Finally the first bounded volume of Yomi Sarachi’s Mermaid Boys has released! This volume contains the first four chapters released in Aria, according to Sarachi’s author comments at the end of the volume, it seemed like if Aria hadn’t reached out, Mermaid Boys prolly wouldn’t become a fully fledged comic/manga. It took her about 3 years later to get her short comics on twitter to evolve into something bigger and here it is.
I talked about the first chapter here, in a post where I bought an issue of Aria. I bought this manga at CD Japan for about 580 yen (tho it was hard to find it when it was listed under the title ‘Marmaid Boys’ and they misspelt Sarachi’s name as ‘Chiyomi Sara’, which ironically she addressed in her author comment at the end of the book).
This would have to be my first manga thats not translated into English and it was pretty easy to read and understand, mainly because theres furigana on the kanji which helped out a lot.
Mermaid Boys is a ‘romantic comedy’ and while I can’t say its entirely ‘shoujo’ it does have certain elements of it, except rather than have your protagonist as the girl, we have Naru, a mermaid prince, as our protagonist. I would consider him as the protagonist because we are first introduced to him, follow his actions and thoughts most of the time and see his motivations before introducing the main cast. So its a bit interesting to see this sort of view point.
As plot goes its kinda like the little mermaid, Naru is like 22 years old and needs to get married to secure the royal line or something but he has a crush on a human girl (sometimes referred to a ‘human fetish’ by Naru himself), he saves the girl from drowning but a much hotter human dude comes in and claims he saved her himself. In the end gets himself turned into a human by a sea witch (who is actually a sea-snake dude) at a price. Instead of taking away his voice, he trades in his beauty/youth and he goes to the human world to live as a human with his crush.
Of course theres a catch, he mustn’t have his true identity found out by others or else he’ll become seafoam. Funny thing is when he meets his crush, its just one bad impression after another that ends up marking him as a pervert and he finds out his crush is more than just looks as she packs a heavy punch and ain’t afraid to fight back or speak her mind, which dampens Naru’s hopes of her falling for him like any other girl. Not to mention he became younger (16 years old in human form) and shorter than the other male casts, so now he can’t use his charming pickup lines without being laughed at/not taken seriously.
So what will happen next? Well you’ve gotta read to find out.
I found the manga to be quite entertaining, like some of the jokes are kinda like ‘ecchi humor‘ but not exactly, like Naru mistaking underwear as some sort of hat and upon going to the human world he finds out the hard way that its actually used to wear underneath yo clothes and hilarity ensues. I was always smiling while reading the manga so it had some affect on me so I enjoyed it. It did have some moments where some stuff seemed a lil predictable to me but its still alright. I’m curious as to where this goes, the preview of the upcoming chapters seem interesting (tho I aint gonna spoil them), sadly I have to wait until next year when they can release all the new upcoming chapters from Aria into one bounded manga again. I could just keep buying Aria each month to see the new chapters ASAP but I don’t exactly have enough room in my shelf for them, plus they’re a bit heavy which cost a bit more to ship.
As for the art of Mermaid Boys, well its gr8. As expected from Sarachi. Like, Sarachi isn’t afraid to make her characters have moments where their facial expressions are unattractive or over-exaggerated at times for comedic effect, especially with the female lead. Sometimes you get kinda bored seeing the helpless looking female character face that seems delicate and worried all the time. Like at first Nami (thats the main female lead and Naru’s sort of crush, can’t believe I didn’t explain this sooner) seems like a fragile, 100% shoujo heroine type of girl when we see her, but then once you get to know her she’s got more depth to her character and the first volume does explore that.
Haru works well as a protag/chara, he’s arrogant, acts on his own whims, willing to butt heads with anyone and sometimes a bit pure when he feels the dokis for Nami when he sees her cute sides. He’s not exactly your typical protag where most protags like ‘lawful good’, hes more ‘chaotic good’, he has his ways of standing up for Nami tho he can be a bit brash about it. I might’ve preferred Haru’s initial personality in the short comics from 4 years ago where he’s so damn pure but this Haru works fine too. I kinda ended up rooting for him when he’s sometimes pitted against Arashi, the guy who claimed to have saved Nami from drowning when Naru did. Like I guess Arashi is Nami’s osananajimi, been with her longer and he’s prolly got them feelings for her but my boy Naru got it going on, I’m cheering for him.
Anyway, why is it called Mermaid Boys when theres just one mermaid boy? It might be a spoiler if I say, but hey let the screenshots do the talking…
I wish I could find more mangas to buy that focuses on monster boys or anything similar, Mermaid Boys delivered with their sea-snake guy and the mermaids but there must be more monster boy mangas directed towards girls out there… like there has to be.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading this first volume, I’ll be waiting for the next one. If anyone has any suggestions of new shoujo mangas I should look into just suggest away! If you know any shoujo mangas with monster boys then holla at me, I’d like to check them out.
Thank you for reading as always!