I have to give props to Netflix. They have been releasing excellent animes recently. The most recent one I’ve watched was Children of the Whales, and let me tell you that after the second episode, I was consumed by the show’s world. Let’s talk about that!
I’ll only be going over the story briefly to avoid any spoilers because this anime is not what you may expect it to be.
Chakuro is a 14-year-old archivist who lives on the Mud Whale, a moving island that floats aimlessly across and a sea of sand. A majority of the inhabitants of this island have been blessed and cursed with the ability of Thymia. Though Thymia may make the user powerful, it comes with a curse which results in an early death upon the Mud Whale. Those who have Thymia are called marked, and those without it, unmarked.
One fateful day, the Mud Whale comes across a passing ship. After being sent to explore the island for commodities, Chakuro meets a girl unlike any other he’s met before. After this day is when his whole life and world will change. During the series, you will discover the secrets of the Mud Whale and will also experience the events that take place that has been recorded in Chakuro’s archives.
The story and narrative in Children of the Whales are told through Chakuro and his archives he’s written down. This serves as an interesting way of telling the story. The only issue I have with this style of storytelling is that there are scenes where Chakuro isn’t in or able to observe. Technically we shouldn’t see those scenes. It’s really no big deal in my eyes, but I thought it was kinda funny to think about.
Chakuro is a 14-year-old who is the recording secretary of the mud whale. He has a “sickness” as his grandmother has said. A sickness where he has the tendency to write everything down. In the anime, Chakuro is the main character known as “The Destroyer” due to his lack of ability to control his Thymia.
Chakuro serves the purpose of narrating and telling the story of the events that occur with the people of the mud whale. He has a friendly personality and isn’t afraid of showing his emotions.
While Chakuro is aboard the passing ship, Lykos, he finds a girl in a strange girl who appears to be in a weak state. During this confrontation, the girl attacks Chakuro; Due to her weakened state, Chakuro manages to stop her. After the girl is brought back to the Mud Whale, her name is presumably “Lykos” due to a tag on her clothing.
Lykos is a former emotionless soldier of the Allied Empire, an evil empire set with bringing war and destruction to those in their way. Lykos recovers her emotions and defects to protect the people of the Mud Whale.
Sami has been friends with Chakuro since childhood, and throughout the years, Sami has grown very attached to him. She always worries about Chakuro’s well being and cares deeply for him. She is 13 years old and is the younger sister of Suou. Sami’s a cutie.
Ouni is a badass and the leader of “The Moles”, a group of troublemakers who live on the Mud Whale. He is a very skilled Thymia user, possibly making him the strongest Thymia user and fighter on the island. Ouni has a desire to leave the Mud Whale one day to see the world. He is best friends with Nibi, a fellow member of “The Moles”.
Suou is the older brother is Sami. He is unmarked and is extremely caring and peaceful. He has the mindset of solving issues and problems without violence, but through the series of events that take place, his look at the world changes. Though he may end up seeing the world differently, this ends up making him have an even stronger disliking of violence.
Liontari is a unique member of the Allied Alliance. Unlike the emotionless soldiers around him, he is shown to have loads of emotions. This may sound like he is a pleasant character, but you’d be mistaken for thinking that. Liontari takes joy in slaughter and bloodshed. He enjoys watching those around him suffering in agony, expressing emotion. So Liontari is basically crazy…
Art, Animation, and Sound
The Mud Whale
I was absolutely in awe by the beauty of the art and animation in this anime. The world is absolutely gorgeous. The lush island of the Mud Whale in contrast to the sand ocean is stunning. The Mud Whale is a gorgeous utopian island where everyone lives in peace. It’s an astonishing sight and a nice change from the normal modern art style.
The animation is nothing but perfect. The fighting in the anime is extremely well done. Every hit and strike made feels impactful and shows the brutality of combat. Along with this, the sound is near perfect. It helps make both the world feel beautiful, but in contrast, it makes the brutality of fighting feel extra deadly.
The sound and soundtrack is beautiful and helps build the world’s atmosphere. Sometimes, it can be over the top, but for the most part, it’s excellent. I usually mention OPs… so I’ll be sure to mention that Children of the Whales delivers an INCREDIBLE op. It’s beautiful and fits the tone of the anime very well. The full OP is below:
I love this anime. There is a theme of emotion and whether it’s better to have and express them, or if it’s better to have them suppressed. I love the art style and animation in this anime. After watching so many animes with a modern art style, Children of the Whales was an excellent visual change. The art style is unique but beautiful. Along with the art style being beautiful, I loved the world. The idea of moving islands upon an ocean of sand is brilliant and new. There really aren’t any flaws in the anime I can think of. I suppose the pacing at times is a bit slow, and there are scenes where the only thing going on is the camera panning from spectacle to spectacle while there’s emotional music playing. I think these scenes/sequences are beautiful looking, but they’re boring and don’t really have much of an emotional impact.
Other than those panning sequences, the story is excellent. The art and animations are excellent. The characters are well developed and unique. I was almost brought to tears at one point during the series. And finally, the sound is also beautiful. Children of the Whales is definitely worth watching and is easily my favorite anime I’ve recently watched.
Children of the Whales
A gorgeous and unique anime with an excellent story. An excellent refreshing story, world, and art style.