Brief (three volumes so far) manga series by Kishiro Yukito, the creator of Gunnm, following the adventures of a young knight-in-training on the watery world of Marmundo.
While traveling on her quest to become a true knight, young Ruliya is caught in a storm and sinks to the bottom of the sea. Her scuba-like armor keeps her alive, but the buffetting leaves her unconscious. Luckily she sinks near the shores of Lighthouse Island, home to Arrabarus and his young son Ashika. The island takes its name from the lighthouse powered by a strange, glowing sphere which may or may not be the spirit of Niselle, Arrabarus' dead wife.
Shortly after Ruilya's arrival, more visitors come to the island: Mad Scientist Alcantara and his minions Zycrow and Zykey. Believing the sphere to be the final ingredient for the Elixir of Life, Alcantara steals it, destroying the lighthouse and badly wounding Arrabarus. The intruders set off, with Ashika captive aboard their flying fortress and Ruliya following close behind. On her quest to rescue Ashika, she crosses paths (and swords) with various monsters and demons, and makes a rather... unusual friend.
First published in 1998, Aqua Knight is currently "on hiatus" according to Kishiro. Originally the story was a way for him to take a break from writing Gunnm; when he continued that series with the Last Order books, Aqua Knight was set aside again. A lighthearted adventure with just enough drama to keep things interesting, the story is wholly different from the dense cyberpunk world of Gally and Ido, but no less enjoyable for it.
Contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Ruliya's flashbacks in volume 2 reveal that her mother was a big time Jerkass who let Ruliya be bullied and often complained that her daughter wasn't as strong as her and Ruliya's dad.
- Action Girl: Ruliya
- A God Am I
- Author Appeal: Explanatory diagrams, sexy badass fighters, over-the-top facial expressions and science WITHOUT LIMITS!
- Boisterous Bruiser: Everyone who fights to a certain extent.
- Cool Sword: Well, cool dagger really, gifted to Ruliya by Tagmec - capable of cutting nearly anything but importantly; it can summon Tagmec and his Underworld forces.
- Collapsing Lair: Castle Zondac
- Deuteragonist: As much page time as Ruliya gets, Alcantara gets just as much development; for that more of the last volume surrounds him than Ruliya herself.
- Expy: Ruliya looks an awful lot like a grown-up Koyomi, whilst Alacantra's friend Augustus is Doc Ido.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Alcantara counts doubly - not only is he atheist in a world where gods appear regularly, he also lives on a flat world.
- For Science!: Of the "natural philosophy" kind.
- Gentle Giant: Gygro, the creature that essentially powers Alcantara's rolling base of operations.
- Gonk: Zycrow, one of Alcantara's servants - formerly an assassin.
- The Grim Reaper: Tagmec
- Horse of a Different Color: Of the "other predatory animal" type; the Knights that roam the oceanic side of Marmundo all ride Orcas.
- Ill Girl: Zykey, cursed with a disease that's literally eating away at her body, she's cured at the end.
- Improbable Weapon User: Alcantara's weapon of choice when dueling Ruliya? a massive nautical caliper (similar in design to a drafting compass).
- Load-Bearing Boss: Lord Basso; after Ruliya defeats him, Castle Zondac crumbles into the sea.
- Low Fantasy: Cut from the same cloth as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen's tales. It's loaded with foreshadowing and potential arcs though, and, had it run any longer, might have expanded into High Fantasy.
- MacGuffin: "Niselle"
- Mad Scientist: Alcantara, his vast intellect is at the center of a great deal of his inventions.
- Magitek: Alcantara's inventions and the Aqua Knights' armor
- Ms. Fanservice: Great detail is put into Ruliya's assets and physique.
- Only Six Faces: Not that few, but you will recognise Kishiro's reuse of face types if you have read his other works. And it goes both ways: Zycrow later gets wholesale transplanted into the Last Order as a Tzykrow, Gally's Jerkass Panzer Kunst teacher.
- Planet of Hats: Zygote, land of precision and science
- Red Is Heroic: Ruliya. Her outfit is entirely red and she has hair to boot.
- Robot Girl: Zykey; Alcantara built her a clockwork body to replace her own vanishing flesh.
- Sea Monster: Ashika encounters the great leviathan that swims through all of Marmundo at the edge of the world - it's large enough to swallow whole islands.
- Sword Fight: Ruliya has three major duels over the course of the series (conveniently making it one major duel per book if read in the collected format); first is a test bestowed by Arrabarus, second is against Basso, finally her last and most difficult duel is against Alcantara.
- Talking Animal: Zuma the Blue Cat
- Talking the Monster to Death - Unusually, used by a villain
- Verbal Tic: Tagmec, who has a habit of randomly ending his sentences with "Bone."
- Villain Song: Alcantara gets a really good one.