Review - Seto No Hanayome

This will be a collecting point for my past anime reviews and future reviews. Please note that there will be the inevitable time references in these as they have been lifted from my old LiveJournal (I'll keep the existing ones there for now)

Review - Seto No Hanayome

Postby mistie710 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:11 am

People who know me well enough will know that I'm something of a fan of mermaids, yet it is something that anime has left alone somewhat and, when it has delved into the subject, the result has not always been that good. For example, while I rather liked the Mermaid series by Rumiko Takahashi, at least what there is of it, I was severely disappointed with Mermaid Melody Pichi etc., which appeared to try to use the legend as a poor quality rip-off of so many senshi shows going back to Sailor Moon and the like.

Then I happened to notice Seto No Hanayome (very loosely translated as "Inland Sea Bride" by the Wikipedia entry).

Adapted for television by the ubiquitous Gonzo, the series kicks off with the opening story which is full of the usual misunderstandings that you come to expect in such stories. The fact that Seto San (or Sun depending on the translation version you have) is a mermaid is only part of the problem; she is actually the only daughter of the local marine mafia (or yakuza), and her father has a series dose of overprotection! The story is that nobody from the human world is supposed to see a mermaid and, if they do, one or the other must die. Hence, when San rescues the drowning Nagasumi, the male lead of this piece, mermaid law kicks in and, to save their lives, San decides that a wedding between them will satisfy all parties. So how wrong can she be?

The opening story is, to my taste, very generic and can be seen in various forms in other anime and manga. It's a common theme in various maid shows, harem shows, even love triangles, so such comparisons with Tenchi Muyo, Kimagure Orange Road and Mahoromatic wouldn't be out of place here. It's what follows that early story, with the introduction of such charas as Spinning Shell Maki, the Class President (who reminds me of Slow Step's "Minatsu"), Zenigata Mawari (her name is a non-stop police pun!) and the Mermaid "Inspector", Akeno, that pushes this show, especially in the second half of the series where, amongst other things, we get to see Gozaburo (San's father) doing some very strange things along with the father of San's rival, the head of the rival Edomae group!

The series does suffer in places where it tries to conform to the standard that is often laid down for anime in these times, from the predictably up beat opening theme to the double-episode showdown at the end but it does have some episodes and situations that will have you in stitches, if they don't gross you out first! That, and the mermaids actually look reasonable, in other words, the tail actually looks like a tail rather than the "girls in tight dresses with a frill on the bottom" look that Mermaid Melody insists on.

I reviewed this from a fansub, though I'm hoping that this doesn't suffer the same fate as Mermaid Melody, mostly because it doesn't deserve to be rejected in the same way. (P.S. No, it didn't. It was eventually released under the title "My Bride Is A Mermaid")
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