Feb 3, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 709: Mermaid's Dream #3, 1995

http://www.comics.org/issue/731560/
I think this is the first comic I've read from this quarter bin collection I picked up that has made me want to go and track down the rest of the series. It's got that lovely, dark sensibility that only the cute style of manga can achieve. It seems at once adorable and sinister, and puts me in mind of the fantastic Mushishi. The story appears to have to do with characters becoming immortal after eating a mermaid's heart. All I can picture in my head is a typical manga badass cleaving poor Ariel in twain and eating her liver. Which, all things considered, is a pretty comical image. Don't judge.

The artwork is stark, which nicely reflects the characters' internal landscapes. The immortals are trapped in a world that is at once familiar and foreign, and what we're obviously seeing is individuals coming to realize the ramifications of living forever. One imagines it would be lonely.

As I say, I'm intrigued by the series. This is the final issue of this particular adaptation, though the whole Mermaid Saga has been collected in traditional manga form. I may have to see about tracking it down. It also turns out that Ms. Takahashi is responsible for the very successful Inu Yasha, though I think Mermaid is slightly darker than that series. The art style is the same, however.

I feel like I just don't know enough about manga to give a decent reading of it. Is this good? Is it doing what manga does well, or doing what manga is capable of? It drew me in, even with relatively little dialogue or plot. In a purely aesthetic sense, it's quite spectacular. I guess I'll have to wait until I find the full story to say anything about the narrative. The hunt, as always, is on!

To be continued.

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