One summer vacation, Ruka meets two boys, "Umi" and "Sora," whose upbringing contains strange and wonderful secrets. Drawn to their beautiful swimming, almost more like flying, Ruka and the adults who know them are intertwined in a complex mesh...
Meanwhile, an unexplained anomaly is occurring all over the world: fish are disappearing. Thus begins a marine adventure of boys and girls to captivate all the senses!
First thing first the art for the character is can be crude at times. But after reading it for a while, you get suck in to the character designs. And not to mention the beautiful art for the ocean and sea creatures! The story is not for everyone because it takes detours for shot side-story's, so it can talk about the mystery's of the sea. The story is also these leave it up to the reader to decide.
It's defiantly not a story for these with weak stomachs it talks about human biology in great details like showing humans organs in a diagram.
Out of 100 Nobles watching...
100 were impressed! Really!
Here we have a perfect storm. I have a very big soft spot for anything Ocean/Aquatic themed on top of the fact that the realistic sketchy ink and watercolor art style of this work being something very similar to my own personal style when I pursued traditional 2d art when I was younger.
It may seem from the get-go I am biased to praise this Manga but even without a natural fit for my own tastes the story of Children of the Sea is something that is so unique and interesting it really stands out as a one of
a kind work of art. That said if you don't like lots of dialogue this may not be for you (though I would ask why you're reading books if not for dialogue).
The main character Ruka is a refreshing female protagonist with her own flaws and feelings that make her feel very real and believable; something that a lot of anime and manga lack in their characters. The author Daisuke Igarashi's attention to detail with his environments and depiction of wildlife as well as the dialogue itself really shows that he put in his research for this project and as a result has caused me to add him to my list of favorite people so I will remember to look into his other works.
No matter how good something is I tend to be at least a little critical for the sake of being so. Generally something will turn me off that won't ruin my experience, but will leave a lasting enough impression to make a work come a few points short of 100. That is not the case with Children of the Sea // Kaijuu no Kodomo.
Last Bit: Fun Kanji Note
The title 海獣の子供 uses 海獣 here for kaijyuu meaning a marine mammal such as a seal or whale rather than 怪獣 kaijyuu meaning a monster making the translation I tend to see of Sea Monster Children seem maybe a little off and maybe it should more accurately be Sea Mammal Children (which is fitting given the context of the story)? My Japanese is at a grade school level though so I'll try not to be a scholar about it...
With the movie adaptation of this coming out in the next couple of months, I might as well insert my five yen on the manga. Which I read almost a year ago. ...Fortuantely, I know what I thought of it then, and I know what I think of it now! And hoo boy, what an amazing manga this is!
Story- ACTUALLY Deep/10
There are a lot of works of fiction that people consider deep that I... don't. To a lot of people, human life is unequivocally fascinating and complex. Personally, I find human life to be overrated, and this manga's speaking my language! What starts out as
a supernatural mystery manga is actually a profound love letter to the beauty and majesty of the Earth and its oceans. And when I say profound, I mean profound.
To be fair, the esoteric glarble I mentioned just now is merely my interpretation of the story. But the way this is crafted makes me want to believe that it was the author's utmost intention and why I'm willing to give the accuracy of the manga's marine biology factoids the benefit of the doubt.
This manga gives us a simple wake-up call: We ain't special. There are a lot of really cynical works of fiction that do tell that point, but those almost come off as even more melodramatic and pretentious than a teen romance. Kaijuu no Kodomo gets the message across plain and simple. We are part of a grand and beautiful tapestry of life, and most of us have been ignoring it becuase of our own superfluous issues. Heck, we know more about the vacuum of space than we do about our oceans!
However, this story has a lot of disbelief to suspend. Stuff just 'happens' because 'reasons', and we have to deal with it (to put it in a spoiler-free manner). I personally interpret it as a m-m-metaphor (that word is so poisonous to me these days) for how we, humankind, are too small-minded to comprehend the massive beauty of nature.
The characters aren't as important as the main story. Like us, a lot of these people are just along for the ride. The most interesting characters are the titular children, Umi and Sora, without a doubt. They're the ones who drive mainly drive the narrative along, while the main character, Ruka, just passively follows them. The tattoo guy is a bizarre take on a main 'antagonist' who instead comes off as... just a guy.
Also, Ruka's mom has it going on. Just sayin' (sorry).
This manga is beautiful in a weird way. There are a lot of times where the characters aren't anatomically correct, but it makes up for it with gorgeous landscape shots and detailed textures. This is a visual manga, having a lot of chapters with almost no dialogue. Who needs it? Let nature tell the story sometimes.
Some people will probably find the movie more visually pleasing out of personal preference, but nothing's beating the occasional color pages of the manga, which have a (no pun intended) WATERcolor motif to their shading and textures.
This is one of the most beautiful manga I have ever read. Its message is simple and powerful while also not pretentious. I would have rated it a 10/10 if it weren't for the semi-loose ending.
But as much praise as I have given this, I can't safely recommend it to you. It all depends on the kind of person you are. I know a lot of people will find this to be utter nonesense, sadly. There isn't even a real conflict in the narrative!
The only basis through which I can recommend Kaijuu no Kodomo is- oddly enough- the Rivers of Light at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom (plus, the tattoo guy reminds me of Joe Rhoades). That performance tries to touch the soul with its homage to land-based life similarly to how this manga does with marine life. If you love that show, then this manga is 100% up your ally! But if you at least have an open mind going into it, then it should be a profound experience.
I was stunned at the lack of reviews for this manga and, as a result, I wrote my own. To sum up my opinion of 'Children of the Sea' in one sentence: It is one of the best mangas I have ever read. Ever. And that's saying something.
The manga is about a girl named Ruka, a girl who's better at using her fists to explain herself rather then her mouth. The result? She's kicked off the school handball team. In an attempt to run away from everything, she goes on a short trip to Tokyo and tries to find the ocean. There she meets
Umi, a boy who was raised by dugongs.
What this beginning leads to is a brilliant, almost surreal story of fantasy, mystery, and adventure, yet it's portrayed in such a way that you could almost believe it (and if you're like me, hope for it) to be real. It draws inspiration from folk tales and myths all around the world to create an atmosphere much like the one found in Hayao Miyazaki's films. In other words, if you like Miyazaki's films then you'll definitely like this. The story is a quest of trying to answer one of the most intriguing questions in the world today: "How was the world made?" And it does it in a way that makes it both breath taking, fun, and a wonder to look at.
On that note, the Art is wonderful. The style the mangaka (Igrarashi) uses is one full of sketch-like lines, with lots of cross hatching and shading in the process. It's not glossy or cute and the proportions aren't always perfect, but that doesn't matter. The art fits the story. The marine world under water and the small coastal town Ruka lives in are perfectly portrayed by Igrashi's detailed drawings of fish, natural scenery, and towns. There are many times when you'll simply stare at one panel on the page, soaking up all the marvelous detail in. An incredible world is created in those pages, and the art just sucks you into the story, letting you smell the ocean breeze, feel the waves, and simply live it all.
The characters aren't neglected either. On the contrary, they're all quite memorable, even the minor ones. They all hold a certain charm, Ruka, the girl who's not good at using words; Umi, the rather strange and cheerful boy; Sora, the sickly and sarcastic wanderer; and Jim, the old surfer dude covered in tattoos who takes care of Umi and Sora. Even the sea creatures have their own appeal.
In conclusion, if you haven't read 'Children of the Sea', read it. Now. The only bad thing about the series is it's languid pace, but even that is part of its charm. You'll definitely be set onto a journey that will take you all throughout the seven seas, and by the time you finish one volume you'll be wondering to yourself whether the world is really how it seems to be. That and you'll want to go swimming.