Posted by psgels on 23 September 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews

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You don’t often her people talk about Ningyo no Mori, or Mermaid’s Forest. It’s a shame, as it’s pretty darn awesome. You could call it a mystery romance with lots of morals and ethics, though it’s way more than just that.

Ningyo no Mori has chosen an extremely strong theme to be centred around: immortality. You can do so many fun things with it. The case is like this: there’s a legend about mermaids. Whenever you eat their flesh, you have the chance of becoming an immortal being. Still, only once every century someone manages to actually become a true immortal. Most people become disfigured, berserked humans, destined to spend the rest of their lives in agony. The story focuses at two people, who did manage to become immortal (after all, you wouldn’t have much of a story if they didn’t, right? ;)). One has been roaming around for 500 years, until he met up with the other, who had just been fed some mermaid’s flesh, in order to become food for the mermaids themselves (watch the show in order to know the reason for this. ;)). Right now, they’re travelling the world, in order to find a cure for their immortality.

With this concept, the show is able to do some amazing things. It consists out of a number of arcs, each focusing at a human who had some kind of experience with either a mermaid, or mermaid’s flesh. Each and every one of those arcs manages to drive to the boundaries of right and wrong, with amazing results. The fact is that being immortal isn’t that fun, and certain people become obsessed over the mermaid’s flesh, without even knowing that most people just get turned into hideous monsters for the rest of their lives. This anime really is excellent in toying with morals, ethics and most importantly, human lives. Most often, we run into people who have been suffering from the direct or indirect effects from the mermaid’s flesh for over 40, 50 or 60 years. One extreme case even lived as long as 800 years!

I have to say that each and every one of the cases, introduced in the different arcs were just awesome to see. They really belonged in the category of incredibly unique stories. Each episode, plot twists happen which you SO wouldn’t expect, only making each of these stories better and better. My favourite arc remains the one with the face-changing woman. So many original concepts are used.

And I haven’t even started about the art yet. Even though the characters look rather blend at first sight, the creators do know how to make characters scary. Evil characters are portrayed in such an amazing way, and during the climaxes of the show, the art really contributes to the overall feeling. The creators also came up with an extremely fitting soundtrack. By itself, it isn’t really special, but somehow, it really fits with the overall themes of this show.

Still, there’s one bad thing about this anime. The ending is rather anticlimactic, and left me with a rather bad feeling. Nothing really is resolved in the end, it’s really like some kind of open ending.

Overall, I really recommend this anime. It’s only 13 episodes, so it’s perfect if you have a bit of spare time. Especially if you like shows that really toy with human lives, it’s worth to check this one out. I greatly enjoyed watching it. ^^

5 Responses

  1. kacpy says:

    It was a nice series, the additional 2 episodes kind of surprised me with the sadistic kid, but hey! While watching the series, I don’t think I expected any kind of resolution in the final episodes so it didn’t bother me much. I was quite surprised at how well they juggled past and current stories though.

    Really nice series. Plus, chiaki’s opening was nice, too. :)

  2. Sacher says:

    If you get the chance, try reading the manga as well, it’s only 3 volumes long and in my opinion, better than the anime. It is also Rumiko Takahashi’s darkest work to date. Viz released it several years ago, so it might be a bit hard to find, but it is definitely worth it.

    I enjoyed the anime as well, and would compare it to series like Mushishi or Kino’s Journey, shows that make you think and place yourself in each character’s situation to see what you would do. Of course, all those three series do have another thing in common, the main characters can never stay long in one place and are, for better or worse, travellers.

  3. wontaek says:

    This series shows Rumiko’s potential to deviate from Inu Yasha and Ranma 1/2. I really believe her fame could have been greater if she invested more time into this series, but I guess she made tons of money from Inu Yasha.

  4. windy says:

    Yes, this one is just fantastic!!! I loved it!

  5. Scorcher says:

    Why such a high score??
    After reading this review I watched the show…it was rather mediocre I think…
    And there are a lot of annoying things about it…
    Like why Yuta is so fucking weak??…come on, he is like 500 years old, he had plenty of time to learn how to fight…
    Also the action scenes suck donkey balls…still images every time a gory scene pops up…
    I´ll say this deserves a 75/100…

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