Sep 26, 2009
Skadi (All reviews)
Man's relationship with the sea has always been one of awe and fear. Awe from its immensity and depth; fear from its power. Because we cannot explore it easily its mysteries that captivated our ancestors still resonate even today despite our technological advancements and control of our surface environment. Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Itekureta Koto~ tells the tale of two worlds fated to be apart but still must coexist as part of the same planet.

Umi Monogatari's story is part magical adventure and part romance. Marin and Urin are mermaid sisters from the sea world. One day they discover a ring that has fallen from the sky world and they resolve to go to the surface to return the ring to its owner. They don’t know that the ring was thrown into the sea by the heartbroken girl Kanon, who has just broken up with her boyfriend. Marin soon finds Kanon and returns the ring but she is unwilling to accept it back. Through these actions, a dark power is accidently awoken and both Marin and Kanon discover their secret destinies.

I was quite satisfied with the way the story unfolded overall. Unlike a lot of similar series the show manages to stay on task for every episode and not devolve into a series of filler and service episodes only to return to the main story near the end. There aren’t any "Marin and Urin go to school" or "Mermaids at the Hot Springs" episodes which I found quite refreshing. For the most part the story is told at a very relaxed and pleasant pace. There isn’t a lot of action though so I suspect some people will find its pacing to be boring at times. However, I felt there was a lot of powerful and complex drama, particularly near the end that kept me interested throughout. While not all of this necessarily works it was still quite enjoyable. The ending was also satisfying and complete, wrapping up all of the important story elements.

Marin and Urin are both sweet and likable girls. They are naive to the surface world’s ways though perhaps not as much as they probably should have been. We get a decent amount of back-story on the relationship between the two sisters and their past but it still doesn’t feel like you really know them that well. Towards the series climax the drama surrounding them is much more compelling and powerful.

Kanon feels like the most emotionally deep character in the series. She is a bit of a dark character, especially when compared to someone like Marin who is full of love and energy. Kanon is a girl who wants to be liked but just doesn’t know how to show it to people. Often what she does show is the opposite of what she feels and leads people to have the wrong impression about her. She’s referred to quite a bit as "evil" which I found a bit strange. Perhaps it is something that just can’t be translated well because she’s not an evil person. Her character grows tremendously over the series as she is able to overcome some of her emotional scars and accept and receive love as well as return it.

The supporting cast is very well done. The story does a nice job of making many of them fairly deep and interesting while keeping their actual screen time to a minimum to focus on the main storyline. Kojima specifically, as he appears briefly in the first half of the series, he doesn’t speak and he is seen through Kanon's perspective. So by the time we actually see him talking, the audience will have her view about him. Though we find that Kanon's viewpoint is skewed from the truth do to her own personality quirks. For a character that probably had less than 15 minutes of screen time through the entire anime he left quite an impression.

As a villain I found Sedna to be intriguing. Despite not having a physical form, she is a terrifying presence. Mainly because you can relate to that dark inner voice that everyone hears from time to time. She remains suitably mysterious throughout until the truth of her existence is finally revealed.

Visually Umi Monogatari is very beautiful. Both the surface and sea worlds are lovely and the magical effects and action are gorgeously animated. The character designs are also cute and realistically proportioned. I think my favorite piece of animation though was the EN theme which was just completely adorable and matched the song perfectly. The OP theme is a bit sleepy but I thought was very fitting as an introduction to each episode.

I enjoyed this series quite a bit and would give it my recommendation. Though I suspect it will not necessarily appeal to everyone due to it's pacing and lack of action. If you are in the mood for a relaxing series with good drama and romance and some lite action, then you should give this Sea Story a try.