Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Translated by:William Flanagan
Adapted by:William Flanagan
What They Say
Lucia Nanami, a mermaid princess, has taken human form to find her fellow princesses and save the seven seas from the evil rule of a would-be emperor, the ambitious Gackto. And now Gackto has kidnapped the boy Lucia loves. A final battle is inevitable, but Lucia has found only four of the seven mermaids, and defeating Gackto requires the magic power of all seven!
The fourth volume of Mermaid Melody brings with it the close of the Gackto arc; it, and all its many annoyances, are finally laid to rest. Before they are replaced by new annoyances, however, we must suffer through this final volume and maybe, just maybe, glean some entertainment out of it all.
There's a lot of story development this volume, which unfortunately highlights the weak central narrative; from page to page you'll often have to pause and mentally backtrack, and then look for the precise moment when the manga went from one setting and/or group of characters to another. It eventually becomes very frustrating, and it's not helped by a storyline that, even in the midst of its resolution, is still struggling for balance. Many of the reveals in this volume have either been seen coming a mile away or just aren't very interesting. Particular facets of the story are still unrealistic and hard to swallow; for example, the mermaids immediately trust Sara, the traitorous mermaid, upon her supposed redemption. There's also a bit about Hippo, the penguin�the less said about it the better, really, but let's just say it's tacked on and made no real sense in terms of story or plot.
It isn't all bad news, though. Although the execution is (as always) a mess, there's a fairly well written finale under it all. The series hits its most emotionally relevant chords yet, and the bittersweet ending comes as something of a shock after three volumes of mostly fluff. Perhaps most impressively, Lucia and Kaito's relationship has managed to advance past a point thought impossible before, and will hopefully prove an interesting component in the next volume.
Volume 4 of Mermaid Melody won't change your mind on the series one way or the other. If you have been riding the series out, however, you'll find that some of your effort pays off at the end of this volume. Does it mark a turn of more mature storytelling for the second half of the series, or is it just a fluke? I suppose next volume will answer that.
Mania Grade: C-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Del Rey
Orientation: Right to Left