the_sun_is_up: Giorno in a cloud of flower petals, making a sexyface at the camera. (giogio - faaaaabulous)
[personal profile] the_sun_is_up
In my experience, adaptations are usually inferior to their source material. However, I wasn’t terribly surprised to discover that the MerMelo anime is a vast improvement over the manga. The Coleman-Francis-esque boom-mike phenomenon has been largely expunged from the anime, the amateurish wrinkles ironed out.

For example, there’s the episode centering around Meru, the young mermaid from Hanon’s kingdom. Not only did the anime writers cut out all the melodramatic nonsense with Meru hitting on Kaito and making Lucia jealous, but they also strengthened Meru’s motivation and made the build-up to her betrayal of Hanon much smoother. In the manga, Meru’s all gaga about Hanon, and when she suddenly turns on her, we get a brief last-minute flashback indicating that Meru blames Hanon for failing to find her missing mom. In the anime, Meru sees the heroines flirting with their respective dudes and grows more and more aghast that the princesses she idolized are wasting their time romancing lowly human boys instead of finding her missing mom, until she finally gets upset enough to betray Hanon.

There’s also much better use of flashbacks. Hanon, Rina, Caren, Sara, and Mitsuki all have sad backstories that get developed much more gracefully, thoroughly, and earlier than in the manga. And praise the gods, Sara’s tedious wangsting about how she’s literally the only person in the world who’s ever been dumped, boo hoo, woe is me, was cut from the anime.

However, the anime's still got its share of problems, mostly owing to the central gimmick of replacing fight scenes with musical numbers. The manga's problem was that comics are a silent medium, so all the fight-scenes-cum-musical-numbers barely even existed, lasting an average of two pages apiece. The anime has the opposite problem: the addition of sound means they can let us hear the songs. Which they do. Repeatedly. We get to hear the same minute-long sugary J-Pop tune performed all the way through in every single episode. The animators at least try to make this visually interesting, but it's not like they had a huge budget or an overflowing of talent to work with, so the choreography and cinematography end up being pretty dull. It gets worse when the villainous Black Beauty Sisters show up; their song is a minute and a half, which they sing every time they show up, with the exact same chunk of stock footage used every single time. The heroines do get three power-ups over the course of the first season, with "power-up" in this case translating to "new song," but that's still an average of 12-13 eps spent with one song before we get to hear something new.

The song-as-fight-scene substitution also raises some basic logical questions about the allegedly epic conflict we're witnessing here. Our mermaid heroines have exactly one attack in their arsenal: sing their song all the way through. This means that the villains can easily beat them by sabotaging their performance, perhaps by knocking their magic mics out of their hands or by imprisoning them in a sound-proof ball of magic. When this happens, the heroes are screwed; their only hope is for one of their allies to conveniently show up and rescue them. Of course this stacks the deck quite significantly against our heroes, so the villains are contrivedly stupid and hardly ever use this tactic.

This combat system also means that once the heroes open their mouths and start singing, the fight is over. I can't recall a single instance where the villains interrupted the heroines' song, because the audience doesn't want to hear the nice song in fragments. Instead, the villains just stand there cringing while the girls sing their song all the way through. The same thing happens when the Black Beauty Sisters show up; once they start their song, there's apparently nothing the heroines can do to fight back. All they can do is writhe in agony for a minute-and-a-half and wait for somebody else to bail them out once the BBS have finished.

Furthermore, those villains just never fucking learn. You'd think they'd be like "Oh shit, as soon as the mermaids start singing, we're totally screwed, so we need to build our attack strategies with this key fact in mind," but instead they just keep throwing themselves at the mermaids without using their brains. Plus, for these villains, it's especially imperative that they learn from their mistakes because their mission requires them to fight and subdue the mermaids. In most Magic Warrior shows, the villains' mission is to suck energy from Joe Bystander or otherwise inflict chaos and misery upon the muggles — they don't actually want to fight the magical girl heroines, and they usually only do so when they have to. MerMelo's villains have a different mission: to subdue and capture the heroines. Their whole job revolves around fighting and beating magical girls, so they have even less of an excuse for making such stupid tactical decisions.

This would make more sense if this were just a regular Magic Idol show and the "fights" were simply song contests: the heroine sings her song all the way through, her rival does likewise, and one of them is declared the winner. But MerMelo is also trying to be a Sailor-Moon-esque action show, and its clumsy attempts at melding the two genres results in a nonsensical combat system that drains the show of any suspense or tension.

Anyway, some more differences between manga and anime:

-The fanservice has been toned down a lot. The scene where Maria captures Kaito and starts groping and stripping him in order to search for Lucia's pearl is changed to her just threatening him with violence if he doesn't give up the pearl. There's the episode where Kaito falls ill and Lucia comes over to his house to care for him: in the manga, she gets drunk off some soda (because for mermaids, carbonation = booze) and winds up smooching Kaito under the influence; in the anime, it's some magical trinket that messes with her brain and leads her to kiss him. There's the beachside beauty contest: in the manga, Lucia wins because her bikini top accidentally comes undone and she flashes everyone. Needless to say, this doesn't happen in the anime. Also in the manga, the winner of the beauty contest has to give a kiss to the winner of the coinciding surfing contest (which Kaito's a cert for, hence why Lucia entered the beauty contest in the first place). In the anime, the kiss thing is just an informal bet that one of Kaito's competitors sort of weasels Lucia into agreeing to. And there's an early bit where Lucia trips and falls on top of Kaito: in the manga, she falls with her boobs smushed into Kaito's face; in the anime, it's her face connecting with his chest.

They also THANK GOD cut out that stupid running gag of Hippo innocently bursting in on the girls bathing and getting punched into the stratosphere while the girls scream "Perveeeeert!"

On the flip side, the Black Beauty Sisters are significantly gayer in the anime.

-The Dark Lovers revert to their fishy forms during the finale of the first story-arc, but for different reasons. In the manga, they just turn back automatically when Gackto gets sealed by Sara and loses his powers. In the anime, it's a lot more meaningful: they willingly donate all their power to Gaito after he takes a beating from the heroines.

-Sara's death is always a heroic sacrifice, but with different circumstances. In the manga, she jumps in to shield her ex-boyfriend from a collapsing ceiling and gets mortally wounded, managing to hang in there until the final battle/concert is over. In the anime, she survives the final battle just fine, but as the heroines are escaping from Gaito's collapsing lair, she decides to go back and die with Gaito, partially because she loves him and partially to atone for her sins.

Final verdict: The MerMelo anime is miles better than the manga, but it still blows in some pretty major areas. Polishing a turd can only get you so far.

Profile

the_sun_is_up: Panty from PSG wearing glasses. (Default)
Sing me a bawdy song, make me merry

July 2013

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910 111213
14151617181920
2122 2324252627
28293031   

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 23rd, 2017 09:47 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios