Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Translated by:William Flanagan
Adapted by:William Flanagan
What They Say
Mermaid princess Lucia Nanami has survived several villainous attacks that also threaten her fellow princesses, her relationship with her beloved, Kaito, and the health of the seven seas!
When the evil Gackto captures one of Lucia's allies, she has no choice but to gather a rescue party and head to the deepest part of the ocean to confront her enemy. But in the deep-sea castle that is Gackto's fortress home, the magic of the princesses' pearls won't work. How can a girl survive in the enemy's lair with no more powers than those of a normal teenager?
With Volume 3, Mermaid Melody stumbles on in shambling, mocking unlife, determined to drag its barely coherent story and one-dimensional characters to the bitter, bitter end. And it gives it a good shot. There's much more story development than in past volumes; new villains are introduced, new princess allies are introduced, and a large part of Gackto's motivation is revealed.
Like a puppy who can't quite reach the table, though, Mermaid Melody seems to know where it needs to go but has trouble actually getting there. Quite honestly, I've seen car wrecks with more tightly woven plotlines. The face-offs between the princesses and Gackto's fan club have become several notches below "worth mentioning." While the new antagonists could have added an interesting dynamic to the proceedings (perhaps something other than "show up and get blown away a few panels later"), they waste little time in falling into the pre-established formula of instant defeat.
All this focus on the storyline leaves little time for relationship development, which has up to now been the story's relatively strong point. I must say I find Hanon's casual relationship with her teacher to be a little bizarre; she's allowed to escort him home from school when he's not feeling well? Even within the undeniably loopy framework of Mermaid Melody that's hard to buy...
Volume 3 really takes an honest jab at becoming a legitimately decent title, but it just can't cut it. The problems left over from previous volumes (meandering narrative, loosely tied-together stories, shallow characters) are still present, and these flaws are only magnified when a serious story framework is laid atop them. It's not a total wash, and there are a few scenes of dramatic impact, but by and large the story quickly loses any sense of immediacy or excitement it manages to muster.
Mania Grade: D+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Del Rey
Orientation: Right to Left