Since the "mermaids" in this horror anime series usually appear only as morsels of flesh, Judge Bryan Byun feels it should be renamed Chunk Light Mermaid Forest.
A monster who survives by eating the fresh livers of living animals. What is the world coming to?
Unquenchable Thirst, the third collection of Rumiko Takahashi's (Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha) moody horror series, Mermaid Forest, continues the quest of Yuta and Mana, a young man and teenage girl cursed with immortality from eating mermaid flesh, which can grant eternal life…or transform the unlucky eater into a mindless monster. This third and penultimate volume contains three episodes:
• "Bone Princess"
• "The Last Face (Part I)" and "The Last Face
This new Mermaid Forest series is part of the "Rumiko Takahashi Anthology" collection by Geneon, and for any fan of Takahashi's earlier works, like Ranma and Maison Ikkoku, it's a delight to see some of these older, shorter stories brought to DVD. While this telling of the Mermaid Forest story isn't nearly as dark and gloomy as the earlier OAV, which did a better job of making Yuta's immortality feel like a curse and not just a useful superpower, it's also not as oppressively depressing, a quality which has caused me to drop out of other horror-themed anime series. Of course, this new series is also less visually impressive than the OAVs, with a more generic look, and corners have obviously been cut with the animation. Still, since I never expected Mermaid Forest to ever be continued in any form since the two VHS releases over ten years ago, I'm happy to be watching the complete series at all.
Geneon presents Mermaid Forest, Vol. 3: Unquenchable Thirst with a lovely, nearly flawless transfer, with bright colors and clean lines. The animation may be run of the mill, but it's well represented and adequate to the task of bringing the moody, spooky stories to life. English and Japanese audio tracks are offered in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, and dialogue is clear and the music and sound effects are energetic and fairly active. Special features, once again, are the bane of this set, with just an art gallery and Geneon previews provided. Given that there are only three episodes on each of the first three volumes, it's disappointing that Geneon didn't fill that extra space with supplements.
If there's one major disappointment with the Mermaid Forest series, it's that the series isn't longer. There's clearly the potential here to create a much longer story, on the scale of Maison Ikkoku or Inu Yasha, but for whatever reason, Takahashi moved on to other projects, leaving the tale unfinished and its potential sadly wasted. Still, this is one of Takahashi's most memorable stories, and an interesting change of pace from her wackier, more action-oriented work.
Mermaid Forest, Vol. 3: Unquenchable Thirst is found not guilty, though hefty fines will have to be levied for the deplorable lack of extras…and for that nauseating "face" scene.
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