As you may know I really love the Little Mermaid. When I heard that there was anime about it, at first I was rather skeptical due the fact that its Japan for one, and two they added a magical girl component to it. Though I was skeptical at first, I will say I was thoroughly impressed with the Japanese anime version of Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid, though its not quite that.
The story follows Nanami Lucia, the Pink Mermais Princess and Princess of the North Pacific Ocean, has come to land to look for her pearl that would officially make her a princess at the coming of age ceremony. Without it, she can't sing that well, and she isn't a princess. She gave it to a boy that she saved from a ship (Hey sound familiar). The boy, Doumotou Kaito, has some how saved the pearl all this time, and Lucia gets it back.
Later, she is joined by Hanon, the Blue Pearl Princess and Princess of the South Atlantic Ocean, and Rina( sometimes written Lina), The Green Pearl Princess and the Princess of the South Atlantic to help defend land and ocean against the evil Gaito. Their weapon? Their voices that can (temporarily) vanquish the minions sent by Gaito.
There is one thing I will not hesitate to comaplin about this anime and that is the transformation sequences from human to Idol or from mermaid to idol. Like most Mahou Shoujo, or magical girl anime, they take way to freaking long! After they finally transformed, it was sort of what was the point? Also, about mid point in the series, they gained an extended transformation sequence. Basically, it took about five minutes out of a twenty-three minute episode, and I don't mind its sometimes, but they somewhat recycled animation for transformation sequences.
Like every other Mahou Shoujo anime, it follows a basic plot line and very episodic. It would be like bad guys appear, girls transform, sing, and then bad guys are vanquished for the time being. At least unlike Tokyo Mew Mew, it doesnt get repetitive every episode but the plot develops over the course of the anime, where as Tokyo Mew Mew, the plot is at the beginning and the end, with maybe a bit in the middle, but nothing too important. The songs sung during the time they are vanquishing the bad guys actually grew on me as the series went on. I'm still now singing them under my breath, and the rhythms for the songs are very catchy.
But here's the thing about fighting and singing I don't understand: Who says that one type of music is "good" while the other is "evil?" When you meet the Black Beauty Sisters, they also use song as their attacks. While their songs are ruled as evil, I still found their songs to be catchy. Also, it seems that the Black Beauty Sisters' songs could vanquish the Princess to the Depths of the Ocean, though as many times as the Princesses have sung, why didn't they banish Gaito's minions? Are they "too good" and they can't permanently vanquish them?
Now, don't get me wrong, I really do love this anime, but the physical inconsistencies of it make go Wait, what? For example, the Princesses turn into mermaids when they are splashed with water or get wet, but if that were true, the how come they can go out int he rain just fine, but be scared of a boy with a water gun? Also, in one episode, Lucia is buried in about six inches of snow, she still stays in human form, even though snow is very cold and solid water, and not to even mention that it would melt once it touches Lucia's skin, unless mermaids run at a freezing temperature.
The other mermaid, I'm sad to say, do not get much screen time what so ever. The Yellow Pearl Princess, Coco, and the Indigo Pearl Princess, Noelle are captured in Gaito's Castle (which moves) and they don't come in untul the very end. The Purple Pearl Princess, Karen, pops in and out, but when she sings with the three main Princesses, Lucia, Rina, and Hanon, she seems like a side character. That's the other thing that slightly annoyed me was the Lucia, Hanon and Rina took up most if not all the screen time while singing. The other princesses are never shown, and never heard. I know that they were singing together, but when they got close to each princess, her voice slightly stood out. With the later princesses, I could no longer tell this distinction.
Character development had to last through fifty-two episodes, so it was slow at times. It wasn't Tokyo Mew Mew slow, due to the fact that each episode it seemed something actually happened and it wasn't some episodic plot line that got repetitve. Although it might have seemed episodic at points, the points eventually add up to a master point, like Hanon's crush Mitsuki Tarou.
The art of the anime was fluffy, like any mahou shoujo anime should be. It is fluid and well made for its time, since the anime came out in 2002. The one thing that irked me about the art was the fact Lucia has huge boobs and such a narrow waist. The transformation scenes were fluid, and even though they took up too much time out of the anime, they were necessary in order to beat the bad guys. I just wish they could have abridged the extended version.
Overall, even though I might complain a lot about the anime, it was a truly good watch. If you're looking for mermaids, music, and a memorable anime, then Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is the one for you!