According to an ancient legend, mermaid's flesh can grant immortality if eaten. 500 years ago, Yuta unknowingly ate a piece of mermaid's flesh. For centuries, he travels across Japan, hoping to find a mermaid, thinking she may be able to make him a normal human again. When he finally finds one, he discovers that she and her companions have been raising a girl to be their food so they can eat her and take on her youthful looks. That is how mermaids stay young. Yuta kills the mermaids and rescues her, but she has already eaten some of the mermaid's flesh. Although he had to kill the mermaids, Yuta isn't too disappointed. Yuta's once lonely existence is now over, as he has found a companion in Mana. And Mana, who had been trapped in a small hut her whole life, finds delight in even the simplest of things. Together, Yuta and Mana attempt to seek out more mermaids, trying to become normal humans again.
If you are currently watching a long series that occassionally takes 2 week breaks (think Bleach and GrayMan), and you want to fill that spare time with some short, enjoyable anime, then you are obliged to see Mermaid Forest.
Mermaid Forest to me is a story of endurance, love and ultimately a moral theme follows through it. The writer of this anime is famous for many love animes, so it is no surprise this anime would eventually end up being one too. The whole story is like reading a book, with different chapters. Usually each episode represents a chapter. The theme of the show is
consistent through each episode, and I believe that is a good strength of the anime.
I also enjoyed the fact that this anime employed the use of filler episodes to flesh out the main character. I did not think that could be done with 13 episodes, but it was well done - :)
What then could be wrong with mermaid forest's story to earn a seven? Here is where the story fails: It does not connect with the audience in the way most animes do, but being that it is a fantasy story, we may overlook this fault.
Another problem with the plot is that the series of events occur in such cliche formats that they tend to become annoyingly predictable. ALthough this does not detract the enjoyability, it does not strengthen the overall anime either.
Finally, my last problem was that the story, in my opinion, was not, in the large view conclusive. I found this to be really disappointing as the final episode was so good!!!
The art of this anime is unique because it deceives you. It gives you the feeling you are watching an old school anime, while it has all the feel of a modern art-anime. This series was made in 2003, but the drawing is reminiscent of such anime as in 1987-1993. I do not think this detracts from the story, but actually makes you feel like you are watching a show from the past. As for this, I believe the art of the anime is consistent with the theme of immortality, which recognizes the timelessness of the art form used. I liked it, and give it a 9 for art.
The sound track for this anime was actually good, once you get used to it. I liked it. Overall, the sound for the anime is commonplace, and has nothing special going for it.
Character development is actually biased here. Whereas there are two main characters in this anime, the focus for the entire story is the man. As unfair as this sounds, it is not so bad. Eventually, you get to realize that one of the two main characters is simply playing a supporting role - and that is all you will ever get in terms of depth from this character. Now, this is not really a problem as this anime is, at best, a filler. I guess with more episodes, there would have been much more work put in.
The main character is well developed, and this is done by using fillers to build the individual. And you can get to see his overall frustration with his long life, and his search for humanity. It is painful to see his search go on for so long, but it is helpful to understand what he has been through.
CONCLUSION (with a little spoiler)
I did enjoy the anime. i did not come to it expecting much, therefore i did not leave disappointed. I believe many people would like the anime once they begin to watch it, but I know some people will utterly dislike this piece of work = and i think that is ok. You either like or hate, but i don't think you can love it.
The one thing i can say for those who watch this anime is that the last episodes are really good. I actually cringed at one scene. I hate to name drop, but the last episode would draw to mind the great anime "MONSTER." For that reason, it is worth watching.
My biggest problem was the scene that made me cringe was the scene that also disappointed me! I just thought that the anime should end on a note of the man finally finding rest from his journey. This did not happen, and that alone killed this series for me. I like conclusions whether happy or sad, just end the thing!
Sorry for my long review, but if you wish to kill time between episodes of a long series that just took a short break (think bleach, or grayman), then this might just do it.
Mermaid Forest tells the story about a fisher man named Yuta that, because he has eaten Mermaid flesh, now is immortal and is in search of a Mermaid to make him normal again. During his travels he encounters other people experiences with Mermaids and find a female companion named Mana to share his adventures with. The story is linear but with flashbacks from Yuta\'s life.
The overall feel in the anime is that it is drawn in very traditional ways and the techniques feel like that of older animes, but the series is actually produced in 2002. I think that this anime is one that devides
people into two camps,, either they like it or they don\'t. It doesn\'t stand out much and there isn\'t a clear red thread that goes through the series but the stories are interesting at some points. So overall a good experience, but not the best I have had. In the end a totally watchable series and it\'s somewhat thanks to that it\'s not more than 13 episodes.
Mermaid Forest is one of those great underrated anime series based on one of Rumiko Takahashi’s creations. She is the creator of some well known anime/manga series like Inuyasha, Ranma, Maison Ikkoku etc. However, Mermaid Forest is a bit darker and contains a well-balanced mix of mystery, suspense, horror, supernatural, drama, tragedy, and love/romance, along with a few light moments. I can’t put it into words, but for some reason this anime has the same feel and reminds me of the type of anime from the 80’s and 90’s (as the other reviewer described). It was very nostalgic watching this and even the parts that
would make the story weak or ridiculous made it stronger to me.
Story- If you are looking for something fun and lighthearted with the usual beautiful mermaids, this is NOT the anime to watch. The story is about the travels of Yuuta and Mana, who both attainted immortality by eating some mermaid sashimi (if you don’t know what sashimi is then you are missing out on life!). They are searching for mermaids to try to find a way to become normal humans again. Some of their travels tie into Yuuta’s past (Yuuta is 500 years old), and the episodes do a great job of combining past and present, somewhat similar to the “Highlander” series or movie if anyone is still familiar with that. During their travels, they come across other people who fell victim to or were affected by mermaid flesh. The story arcs are usually 2 episodes each—short enough to avoid filler material that longer anime falls victim to yet long enough to build an actual well-developed story without cliffhangers. The stories are tragic and very touching, and I really can’t understand why it’s rated as it is. It should be a 9 in my opinion.
Art- The art and animation is a bit dated but if you are familiar with Rumiko Takahashi, then you will feel at home. The animation itself doesn’t contain anything spectacular, but this anime is more story-driven and makes up for it that way.
Sound- The opening theme fits perfectly—mysterious, sad, the sound of a lonely journey and memories. The ending theme didn’t really catch my attention.
Characters- Yuuta makes me laugh because one minute he’s skillfully killing mermaids faster than Blade killing vampires and another he’s getting stabbed and killed by a lone lady with a knife. Sometimes I wonder where his 500 years of skills went. We also get to see what someone might feel after living for such a long time. As for Mana, she’s an enjoyable character because everything is new to her yet she’s always getting into trouble. She’s probably responsible for Yuuta getting hurt 99% of the time. As for the other characters, I thought they were pretty well developed for the amount of time given.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable anime for me and would be great for those who want to watch something with an older feel to it like the days of Akira or Gundam, or to the older crowd who wants to reminisce about how anime used to be.
For those of you who don’t know, this is a show that was created by the same manga-ka that created Ranma ½, Inuyasha, and Lum. I had actually never known of this show until I was just glimpsing at a list of dubbed anime. Having said this, the show is a bit odd in comparing it to the shows she normally does.
The story follows two characters the most part, a man and woman who have eaten mermaid flesh and so have gained immortality. Throughout the story, you can see the different changes of the world as years go by. In a way, this is
somewhat like RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne in that sense. A lot of times though, they do look back on Yuta’s life, sometimes making it a bit hard to understand exactly what is going on when we pop back suddenly into a new time frame. Once in a while, it is hard to pick out what is looking to the past and what is actually in the ‘present’ day time frame since some places never change. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just show Yuto’s life threw up till when he meets Mana instead of flopping back and forward.
The stories not only follow these two as they travel around but also seem to be cases in where others have been affected by mermaids weather eating their flesh, having ashes dumped on them, had drunken mermaid blood, or even just had someone they knew eaten by a mermaid. We get a sort of case file of the mysterious world of the mermaid powers which reminds me of shows like Petshop of Horror and detective anime, just a little more based on one specific piece of the mermaid mythos.
The idea of mermaids being able to give birth is actually a really cool thing to see and I love how they put that into the show. It’s awesome and I have never really seen that happen in a show so it makes it rather different then other mermaid tales. Another really interesting thing is that the went off the normal folklore of the mermaids looks, having them be beautiful women sometimes and then giving them a monstrous look when they are fighting someone. Most of the time now a days, we look at a mermaid and we want to see the beautiful women with flowing hair but in reality, the story of a mermaid was placed as them being true monsters, something to be feared instead of loved.
The artwork is pretty much the same as Inuyasha and all her other shows. It’s pretty much the same in how the eyes and coloring is. There are some things that seem a bit off in their faces, when looking straight on, they look rather flat but when looking at them in profile, they show more to the face. Other things like details on the boats and water is pretty good. The scales of the mermaid seem to be different when you look between when they have them on and when they wash up on shore. Though it feels like a show that had cut corners on many pieces of the animation, it was a normal thing for them to do stuff like that when this first came out so I still give them props for making it pretty enjoyable.
The voices are really bad in the English dub. Non of them actually match the lip flaps. As I kept watching it, the Japanese voices did grow on me but that didn’t help the lip flap problem which did get a bit better as the story kept going but never seemed all that good. For it being a 2003 show (No, I don’t know when the actual dubbing took place) I would of thought it would have been just a little bit better. Music is so so, not great, and again, not that bad.
A small note to anyone looking for the manga, it is under the name Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi.