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Mermaid Saga 1 [Paperback]

Rumiko Takahashi

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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get lost in the "Forest" 27 Jun 2004
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Life is tough if you're immortal. That seems to be the general message of Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, starting off with "Mermaid Saga: Forest." It's creepy, dramatic, and after reading it, you may never look at a mermaid picture the same way again.
In the first story, a strange young man named Yuta is travelling through Japan. He's one of the few human beings who has eaten the flesh of a mermaid and become immortal -- most of them die or turn into monstrous "lost souls." He finds a mysterious village made up of vicious old women -- and a young girl named Mana, who has been made into an immortal without her knowledge.
Then it's flashback time, to Yuta's encounter with a young pirate girl named Rin several centuries in the past -- and a strange woman who wants the mermaid flesh for a mysterious reason. In the present, Mana and Yuta are taken captive by a white-haired young woman, who has been fed mermaid's blood -- and now she wants to switch bodies with Mana.
Takahashi clamps down on her humorous style in "Mermaid Saga: Forest." There's no pratfall humor, cute characters, or funny scenarios involving alcohol, nudity or magic spells. There's blood, amphibious "lost souls," some very nasty revenge plotting -- oh yes, and mermaids who make barracudas look cuddly.
And Takahashi weaves in some rather melancholy material about immortality. Sure, most people think it would be fun to live forever, but Yuta reveals that his wife aged and died while he stayed the same, and he tells Mana not to adopt a kitten because it will only die on her. And the romantic involvement with Rin is clearly doomed from the start, since Yuta would outlive her as well.
Mana and Yuta are a lot like Takahashi's other lead couples -- they start off on shaky ground, since Mana is basically a spoiled teenage brat, and Yuta is much older, with a lifetime of sorrow behind him. And her supporting characters are astoundingly vivid, like the ruthless land mermaid, or the old/young woman who was fed mermaid's blood.
Rumiko Takahashi strays into darker waters with "Mermaid Saga: Forest," an imaginative and suspenseful dark fantasy collection. Highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELL WRITTEN CLASSIC 2 Aug 2004
By Sesho - Published on Amazon.com
Men and women seek out the flesh of mermaids because it is said that if you eat it, you will be granted immortality. Of course, what they don't know is that there is also a chance of instant death, or even worse, of being changed into a horrible ghoul. Yuta learned this centuries ago when he and some of his fellow fisherman, curious to see if the legends were true, decided to eat the flesh of a mermaid. While some of his comrades died instantly, others changed into soulless beasts. Only Yuta was given the gift or curse of eternal life. Yuta doesn't want it. He wants to grow old and die like normal people. So he sets out on a quest to find more mermaids because he has been told that only a mermaid can reveal to him how he can become a mortal man again.

During his wanderings he comes upon a village of murderous old hags who seem to have mermaids living among them. You see, they can also change into human form and walk on land. He learns that they are keeping a young girl named Mana imprisoned there her whole life and have fed her mermaid flesh for some dark reason, making her immortal too. It's up to Yuta to figure out some way to save both their lives.

The second story in the book is a flashback to an earlier period in Yuta's life when he encounters some bloodthirsty pirates out to catch a mermaid for the sly wife of their chief. Left for dead, Yuta is found by a rival but much more civilized pirate clan and a love story develops between him and their defacto female leader.

The last story in the volume, "Mermaid Forest" takes us back to contemporary times with Yuta and Mana. Mana, not knowing about automobiles and such because she has been a captive all her life, walks in front of a truck and is taken in by a nefarious doctor in the employ of a family who owns "Mermaid Forest", on whose grounds, a mermaid is alleged to be buried.

This was a very well-written manga. I wouldn't say it was for kids because it has a lot of gore and more than a little nudity. There's a thread of sadness through the storyline when you realize that Yuta and Mana are truly alone in the world. I don't really get Yuta though. He has a chance to stay with the queen of the pirates but refuses simply because he doesn't want to settle down in one place. If he lives forever, what's wrong with living out a life with someone you love? This manga had a lot of elements to it: horror, love story, and adventure. Be warned that Volume 1 does leave you hanging at the end on a cliffhanger.

I would also recommend Highlander on dvd. Also, similar themes are dealt with in Interview With a Vampire novel and movie.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great storyline, great characters, great art. :D 28 July 2004
By Liolania - Published on Amazon.com
Mermaid Saga is something I've been longing to read since I first saw reviews for "Mermaid Forest". Now, the reason I had not already purchased it is because I didn't have it in my area, and I didn't feal like ordering from Amazon so, I waited patiently and Viz republished it!!!

Now, I AM VERY familiar with Rumiko Takahashi, but I have NEVER actually read her work, not to say I haven't wanted to, other things have just topped my list lately. But this was one of the things that topped my list, so as soon as I knew it was republished, I bought it. I know enough about Takahashi to know that she normally does humorous things, like "Ramna 1/2" and "Inuyasha". But even though this is quite serious, it is a very intriguing, unique, and engross tale of immortality.

This story follows a man(Yuta) and a young woman(Manna). Both of them have eaten the flesh of a mermaid in there life. Which in this, if you have EXTREME luck, gives you the "gift" of immortality. All others whom don't have the "luck", either 1. turn into a "lost soul"(A hideous monster), or die(personally I'd rather die!!!). There are 3 stories in this one: Part 1 and 2 of "The Mermaid Never Smiles"(Where we first meet Yuta and Manna, and the mermaids/immortality), part 1 & 2 of "The Village of the Fighting Fish"(A story that tales of Yuta's past), and the 1st part of "The Mermaid Forest"(A story following Yuta and Manna after TMNS). All the stories have to do with the same people, but the second story is more of a back story, I think that one is probably my favorite, but all of them are awesome, and make me excited and impatient for the next volume!!!

The art style is your classic Takahashi, but it is beautiful. I have come to appreciate and love her art style with "Mermaid Forest". The translation, especially for Viz, is excellent. Not all of Viz's translations are bad, but they seem to hit or miss a lot. ;P

So, anyways, if you like Rumiko Takahashi, manga, or good stories in general(and don't mind some graphic violence), then you will undoubtedly enjoy this volume of "Mermaid Saga".

God Bless & *enjoy* ~Amy
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly dark for a Rumiko Takahashi... 15 Jun 2005
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
I have no idea why I skipped over this manga. I love all of Rumiko Takahashi's titles, but the one she created as a "hobby"--Mermaid Saga--is the only one I missed. It is a very sad story--basically, it's a tale of love, immortality, and of course, adventure. Consuming the flesh of a mermaid grants eternal life, but being alive forever can be a blessing or a curse. Immortal lovers Yuta and Mana have been alive for a very long time, but neither wished for this--in fact, they both wish to die a normal, natural death. Becasue of this, they are both searching for the mermaids because there is a rumor that only the mermaids know how to reverse the immortality spell upon their victims. This is a good story, and the art is simple, yet lovely. However, if you don't like horor (-ish) stories with more than a little bit of romance, (or you arn't a fan of Rumiko Takahasi) then don't read it.
5.0 out of 5 stars I was so excited 11 Jun 2013
By Yesenia Rivera - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had searched almost everywhere for this series and I was so happy to find here for a cheaper price than Barnes & Noble!
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