Volume 3 of "Children of the Sea" begins as Ruka struggles to process what she saw happen to Sora. Anglade wants to return to where Sora and Umi were found in hopes of discovering their secret, and Ruka and Umi go with him. Ruka seems vacant, almost like half of her is missing. And Sora seems to be speaking to her from beyond the grave... We also get to see Sora and Umi's life before they were captured, how they were caught, and how they came to live with Jim and Anglade.
This was an interesting volume, to say the least, full of bizarre but beautiful imagery. Ruka gets lost at sea (though not in the way you're thinking) at one point, and this sequence is especially evocative. I also loved the scene where Ruka, directed by Sora's voice, and Umi jump ship and go swimming with a pod of false killer whales. As I mentioned, some of the imagery near the end is pretty bizarre, but it's beautiful in its strangeness. It's a little disturbing in places, but that's intentional.
The story is getting pretty esoteric. The beginning was pretty normal, and Ruka's lost at sea sequence, though a bit oddly presented, fit the magical realism of previous volumes. Ruka's vacancy at the beginning is well presented, as is Umi's disconnectedness from this world. It was good to learn more about how Jim and Anglade and Sora and Umi came together. Another character, Dehdeh, an acquaintance of Jim's, is important in this volume. She was an interesting character, but her philosophical waxings are a little overbearing. The real strangeness starts with one of Anglade's past experiences, and Ruka soon has a similar one. These experiences relate to creation myths of certain cultures, myths that are kind of hard to wrap your head around. I'm not sure how I feel about this literalization of these myths. The stories are not the simple "God created the world" kind of myths, and it's hard to imagine them being factual. Of course, "Children of the Sea" is kind of a mythological story itself. At this point, I'm not sure whether some events are literal or spiritual experiences. Even so, I felt the strangeness of this volume detracted from the relative realism of the first two. It's still interesting, though, and I'm not sure where the story's will go from here.
"Children of the Sea" vol. 3 is just as beautiful and atmospheric as the previous two. The story continues to be compelling, though I felt the strangeness near the end didn't fit with the rest. I'm not sure I like the direction the story's taking. Still, I enjoyed this volume for the most part. It's definitely worth buying if you've been following the series.