In the Name of the Mermaid Princess Volume 1 Manga

Within the Identify of the Mermaid Princess Quantity 1 Manga Evaluation

Being anything other than human is considered impish in the realm of Blognig. Although it is a completely normal occurrence, people who are born with animal traits are not accepted. Regardless of whether one parent has them or not, it is customary and legal to send these “unhumans” to nations with more lenient policies. There are indications that execution was once their weapon of choice, maybe because to the political isolation it would inflict Blognig. Because the kingdom of Blognig takes great delight in its “purity,” the fact that Mio, the only princess, is born a mermaid with fins and scales causes quite a stir. He presumably doesn’t want to lose face politically, so instead of getting rid of her, the king locks her up in the palace, prevents her from drinking the salt water that gives her superpowers, and demands that a doctor make a medication to make her human again.

If you’re thinking this is some kind of fantastical, disguised racism or ableism, you’d be right. The overarching goal of the magical creatures in In the Name of the Mermaid Princess is to symbolize the real-life problems of racism and ableism, and it succeeds, to a large extent. Mio has been told throughout her life that she is not worthy or that she is less than human, and she is Othered to a remarkable degree. Because of how deeply she has absorbed that belief, she now considers herself to be intrinsically flawed, if not completely abhorrent. Prince Chika of Aquatia, her fiancé, can only accept her as his wife if he is unaware of her position, a belief that she has mostly internalized despite her desire to embrace her differences. Telling him the truth would be risking her relationship with his letters, which are the only pleasant aspects of her life. Despite her desire, she is terrified to be authentic.

Here we have Yuri, a young guy from Aquatia who has traveled all the way to Blognig to teach Mio the traditions of his homeland. The idea that Mio is a mermaid doesn’t faze Yuri, who is outraged by her treatment and urges her she should embrace herself fully. There are parts of Mio and Yuri’s relationship that seem condescending, and there’s a chance that Mio would embrace her mermaid nature just because a male urged her to. There are moments when Yuri’s candor comes off as harsh. Yoshino Fumikawa, the author, pretends that he is just one of those “tell it like it is” types. But there’s still something awkward about his portrayal of him helping her see her own attractiveness; it seems more like a scene out of a 90s adolescent romance.

Not only does it have a slight creep factor, but it also has connections to the original short story’s heroine in the universe of the series, which is contained in “Eno’s Flight.” Eno is an angel, similar to Mio in that she is a young lady who is neither human nor mortal. Eno meets a young guy who asks her to join his circus after her parents rejected and left her when she was a youngster. He makes it seem like a sanctuary for her, but as soon as we see it in operation, we realize that Wondertini is really just a freak show where nonhumans are shown to “perform.” Mio and Eno’s stories are similar in that they both end with Mio being controlled by a guy who claims to know what’s best for her; however, this volume only contains the first of what I assume will be two or three chapters, and the remainder will be released in subsequent editions. Wondertini (if that’s his real name as well as the show’s; it’s not known) is more like the king of Blognig in that he wants to use those he perceives as Other for his own gain, but it turns out to be false for Eno. Mio is discovering her inner power as she learns to think critically and advocate for herself, while Yuri seems to be on the up and up (I will be amazed if he isn’t really Chika in disguise). Seeing how Fumikawa develops a different perspective on her heroines as the two storylines progress in tandem is fascinating.

Published in the younger demographic manga magazine Ribon, In the Name of the Mermaid Princess might be a little preachy at times, but it still manages to be an engaging story that is simple to get into and won’t let you go. Throughout the first book, Mio demonstrates remarkable progress. We also learn that her attendants, Rimore and Pernice, aren’t as perfect as she thought they were, caught between their allegiance to the monarch and their dealings with his daughter. With such well-defined plot lines and gorgeous artwork to back them up, this narrative has all the makings of a literary fairy tale, and its amazing degree of depth is the cherry on top. Try this out if you like Rei Tōma’s work but are in the mood for something lighter.

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