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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/08/2005 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Mermaid Saga, No. 4"

Mermaid Saga, no. 4
by Rumiko Takahashi
Published by VIZ

Review by Tom Good

If you have read other Rumiko Takahashi manga like Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, or Inuyasha, the drawing style of Mermaid Saga will be familiar. In fact, one of the characters looks a little bit like Ranma. But the genre may surprise you. Mermaid Saga is a horror manga, reminiscent of traditional Japanese ghost stories.

The main characters, Yuta and Mana, are a couple who have become immortal by eating the flesh of a mermaid. You might think this would create a thriving market for mermaid jerky, but things are not that simple. Many other people who eat it are killed, disfigured, or driven mad by the effects. So Yuta and Mana investigate all sorts of spooky situations, and try to set things right.

In the first half of Mermaid Saga 4, the couple comes across an old, Western-style mansion where an elderly woman is haunted by a mysterious doll and a strange visitor who keeps returning from the dead. In the second half, they find a young boy whose mother has a dark secret. Each of these sections works as a stand-alone piece, so though this is volume 4, it is fairly easy to jump in at this point. Mermaid Saga reveals a darker side to Rumiko Takahashi. Sit by the fireplace and read it late at night to get the full effect.

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