I reviewed this volume for Manga Recon, so you can check out the review over there. I did a better job writing about it there than I did here, I think.
This was one of my favorite first volumes of last year. I mention this whenever I can, but anyone who likes Bride of the Water God should definitely check this series out. It’s a lovely story with gorgeous art. Plus it’s hard to not like a really good story with mermaids (or mermen) in it.
So, there are some things that I am weak for. And other things that I am secretly weak for. Mermaid fantasy is one of those things I would beat people up if they accused me of liking to my face, but that I secretly read whenever I have a chance. Unfortunately, fantasy things starring mermaids usually aren’t that high-quality (see also: Pichi Pichi Pitch), but this is. This really, really is, and I’m a little sad it flew straight under my radar.
This is basically a retelling of Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid.” My only real complaint is that it sticks too closely to the structure of the story, and let me tell you that that’s not a real complaint. Countless details have been changed and made better, plus the art is absolutely to die for. It’s like if “Bride of the Water God” were actually “The Little Mermaid.” Anyone reading and enjoying that series would do well to check this one out.
The biggest difference between this and the original story is that the mermaid is now a man instead of a woman. All the stuff about the visit to the surface on the day of the birthday is set aside in favor of having this man be either the king or heir of the merpeople (details on the underwater civilization are sadly lacking). He saves a princess when she is tossed into the sea from her boat, and of course falls in love with her… apparently because she is warm and has a heart like a little fish. The somewhat unflattering comparisons he makes between her and fish are pretty hilarious just because he really wouldn’t have anything else to compare her to, but it’s played very seriously and not for laughs which makes it work.
Most of the detail in the first volume is spent developing the princess (the Evyione of the title). She is a princess, and after being saved by the merman, she is pulled off the beach by a handsome stranger who was going to commit suicide. She spends a day living as a commoner with him, keeping her identity secret, but she of course falls in love with him. Meanwhile, the merman is doing the whole curse thing to turn into a human, and the two meet at the very end of the volume. The whole “falling in love with someone else” thing promises to throw a wrench in the merman’s plans, and the merman himself looks like he will be a fairly alien being in society. He can’t speak, of course, but body temperature has so far played a big factor, and the first thing Evyione notices is that he is very cold, just as he noticed she was very warm when she fell into the ocean. It’s an interesting detail to focus on, to say the least, and I’m curious where it will go.
It is very, very pretty. The comparison to “Bride of the Water God” is not one I would make unless this had really gorgeous art. The male character fills in for the pretty character factor (he’s the one with the long flowing hair and is wearing nothing but what appears to be ribbons for awhile, and his tail is drawn particularly well), while Evyione is decked out in elaborate period costumes and has short hair for tucking into her fancy wigs. The author mentions the story’s supposed to take place in the 1700s, and the setting is a fictious European country that’s vaguely French/Italian.
I’m not sure when this came out. I thought it had come out earlier this year, but Udon’s site lists it as an August release. If you’re into pretty fantasy stories, they don’t come much prettier or more classic than this. Look for it, obtain it in any way you can, and hope that we’ll see a volume two release before the end of the year.