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The Best Spring Anime is About Mermaids

June 6, 2013

muromiOK, so Flowers of Evil might be a little better, but whatever. Calling Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san the second best anime of the spring just doesn’t have the same ring to it, and it won’t piss off nearly as many people. Yeah man, that anime about fucking mermaids is awesome and stuff.

Here’s the standard starter statement for this sort of thing: I had no expectations for Muromi going into this season. Some mermaid anime? Didn’t they already do that with some Mermaid Melody Pitchi Bitchi Witch series several years back? And didn’t that thing suck? Yeah, no, I have enough cute, girly, talking cryptids in my life with My Little Pony. Then I watched the first episode. Not even sure why I gave it a shot. Think I might have seen someone on Twitter say there were some good gags or something, so I gave it a shot. Yeah man, apparently I didn’t have enough cute, girly, talking cryptids in my life.

Like just about any other anime comedy I end up digging, Muromi is mean-spirited. The titular character is something of a jerk. She’s the sort of ancient, bored god-like that takes pleasure in harassing mortals as a means of staving off her boredom, and her latest target of harassment is some poor sap of a Japanese boy who just wants to be left alone and do his fishing thing. Y’know, the very sort of easy target that anime comedies love to use as a punching bag. Muromi brings all of her mermaid and monster buddies to this kid’s fishing spot, and that’s about it. Mess with kid, zany monster antics, repeat and repeat and repeat.

It’s a simple set-up, but it makes for the sort of gags that I dig. It’s clicking with me since it goes off on weird conspiracy shit. Muromi’s lived long enough that she’s seen the Earth go through all sorts of changes, so she’s completely dismissive of human-driven climate change. She’s buddies with a yeti and a kappa. One of her best friends destroyed the mythological continent of Mu back in the day, and said buddy just happens to be the inspiration for the Leviathan story. It’s kinda like Astro Fighter Sunred with a Coast to Coast AM flavor rather than a Super Sentai flavor, and I can totally dig that. It’s probably a little zanier and otaku-centric than Sunred, but that just gives Muromi its own style.

The best bit in the series is how it handles Muromi’s irrational prejudice against dolphins. She fucking hates mammals who once lived on land and returned to the ocean over the course of history, and it’s all because of some asshole Nessie-looking thing she used to date. The jerk dumped her right as he was rearing to emerge from the sea and walk on land, found some hot member of his species, and trashed on Muromi like she were some kind of psycho-stalker. Psycho she may be, but the guy gave her a bum rap, and now Muromi won’t put up with any air-breathing sea-going mammals.

It’s all played for laughs, but it’s a bit more clever than that. Muromi’s all too aware of how irrational her behavior is. She knows she’s being a bit of a prejudiced bitch, but she willingly allows her feelings to dominate her behavior. Even when she’s confronted with the truth– that the asshole Nessie thing isn’t the ancestor of the dolphins and whales she hates and that her prejudice against them is groundless– she just can’t get over her eons-old ways. It’s a pretty clever way of tackling real world prejudice without being some sort of insufferable, preachy, smug sort of thing– play it for laughs while dealing with real world shit. That’s how you play it.

Yeah, I’m genuinely surprised by this series. I figured my favorite of the season would be Azazel-san, but it’s been more miss than hit so far. Guess it’s appropriate that Muromi’s filling in that slot this season, since they apparently air in a shared time slot. That’s a hell of a back to back right there.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2013 9:59 PM

    Yup, that show is hilarious. It also has the second best opening this season (if not first). If you like mermaids I recommend you Seto no Hanayome if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s just histericaly funny. I watched it I don’t know how many times and it always works.

  2. June 9, 2013 11:13 AM

    You beat me to the post I was going to do. Yes, Flowers of Evil is probably actually the best anime, but damn if I don’t love Muromi. Someone on Twitter actually linked the news post to me saying it sounded like my kind of show, and damn if it isn’t.

    It’s based off a shounen manga I know nothing about, but a key link is probably Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, who also did series composition on Wooser and Milky Holmes seasons 1 & 2.

    What I didn’t expect was that the animation would be so cool. So yeah, winner all around.

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