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. ^^