm looking forward to seeing how the disappearances of aquarium fish, the comet, the large fish congregating in Tokyo bay, and Umi and Sora's search develop, but the concentration here was really on defining the characters. The art took some time to grow on me. Honestly, the character designs are nothing to write home about, though they certainly are unusual in a manga. But when the artist moves to scenes of aquatic life, that's another matter entirely. They looked accurate enough to my eyes, but the real plus is just how beautifully drawn and designed the marine panels are. I love how the artist gives the animals a real sense of presence, like they're more than just lines on a page. If the characters had been given the same care, this would have been one of the most beautiful manga I've ever seen. But illustrating the natural world seems to be the artist's objective, and he does a marvelous job of that. I'd recommend this manga to somebody looking for something a little different, who can take a slow build in a storyline. But this is especially a manga for people who will appreciate the stunning marine art.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This manga intrigued me a couple of times on various shelves at various bookstores until I went to the library, found that they had it, and checked it out. The artwork is just stunning. A beautiful mix of sketchy and refined. Every drawing is done with care. With many manga...when a panel is not as important an artist will put less care into it - fewer lines, less definition, but with this manga Daisuke Igarashi puts his all into every panel. The artwork alone is worth reading this manga, but th This manga intrigued me a couple of times on various shelves at various bookstores until I went to the library, found that they had it, and checked it out. The artwork is just stunning. A beautiful mix of sketchy and refined. Every drawing is done with care. With many manga...when a panel is not as important an artist will put less care into it - fewer lines, less definition, but with this manga Daisuke Igarashi puts his all into every panel. The artwork alone is worth reading this manga, but the story doesn't disappoint either. I did love the watercolor panels, but my particular favorite panel was of Ruka's feet in the sand as the sea washes over them, and I could feel the sea pulling the sand from under my feet in the drawing. It was captured just right. As for the characters, I particularly enjoyed Umi's character, and wasn't as big a fan of Sora...although I have to cut him some slack since he had a lot of internal trials going on. Granted, this is volume 1 of 4, I thought that they story so far was very interesting. It's like a vague mystery and yet a day to day account of a unique sea-coast Japanese life. Something about this and the recent Tsunamis really hit home. This is a great manga for both genders. It's interesting and beautifully drawn. It's a great introduction to more adult manga that might not appeal to a 12 year old, but would appeal to a 15 or 20 year old. I have to say I find very little manga that I would give five stars, but this is one of them. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sakura

    This is one of those fine examples of a manga series where not only is the artwork beautiful, but the presentation of the manga volumes themselves are nice looking and are of a slightly higher quality than most manga. It should be no surprise that such a series is treated this way since this has been one of the more unique manga that I've read within the past year or so. The synopsis kinda doesn't do this series any justice. You kinda have to pick it up and read for yourself. It's definitely a my This is one of those fine examples of a manga series where not only is the artwork beautiful, but the presentation of the manga volumes themselves are nice looking and are of a slightly higher quality than most manga. It should be no surprise that such a series is treated this way since this has been one of the more unique manga that I've read within the past year or so. The synopsis kinda doesn't do this series any justice. You kinda have to pick it up and read for yourself. It's definitely a mystery, however it has a bit more of a steady, slow pace with its storytelling (it is a seinen series after all). This is definitely a series that focuses more on character development rather than sudden action or cheap thrills. If this series interests you at all, I highly recommend that you read at least 2 volumes, since the first volume only gives you a hint of what is to come with the main plot, and the rest of the volumes (this series is still currently being published - these are just my thoughts so far). Pros: - Beautiful art and presentation. - Unique character-driven storyline. - A great mystery and supernatural series. Cons: - A bit slower paced (this might make some readers a bit impatient and it might not be "exciting" enough for them).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shazza Maddog

    The story starts out on the water, with a boy and an older woman on a sailboat. The woman starts to tell the boy a story, which may be told as flashbacks, it's unclear. The story is about Ruka, a girl whose parents are divorced. Her father works at an aquarium on the Tokyo Bay, and shares custody with Ruka's mother. Ruka is known as being hot-headed, and her temper gets her kicked off the handball team. While she is 'running away', she winds up at the bay, where she sees a boy swimming out in th The story starts out on the water, with a boy and an older woman on a sailboat. The woman starts to tell the boy a story, which may be told as flashbacks, it's unclear. The story is about Ruka, a girl whose parents are divorced. Her father works at an aquarium on the Tokyo Bay, and shares custody with Ruka's mother. Ruka is known as being hot-headed, and her temper gets her kicked off the handball team. While she is 'running away', she winds up at the bay, where she sees a boy swimming out in the water. Thinking he's in trouble, she tries to help, only to find out that he is something...a little different. Umi has a strange past. He and his older 'brother', Sora, and their guardian, Jim, have been traveling over the world, searching for something. The boys were raised by dugongs, and their bodies have adapted to life in the water. Umi is somewhat more adjusted to living in the air, but Sora might be dying. Not only that, but the thing that Jim and the boys are searching for, the 'ghost of the sea', may have appeared in Tokyo Bay. What does this mean for the boys, who seem more at home in the water than anywhere else? The art is absolutely gorgeous in this manga. The story is very intriguing, as well, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer

    The drawings are incredible, I actually picked up the volume for the art but art doesn't make a story. The setup is so long and drawn out. If you want a fast read this isn't for you and it felt like an environmentalist's story. I liked the two boys (Umi and Sora) raised by dugongs. I am as fascinated by them as Ruka. The scene where Ruka and Umi are in the rain and she felt like he was swimming beside her was fascinating. The story got good when we got to talk to Sora more, the older brother and w The drawings are incredible, I actually picked up the volume for the art but art doesn't make a story. The setup is so long and drawn out. If you want a fast read this isn't for you and it felt like an environmentalist's story. I liked the two boys (Umi and Sora) raised by dugongs. I am as fascinated by them as Ruka. The scene where Ruka and Umi are in the rain and she felt like he was swimming beside her was fascinating. The story got good when we got to talk to Sora more, the older brother and we meet Ruka's mother. Still more setup though - Ruka will spend time at the aquarium with her dad as punishment. Sora really gets Ruka's back up but we learn she's special. BOTTOM LINE: Quasi-interesting but very long winded.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mars Dorian

    A beautiful black and white manga (aren't they all?) about kids discovering the mysteries of the sea. After 300 pages, I still have no clue what's really going on--something about glowing wale sharks, mysterious ocean dying and boys that are semi-mermaids. Still, the magic and childlike wonder for the marine life is contagious. I flipped through the manga in a single go because I wanted to dive deeper into the aquatic mystery. The drawing style is simple and scribble-like, apart from the ocean an A beautiful black and white manga (aren't they all?) about kids discovering the mysteries of the sea. After 300 pages, I still have no clue what's really going on--something about glowing wale sharks, mysterious ocean dying and boys that are semi-mermaids. Still, the magic and childlike wonder for the marine life is contagious. I flipped through the manga in a single go because I wanted to dive deeper into the aquatic mystery. The drawing style is simple and scribble-like, apart from the ocean and its various sea creatures--they border on photo realistic depictions. It distantly reminded me of Luc Besson's The Big Blue with a slight magical touch. Now onto book #2.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    This was the first traditional manga I've read, so I had to get a bit used to the "backwards" reading style. In a storyline that brings to mind the animated movie "Ponyo," a little girl with a strange connection to the sea meets two brothers who are more ocean creature than human. This one was pretty fun, with enjoyable artwork. However, I wasn't always thrilled by the translation. It seemed as if the words most frequently spoken by Ruka, the main character, were "Huh," "Oh," and "What?" I found This was the first traditional manga I've read, so I had to get a bit used to the "backwards" reading style. In a storyline that brings to mind the animated movie "Ponyo," a little girl with a strange connection to the sea meets two brothers who are more ocean creature than human. This one was pretty fun, with enjoyable artwork. However, I wasn't always thrilled by the translation. It seemed as if the words most frequently spoken by Ruka, the main character, were "Huh," "Oh," and "What?" I found that rather grating after awhile.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan M

    Gorgeous and unique, but not really my style. Children of the Sea tells the story of Ruka, a young girl who is fascinated by two boys (Umi and Sora), who were raised by dugongs and feel a deep connection to the sea. The story develops very slowly - too slowly for me - but the concept is intriguing and I can see why this is such a highly rated series. I am so very glad that Viz is bringing manga like Children of the Sea to the States, though, because this is a beautiful volume that proves that co Gorgeous and unique, but not really my style. Children of the Sea tells the story of Ruka, a young girl who is fascinated by two boys (Umi and Sora), who were raised by dugongs and feel a deep connection to the sea. The story develops very slowly - too slowly for me - but the concept is intriguing and I can see why this is such a highly rated series. I am so very glad that Viz is bringing manga like Children of the Sea to the States, though, because this is a beautiful volume that proves that comic books can tell stories just as well and with as much impact as a traditional novel.

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