Sunday, November 26, 2017

Children Of The Whales Vol. 1 Review

In a planet that is suffering from almost complete Desertification, Chakuro works as an archivist for Mud Whale a floating city that survives by scavenging wreckage and other cities. With the small community divided into two groups those who wield a Psychic ability called Thymia who are forced to suppress their emotions and doomed to die by the time they are thirty and a ruling class of unpowered people who work as the ruling class due to their comparatively longer lifespans. Chakuro while going on a scouting mission with others to investigate a city only to find a strange emotionless girl he names Lykos setting in place the slow unraveling of the hidden mysteries of not only the floating city of Mud Whale but the wider world as well. The universe of this story is a bleak world of hidden secrets, psychic powers, and war. Feeling fully realized and never losing its perspective from Chakuro's point of view making the conclusion so sad. From a naive innocence to what looks to be a soon to be the hard realization of the cruelties of man. It's a volume bookended by death and suffering and the cultural inability to express that emotion combined with being kept ignorant by those in authority. Who are seemingly scared of the power the Thymia users wield. While also showing that sometimes self-preservation is for everyone's own interest. As interesting as the strange cultural and burial practices of Mud Whale village are. Feeling like the carefully kept notes of an Anthropologist or a less intensively detailed version Nahoko Uehashi's The Beast Player Erin. It's when Lykos the laconic and lachrymose "Cassandra" that Chakuro finds on an abandoned island that really makes the story all the better taking what could have been a well-written story about a town in a dystopian distant future and introduces themes and plot elements more horrifying than the seeming caste system and prejudice on Mud Whale. Especially when it's revealed how Lykos became the way she was. It's heartbreaking partially due to seeing a character who has been portrayed as an almost shell-shocked emotional husk. Come to find some kind of companionship with Chakuro and his friends. While a strong story to its very core filled with little moments of joy at simple pleasures or real emotional impact. It is the latter half filled with the revelations about the true history that those in power on Mud Whale are unable to fight against. That turns the story into a truly great work of sympathetic fiction. Characters that are nominally developed die horribly and it affected me. Which is saying something because usually when I can tell it looks like a character's death is telegraphed. I check out emotionally and lose any kind of empathy for the characters. This did not happen I was deeply moved. As sad last words and halting confessions of love before the final moments are said. Only to end with what looks like a fate worse than death for the survivors. Simple and impactful in its storytelling and wonderfully dreamlike and wistful in art Children OF The Whales looks to have an expansive story ahead. Yet I shudder to think about what might happen in future volumes and exult at the opportunity to read more of it as well.

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