In a futuristic Japan, the waters have risen and the population has declined; everything is slowly winding down. In this quiet and reflective time, Alpha, a robot, cares for her owner's cafe in his absence. As Alpha lives her serene and peaceful life, interacting with humans and robots alike, the gentle twilight years of humanity are unveiled.
One hundred and fifty years after its terraforming, the surface of the planet Aqua - formerly known as Mars - is almost completely submerged by water. The town of Neo Venezia, a replica of the old Earth city of Venice, is a city that lives in harmony with the water, and is a popular destination for tourists. Akari Mizunashi is a young girl who dreams of becoming a fully fledged Undine - a gondolier who ferries tourists around the beautiful city. With help from her friends she progresses with her training, discovering more of the many wonders of Aqua and Neo Venezia along the way.
Neo Venezia, the pride of planet Aqua, is a quaint city filled with canals and easy-going people. Many companies operate their gondolas on the canals, giving tours to tourists and locals alike, but the most famous of them is the Aria Company. Follow the adventures of Aria's young apprentice, Akari, as she learns the tricks of the trade from her beautiful senior, Alicia. Together with her friends Aika and Alice, apprentices of rival companies, and their seniors Akira and Athena, they train their skills as gondoliers, meeting new people and learning new things about the city each day.
Another manga with a slow pace and airy art style. YKK and the second story of Hotarubi both feature a character who does not age surrounded by ones that do, which results in a sort of wistful melancholy.
YKK and The Walking Man are about as purely slice-of-life as any medium could hope to become. Both eschew any sort of conflict, choosing instead to serenely depict how everyday occurances and little things can bring unexpected joy into someone's life.
Kanae's husband disappeared without a trace while on a union trip. Though usually headstrong and independent, the woman becomes plagued with worry over what happened to him, and is unable to move on with her life. Thus, Kanae decides to hire a private investigator, and keeps running the public bathhouse to the best of her abilities, but the detective who shows up is disheveled and eccentric. As he tries to figure out the truth about her husband, Kanae must deal with the stress from a work-intensive job, meddlesome neighbors, and recurring nightmares in which she is drowning.
Some stories are quiet, introspective. Nothing much happens in them -- and yet, they are filled with meaning. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou and Undercurrent share this trait. Through the many quiet moments in them, we get a sense of the characters' hearts and minds, and we are the better for it.