Aqua is the prequel to the manga/anime series Aria, which I haven’t read or seen yet. I assume that you don’t need to read Aqua to enjoy Aria. (More on that later.) Aqua is rated T because it may include some mild language, but due to the nature of the book, I don’t see any reason why kids couldn’t read it as well. Maybe it would just interest teens more because of the teenage characters?
When Mars was terraformed, the ice caps melted too much, resulting in a planet that is mostly underwater. Because of this, Mars is now affectionately called Aqua, and a trade has developed for Undines, the talented gondoliers who ferry tourists around Aqua.
Akari Mizunashi has always wanted to be an Undine, and now she has her chance! She travels to the Aqua city of Neo Venezia, a replica of Venice, Italy, where she is hired by the Aria company. Under the guidance of Alicia, the senior Undine of Aria, and with the help of Aika, an apprentice Undine of another company, Akari trains hard to advance to the Prima level of Undines.
Kozue Amano’s Aqua is a very sweet, simple, and elegant manga. It is very slice-of-life–that is, it isn’t a grand epic or comedy, and doesn’t have a detailed plotline. Aqua is filled with observations about the world of Aqua and the simple joys of life through short stories. If you’re the type to crave drama, comedy, or a combination thereof, you might not enjoy Aqua. But who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised, like I was (because I like comedic drama as a general rule).
I wrote earlier that I believed you didn’t have to read Aqua to enjoy Aria, and that’s because of the nature of the stories: Each can stand alone quite nicely or be put together to make a satisfying whole. Kudos Kazue Amano for pulling this off! I can’t wait to read Aria!