Review by Frank Plowright
Volume 1 introduced Rumiuko Takahashi’s dark take on the possibility of Mermaids. They exist, and those who partake of their flesh can become immortal. They’re more likely, however, to die in horrific fashion, or become savage immortal monsters known as Lost Souls.
This collection gathers the short ‘Dream’s End’ and the two chapter ‘Mermaid’s Promise’. The former is a slim and inconsequential tale based on Of Mice and Men. ‘Mermaid’s Promise’ is much stronger, as Takahashi continues to nail her mermaid mythology by detailing the effect of mermaid ashes on a person, in this case someone Yuta once knew. He returns to a town decades after leaving a lovestruck young girl to whom he had made clear that immortality isn’t the blessing some might assume. People he remembers remain there, although far older, while the girl once infatuated with him has changed beyond age. This is a fine story read in isolation, but it duplicates several elements and themes familiar to those who’ve also read ‘Mermaid’s Forest‘.
The conclusion of this volume takes us just beyond the halfway stage of the Mermaid stories Takahashi produced, and there’s a disturbing undertone to the series. The only story in which Mana hasn’t been captured, bound or portrayed as a victim is the single story in which she doesn’t appear. It’s a strange attitude from the confident and capable woman producing the series. All these stories also appear in the older Mermaid’s Scar volume along with those collected in Mermaid Saga volume 3.