Mermaid Prince, review: melancholy and the joy of growing up

J-POP leads to Italy Mermaid Princea single volume consisting of three stories, all written and designed by Kaori Ozaki, famous for its delicate line and its drawings that know how to speak in the heart of the reader. Three deep and sincere stories contained in this volume that manage to excite with his poetry and his infinite sweetness.

Mermaid Prince – J-POP, review

If you enter the underwater cave, you may encounter a mermaid. In case you can see it, any wish will be fulfilled. In this promontory there is a small cave. We call it the Mermaid’s Cave. Although it is well known, from time to time it still happens that someone enters the cave because he believes the rumors that if they wait in the dark, they may encounter the mermaid.

Mermaid Prince: three deep stories that speak to the heart

As we said before, in this manga there are three different stories, but similar to each other, for the meaning they contain.
To read the story that gives the manga its name (I would have preferred it to be at the beginning) we have to wait until the end. The first story we come across is called Ametsukigaharait splits into two parts and focuses on a girl named Akari who seems to have nothing to keep her tied to this world apart from her best friend Fumika. Ametsukigahara is the name of the stop where they would like to go down, skipping school, but which in the end they never had the courage to do.

Akari is a quirky girl, she hides a disarming energy inside her, but she doesn’t seem to find her place in the world. The only thing is that he wants to be free and live without restrictions. There are too many limits imposed by society, too many rules to follow. What does it mean to be an adult? What does it mean to grow up and leave behind the carefree period without too much low and but childhood? Things change too quickly between the two girls when Fumika, who has always been afraid of the boys, one day tells Akari that she is engaged to Kaji. The small closed world created by Akari begins to break without repair and the two girls begin to distance on his way, looking for something to return them to.

Mermaid Prince – J-POP, review
Mermaid Prince

It is significant that the first thing the girl decides to do is go down to that stop, alone, to find out where she can go. Akari does everything to erase the melancholy she feels in her heart like bathing in a river swimsuit or even sleeping with Kaji, whom she met a year later, when she is no longer with Fumika. Because they both need to lick their wounds and erase their melancholy, until Akari makes a decision and finally realizes what he wants from his life.

In this story, the author explains in a sweet and poetic way what it means to be a teenagerthe feeling of bewilderment you feel at this uncertain age, becoming an adult and facing the separations and farewells that this entails.

The second story is titled Snow day and explores a very important topic, that is social exclusion through a pinch of the supernatural, which makes the plot even more magical. The protagonist is a librarian, who has no qualms about approaching two homeless people who have found refuge inside the building while the snow falls outside. She grabs the baby and reads him a story. A simple gesture but also of great human value. Still, are these two people really homeless or are they hiding a secret? A few days later the two disappear and find two wild boars, an adult and a now orphaned puppy. Time passes and when the first flowers begin to bloom, the puppy decides to return to the library, to thank him …

Mermaid Prince – J-POP, review
Mermaid Prince

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A story certainly dramatic but that speaks to our hearts: the mangaka in fact, it recreated a perfect picture, in a few pages, of the condition in which the marginalized live, but in the end, between melancholy and the tragic nature of history, here appears a light of hope marked by the arrival of spring.

In the third story that gives the manga its title, the writer proposes once again, as had already happened for the first, the issue of adolescence, with its insecurities and the pain of growing up. The protagonists are Matoria cheerful and carefree girl e Mugi, a melancholy boy and also angry at moving to Okinawa for his sister’s wedding. Matori is in love with Mugi, she is by his side and would do anything for him, but the boy finds it difficult to adapt, he would like to escape, until he finds something that interests him. It is a widespread legend among the inhabitants: if you ask a mermaid for a wish, it will come true. It seems that Kotaro, her sister’s husband and even Mugi’s grandmother have seen him. It will be the disappearance of Kotaro, the search for the ghost mermaid to bring the two boys together, who will share their respective frailties and insecurities of growth, of feeling alone and misunderstood by the rest of the world.

Mermaid Prince – J-POP, review
Mermaid Prince

Once again, they give us a perfect picture of what it means to grow, to be in a time when we are no longer children but not even adults, when we begin to face the first responsibilities and clash with the harshness of the world. And when we are alone everything may seem too much, especially when we lose sight of our landmarks. But when we have another person by our side with whom to share our fears and frailties, things get better and we can see the light even in the dark.

The graphic style

Kaori Ozaki uses not only words but also drawings to excite and convey the messages of the story. The characters are transparent and are able to convey the emotions they feel at a given time: anxiety, fear but also joy and relief. There mangaka uses the tacit in a brilliant way, that is, it invites us to observe the details contained in the tables, clean, without too many ruffles or details (the correct one in short), for example the footprints of the man in the snow in the second. story, to tell but without revealing too much. In this way he creates a poetic narrative, full of suspense and a thousand and more different emotions.

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