What awaits us on Okitsushima Island?
The newest work from the creator of Ai Yori Aoshi, Kou Fumizuki, doesn’t fail to leave an impact if you’re looking for some darn good eyecandy. Clearly, from the start of the manga, Fumizuki has been ‘doing his homework’ as Extrange puts it, as the character designs are drawn gorgeously and the background art is exquisitely done to the point of realism. However, after you get over the artwork, questions arise in the storyline, as Misaki could turn into a romantic masterpiece or just another harem.
The Story Thus Far
Goto Nagi is a 17 year old boy who has traveled from Tokyo to Okitsushima Island in order to visit Umi no Misaki (The Oceans Cape). However, when he arrives, he accidently bumps into a stunningly beautiful girl. The girl turns out to be Narumi Shizuku, who guides him to Umi no Misaki, loaning him her straw hat on the way. Apparently, she also loves this Oceans Cape, and is surprised to find someone else who enjoys it as much as her, as the locals never visit this place. A strong gust of wind blows the hat off Nagi’s head and as he jumps up to catch it, he realizes that he has fallen off the cape’s edge. Plunging into the ocean, he falls unconcious and begins to sink to the bottom, but Shizuku dives in and saves him. When he wakes up, Shizuku is giving him CPR, and when he shows consciousness, she quickly hugs him, relieved that he is ok. Nagi begins to apologize, saying that she shouldn’t have risked her life to save him, but she tells him not to apologize, as even if she died, it would only be her fate. When they depart, Nagi asks if he can ever see her again. Shizuku’s radiant smile falters for the shortest of seconds before reappearing as she replies that she hopes they will soon.
Nagi then heads towards his new home but upon arriving, receives a call from his father. His father received a promotion but his work requires him to be in New York, so he asks Nagi if he can stay at Okitsu for a while longer. Nagi agrees and hangs up, only to see a girl changing in the house next door. This girl turns out to be Nagi’s new neighbor, Nagumo Karin, who has quite a few of these accidental encounters with Nagi later on as well. Later on, Nagi meets Karin’s grandmother, Yae, as well as Karin’s sister, Rinne, and she instantly approves of him as her Niinii, or brother, from a quick glance. The day after introductions, Nagi attends school for the first time, and immediately bumps into a loli teacher, who like him, has recently come to Okitsu Island. She introduces him to the class, and he is surprised to find that Shizuku is in the same class as him. However, as soon as he waves at her, Karin pulls him aside to ask what on earth he’s doing. Shizuku walks over and coldly tells Nagi that she doesn’t know him before leaving the classroom.
The Fated Encounter
Later that day, during gym class, Karin confronts Nagi and asks how he knows Shizuku. However, before Nagi can answer, they are interrupted by a glasses wearing girl, Mitsurugi Soyogi. She asks what kind of relationship he has with Shizuku, to which he doesn’t answer. Karin and Soyogi begin whispering together about how “he still doesn’t know about [them]“, and annoyed at being ignored, Nagi grabs Karin by the shoulder demanding an explanation as to what is going on. However, Soyogi instantly grabs Nagi’s wrist and twists it behind his back, causing him to yell out in pain. Suddenly, amidst all the the chaos, they see a person in the distance watching them. That person turns out to be Shizuku, who turns and walks away. Back at home, Nagi is thinking about all the events of the past day when Rinne arrives at his door and asks if he can take a walk with her. They walk to a nearby beach and meet up with Karin, who tells Nagi that if he wants to know more about Okitsu Island, then he should attend the Dragon Festival.
A couple of nights later, Nagi wakes up to find loli sensei bending over him. She tells him to get dressed and accompany her to the Dragon Festival. Apparently, the Dragon Festival is a secret festival only known to locals, but Nagi and her have gained special access to view it. Once the festival is in session, Shizuku shows up dressed in ceremonial robes, and everyone bows down to her, much to Nagi’s astonishment. After forcing Nagi to bow down as well, Loli Sensei explains to him the legend of Okitsushima Island’s Dragon God. The Dragon God has Cape Maidens, who only exist to serve the gods and often served as sacrifices during the ancient days. Nagi finally understands what Shizuku meant when she said that it was her fate to die as this was her secret, her destiny of being a Cape Maiden. Suddenly, Karin and Soyogi appear behind Shizuku, dressed in similar attire. Nagi then realizes that they are also Cape Maidens.
After the festival, Nagi stares at the shrine, drowned in his own thoughts. He is interrupted by the arrival of Rinne, who tells him to follow her into the shrine and change into a set of robes. As soon as he is finished changing, Rinne kneels before him and places her forehead to his hand, causing him to jump back in surprise. Yae appears and tells Nagi to wait in the shrine, as she wants him to meet with the cape maidens. The three cape maidens enter the shrine and are told to kneel before the current incarnation of the Dragon God. However, when they raise their heads, they are shocked to find that the man sitting before them is none other than Nagi himself. It is revealed that Nagi’s mother was once a cape maiden herself, and despite the fact that maidens tend to give birth to girls, on rare occasions, males are produced. Nagi claims that just because he is a boy that doesn’t mean he is the Dragon God, but Yue replies by telling him that new Dragon Gods are born on the same day that the previous ones leave for the afterlife. That day is September 23rd, Nagi’s birthday. As Nagi leaves, Shizuku and the others ask Yae what they are to do. Yae answers by telling them that they should already know their duty. As the Cape Maidens, their sole job is to gain the favor of the Dragon God and devote their minds and bodies (Ohohoho) to his service.
About The Manga
Umi no Misaki is currently being published by Hakusensha and serialized in Young Animal Magazine. It is written and drawn by mangaka Kou Fumizuki, who is also known for the manga/anime Ai Yori Aoshi. Umi no Misaki is Fumizuki’s most recent work and in my opinion, displays an artistic prowess that exceeds his previous ones by far. Beginning in May of 2007, Umi no Misaki has one published volume featuring Chapters 1-9.
I can just hear Impz’s loli sensors entering ‘Berserker’ Mode
You will like this Manga if…
1. …you like good art. The illustrations are simply amazing. I think I’ve mentioned how impressive the artwork several times before, but it alone makes the manga worth a look. Fumizuki has come a long way since he first began creating Ai Yori Aoshi, as his artwork now features awe-inspiring backgrounds and very realistic looking characters. The detail that he puts into his work is unbelievable, as there is not a lack of quality found anywhere.
2. …you enjoy character development. Ai Yori Aoshi is known as one of the premier romantic mangas because of how Fumizaki takes the idea of a generic harem but turns it into something that genuinely stirs your heart. The relationship between Kaoru and Aoi is exceedingly well thought out and we should expect more of the same, if not better, from the characters of Umi no Misaki.
3. …you enjoy fanservice. There is no doubt in my mind that Fumizuki is one of the best at drawing a woman’s curves. But on’t let the idea of an ecchifest discourage you from reading this manga though, as Fumizuki always focuses more on creating a good storyline with spectacular writing to go with it. It’s always just nice to know that there are some damn nice treats waiting in store for the ever faithful reader.
I will admit it. I’m a sucker for romantic comedy manga/anime. There, I said it. Nowadays, it seems that if something doesn’t have romance in it, then I can’t watch it or read it. With the long delay between new scanlations, it was only by pure chance did I happen to run upon Umi no Misaki. Boy, was I lucky.
Umi no Misaki starts off with a bang, as Nagi is thrown into the midst of this mysterious island with no one but himself to rely on. At first, I thought that the plot was a bit like Pastel’s, with the boy meeting the mysterious girl by the oceanside and eventually getting to know her. Ironically, I was looking forward to a Pastel copy, as Pastel is one of my favorite manga series of all times. However, when Suzuku gave Nagi the cold shoulder when they meet at school, that’s when my ears perked up with excitement. Throw in a double dose of tsundere and a loli sensei and you have yourself a Kou Fumizuki Original. Despite uneasy feelings that this manga may turn into an Ai Yori Aoshi copy or ‘just another harem’, I am willing to bet that Fumizuki will pull something out of his hat that will make this one of the most touching mangas of the new year.
Normally you can identify whoever drew a manga simply by looking to some a couple of pages: we have as examples Rave/Fairy Tail, Death Note/Blue Dragon: Ral and Grado/Uro-oboe Ouroboros or Love Hina/Mahou Sensei Negima, just to reference some cases. There is some changes on their styles and they grow older and improve their skills but in very low degrees. But on this case, Kou Fumizuki has totally surprised me. He managed to improve both in the portray of characters with impressive fresh and looks and in the drawing of photo-realistic backgrounds that mesmerize the reader.
The plot itself, in spite of having the feel of generic harem, has a certain mystery quality on it and it’s well depicted, having a strong basis and development, unusual on the harem genre which tends to be more skimp on that department. The girl’s characterization is well done too and it’s funny seeing 2 and a half tsunderes as female leads.
How comes the boring guy always gets the girls…