Children of the Whales

Children of the Whales

Children of the Whales anime cover art featuring Chakuro and other characters
Children of the Whales Cover Art

Overview

Children of the Whales is a supernatural anime that has nothing to do with whales, but everything to do with children. In this world there are two kinds of people (three actually as we learn at the end of the season), those with psychic powers called thymia, and those without.

Those who have the ability to use thymia are known as the marked while those who cannot use it are known as the unmarked. These people all live together on an island known as the Mud Whale, which drifts aimlessly across a vast sea of sand.

While you would think the ability to use thymia would be a good thing, it comes with a price. The marked only live to around 30 while the unmarked can have lives as long as ours. Because of this, the committee of elders (unmarked who are 75 or older) run the island.

Throughout the story we learn the secrets of both thymia, and the Mud Whale while also learning about other cultures within this world along the way.

Characters

There are three main characters who will be the only ones I go over in this section.

Chakuro is the teenage boy who serves as the protagonist for the series. His job on the Mud Whale is to record the history he sees unfolding before him without putting emotion into his records.

However, Chakuro is very emotional and generally a wimp and a crybaby. Because of this, he isn’t a very relatable protagonist and he’s not exactly someone I want to root for, unlike Akira from Devilman: Crybaby who isn’t a wimp despite his crybaby tendencies.

Lykos is the female lead of the series and is named such because that’s what was written on her clothes, much like how Zero Two from Darling in the FranXX is simply named that because it’s her code number.

Lykos was found on a deserted island which came close enough to the Mud Whale for a scouting mission to be sent to it. She’s apparently from a country known simply as “the Empire” which has the strongest military on the sand sea.

The third and final main character is Ouni, a troublemaker in his late teens who has spent most of his life in a jail cell within the interior of the Mud Whale. Ouni has the strongest thymia of anyone on the Mud Whale and is therefore a skilled warrior.

His dream has always been to escape the confines of the Mud Whale and see what the rest of the world is like.

Lykos from the anime series Children of the Whales
Lykos

Questions and Problems

Before I begin, this section will probably contain spoilers for the series.

I think the first thing I need to discuss here is the elephant (or whale) in the room: the sand sea. I don’t really understand how the sand sea works and it isn’t ever explained. Isn’t that just a desert? Why do they need boats to cross it? Why do things sink in it?

To make it even more confusing, at one point near the end of the season the sand sea is referred to as “waters.” Why would anyone refer to a sea of sand as “waters” if the only ocean they’ve ever known is made of sand? There’s no precedent for calling it that.

Honestly, out of all the things that don’t make sense in this series, the sand sea bothered me the most. It’s sand, not even wet sand, just dry sand that moves like water for some reason and yet still has the properties of regular sand when blown onto the Mud Whale.

The next thing I took issue with about the series is the random inclusion of song and dance into the second half of the season. At random points, the anime will cut away from some action seen and break out into a musical number with no explanation whatsoever.

Later on there’s an explanation given for one occurrence of this happening, but the explanation made just as little sense as everything else. Apparently song and dance are needed to control the movement of the island, and yet when we see other islands, this isn’t the case.

Also some of the songs and dances make baby ghost hands come out of the walls, but this doesn’t really seem to serve a purpose either. Honestly I have no idea what was happening in this series.

So the second half of the series was going downhill and I was ready to drop the rating, but then I saw a ray of hope. A rebellion was started on the Mud Whale and it seemed like the first interesting arc was about to begin since episode three.

However, this was quickly brushed aside because apparently when people are about to rebel you can just tell them, “hey, don’t do that, you’re losers who couldn’t even rebel if you tried” and they stop rebelling instead of getting angry and rebelling even more because that makes sense.

Conclusion

While I do have other questions about the series, they’re mainly about things which I’m supposed to be questioning after finishing the series. There were a lot of potentially interesting plot points brought up which were never answered in the season because they plan to have a second season.

Some of these questions include: why does the eye-patch guy have a demon eye? What’s so different about Ouni compared to the other marked? Will the marked ever leave the Mud Whale? Why are the bad guys jesters? (I don’t think that last one will ever be answered).

Normally having questions like these at the end of your season would be a good thing because it makes people want to watch a second season, however, I’m not yet convinced that there will ever actually be a second season. The anime simply wasn’t good or mainstream enough.

Children of the Whales reminded me a lot of From the New World in both the art style and general plot. I’d consider that anime to be fairly niche and Children of the Whales is similar in that regard. I just don’t see the series getting enough attention to justify making more of it.

Now, this is where the final issue I have with the series comes in. They set up the series as if it’s going to be a long running shounen, when I’d be surprised if it ever got more than the 12 episodes it has.

The Mud Whale defeated one of the Empire’s ships, but it’s explained there are seven more they need to defeat (which implies there is a lot more story to be told). Further, we were introduced to another country at the end of the series, but we never got to it.

It seems that there is a lot more world building to be done and this first season was just the prologue to a much longer story. Even if there’s a second season, I don’t think it could possibly tie up all the plot lines which were started in season one.

This anime would have to run for multiple more seasons and I just don’t see that happening.

In the end, I decided to stick with the rating I gave the series after watching the first episode which is a 6/10. The beginning is interesting because you want to know more, the middle wasn’t very good, and the end opens up a lot of new questions.

The OP for Children of the Whales is available here.

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