Manga in 200 Words: Aqua
Premise: Mars has been terraformed into an ocean planet and inhabited by humans. One of the most popular methods of transportation is the gondola, and the main character dreams of becoming one of the undines who drive them.
Story: It’s a standard personal development quest: Akari wants to accomplish something, but an obstacle stands in her way. She’ll need to find her own path to succeed. Despite this simple formula, Aqua has a simple, earnest charm.
Art: There are very crisp lines and a good balance between light and dark. I especially like the undine uniforms. It’s nice to be able to see at a glance that all of these girls are undines, but that they are from different organizations.
World: I like the idea of a barren world being turned into a vibrant, living one, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Venice. I think that’s how this series charmed me.
Overall: Aqua is really short, and quite straight-forward, but I was surprised by its quality. The one real caveat for me is the slow pace (I’m not really hooked on slice of life.), but overall, I did enjoy this two volume series.