Summer 2009 First Impressions: Umi Monogatari

So the first episode sure lived up to its description – to a T. A ring falls into the sea, two mermaids find it, return it and then certain events lead to one of the mermaids accidentally releasing a demon seal (although it was actually not on the sea floor). That’s what they said the show was going to be about, and that’s what we got. Now to figure out whether there’s enough to like to keep watching over the next eleven episodes.

Fansub group: Ayako

Things I liked:

  • The artwork looks very nice. The character designs are cute, and I love the bright color palette.
  • Nice, laidback OP, ED and background music. Very Aria-esque in that sense. Although not quite as good. The short story in the ED was really cute though.
  • Good pacing – nice start with the lighthearted comedic route and a nice change of pace towards the end when it takes a more dramatic turn.
  • Likeable characters. I immediately took a liking to Marin and Urin (bad romanization though), and Kanon seems to be curmudgeon enough to serve as a good counterpart.
  • Umm… nice… swimsuits. They’re just normal clothes for mermaids if you think about it though. It’s not like they’re trying to be exhibitionists. For some reason the swimsuits remind me of the skin-tight space-suits in Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo.
  • Yukari Fukui’s (Nia, Nono) back! Albeit in a supporting role.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Nice, laidback background music works for Aria, but feels out of place when an evil spirit is escaping and enshrouding the whole island. C’mon, mix it up at that point.
  • I’m probably going to have a tough time telling apart Yui Horie’s character from the 37 other cute characters she’s voicing this season.
  • Mermaids should have tails… Wait a second, are they mermaids? Or just sea people?

Random other thoughts:

Umi Monogatari is directed by Junichi Sato, who also directed Aria, which is why the comparisons are inevitable. Umi Monogatari takes a couple cues from Aria – most tellingly, their soundtracks are almost interchangeable – but based on what happens at the end of the episode, I’m guessing UM will be less of a slice of life and more of a plot-driven fantasy compared to Aria. Oh, there was also more fanservice in the first 30 seconds of UM than in all the episodes of Aria combined. But comparisons aside, it was a pretty entertaining first episode that stood out on its own, with enough to like to possibly make this a pleasant surprise for the summer.

Decision? Will keep watching.

This represents the 5 seconds of the show that is fanservice free

3 Replies to “Summer 2009 First Impressions: Umi Monogatari”

  1. I was on the fence about this show, but this post got me to watch the first episode. Glad I did. Thanks for that. I love it so far. I second you on the nice ED animation, but I did like the music pairing with the final scene. It keeps the laid back ‘slice of life’ feel, instead of going out of style and doing something overly dramatic. It worked for me.

    I love how the girls first held their breath above the water. Nice touch. Good job all around with the dumped girl too. “You dropped it.” lol. Finally, if you think about it, mermaids usually don’t cover up their tails, so these girls are quite conservative!
    .-= Michael | Low on Hit Points´s last blog ..Johnnies are out in full force as Eden of the East hits a high note before the long wait for the true finale =-.

    1. I do like that this is potentially a more plot-driven comedy vs. a slice of life. While I love my SOLs, I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve seen a good plot-driven (non-romantic) comedy.

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