12 April 2012 | dee.reid
"Splash" (1984) and "The Little Mermaid" (1989) + "The Godfather" (1972) = Undersea Anime' greatness!
If there is one thing that the undersea romantic comedy/fantasy series "My Bride is a Mermaid" has going for it, it's freaking hilarious! As my one-line summary would imply, this Japanese Anime' (Japanese animation, for the uninitiated) is a unique mix of "Splash" (1984), "The Little Mermaid" (1989), and "The Godfather" trilogy. Now in this day & age, that's what I call originality!
The series, from the Manga by Tahiko Kimura and distributed in the United States on DVD by FUNimation Entertainment, revolves around the comical mis-adventures of young Nagasumi Michishio, a 14-year-old junior high school student who is vacationing with his parents at Seto Bay. One day while going for a swim, he is saved from nearly drowning by Sun Seto, a beautiful mermaid (in a situation straight out of "Splash").
This was good and bad, for them both. The good: for Nagasumi, it's love at first sight with a real-life, genuine, flesh & blood mermaid! The bad: Sun Seto is the only daughter of the merman Gozaburo Seto, the head of the notorious Seto Gang, an undersea Yakuza (Japanese mafia) outfit. According to undersea law, either Sun or Nagasumi must now be executed, but there's a catch: If Nagasumi agrees to marry Sun, then he just might be able to avoid sleeping with the fishes, literally! Hilarity ensues as Nagasumi - who is clearly way in over his head and he knows it - tries to adjust to his new life as a groom-to-be and soon finds his home and life at school invaded by undersea gangsters looking out for his bride-to-be's best interests...
Let me just say: "My Bride is a Mermaid" is one of the funniest Anime' series I've ever seen! One week ago, I finally managed to catch the classic "Love Hina" (based on the Manga by Ken Akamatsu), another great series about a high-strung young guy who's in way over his head in a crazy romantic situation with a beautiful young woman (or in "Love Hina's" case, women). Nagasumi Michishio is not one of the romantically impaired shy guys common to this type of Anime'; he's also not a nerd. It's made clear that Nagasumi is a sub-par student in school, socially clumsy, and is also quite immature. In short, he's a loser, but a likable loser. As the series progresses, it becomes clear that he's developing genuine feelings for Sun; likewise, she's also developing feelings for him and she never loses hope in him.
One element that the series tracks expertly is Nagasumi Michishio's maturation from an unpopular, irresponsible 14-year-old high school student into a mature young man, however high-strung, who ultimately earns the respect, if not love, of his bride's family (who are violently - literally - opposed to their marriage and are always trying to find ways to kill him). Much of the humor in this series rises from Nagasumi trying to fit in with Sun's family, and the comically violent abuse and crazy situations he often endures as a result of his exploits.
And speaking of the Seto Gang, they are quite a colorful bunch; Gozaburo Seto suffers from an extreme case of the "over-protective father syndrome" and is constantly on the edge of comically violent outbursts; Shark Fujishiro, as his first name implies, is a Great White Shark (think "Bruce" from "Jaws" as a Yakuza enforcer); the conch Maki, Sun's closest associate, is only a few inches tall but don't let her size fool you - she's employed by the Seto Gang as a trigger-happy assassin and she's got a sharp tongue, a big mouth, and a conch shell loaded to the hilt with state-of-the-art weaponry to back her up; bodyguard Masa seems to be the most level-headed member of the group and one of the only members not opposed to Sun and Nagasumi's union; and despite Gozaburo's violent nature and uncontrollable temper, the most feared member of the Seto Gang is his wife, the sweet-natured Ren, who does not hesitate to let her fists do the talking when her husband and his employees get out of line.
With beautiful animation, lively and colorful characters and outrageous comedy, "My Bride is a Mermaid" is a delightful little series about life & love under the sea, and one high-strung young man who ultimately learns the value of love, responsibility, and growing up.