Abi Umeda’s 2013 series “Children of the Whales” joins the ranks of VIZ Media’s Signature titles.

The Mud Whale is a large stone island that floats above vast ocean of sand. After losing one of its beloved residents, it holds 513 people including its young archivist Chakuro. He is unique to his predecessor for he is one of the many Marked who has the magical thymia. Though gifted with power, he chooses to take a more mundane role due to his hypergraphia, a compulsion to write. Many question his decision since he shares the same fate as the other Marked of living a short life. Still he does his best to make the most out of it but recording almost everything. Fate blows towards his favor when he joins the scouting team’s latest mission. They check out an abandoned Mud Whale and Chakuro discovers a young girl by herself. She tries to attack him, but his aura overpowered her and she fainted. The team agrees to take the weakened girl named Lykos to their home to recover. Chakuro couldn’t stop thinking about Lykos for she seems to have knowledge beyond those in the archives. However, neither knew the things hiding deep in history that are slowly rising from the sand.

“Children of the Whales” is a very detailed manga and its first volume lays a lot of foundation to its gritty world. It makes much easier for readers to process all the world-building with such a well-versed character like Chakuro. Umeda also puts a lot of work into the illustrations from the fine-line texture of the rocks to the unique aura symbols of the Marked. The theme of consequences or punishments seems to be very present as the story grows. The fact that the Marked have such a short life span compared to those without thymia makes it look like there’s more risks within the closed off community. Still, though the incoming future appears to be grim and dark for Chakuro and the people of the Mud Whale, there is hope that they can break through into the world they know little about.

Volume Three with hit shelves in March. For more information, visit VIZ Media’s website.