To be fair to Pink Hanamori, this volume shows that she actually writes fairly decent short stories, so it’s probably not her fault the second story arc was no good, it probably did have a lot to do with the story being condensed from the anime and rushed.  I always wonder how much the mangaka has to do with series which are “created by” someone else, but judging by her sparse author talks, she was probably told what to do for each chapter.  I don’t know that she wrote the Pichi stories in the front, but she says she campaigned hard to get the best of the Pichi stories in this volume to be the actual ending to the series and lost the fight with her editors, so at least that says something.

Anyway, there are three mermaid stories in the front.  One is a story about the love between Hippo (the penguin mascot that turns into a little boy) and the minion from the first story.  It was kind of a cute story, but a little bland because Hippo is really not a featured character in the series, and I just did not remember who the minion was by the time we got here.  I vaguely remember them having a relationship though.

There’s a story that only lasts a few pages that deals with the brother and sister who were affected in the last two volumes.  The situation with the sister is so ridiculous that I don’t even want to comment on it here.

The third story is the one that seems like the conclusive ending to the series.  Lucia comes down with a fever, and interspersed with flashbacks of when she and Kaito first met as children are scenes of all her friends talking about how she might die and what a good person she really is and what a shame it would be for her to go after all the fighting she’s done.  Aqua Regina appears randomly, and I honestly thought Lucia HAD died for a bit.  Of course this isn’t the case, and things wrap up with the mushy love scene you expect with this kind of series.

The last three stories are all one-shots from Pink Hanamori.  They’re not spectacular, but all of them are really really cute, and I probably would read another volume of her short stories.  The first is about a straight-edged girl who’s captain of the disciplinary committee who starts going out with a class troublemaker.  The encounter the two first have at the beginning and the way the girl proves her sincerity at the end were what made this story cute.

The second story is a Sailor Moon-ish story (almost literally) about two high school kids who were greek gods in former life and how they need to get a mirror back.  It was okay.

The third story was about two kids who need to protect a legendary, history-filled cherry tree on their school grounds and fight adults to do it.  There’s a love story in there too, and it was also just okay.

Basically, you’d do well to skip most of the rest of the series and jump straight to this volume to get the gist of things, along with a few bonus stories.  I… wouldn’t really think you’d really want the gist of things though, so you’d do best to skip the series entirely, probably.

So I did read the last two volumes of this series back to back.  I thought it would just be the conclusion to the last story arc, but this volume pretty much crams everything about the new story in, including the conclusion, and the last volume is side stories and one-shots from Pink Hanamori.  So let’s get into what I think about this series.

It had been quite awhile since I’d read volume five, but I knew the only things I needed to remember were that Kaito had lost his memory, there were two “villians” with nearly the same name (Michal and Michel, I believe, that may not be the exact spelling, but it was Michael, one with an “e” and one with an “a”).  Both were just intolerable sad sacks, and the young girl who was supposed to be a new love interest for Kaito just grated on my nerves horribly because she just COULD NOT BE CONVINCED that people liked her, and there were constant scenes where people would be friendly, she’d go off on a rant and crying jag, then people would beat themselves up for not “being there for her” more.

The entirety of the final battle with the villian, complete with incomprehensible fight scenes, strange insertions of a “true form” of the villian, and a puppet act at the end, along with redemption for all, was just one of the… most confusing and frustrating things I’ve ever read through.  This series may not be for me, and it may be intended for a younger audience, but this entire second story arc was just awful.  Princess Tutu awful.  Nothing made sense, and the rest of the mermaid princesses were brought back… you can imagine how this goes.  I know this is an adaptation of the anime, and I assume it follows the story, but the story was just too condensed here.  I bet a group of mermaids fighting underwater that transform into idol singers just comes across more easily in animation.  I don’t even know if the villian was supposed to be living in the sea, or on top of the ice, or what.  I assume the sea since some of the girls are mermaids at some points.  That doesn’t explain how they move around so easily as idol singers underwater… I don’t know.  I’m done thinking about the last story of this series.  Better to purge myself of it.

While the final chapter does have an ending which would be a good place to wrap things up, the more conclusive ending is in one of the side stories in the next volume.

Where on Earth did my review for this volume go?  I read it some time ago, but I can’t believe I wouldn’t talk about it.  Let me dredge up the general gist of things.

So the second story arc begins here, but things get much worse since the one constant in the series, the main couple, is split apart in the kind of amnesia story you can kind of expect.  Lucia spends most of the volume being weepy as Kaito hangs out with a new girl and is generally rude to her.  Things work out okay, but the story is much darker and somehow even less coherent than the first story arc.

I just… I just can’t get into this series.  It may be for younger kids, but this story arc didn’t even make sense to me.

This series just isn’t for me.  I can’t remember if I said this or not, but it really is for a younger crowd.  Even the epic scenes that happened here when the first story arc drew to a close (the entire story, for all intents and purposes… the only thing that let you know there was another story arc was a random panel thrown in at the end with a character you’d never seen) were too brief for me, and there really wasn’t much time spent on a lot of moments that could’ve used some fleshing out.  It turned out almost exactly as I imagined, except I didn’t see the twist with the two male villians.  I knew something was going to draw the other male in, but I didn’t know what it was.  I wasn’t too shocked, to be honest.

The mermaids are cute, though. The characters are for the most part cheery and upbeat, so the series will put a smile on your face, if nothing else.  I was a bit sad not much time was spent on some of the mermaids, because I thought interesting stories could’ve been told… even for the fourth mermaid that joined them towards the end.  I also enjoy the mythology and storytelling that’s used quite a bit… it’s just that everything’s so rushed, and the only thing that gets a lot of time spent on it is the relationship between Lucia and Kaito.  I can understand why, but I do wish more time was spent elsewhere, as I mentioned earlier.

Well, maybe they’ll be time for that in the second story arc.  Since it’s only a few more volumes, and it is a ridiculously happy girly series, I’m willing to see if maybe the second arc gets better.

I should’ve written these ones first, I would rather have the awesome Tenjho Tenge reviews at the top of the page.

So the plot does advance in this volume, the characters finally go down to face off with the main bad guy on his own turf.  They also meet a fourth mermaid princess, Caren, who doesn’t hang out with them and kind of hates them at the first.  They manage to free the captured mermaids (which includes Caren at that point, her twin Noel, and another mermaid), but the only thing we get out of this is that Caren finally likes them… and I guess they know the power in believing in themselves now.

There are some better Lucia/Kaito moments, and she lets him see her as a mermaid once again.  I would think that he would recognize her face, but I guess that’s not the case.  If my suspicions are correct, we have now met all 7 mermaids, though two of them (or maybe just one) still doesn’t have a name and pretty much just stayed around in the castle to get captured again.  I think the first story arc ends in the next volume, so I’m not sure if the remaining volumes have another story… maybe the Pure story?

I actually like the plot of this series a lot, and I like that singing plays a big part (even though it doesn’t make sense that they transform into idols)… it’s just not very well done.

How about something that’s the polar opposite of Tenjho Tenge? Hm?

I kinda like this series, but it’s just not very good. The battle scenes only last a couple pages, and most of the stories involve cute little girl-things that eventually get briefly interrupted so that they can save the day. There’s not much plot in this one save the building of the relationship betwee Lucia and Kaito, and it kind of feels like their relationship… I don’t know. Nothing else happened that involved destiny or the type of thing most other magical girl series would tie their leads together with, though I suspect that’s coming a bit later on. There are hints of stuff to come, but I feel like this came out either with the anime or was based on the anime, and the anime is probably better in this case.

Actually, there is some plot.  Aqua Regina appears at Lucia’s birthday party to tell her that she needs to gather all 7 mermaid princesses so that they can use the powers of their pearls and summon her so that  she can take on the bad guy.  That’s about it.

It does get better next volume… but only marginally.

This is a GIRLY series. Not just girly, but little girly. I feel guilty reading and enjoying this… but I do. I can read a short magical girl series about once every six months or so with no guilt… and I suppose this coupled with Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne puts me over budget, but KKJ isn’t nearly the guilty pleasure that this is.

The plot is way simple at this point, but I like the rules for mermaids and all that, and I like the main little romance… I even like most of the characters. I especially like the fact that they transform, then transform again to become the singing magical girls that destroy things with their voices. It’s extremely marketed, and I can just see the toys that would go along with this, but it’s fun all the same.

I’ll be honest here. I read the galley for this back in March or so, so I don’t really remember much about it other than I liked it. Let’s just wait for volume two to get more than just this rough assessment.