Monday, June 8, 2009

IKKI from Viz and Children of the Sea vol. 1 Impression

Viz Media recently launched IKKI, an online beta that brings manga in a new manner. IKKI is a monthly Japanese publication with a focus on contemporary manga that launched in 2003. IKKI has since teamed up with Viz Media here in the states under the Viz Signature category and they are going beyond just print, they’re online. This new online magazine will be updated monthly and feature a series of manga, starting with Children of the Sea, featured in the screenshot. In addition to releases of the chapters from volume 1 of the manga visitors will also get to read an interview with series creator Daisuke Igarashi. The idea is that once all chapters from the first volume are release then the printed version hits shelves.

So first, Children of the Sea is a great story to begin with as it’s very deep. The art style is very un-anime, it’s fresh and real. Ruka is a flawed little girl, banned from her handball team and floating between her separated parents. Ruka meets a young boy Umi and eventually his brother Sora, two boys raised in the sea by dugongs. All three are searching for something, something the ocean holds in its depths. Volume 1 follows the trio as they not only search for this strange call but also as they discover one another, especially Ruka finding her place in life.

There are more story points than just this including global disappearances of fish from aquariums but the heart of the story really lies with Umi and Ruka. I’m sure Sora will come along as a deeper character later but so far the art matches what is a very compelling story. This is a must read online and really shows promise for what’s to come on IKKI. From the official press release future series include Bokurano: Ours by Mohiro Kitoh, House of Five Leaves by Natsume Ono, Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida and I’ll Give It My All … Tomorrow by Shunju Aono. Add to the stories interviews, creator profiles and manga fans will get a no-cost preview of new series without sitting in a bookstore reading the volumes of manga (this sucks by the way, buy the books, support the industry).

Times are tough, money tight, but manga fans need to suffer as Viz is taking care of us. Going online and reading free manga, un-pirated manga, now that’s the way to go, pretty sweet.

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