First Impressions: Mermaid Forest

Mermaid flesh might make you immortal.

But who wants to live forever?

Happy holidays, fellow otakus! I’m listening to my collection of anime soundtracks on shuffle, and I can hardly believe all of the wonderful stories, music, and art that I’ve discovered in just a year’s time (December of 2010 being when I first took the dive into the world of anime). I continue to feel my heart flutter whenever I rewatch my favourites such as Black Butler and Ouran High School Host Club, but I also hunger for more and more anime and manga series! Which is appropriate, considering today’s entry.

For breakfast today, we're serving up bitch-cakes, piping hot!

This one is yet another first impression (I’ve been checking out a lot of new series lately, haven’t I?) but I’ve been wanting to watch this series for what feels like forever. Mermaid Forest is an older series, and it begins with a bitchy girl named Mana who is seemingly treated like a princess by a creepy old lady called Baba. She lives in a village full of identical creepy old ladies and identical younger girls, but Mana is special above all others. She gets angry and throws her food at Baba, which is brought to her in bed, but Baba just smiles. Later on Mana is given a special fish to eat, which she devours whole-heartedly.

Nobody move, or I'll, uh... pierce her ears! And put in Hello Kitty earrings!

Meanwhile, a young man named Yuta travels to the village. He encounters a group of the old women and tries asking them a few questions, but they skewer him on a spear and throw him down into a rocky cave. Lucky for Yuta, he’s an immortal. Turns out he ate the flesh of a mermaid five-hundred years ago, and for the last hundred or so he’s been searching for a mermaid in the hope of finding a way to return to being a normal human who can age and die. Yuta heals, then makes his way to the village of women. He tries asking them questions, but they corner him again, so he bursts in on Mana and takes her hostage. However, he has to carry her, because it’s revealed that Mana’s legs have been bound so that she can not walk. The old women throw spears at both of them, and suddenly Mana is okay with being taken hostage. They hide out in the rocky cave from before, but a freaky purple monster appears and chases them. Mana tells Yuta that it’s a Lost Soul and they both escape. After that Yuta leaves Mana and returns to the village, still looking for answers from and about mermaids. However, the young girls from the village find Mana and take her back against her will. Another chase ensues, and Baba reveals all of the secrets of the village and why Mana has been kept bound for her whole life. I won’t give it away, but trust me, it’s good.

Trust me when I tell you that these are *not* Disney mermaids. Ariel will not be singing for you, and if you fall in that water, no one's saving your ass.

I loved this first episode. It was completely engrossing, not to mention scary, dramatic, and exhilarating. You begin the episode with all sorts of questions about this world, this village, and the mermaids, and all of them are answered by the time it ends. I like when an anime provides me with lots of details right off the bat so that I’m not still wondering what the hell the main characters are trying to do all the way in episode twelve. Yuta is a relatable protagonist, and the reveal of his backstory makes you care about him immediately. Mana’s background is explained as well, though not in as much detail, and she is a fitting co-star in this saga. The art is dated and creepy, but like I said in my review of Pet Shop of Horrors, I find that style works well with horror anime. I first heard of this series several months ago, and as soon as I found out that it was about immortals and mermaids, I knew that I had to find it. I was not disappointed, and in fact sat transfixed, my face merely inches away from my computer screen, as I watched this horrific tale unfold. There are only thirteen episodes in the series, but if the other twelve are as grotesquely mesmerizing as the first, I might have a new (to me) fav to add to my slowly growing anime horror collection.

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