Jul 1, 2016
Aqua (Manga) add (All reviews)
warashi (All reviews)
When I first picked up this manga, I liked the art. Now that I finished it, I love the story as well as the art. On hindsight, I realise that the narrator was already taking me on a journey like the undine she is training to be. The simple yet beautiful storytelling makes the seemingly mundane plot magical, the way a romantic traveller might slowly follow a river and gaze upon the surroundings and reflect on life. Another realisation on hindsight: everything fits the theme of water so well, from the actual setting to metaphors that lead to precious little insights. I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants a slow-paced yet meaningful reading.

Story: 10 Outstanding
The narrator travels from planet Earth to Aqua where she trains to be an undine, a gondolier in "New Venice". As she explores and enjoys her new environment, her discoveries and thoughts are communicated via message to a friend on Earth or the other characters around her. Hence, I as a reader get to see the world of Aqua from her perspective, which is instrumental in understanding the beauty of that world and its lifestyle. The setting itself is unique and, in my point of view, memorable because of the slow (but well-paced) storytelling, which fits the setting of gondola trips.

Art: 9 Great
The setting and characters were designed beautifully. Water is drawn so prettily here. I consider the visuals of the characters to hint the appeal of how they would guide tourists around Neo-Venezia. Alicia, one of the most popular undines, is truly gorgeous.

Character: 9 Great
For a 9-chapter story (excluded the oneshot), the characters were sufficiently developed. I see hints of the narrator's growth in her interaction with other characters as well her training as an undine. The other characters were told through the eyes of the narrator, who only recently arrived in Aqua so I am alright that I don't get to see many other sides of the other characters yet (yes, I look forward to the sequel). But each are interesting in their way and cause different interactions, which I feel are effective in telling this short-ish story.

Enjoyment: 10 Outstanding
I love stories that transform the mundane into something special, so I enjoyed this manga very much. Others who prefer a faster-paced plot might have difficulty appreciating this, though. Personally I think I would've liked this manga as a non-anime/manga fan and I would definitely re-read this in future when I want to recall the beauty of a simple life.