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Manga Artist Daisuke Igarashi Shares Inspirations Behind Children of the Sea

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Children of the Sea manga artist Daisuke Igarashi attended a talk show at Ueno's National Museum of Nature and Science on Wednesday along with film adaptation director Ayumu Watanabe and marine mammal researcher Yūko Tajima. At the talk, Igarashi shared some of his inspirations behind drawing Children of the Sea.

Igarashi said that he initially came up with the title for Children of the Sea because he liked collecting field guides for marine animals. "As I was looking at the field guides, I'd doodle some fishes, and before I knew it, I was drawing a little girl swimming with the fishes." At that time, he came up with the title Fish Girl, with the inspiration obviously being mermaids. As he researched models for mermaids, he recalled that dugongs look like humans when they're cradling their children as if breast-feeding them. "I thought it would be interesting if those children really were human. It also made me recall the story of Amala and Kamala, so I decided to write a story about children raised by dugongs."

Amala and Kamala refer to two "feral girls" from Bengal, India, who were alleged to have been raised by a wolf family. The story is widely regarded as a hoax.

When asked about how he juggled scientific accuracy with fiction, Igarashi said, "Although the art looks serious, it's hard to imagine that the story is factual. I think that manga is a free form of expression. I didn't want to make it like a documentary." If there is one thing that's factual about Children of the Sea, he pointed out, it's the basic idea that there is still so much about living creatures in the sea that has yet to be discovered.

One particular example where Igarashi took liberties is when he depicted a sperm whale as having upper teeth. He didn't know why sperm whales only had bottom teeth until Tajima explained to him that because they only eat squid they don't need teeth.

Igarashi also said that although the manga was published in the seinen magazine IKKI, he drew it with female readers in mind. "When you think of life, women come close to mind," director Ayumu Watanabe agreed.

Igarashi launched the manga in Shogakukan's IKKI magazine in 2007, and ended it in 2011. Viz Media published all five volumes in English. Studio 4°C is producing an anime film adaptation that will open in Japan on June 7. GKIDS will screen the film theatrically in North America in Japanese and English in 2019.

Source: Comic Natalie


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