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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:29 AM)
    *avoids
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:29 AM)
    Not a man who you’d try to get to read lgbt themed manga as he is cynical about the idea that manga/anime could respectably depict that. Avoid the whole political mecha genre finding the politics tacked on nonsense.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:27 AM)
    *In the sense he is a fan of gar anime
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:24 AM)
    He did manage to enjoy kill la kill though. And he loved the hell out of Eva.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:22 AM)
    Though I can see why he’d have a hard time enjoying persona 4. He’s into things such as perfect blue, Akira, ghost in the shell, legend of the galactic heroes, wants to watch monster along with Gar stuff, he has no time for anime comedies, most shounens bar jojo and full metal or anything girly, romcomish or melodramatic or anything with a lick of moe.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:17 AM)
    But then again, he tends to dislike “forced anime archetypal voice acting”
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 07:15 AM)
    @;(: I believe my brother also disliked the English voice acting for the game…and he probably hated Rise in Japanese especially, particularly because she was voiced by Rie Kugimiya.
  • jerkocaust
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 06:27 AM)
    None-sense? Is that what the kids are saying nowadays?
  • ;(
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 06:14 AM)
    @Jerkoff: can you please tell us when you’re done trying to look hardcore because no one in your real life cares to hear about your moronic none-sense? Thanks.
  • ;(
    (Friday, Aug 28. 2015 06:10 AM)
    @Emma: most of the games aren’t looked poorly upon (though for all my love for the series, it does have flaws), but the whole concept of the series and especially the original two go against Christianity and has a lot of stuff that bother censors. You don’t get much more touchy with judeo-Christian religions than fighting all angels and god. Like our god.

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