Mania Grade: B+
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 18 & Up
- Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
- MSRP: 12.95
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 978-1-56970-727-2
- Size: A5
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Selfish Mr. Mermaid
Selfish Mr. Mermaid Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
April 16, 2008
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Selfish Mr. Mermaid Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:N/AWhat They Say
Kanan has a boyish face and gets picked on often because of his tiny figure. But things change when his neighbor turns out to be a merman, and the king of the seas at that! Despite the king's selfish and rude pretense, he tries to booster Kanan's self esteem. Kanan wants to thank the merman for his support, but in what way...?The Review
Ariel has nothin' on this guy.Packaging
This book has DMP's standard large trim size and full color dust jacket. The print quality is very nice, with sharp lines and dark blacks, while the paper quality is better than most. I have no complaint on the packaging front when it comes to DMP's books. The cover has an eyecatching underwater image of Kaioh swimming across and grabbing Kanan - who's wearing only a shirt, and one that doesn't cover much at that. Art
Featuring large, innocent eyes and shy blushes, Kamo's art ranges more towards the cute end of the scale than most of the BL that's being released in English. While her characters are all superficially different, the faces on a couple of them are so similar that without the wildly different hair styles it would be difficult to tell them apart. Since there are only a few characters with any kind of real presence, this isn't much of an issue. Kamo seems to have an occasionally weak grasp of anatomy and proportion, but for the most part her art is technically solid if not inspired. Overall, the art should appeal to most readers.Text/SFX:
All sound effects are subtitled on the page in a font similar to the original. The translation flowed relatively smoothly with few rough points. While there were some lines that read awkwardly, one thing I really liked about this particular translation is how each of the characters had a distinctive voice, something that many translations lack. Even where the bubble itself doesn't indicate which character is speaking, the translation left no doubt as to who each line belonged to.Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Kanan is the sort of guy who all but begs to be picked on, if you're the sort of person who finds adorable puppies kickable. And it seems like many people do, right down to his verbally abusive boss. But he's not so much of a doormat that he'll let his apartment get flooded without a word, which leads to a strange encounter with his soon-to-be-former upstairs neighbor. Kaioh claims to be a mermaid, and when their landlord kicks him out, he promptly decides to move into Kanan's bathtub.
Not entirely sure how to take this situation, and fearful that Kaioh will follow through with his threats to eat him, Kanan bows to Kaioh's every whim. Despite being used as a slave, he starts to rather enjoy the company. That, of course, is when Kaioh decides to follow through with his threats, and devour Kanan. As always, that doesn't play out quite the way Kanan had anticipated.
As it turns out, Kaioh isn't quite what he claims to be. Oh, he's a mermaid all right, but he has dealings with some pretty shady characters, and appears to be someone pretty important. To Kanan's surprise, Kaioh decides to take him along on a visit home. While there, an old enemy hatches a plot to use Kanan to get at Kaioh as revenge for past offenses.
At the end there's a cute side story that fleshes out Kaioh's rival Haru and one of the more unusual characters you're likely to find in any manga, BL or otherwise. It's definitely sweet, and ends the volume on a high note.Comments
While the mermaid bit is a unique twist, there's really nothing to this story beyond that than you wouldn't expect to find in any number of BL books. The characters are more flat than round, the situations have been done a million times, and even the undersea rivalry is something that's been done before. But, for some reason, Kamo manages to keep this fresh even within the bounds of convention, creating something that's more than just the simple sum of its parts. There's a cute, touching story in there that's sweet enough to give you cavities.
I don't see this showing up on many "Best Of" lists, but I can easily see this turning into a favorite for many people. Kaioh's predatory aggressiveness and Kanan's puppy-like vulnerability are a nice, if not particularly realistic, contrast. And both characters do develop a bit as the story progresses, even though it is in predictable ways. Overall, I'd recommend this story to just about any kind of BL fan.