MMF: Pretty pictures

I wasn’t able to get my act together to do a proper post for the current Manga Moveable Feast on Kozue Amano’s Aqua and Aria (Tokyopop), but I thought I could at least pull a portion of an old Flipped column from Comic World News:

Few recent releases seem as dedicated to appealing visuals as Kozue Amano’s Aqua (Tokyopop). A young girl named Akari has left Earth for what used to be Mars before overly enthusiastic terraforming left it mostly covered with water. Akari dreams of becoming an undine, or gondolier, in Neo-Venezia, and who can blame her? The prospect of boating around the canals of a gorgeous city and introducing visitors to its wonders is tremendously tempting.

There’s virtually no narrative tension in the book, but that really isn’t its purpose. Amano has gentler intentions. The small spine of plot involves Akari moving through her undine apprenticeship, though there’s nothing like the ups and downs you might find in the average shônen series. Aqua is more about sailing through dreamy cityscapes at a leisurely, welcoming pace. The company is pleasant enough, and Amano has a nice way with gently whimsical comedy. Most important, though, is Amano’s richly detailed rendering of Neo-Venezia. It’s a setting that allows you to lose yourself in an entirely undemanding way, and that’s always a welcome change of pace.