Children of the Sea Volume 1 by Daisuke Igarashi
Children of the Sea is as beautiful, deep, and mysterious as the ocean that the characters inhabit. Ruka is a young girl who gets in trouble at school for violently retaliating against a teammate at sports practice. She decides not go home and goes on a quest to see the ocean. She travels on the train reaching Tokyo at night and reaches an ocean view. A mysterious boy makes the pronouncement “The sea in Tokyo is kinda like a broken toy” and leaps over her into the sea. Ruka runs down to rescue him. Umi was raised in the ocean along with another boy named Sora by dugongs. They maintain their connection to the sea, their skin becomes unbearably dry if they aren’t submerged in water very long.
Mysterious ocean animal disappearances have started to plague scientists. Animals seem to become spotted with light before they vanish like ghosts. Ruka’s father works in an aquarium where Umi often hangs out. As Ruka tries to escape her troubles in school she spends more and more time in the aquarium, meeting Umi and Sora’s foster father Jim. He’s a foreigner with mystical tattoos who loves to surf. Sora is sickly and spends a lot of time in the hospital. He’s suspicious of Ruka even though Umi says that she “smells like them.” Ruka sees Umi and Sora occasionally glowing with the unearthly light that the ocean ghosts emit. Are they going to be the next to disappear?
Children of the Sea is available to read on the Sigikki web site. Even though it was available online, I just waited to read it until I had the print volume in my hands. The production quality for Viz’s signature line is excellent as always, and I think Children of the Sea had some of the nicest color pages that I’ve ever seen in manga. There’s an image of a diver floating in the ocean during coral spawning that is just exquisite.
The first volume sets up the plot and character relationships but the story is intriguing, with just enough mystery to leave the reader wanting more. I’m curious to find out what is going to happen to Umi and Sora in the wake of the mysterious ocean life disappearances. Ruka’s special bond with the boys and the sea seems to be developing more and more, so I’ll be interested to see if she becomes a witness to the ghost animals or something more. Children of the Sea is a very special and unique series, and it is definitely worth checking out the online preview to see if you want to buy the print version.