Daisuke Igarashi’s series Children of the Sea is a beautifully illustrated, whimsical must-read that was first published in 2007 and has now released its conclusive fifth book, courtesy of Viz Media. The series follows the misfit Ruka, who is described as aggressive, athletic and unfriendly, and she quickly discovers her place might not be on dry land at all. Ruka befriends the enigmatic Umi and Sora, who were raised by dugongs (similar to manatees) and are currently being studied by the scientists at the aquarium at which her father works. The pair, which must hide their skin from the sun and stay moist most hours of the day, are just as intrigued by Ruka as she is them; they find kinship not only through their inability to fit in as normal kids but also share the same calls and visions from the sea that Ruka has had since childhood. Mysteries about Ruka’s past unfold as the community attempts to decode a parallel phenomenon; that is, fish have been both disappearing from aquariums and showing up on shores nowhere near their natural environment.
Children of the Sea is not for the impatient, as the storyline often ebbs and flows with lengthy, character-driven chapters that stray from the overall story but ultimately add a richness and emotional bond to each character. Igarashi spins a complex web of connections and relationships that can take a long time to pay off, and if you’re looking for a quick read, this probably isn’t your thing. Stick with Children of the Sea, though, and you’ll be rewarded by a truly gratifying read. Plus, if the story isn’t action-packed enough to keep your attention, the gorgeous artwork is more than enough to pore over.
For those inclined to check out the series, you can download it on Viz’s website or, if you’re not the digital comics type, wherever manga is sold.
What did you think of Children of the Sea? What do you look for the most in comics- the art, the story line, the characters, the action? Let me know by leaving a quemment below or telling me on Twitter!