Children of the Sea Volume 1
VIZ Media
Author: Daisuke Igarashi
Release Date: June 2009
320 pages
ISBN-10: 1-4215-2914-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-421-52914-1
ICv2 rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ruka is a moody, withdrawn teenager, staying for the summer with her father, who runs an aquarium in a small seaside town.  Her boring life gets turned upside down when she meets Umi and Sora, a pair of semi-aquatic boys who were found at sea after having been raised by dugongs.  Along with their mentor Jim Cusack they’ve been travelling the world investigating strange mysteries, like the disappearance of fish from aquariums or how after a meteorite strikes the earth whales begin to sing a song never before heard.

Children of the Sea has a premise that could have easily descended into clichés and stereotypes but creator Daisuke Igarashi neatly avoids most of the obvious ones.  Ruka, self reliant and remarkably lacking in self pity, refuses to fall into the convenient category of plucky heroine; though anyone who’s read a lot of manga will immediately get that Sora’s aloof attitude towards her and frequent insults means he secretly "likes her" likes her.

The art is rich with photorealistic details which help to give the fantasy a solid grounding in reality, and has strong, emotionally honest characters which should make this young adult fantasy appeal to both fans of epic fantasy and contemporary teen dramas.

-- Steve Bennett