Published: Nov 25, 2009 to Oct 25, 2010
Score: 7.951 (scored by 668 users)
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SynopsisIn the midst of a blazing hot summer beset by water shortages, middle-school girl Chinami faints from heat exhaustion. Upon waking up, she finds herself in a mysterious town by a beautifully pristine river whose waters hide many secrets...
I started reading Waters because I like the author and rivers. Used to live near a river, and once was fascinated with the way it carried away the corpses of bugs and the filth of my hands, yet never seemed to dirty its water. At the time I was very young so I didn’t understand the hydrological cycle. To me the river was an invincible, cleansing place trapped in its own world.
The story involves a family and their home village. It begins with Chinami, who lives in a present beset by heat and water shortages. She passes out and wakes up in a place that no longer exists. A boy, his elderly father, and her are the only inhabitants of this village stuck in time. As Chinami explores this place she discovers the roots of her family, as well as memories no one was able to forget.
Waters walks a balanced line between isolated tales and an overall story: each generation of the family is explored in detail, introduced through the youngest and then starting at the oldest. Slowly it is revealed how all the generations are tied together by the boy who lives in the village.
Time passes quickly in this manga, zipping through many decades of life and showing the same cycles repeat in each version of an ever-changing culture. The titular water at the waterfall also displays this by filling the rivers in times of rain, evaporating in times of heat to return to the sky, and flooding the streets upon human intervention. Nature continues on, its water giving and taking human life.
Some people would want to see this cycle stopped, and see a static world created, where they can live continuously in their favorite moment. Whether this utopian illusion (pictured as the village) is the heaven most people want to see, a fond memory of the past, or a simple desire to keep hold of precious things isn’t really touched upon. Waters is not preachy, so it never seeks to teach lessons about life or death.
Yuki Urushibara is a fantastic artist, so naturally the environments look great. Little details like stones by the road or scrapes in the wooden floor are of course covered, but what separated this manga is the atmosphere. Mist, rain, the waves of heat assaulting an urban home, and sunlight flaring in the morning all enhance the mood. Like the author’s previous work, character designs are extremely limited; in this series however, almost everyone is part of the same family, so it only makes sense for them to look similar.
This wasn’t a masterpiece, nor was it the best water-themed seinen manga I’ve read. It was very good though, and in more ways than the kind of trashy-entertainment good. I enjoyed it a lot. read more
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