Children of the Whales Graphic Novel Volume 13 cover image
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
It is year 93 of the Sand Exile. The Mud Whale is an island city of clay and magic floating atop an endless sea of sand. On that island, an isolated community of exiled criminals, “the Fálaina,” clings to life. Some of them are called “The Marked,” because of their ability to use a magic known as “thymia.” Chakuro is the archivist for the Mud Whale, and he diligently chronicles the lives and deaths of his people, who are cut off from their own dark history.
As Children of the Whales, Vol. 13 (Chapters 53 to 56) opens, His Imperial Majesty summons Commander Astali, and the reason for this summoning involves Orca, who has been quite loyal to the emperor. Meanwhile, the struggle on Amonlogia comes to a surprising conclusion. However, the Mud Whale must depart the city without two of its citizens, and this decision will cause much strife between the mayor and some of his fellow citizens. Plus, the crew of the battleship, “Karcharias,” decides to do things the Mud Whale way.
[This volume includes bonus manga, “Day in the Life of the Moles,” and “A Note on Names.”]
THE LOWDOWN: The Children of the Whales manga, does what it always does, sail on as a wonderfully imaginative fantasy manga. It is one of the best graphic novel series of 2019, as it was in 2018, after being a top debut in 2017.
Children of the Whales Graphic Novel Volume 13, like Vol. 12, has a short page count. However, Vol. 13 is a hugely pivotal entry. First, creator Abi Umeda presents conflict on the Mud Whale that will yield quite a bit of tension and perhaps, antipathy between what will be rival groups aboard the ship. Orca's machinations, the emperor's deceit, and the fate of Ouni means that Umeda will have a lot of hot drama to offer readers.
JN Productions excellent translation offers evocative dialogue that fits Umeda's beautiful, textured art and also conveys the deep sense of disagreement and conflict in Vol. 13. Annaliese Christman's lettering and sound effects normally convey the sounds and fury of battles, large and small, but this time, the she captures the sound of more intimate and interpersonal battles.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Readers looking for unique graphic novels for young adult readers and teens will want to try the VIZ Signature title, Children of the Whales.