Do you need something to lighten your mood? Look no further than My Bride is a Mermaid. This maniacal series and its joke-a-minute script pulls no punches when parodying other anime series. While some of these jokes fall flat or are perhaps lost in translation, many of them elicit a chuckle, and a few are downright hysterical.
The episodes in My Bride is a Mermaid Part 2 are, mostly, self-contained stories that involve large and ever growing cast of characters. To recap the events of the first 13 episodes: Nagasumi Michishio is a middle school student on summer vacation who happened to one day find himself drowning in the middle of Seto Bay. Sun Seto, a young mermaid, saves the day and rescues Nagasumi from a most horrific drowning death. The catch is that because Nagasumi has seen a mermaid, both he and the mermaid, Sun, must be put to death. The one loophole is that their lives will be spared if they get married, an idea which Sun's overprotective father, Gozaburo, absolutely despises. Oh, and he's a Yakuza gangster.
The remainder of the first set followed Sun and Nagasumi's trials and tribulations as they attempted to get to know each other and live together with Nagasumi's parents while attending middle school. Enter With the addition of another mermaid, Lunar, a pop-idol who desires to have Nagasumi as her man-servant, you have a full-fledged harem show.
The second box-set continues the adventures of Nagasumi's life as a student who is engaged and attending a school now run by Sun's family, a Yakuza gang all keeping a watchful eye on his actions. There really is no overarching plot. This show just focuses on Nagasumi and Sun's blossoming relationship while a majority of the cast tries to interfere or kill Nagasumi.
The cast of characters multiplies in this second set. The biggest new character is the "vexingly sexy shot-caller," Akeno, a samurai-type of girl who administers a Mermaid Exam. If any mermaid fails this exam, then they must return to the sea. Of course Akeno targets Sun with this exam, but she has ulterior motives for sending Sun back to the sea.
Other secondary characters, such as Kai, Mawari, and Class Rep get expanded roles with full episodes devoted to each of them. In fact, many of the episodes in this set focus on a supporting cast member and how they interact with Nagasumi and Sun. One episode features Kai Mikawa, the richest boy in Japan who doubles as a submariner. He goes to a doctor for a boil on his butt, but this diagnosis is misheard by someone else. Word quickly spreads that Kai is dying from an incurable disease, which leads to some long overdue hero worship for Kai--at least that's how he sees it.
A couple of episodes feature an unnamed, glasses-wearing wallflower known only as "Class Rep" to her classmates. She discovers that she has a crush on Nagasumi, who doesn't recognize her at all without her glasses on. Through a suitably bizarre series of events, Class Rep takes on an alter-ego as The Last Amazoness to mask her true identity . It's rare that a throwaway, background character as dull as Class Rep gets any kind of storyline--much less two episodes. The fact that she gets any attention from the series is the whole joke and it is pulled off hilariously.
While entertaining, the episodes lack continuity. They are as random and chaotic as the characters themselves. This box-set includes episode topics about crossplay, kidnapping rescue, and obligatory hot springs adventures. The set even contains a creepy harem/fan service episode where every female character lusts after Nagasumi, whether they are his age or older--much older.
My Bride is a Mermaid is an over-the-top comedy series that brings a lot of laughs with its anime parodies. The pace of the series is frantic and the jokes are rapid-fire. Many of the jokes use sight gags, yelling, and overreactions. Some jokes fell flat, but I found many of them to be hilarious. If you are not amused by these types of jokes in other series, be warned, My Bride is a Mermaid is 26 episodes of nothing but. Because of the insanity levels reached in each and every episode, this series is best taken in small doses.
Audio: An English 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a Japanese 2.0 track are included with this release. This is a loud series with much of the dialogue consisting of characters yelling at each other. The English track was clear and had some surround effects throughout the show.
In my review of the first set, I noted how the mermaids' awkward use of "ya" was annoying and eventually led to me switching over to the Japanese track. I am happy to report that I hardly even noticed any characters saying "ya" until the final two episodes. Of course, in those last episodes it sounds as if the voice actors are trying to meet their "ya" quota, but it never caused any teeth grinding.
Video: The video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The color palate is bright and the image is pretty clear. There were some noticeable compression artifacts present that are especially noticeable in darker or foggy scenes.
Extras: A textless opening and closing are included along with some trailers.
Final Thoughts: I consider My Bride is a Mermaid a guilty pleasure. I truly did not want to like this series at all, but every time I tried to hate it, there was a joke that gave me a good laugh. There are a lot of nuances that are annoying, but the body of work makes for a good comedy series. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you are willing to give My Bride is a Mermaid a fair shot, then you will be treated to a lot of fun. While I can't imagine a scenario in which this series ever sees the inside of my DVD player again, it provided enough chuckles, chortles, giggles, snorts, guffaws, snickers, and cackles to make it worthy of at least one spin. Recommended.