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Mermaid Forest - Quest for Death (Vol. 1)

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An ancient Japanese legend says that if one were to partake of the flesh of the mermaid, one would be granted eternal life and youth. Yuta ate the mermaid?s flesh 500 years ago and became immortal. Since then he has had to deal with living a lonely never-ending life, watching his loved ones grow old and die. Wishing to have a normal life, to live and to die like others, he searches for a mermaid for centuries, thinking she may be able to tell him a way to become mortal again. When he arrives a village, he meets a girl named Mana, who also became immortal by eating a mermaid's flesh. Together, they start their journey in attempting to find a mermaid and regain their humanity.

Rumiko Takahashi's relatively short manga adventure Mermaid Forest was originally animated in 1991 as an OVA; this broadcast series followed in 2003. An ancient legend says that anyone who eats a mermaid's flesh will remain young forever. Yuta, a handsome fisherman, unwittingly ate some mermaid sashimi 500 years ago, and has spent the last five centuries seeking the peace old age and death can bring. In a remote seaside village, he meets Mana, a young girl who's been raised as a prisoner in a lonely hut. A group of mermaids is planning to kill and eat her to preserve their fading beauty. Yuta rescues Mana, and they begin wandering, searching for a normal life.

Mermaid Forest is considerably darker than Takahashi's longer, more popular works. The story suffers from major inconsistencies: Eating mermaid flesh only makes some humans beautiful immortals. The less fortunate become deformed monsters, but the reason for the differing results isn't explained. Yuta can't end his wearisome existence, although he's repeatedly told that decapitation will do the trick. A minor work by a major artist, Mermaid Forest is not for the squeamish. (Rated 16 and older: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007XBMJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,372 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
One of Rumiko Takahashi's most successful "side projects" is the Mermaid series, about a pair of immortals struggling to find a way to become mortal again. Don't expect the wacky action of "Ranma 1/2" or the mythic fantasy of "Inuyasha." Instead, this is a gritty, melancholy fantasy story.

It centers on mermaids, and what eating their flesh does to human beings. A tiny number become beautiful immortals who never age and can't die, unless their heads are cut off. But most people either cough up blood and die, or turn into bug-eyed purplish monsters.

In the first episode, Yuta has been wandering the earth for five hundred years, trying to find a mermaid so he can become a mortal again. One day he journeys to a tiny, secluded village, populated by eerie women who stab him to (temporary) death -- and are keeping a pampered teenage girl named Mana hostage. Yuta spirits the naive girl away, finds out that she's an immortal -- and learns the gruesome fate that the women have in store for her.

Later on, Yuta takes Mana on a cruise on the ocean, which brings back memories from a few centuries before. He was washed ashore on a small island, and soon fell in love with the chief's feisty daughter Rin. But a local pirate headman's wife, Isago, is after mermaid flesh, and is willing to kill to get it.

In the second part, Rin is captured by the pirates, and they now have a dead mermaid, which they think will give them immortality. But Isago has secrets of her own, and her own motives for wanting the mermaid's flesh. Now Yuta must save Rin from the pirates, who are turning into monsters -- even if he can't live happily ever after with her.

The first three episodes set up the series, which has Mana and Yuta wandering through modern-day Japan.
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Format: DVD
Mermaid's Forest is an anime adaptation of Rumiko Takahashi's Manga "Ningyo no Morii" released stateside as "Mermaid Saga" through Viz Comics LLC. Mermaid's forest was first adapted into anime in the early 90s as two 45 minute OVAs. This latest anime adaptation, released domestically by Geneon, is an 11 episode series which aired in Japan in 2003 on NHK.

Mermaid's Forest TV series is a fairly faithful adaptation of Rumiko's self-proclaimed "side project" Mermaid Saga. The manga (and Anime) are a departure from Rumiko's usual lighthearted romantic comedies and are in fact very dark and at time violently graphic. She has not abandoned her ability to create great believable characters which is truly where this anime shines.

Based around the mythical belief that anyone could be granted eternal life if they eat the flesh of a mermaid, Mermaid's Saga follows main characters Yuta and Mana. Yuta is a 500 year old man who partook of the mermaid's flesh and was granted immortality. He has wondered Japan searching for others like himself and a way to become mortal. Along his way he encounters Mana, a young girl who he soon realises has also ate the flesh of a mermaid. The first episode on this disc shows us the circumstances of the couples first meeting and quickly delves into the mysteries and the darker/terrifying consequences of eating mermaid flesh.

Each episode cross references each other but if viewed alone could easily be enjoyed as a stand alone story. Fans of Rumiko's work will no doubt want to pick up this essential series for their DVD collection. For those otaku out there who really look for great characters in addition to strong storytelling will really want to join Mana and Yuta on their journey through the Japanese countryside. The stories are at times strange and terrifying but always entertaining. HIGHLY Recommended!
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Takahashi Rumiko is best known for her silly & wacky antics type of storytelling ("Urusei Yatsura"; "Ranma Nibun-no-Ichi"; "Inu Yasha"). But 'Rumi-chan' has also touched the "Dark Side," and with surprising effectiveness. This presented itself when her publisher agreed to run a series of manga stories by her which came to be popularly known as the "mermaid saga."

In 1991, the first "OAV" ("Original Animation Video") of one of those stories-- "Ningyo no Mori" ("Mermaid Forest") --was released; this was followed two years later with the release of another OAV of a second Rumiko "mermaid" story -- "Ningyo no Kizu" ("Mermaid's Scar"). Ten years would pass before anything new from Takahashi-san's "mermaid saga" would be presented in animated form.

In July of 2003, Japanese television aired an anthology series called "Takahashi Rumiko Gekijyou" ("Takahashi Rumiko Theater") -- a showcase for a collection of her individual story ideas, which were all independent of one another. Three months later, the first episode of "Takahashi Rumiko Gekijyou: Ningyo no Mori" ("Takahashi Rumiko Theater: Mermaid Forest") was aired -- the program title being modified slightly with the added 'tack-on' at the end to distinguish it specifically as the animated adaptation of her "mermaid saga" and that, unlike the earlier "Gekijyou," this sort of 'second season,' if you will, would be an extended run of a series of interrelated stories. Labeling the entire series "Mermaid Forest," however, is a bit of a misnomer, as the title refers to one specific story of that name, but it's really nothing to nit-pick over.
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