4.324 out of 5 from 38 votes
The country is in the midst of a heat wave, and with a lower than average rainfall there's a serious water shortage. As such, Chinami Kawamura and the rest of her school's swim club are relegated to running laps instead of swimming them, and in the heat of the mid-day sun, the young girl collapses. While unconscious, Chinami finds herself beside a clear, sparkling river in a deserted rural village where she meets a young boy named Sumio and his elderly father. But even after she awakens and returns to reality, Chinami continues to pass out and visits the same refreshing place - much to her mother's concern...
When Chinatsu moves from Tokyo to a rural village, she quickly befriends the locals with her effervescent personality, optimism, and unusual singing voice. But not everyone is as happy as she is: the people that the bubbly elementary school girl meets all have their own personal problems, be it a messy family situation or a long-ago death that still looms heavy on their mind. Luckily, Chinatsu's singing isn't just pretty; it also has the unique ability to soothe a person's soul.
These are two gently-told tales of conflict and loneliness. Both touch on subjects such as the fracturing of families, the inability to find peace after the death of a loved one, and the deterioration of rural Japanese life as all but the elderly relocate to urban areas. If you liked the tone or themes in one, you'd be sure to like the other.
Yosuke Yashiro's ancestors have been Shinto priests at the local shrine for generations, and the high school boy is poised to take over the family tradition. Their shrine is different from most - it houses the mysterious "mermaid's egg", which is said to ensure the town's safety and the sea's prosperity. However, mere stability isn't enough for some people, and one day Yosuke's father shows the egg to reporters in order to increase tourism for the small town. Soon, crowds of tourists start to accumulate, and huge buildings spring up along the shoreline. But there's not much room for the old beliefs amidst this rapidly urbanizing and tourist-obsessed town, and as the surrounding sea becomes increasingly volatile, it is apparent that certain local legends are real, and do not approve of recent developments.
Both of these watery seinen manga deal with the collapse of traditional, rural life due to mass migration to the cities, and large-scale development. They also have strong supernatural elements. Suiiki is much more relaxing/slow-paced.
In a world that is now dominated by religion, few exist who still believe in the old ways of magic and even rarer are those who still practice the ancient arts. Though branded by the majority as heretics, witches still exist across the world and come in many guises. From vengeful sorceresses and a shaman calling upon the spirits to protect her homeland from invading soldiers, to provincial witches in tune with the very world around them, these magic users remain relentlessly shunned by the institutions around them. But while religious heads and pompous rulers see their very existence as a stain on humanity, these witches have more to teach the world than we could possibly know...
Both series are about a young girl who finds herself in a magical land in a small rural community, a magical land which she has a special bond with that others don't. In each case, only her grandparents seem to have a similar connection, or to understand what she's experiencing. On top of all that, the two stories "feel" very similar.