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Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel
Scrivener's Moon - Audio
Philip Reeve
Children of the Sea, Volume 1 - Daisuke Igarashi What an unusual book. I'm most closely reminded of [b:Saturn Apartments|6759151|Saturn Apartments, Volume 1|Hisae Iwaoka|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348033399s/6759151.jpg|6955905], not for the content but for the same slow and easy style of unfolding the story. Our viewpoint character here, Ruka, seems like a fairly typical troubled teenager. Things only get odd when she meets a boy named Umi, and discovers that he and his brother, Sora, were raised by dugongs. Manatees, yes. Something big is happening, but that's off to the side. Mainly, it's about the three teenagers, especially Ruka. I'm looking forward to seeing how the disappearances of aquarium fish, the comet, the large fish congregating in Tokyo bay, and Umi and Sora's search develop, but the concentration here was really on defining the characters.

The art took some time to grow on me. Honestly, the character designs are nothing to write home about, though they certainly are unusual in a manga. But when the artist moves to scenes of aquatic life, that's another matter entirely. They looked accurate enough to my eyes, but the real plus is just how beautifully drawn and designed the marine panels are. I love how the artist gives the animals a real sense of presence, like they're more than just lines on a page. If the characters had been given the same care, this would have been one of the most beautiful manga I've ever seen. But illustrating the natural world seems to be the artist's objective, and he does a marvelous job of that.

I'd recommend this manga to somebody looking for something a little different, who can take a slow build in a storyline. But this is especially a manga for people who will appreciate the stunning marine art.