365 Days of Manga, Day 28: Aqua

 

Aqua1_450.jpgAQUA • Kozue Amano • Tokyopop (2007-2008) • Square Enix (Stencil, 2001-2002) • 2 volumes • Science Fiction • A (brief mild language)
Graceful young Akari moves to Aqua, the terraformed water planet formerly known as Mars. In the scenic capital city of Neo-Venezia (a recreation of real-world Venice, often looking a bit like traced photos), she ends up working as a gondolier for a company staffed entirely by other young ladies and managed by a goofy-looking cat-like creature. With little plot except for a crush between two of the girls, this borderline science fiction “landscape manga” focuses on creating a mellow, comforting mood. Lazy days, hints of magic and mystery, the reflection of sunsets and fireworks on the water– it’s like scenes from a Miyazaki movie (Spirited Away or Kiki’s Delivery Service) with a more relaxed work ethic. The art is pretty, the imagery delightful. The story, such as it is, continues in Aria (essentially the same manga, the title change was necessitated by the switch from Square Enix’s Stencil magazine to Mag Garden’s Comic Blade).
*** (three stars)
Aqua is a title that was reviewed in “Manga: The Complete Guide,” but it was only a brief review and didn’t include a comprehensive star rating. (The book hadn’t come out in English at the time when MtCG went to press.) For that reason, here is my final review of Aqua — it’s basically just as good as Aria, the sequel, although there are some subtle differences in the characters which appear in the story.
Today’s winner is Shana B. of Pennyslvania! Congratulations, Shana! We also have another photo of a winner, this one from Kathryn:
Kathryn.jpg
Prepare to receive even more manga, Kathryn! Soon there will be manga for EVERY seat on the couch! And for those who haven’t won yet, keep entering, there’s plenty of manga left!