#1 Anime Review: Funny Merman Short

Ok, hello to thelittleshittyblog supporters and visitors! I have been quite overwhelmed by the response to my post The Drug Called Anime, and I thank all of those who liked and followed as a result of it. It reassures me that reviews are something you guys will enjoy.

So a big warm welcome to my new followers Desperadojiraiyan and Ruki. Also thanks to Arria Cross and JAVC Photography for the likes.

So since I am really excited to make my first review, I will start now…at 00:02. So, as a result, it will hopefully not be too long (but it’ll probably end up being long).

So the question is, what anime can I talk about so ‘briefly’?

Well, I have the answer. My first review will be on the anime adaption of Itokichi’s Orenchi no Furo Jijo.

Each of the 13 episodes runs for about 4 minutes per episode. So, this is really just a coffee bean to neutralise the palette between intense periods of hardcore anime binging.

Anime News Network, summarises the plot as:

Tatsumi is a high school student who lives on his own, until a merman named Wakasa takes up residence in his bathtub. His solitary lifestyle is turned upside down by the self-centered (but handsome) new roommate.

It is considered a humorous, slice of life short with fantasy at its centre.

In this review, there will be a few spoilers, but I will try to limit how much I tell. At the beginning I will talk about the overall package so that if you want to avoid spoilers, you don’t have to scroll all the way down to the bottom, risking seeing something you don’t want to.

What drew me to this anime was the fact that it features a merman. As a fan of H2O and someone who wrote their second-year thesis on the Mockumentary Mermaids: The Body Found, I have quite an interest in mermaid mythology. I’m especially keen on the portrayal of the ever elusive Merman, in the media. So I was hooked by the poster cover of a man with a fish tail chilling in a pink bath. Also, look at this image:

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via Anime News Network

…that Merman is way too pretty, naked and touchy feely for this show to not have suggestive interactions between the characters. If you hate any anime that even jokes about yaoi, then this show isn’t for you. Although this show doesn’t cross the boundary into Boys Love It plays with the power of suggestion, to create situations that would turn out a lot differently in other anime. They do this not only to attract viewers but to also create funny and weird situations, emphasising the lack of social awareness this merman has in this human world (hey, his sea friends never thought he was strange). Also, it all takes place in a bathroom.

I needed a break after finishing watching a long series, so the idea of 13, 4-minute episode show appealed to me. I wanted something light hearted and not too hard to process. It cleansed my brain of the turmoil that had started to spread from my reaction to the previous show I’d watched and refreshed my perspective. It’s a super easy plot to follow, designed for laughs and just a bit of fun. This is highlighted by its pastel colour palette and frequent use of chibi versions of the characters to exaggerate their personalities. So if you want a break from depressive dog kids and need a nice balm to ease the wound before taking on world lines of despair, check out this anime.

WARNING MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD

Ok, so you shouldn’t expect too much from this short.

The plot serves its purpose of being a very basic storyline to give the creators something to create. Obviously this was based on the manga of the same name, but I could imagine the director/producer wanted to find an easy project to make a little cash from. This isn’t the type of show that would bring in a lot of revenue.

There are a lot of loopholes in the plot and missing details, an important one being, ‘how did the merman get there’? You get the jist he was rescued by the main character, but the intro to the show tells you a different story as the viewer witnesses the main character instead being saved by the merman. Upon seeing that intro the first time, I’d really hoped this would be about how they came to be together, but instead we start after the main character’s world was turned upside down. For me, that is a shame.

I also feel that the intro didn’t need to be as long as it was considering how long the episodes were.

So my brief assessment of the characters:

  • Tatsumi – a rather boring high school student, who lives alone and seems to have very few defining personality traits bar he’s always busy and always nice (He needs to get angry more often)
  • Wakasa – a flamboyant merman who is pretty much the main source of humour in the show. His vibrant personality and lack of experience in human etiquette means he contrasts Tatsumi allowing the generation of many interesting events. He is also often the source of cuteness in the anime and easily the best character.
  • Maki – A sea snail man who has two different personalities. He makes frequent self-deprecating jokes whilst cleaning the bathtub. He can be quite funny at times. His design is disturbing.
  • Mikuni – at first confused for a ghost, he (I was certain he was a girl) turns out to be a jellyfish. He is shy and can quite literally not take up a lot of space. He is the cleanest and most considerate guest so Tatsumi is fonder of him than the others.
  • Takasu – an octopus man who is good at massages, loud and self-centered. Tatsumi is not keen on him. He was annoying. They also played with the tentacle fetish…yep, in that episode I was concerned about where the show was going to go. Had I stumbled upon soft porn?
  • Kasumi – Tatsumi’s little sister. Mistakes Wakasa for a girl at first. She is quite funny but makes very brief appearances. She has a rivalry with Wakasa as she competes against him for her brother’s love (and is jealous he gets to bathe with her brother when she doesn’t).

Design wise I loved how the show transitioned from realistic to chibi form, emphasising comic moments such as the decapitated head scene in the bathtub (watch it). It reminded me a lot of how in Panty and Stocking, the style varies to change the way the viewer perceives the situation. When they wanted Wakasa to look hot, they made him look more realistic. I also thought it was interesting how everything was in one environment. As an animation graduate, that was a smart move that would have saved a lot of time.

Overall this show is pretty good.

Even though I mentioned a lot of bad points, it has to be kept in mind it is only a short and I have seen a lot worse. At least in this show the stories made sense and they were genuinely quirky and funny. It was a show designed to make you smile and it did just that.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Review Updates | thelittleshittyblog

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