Review Vol.2 Secret of the Blue Scales (the)

Little Tokiko, 11, has returned to live in this seaside town where she remembers being saved from drowning 7 years earlier by what she thinks is a newt. While acclimatizing to her new daily life far from Tokyo, she maintains a certain hope of unraveling the mystery of this saving creature, or even of meeting her again. And it is with this thought in the back of her mind that she follows her fairly calm daily life in this setting between land and sea, with her grandmother, with her father, despite the mysterious absence of her mother, and by making friends with his classmates, including Narumi, this often mysterious boy who often has his gaze turned towards the ocean, as if he too was looking for something there…

After a fairly peaceful first volume but tinged with a bewitching scent of mystery and carried by a seductive visual touch, the second half of this short manga does not fundamentally change course, with various small stages of daily life oscillating between a possible supernatural and a more tangible reality. Here, Tokiko finally has the opportunity to explain herself and reconcile with Sayu, who lied out of jealousy. There, the small group of children wants to reach the end of a strange tunnel dug under the promenade by the beach, access to which is strictly forbidden by adults, and where our heroine finds a strange blue scale. Then Tokiko receives a mysterious anonymous letter whose handwriting resembles that of her mother and which fixes an appointment for her on the beach, the arrival of the summer holidays marks the arrival of the festival in honor of Lord Wadatsumi which is organized to thank the ocean for its benefits, our heroine and Narumi slip away in the middle of the night to observe enigmatic little lights floating on the water…

We will ignore the few surprising little facilities (no adult watches the entrance to the tunnel in the evening when it should be at all costs, really?) to rather let ourselves be carried to the end by the atmosphere apart from this manga. Because here, everything is definitely a question of atmosphere, an atmosphere where Yoko Komori continues to keep a blur between this part of the supernatural and possible mystery on the one hand, and on the other what is very real. Of course, upon arrival, we learn the truth about everything, even if it’s often very briefly: the case of Tokiko’s mother, the riddle of the tunnel, what the adults hide, the identity of the newt who once saved our heroine, what it has become today… and these answers are, in the end, often much more down-to-earth than expected and sometimes even quite dramatic. And yet, even knowing the whole truth, through Tokiko’s eyes, there remains this small part of fantasy, no doubt imaginary, helping to make the story soft, a bit melancholic and poetic until the end.

Really, you have to accept to let yourself be fully carried away by the atmosphere apart from this modern seaside tale, blurring its tracks for a long time between supernatural and reality, to discover a story having certainly its small imperfections but possessing a rather unique charm. As for the French edition, although it remains satisfactory overall, we will note all the same a paper that is a little too transparent, as well as a duplicate text in the afterword of the mangaka.

Review Vol.2 Secret of the Blue Scales (the) – Manga