Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Children of the Sea, Volume 2 by Daisuke Igarashi

Sora has gone missing from the hospital and Umi is frantic to find him. He goes down to the sea every day, using some form of Sonar to try and call Umi home, and then listening silently, with his whole body, wanting to hear his reply. Ruka has been depressed, too, as Umi no longer pays attention to her.

Meanwhile, we see a scene where Jim, as a young man, is taking part in a whale hunt with a group of villagers. Watching the scene from the ocean is a very pale or white-haired man. The leader of the village warns him against the young man and gives him a chant he must use when and if he sees the man. The villager tells Jim that the pale man is the one who appears when the King of the Whales dies. He is there to make sure that the villagers treat the carcass well.

Jim attempts to befriend the child, but when he takes the boy fishing at night, the boy holds the light horizontally, and is killed by a needlefish. When he dies, his body crumbles away like sand, and the fishing in the village dries up. The villagers blame Jim, but he takes off to search for other people like the boy, and found they were known on every island.

Ruka asks if Umi and Sora are those people, and Jim says he doesn't know. But he does know that both sets of people come from the sea. They discuss what might have happened to Sora, and again, Jim says he doesn't know.

Meanwhile, the strangeness ramps up. One scientist from the Aquarium finds a Malaysian butterfly dead on the ground in Japan. Ruka is looking after Umi for the Aquarium. She finds him at the seashore, on his back in the surf. He asks her to help him search for Sora, and she agrees. But a typhoon is coming, and Jean-Louis, a researcher at the Aquarium, tells them to come get out of the water so that they are not in danger from the lightning. Umi is upset that Sora isn't responding to him, and says he is no longer on this earth.

Ruka responds that maybe he is just really far away and can't hear Umi, so why not go in search of him? But her father won't let her go, because of the typhoon. As her father and his colleagues track the typhoon, Ruka goes in search of Umi, and to her surprise, finds him out in the midst of the storm. But he's not alone, fish seem to be dancing in the rain. He tells her that the fish come from where he and Sora grew up, and were brought by the storm. And Ruka feels something enter her with the storm, a feeling that she must do something.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital where Sora spent so much of his time, there is a thump, and Sora is back in his bed, miraculously returned. Umi tells Ruka that storms like the typhoon bring up spirits, and all of the spirits of the sea pass each other in the storm. He feels Sora's spirit pass him and calls out to it...

Meanwhile, back in the hospital, a woman named Anglade arrives. She talks with Sora and asks him if he wants to stay in the hospital or come with her. She says that Jim is trying to save him and Sora, but he has the method to do so wrong. Sora leaves with her, and they talk about times past. They discuss a legend about the ruler of the sky letting a drop of semen fall into the sea, which became a Rakshasa, an evil spirit. Anglade feels that this drop of semen might have been a meteorite.

Sora then vomits up a meteorite which is the same one that fell into the sea when he, Umi and Ruka watched. He decides to stay with Anglade for a while. Meanwhile, Jim is telling other scientists about Sora, and that Anglade is keeping him for a while. Also, Umi has lost his voice, but feels that the typhoon laid its baby, a maelstrom, inside him, and that it is slowly growing.

Meanwhile, more fish with white dot or star patterns are disappearing, and Ruka and Umi go in search of Sora and Anglade. But what will happen when they do, and what do all the fish disappearances mean? What is up with Sora and Umi? And where do they and the other children of the sea come from? And who and what is killing the others?

I have to admit that I was surprised to find out the scientist known as Anglade was a man, rather than a woman. Anglade is drawn in very much Bishonen style, with long, long hair, and I immediately thought that he was a she (you'll notice I referred to Anglade as a she in the review above. That's why.)

But the mystery surrounding Umi and Sora deepens in this volume, and more Children of the Sea are turning up. Unfortunately, all of them seem to be dead. Dead and badly injured, or dead and extremely deformed. But why? The story is tight-lipped, and we can only hope to find out in other volumes.

I found this manga interesting and intriguing. It's a deeper story than pretty much any Shonen or Shoujo manga will tell, so it's much more like reading a real novel than one of your usual manga. Nevertheless, I remain intrigued by the story and will keep reading. Recommended.

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