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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/30/2005 Archived Entry: "Anime review: Mermaid Forest, Vol. 2 "Bitter Flesh""

Mermaid Forest, Vol. 2
"Bitter Flesh"

by Rumiko Takahashi
Distributed by Geneon

Review by Tom Good

Eating mermaid flesh grants some people the gift of immortality, but drives others insane or turns them into deformed monsters. Yuta and Mana came out on the good side of this gamble, and gained immortality and healing abilities from their supernatural snack. But when Mana gets hit by a truck, Yuta arrives at the clinic looking for her, only to be told that Mana has already left. He searches a nearby forest, which is rumored to contain the burial site of a mermaid. Then a giant monster dog attacks him, and it seems that the dog's owner may have her own plans for Mana.

This spooky story has a lot of sadness to it, in that the temptations of mermaid flesh prove too much for most people, usually with tragic results. Yuta and Mana find themselves struggling with adversaries who are more misguided than truly evil. And even though the two main characters escaped the side effects of the mermaid flesh, they do not seem to really enjoy their new lives. They wander around, not really fitting in anywhere they go, dealing with supernatural problems created by the same process that helped them.

The voice acting in this DVD works well. I especially enjoyed the voice of the Hunter in the third episode on the disc. Doug Stone created a fun, engaging "mountain man" voice, while wisely avoiding the familiar Yosemite Sam sound.

Though I liked this anime, I did not like it as well as some of Rumiko Takahashi's other creations, like Inuyasha. Inuyasha's larger cast of recurring characters and greater complexity make Mermaid Forest seem limited by comparison. Though Yuta and Mana are in an interesting situation, I did not become interested in them as people. The manga version of this story, Mermaid Saga, seemed to have a little more depth and interest than the anime.

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