I think that the anime mermaid benefits greatly from the Japanese art style. The long, flowing hair and large expressive eyes are perfect for a mermaid. For those who don't know, anime refers to Japanese animated cartoons. Comics and comic books are called manga. This however is not hard and fast. Anime is the more generic term used to cover both.
My Bride is a Mermaid
My Bride is a Mermaid is a TV series and later OAV about a young guy named Nagasumi who goes with his family on a vacation on the shores of the Seto Inland Sea. While there he is almost drowned but rescued by a mermaid named Sun. According to anime mermaid law, if a mortal sees a mermaid either the mortal or the mermaid must die. Unfortunately for Nagasumi, this mermaid's family are not only mer-people but also yakuza (Japanese gangsters). Naturally, they decide that Nagasumi will sleep with the fishes (their expression not mine). Sun intercedes on Nagasumi's behalf and argues that she didn't save him from drowning just so her family can kill him. This leads to a compromise that both may live provided that they get married. Sun's father would rather kill Nagasumi but her mother defends her decision, which leads to a continued conflict between Sun's father and Nagasumi.
The show is frantically paced with lots of jokes and one-liners but the fact that most of the characters are mermaids plays only a small part in the stories. Most of the action comes from the yakuza angle and Sun's father's attempts to kill Nagasumi. Since he and Sun are only in their mid-teens their courtship is extremely slow which is typical for this sort of anime.
Mermaid Melody - Pichi, Pichi Pitch
Mermaid Melody is a magical girl anime about a mermaid princess named Lucia. "Magical girl" is a type of anime which involves the adventures of girls in their early teens who have magical powers. Sailor Moon is a typical example.
Anime mermaid Lucia must fight the villain Gackto to protect the Seven Seas meanwhile searching for her lost pearl. As we all know, a mermaid's pearl is her most important possession.
To complicate matters even more Lucia is in love with a boy in her class. He does not know that she is a mermaid, nor that he has her pearl. He is also unaware that he is a target of Gackto in her war against Lucia.
Lucia and her two sisters have tails in the sea and legs on dry land. They fight Gackto's monsters with their beautiful singing voices. The singing style most deadly to monsters is "pichi pichi" which means "light-hearted".
Click here for information about the Mermaid Melody manga.
The anime mermaid is not very popular in Japan, probably because in Japan she is associated with horror stories! Yes, it's true, our dainty little mermaid is looked upon as an object of fear. The reason is that, according to Japanese folklore, mermaids can assume human form only by eating the flesh of a human. Also, since mermaids are immortal, anyone who eats a mermaid's flesh becomes immortal. However, because mermaid flesh has such powerful magic, anyone who eats it runs the risk of turning into a monster. Either way, they will still be immortal. There is a series of popular stories by Rumiko Takahashi about these Japanese mermaids. To read about the anime mermaid series click here.
To read about the manga version click here.
Another popular series in both anime and manga form is "Black Jack". Black Jack is a physician with a dark past and an unusual clientele. In one of the stories, which has been made into an anime, a woman appears to be undergoing a mermaid transformation. Click here for the details.
Mermaid in Japanese
In Japanese, mermaid is written by the characters:
They come from Chinese and literally mean "person-fish", which is I suppose a good enough word for mermaid.
The Japanese also use the following kana: This is pronounced "ma-meido" - a Japanesed version of our word "mermaid". Both forms are used interchangeably, with the first being the more common.