Cover Image: Mermaid Saga Collector's Edition, Vol. 2

Mermaid Saga Collector's Edition, Vol. 2

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Member Reviews

This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our library collection and will recommend it to students.
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4.5/5

I will always love Rumiko Takahashi and everything she has done and will do. 

Volume 2 of Mermaid Saga is just an excellent continuation of the series. I love how dark it is compared to some of her other works. I also really liked the jumping between times/eras. It took me awhile each arc to get adjusted but then I loved it. 

Art is beautiful, as usual. Storytelling and dialogue is amazing, as usual. This is series is just really fun and a great fit for any InuYasha fans or general anime fans. 

Love love love. Can’t wait for Volume 3.
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Mermaid Saga is gorgeous and psychological and bizarre. Takahashi is considered a master for a reason! Even though Mermaid Saga is a collection of interconnected shorts with no real end to the story, it is absolutely worth it. If you only have enough budget for a few volumes of manga and want something from Takahashi, Mermaid Saga is absolutely the one to buy!
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I am really enjoying how dark, cynical, and yet hopeful this series is, especially for a Rumiko Takahashi book.  I can see it will eventually get to the point of ridiculousness (is there anyone in Japan who doesn't have a convenient chunk of mermaid flesh to allow them to become either a horrific fiend or immortal?), but for now this is a very chilling, entertaining series.
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Volume 2 displays one of the strongest sets of stories Rumiko Takahashi has ever put onto the page - gripping, engaging, and well-paced. This collection maintains the melancholic tone and improves the pacing and storytelling of its previous volume. The episodic journeys of Yuta and Mana have a unique thematic staying power compared to Takahashi’s popular works – Urusei Yatsua, Inuyasha, and Ranma ½ for instance.  While the duo does not develop further in each story, both of their actions speak volumes of their noble character. It is enthralling to see a bloodied and injured Mana and Yuta breakthrough a locked storeroom to save a young boy from eating the poisonous mermaid flesh given by his “mother.” Mana and Yuta are aware of its fatal potency, and their involvement reveals the complicated and perverted facets of humanity’s fascination, glorification, and frustration of eternal life.  The contrasting black-and-white scenes of moral judgment to heavily shaded greys blistering in split-second, life-and-death action add urgency. An impressive feat only made better when each story can stand on its own while still complementing each other in this cohesive collection. As such, I believe this is a great starting point and entry for anyone curious about Mermaid Forest and general RumicWorld. While this may be an outlier to her well-known shounen and comedic works, I cannot deny that these are some of the most engaging pieces of work this artist has created and that I have had the pleasure of reading. I look forward to another installment in this series.
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Just as with volume 1, I found volume 2 to be every bit as interesting & am still a bit surprised to have found that Rumiko Takahashi is so adept at horror manga. This  volume picks up where the last ended, primarily with stories set in 1992, with the exception of the second story, a bittersweet tale of loss and survival amidst misunderstandings. Honestly, my only frustration was that I had hoped for more resolution for our two protagonists... a thought that has been voiced by many people in the last (nearly) thirty years since the original publication. 
Tonally, these stories are still very much somber. Despite knowing the protagonists are (mostly) safe due to their immortality, I still found it very distressing whenever they would die or have a close call. This time around, I saw more hints leading towards a possible romance between Yuta and Mana, but if so, it's definitely a slow burn (something I appreciate). 
Easily 4/5 stars. If only we could convince Ms. Takahashi to write more!
Thanks to Viz and NetGalley for this digital ARC!
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Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition Volume Two collects the remaining seven chapters of the series into one volume. It appears from this release that VIZ Media is breaking down the volumes the same way the second English releases did in 2004. In other words, this volume collects the third and fourth volumes of the second English release.

Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition Volume Two
Written by: Rumiko Takahashi
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 16, 2021

This volume continues Yuta’s journey as he tries to find a mermaid, since it’s said that a mermaid is able to help someone who has eaten the flesh of one to become a normal human being again. He is accompanied by Mana, a young woman who was forced to eat mermaid flesh and be a sacrifice. Yuta rescued her in the previous volume, and she goes with him wherever his journey takes him.

The first story sees Yuta and Mana encountering a young boy named Masato, who is on his way to live with his mother. After this encounter, the story skips ahead two years into the future, and we see things aren’t going well for Masato and his mother. Yuta and Mana are working at a job site nearby and hear about a weird corpse that was seen floating in the water a year earlier. The boy is brought to the work site by a woman named Yukie, who works for the family and cares for Masato. Mana recognizes him. As fate would have it, Masato has a connection with mermaid flesh, and Yuta finds out what’s going on.

The first two chapters focus on this story, and there’s a twist in here that I hadn’t anticipated. That twist has to do with which character had eaten the mermaid flesh and is the immortal I thought this twist was a nice touch, since the character in question isn’t the person the reader would have necessarily suspected. Thanks to Takahashi putting this twist in, it made the “Mermaid’s Scar” chapters a more interesting read.

The next story, “The Ash Princess,” is told over the course of one chapter, which to me, was surprising. Throughout Mermaid Saga, there are only two chapters that contain a self-contained the story. The first one appeared in Volume One. It should be noted that “The Ash Princess” takes place earlier in the timeline than many of the stories in the series. In this story, Mana is not traveling with Yuta, he’s dressed in different clothing, and he mentions that he’s been alive for 210 years (in the “modern day” storylines, Yuta comments that he’s been alive for 500 years). This story focuses on a girl named Natsume and her “pa,” who claims to sell mermaid flesh; however, what he’s actually selling is fish. It’s revealed that Natsume is an immortal, but that she was brought back by a monk using a technique that brings people back from the dead but used a mermaid liver to enhance the technique. Now that monk is trying to get the mermaid liver from Natsume and return her to the dead. Yuta ends up embroiled in this situation. This was an interesting story, and it plays out differently than many of the stories included in Mermaid Saga. However, I do wish it was somehow made a little more clear when the story is jumping around in time. I remember this happening in the previous volume and being confused at first because I hadn’t realized the stories weren’t being told in a linear fashion. At least this story saw Yuta saying how long he’s been alive, so I was able to piece together that it was a story from earlier in Yuta’s life.

The next two chapters focus on the story “Mermaid’s Gaze,” and it sees us return to the modern day. Yuta and Mana come to an area that Yuta has been at before and encounters a family he had worked for years earlier. It turns out the troublemaking son had eaten mermaid flesh years earlier and is now immortal. He is trying to get a hold of his sister’s doll, and an old woman who still works at the family home refuses to give it to him. Yuta and Mana hear ghost stories involving the mansion, and Yuta recognizes it as the place he had worked at previously. This is another story in Mermaid Saga that Yuta returns to a location from his past, but this time is able to encounter one of the people from the past since they have also eaten mermaid flesh. The son is a horrible person, and what we learn about him reinforces this idea to the reader. These two chapters were very chilling, and probably the closest this series comes to what I would associate with horror manga.

The final two chapters, “Mermaid’s Mask,” are also on the darker side and more in the horror vein. This is another story that involves a child, but there’s weird circumstances surrounding his mother. Yuta and Mana come across him after he’s escaped from a kidnapping attempt, and the two of them take the boy home. After hearing some of the local town gossip about this family, the two of them decide to stick around and try to figure out the truth about the family. There’s some twists in this story that make it more interesting, especially since it’s the second story in this volume that involves Yuta and Mana encountering a child who just happens to have a connection with mermaid flesh in some way, shape, or form.

However, at the end of this volume, there is no resolution for Yuta’s quest, even though this is the final volume of the series. In some respects, it’s a bit of a let-down, since the reader follows Yuta through all of these stories and at the end of it, he’s still no closer to his goal than when the series started. However, when you take into consideration that this is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, it’s not entirely surprising that the story doesn’t have a definitive ending. When you think about how long Ranma 1/2 lasted and ultimately didn’t have a definitive ending, this isn’t quite as bad.

If you’re a fan of Rumiko Takahashi and don’t mind the idea that the overarching storyline of the manga doesn’t end, then I would recommend reading Mermaid Saga.
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The first volume of Mermaid Saga was an absolute standout of 2020, and Mermaid Saga Collectors’ Edition Volume 2 somehow manages to be more horrifying. Rumiko Takahashi is a multi-award-winning mangaka, popularly known for Inuyasha and Maison Ikkoku. The latter is also currently receiving the collectors’ edition treatment from VIZ.  Mermaid Saga Collectors’ Edition is a deluxe reprint from VIZ Media of Takahashi’s horror classic. This edition is translated into English by Rachel Thorn, edited by Amy Yu, and features touch up art and lettering by Joanna Estep.

Mermaid Saga Collectors’ Edition Volume 2 continues the adventures of Yuta and Mana in their quest to find a mermaid. 500 years ago, Yuta ate the flesh of a mermaid and gained immortality, ever since he has been trying to find a way to undo it. He eventually encounters Mana, who is suffering the same fate. The manga is episodic, with the running theme of the different ways mermaid mythology and immortality corrupts others. Similar to Volume One, the theme of loneliness is still present. The companionship between Yuta and Mana is a solid foundation in the story, that creates a foil for the characters who struggle with isolation. Romance isn’t really present, although it is implied that the two have gradually grown more affectionate towards each other. It is a nice, natural progression that doesn’t feel forced amid all the horror.

Speaking of horror, Mermaid Saga Collectors’ Edition Volume 2 has it in droves. Once again, Takahashi continuously finds ways to manipulate the core, traditional lore of the series. Every episode utilizes the mermaid flesh in a different way. The antagonists vary as well: each has different motivations, and they encompass a wide variety of ages. Some were cruel in their main life, and view the curse of immortality as the opportunity for power. Others sought out immortality in a moment of desperation, out of care for loved ones. The story does a great job of using these disparate characters to illustrate how even initially good intentions can corrupt and distort over the years.  Age is an increasingly fascinating element in this manga due to its use of immortality. A character may look incredibly young but in fact be older and have seen more than a 90-year-old elder.

Unfortunately, many don’t deal with the isolation of immortality as well as the leads. As a result, the gore continues, if not increases, this time around. Faces are skinned, limbs are cut off with axes, and eyes are gouged out, to name a few scenarios. Takahashi’s artwork once again shines here. There isn’t a reliance on blood and guts, but more on the larger images of characters harming each other. Seeing a recently skinned face completely covered in shadow, with the exception of an eyeball staring in the one lighted portion of the panel, is much more haunting than illustrating the detailed carnage.
 
There is one sole exception to Yuta and Mana’s adventures. Similar to the previous volume, one story jumps back into the past before Yuta met Mana. Yuta meets a young girl and her elderly father. He (and the readers) are caught in a situation where there is no “good” or “right” answer. The young girl’s morbid lifestyle is no fault of her own, and her desire for companionship with Yuta comes from an honest place of kinship. In Yuta, she recognizes someone who can understand her. The story itself is much more melancholy, losing some of the spunk without Mana, but mostly just feels oddly placed. Really, the only negative about this series is that it doesn’t really have a conclusion. It just ends after one of the episodes, implying that Yuta and Mana will continue their quest to encounter a mermaid into eternity. This is likely due to the series having an irregular serialization, hence the episodes versus a continuous plot.

Aside from readers being deprived of closure, Mermaid Saga Collectors’ Edition Volume 2 is one for the shelves. The horror is an intricate balance of psychological and gore. It utilizes themes in human nature’s deepest fears to have a lasting effect, and will likely force readers to look in the mirror. The relationship between the two main characters carries the series through their episodic adventures. Really, since it lacks a conclusion, its only real fault is leaving readers wanting more for eternity.
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Thank you to NetGalley, VIZ Media, and Rumiko Takahashi for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

While volume one sets up what mermaids are and how mermaid flesh can make someone immorta--if they don't die--volume two focuses on instances of mermaid flesh being used for ill intent. Mana and Yuta have both eaten the flesh of a mermaid and have been around for quite some time. Knowing there's no way to reverse it, Mana and Yua travel around and put a stop to those who seem to be using mermaid flesh in negative ways.

For those of you who think mermaids are these beautiful half-fish women, think again. They are monstrous beings and eating the flesh of one may turn a human into a grotesque monster in of itself.

This is a fantastic collector's edition put together by VIZ media. The cover selection and binding on their collector's editions are always worth having for any manga collector. Fans of Rumiko Takahashi's work will enjoy the nostalgia of this older edition, while new fans will find interest just as well.
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The conclusion to the series was a little more open ended than I personally like, but still enjoyed the journey of this series. I liked that this was a story that wasn't drug out into a long and overly dramatic thing. It did a good job of tying up the loose ends, so that was really nice. 

If you like thriller/horror mangas, this one will be for you.
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It's so great to get a chance to go back and reread some of the manga that got me into manga. In the 90s I read popular 90s series such as Ranma 1/2 and Sailor Moon. Mermaid Saga was the first "adult" or dramatic manga I read, so I was really excited to hear about the new collector's editions. I recently read volume 1, and I was surprised at how much I remembered. With volume 2, I was surprised at how much I forgot! It was such a different experience, it was almost like reading it again for the first time. Viz Media did a great job cleaning up the panels and I was also happy that they included some of the color pages since I don't recall them in the original English release. The stories in volume 2 were a bit darker than in the previous volume, which shouldn't be surprising since Takahashi is a master at writing horror. I really enjoyed how many of the stories tied into Yuta's past, if there was a weakness in the collection it would be the lack of character development for Mana. I am really looking forward to reading volume 3.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I love this series so much. Takahashi is one of my favourite manga writers, and even though this series was written years ago, it still feels fresh and new.

We carry off from where we ended in the first volume. While searching for a way to reverse their immortality, our main characters bump into others who have eaten the mermaid flesh, and they are faced with the people who have turned into monsters because of it, or the monsters who gain immortality, but turn into something that is no longer human.

I keep forgetting how well Takahashi can write horror, because she knows how to creep people out with just one panel and a sinister atmosphere. The introduction of immortal children was a creepy addition, seeing how psychologically damaging it is for children to gain immortality, but their minds mature but they stay in the body of children, and how their desire for a caregiver never fades, even at the expense of other people. Then you have other terrifying antagonists, who have no regard for other people, and the extent to how grief can drive people to desperate acts. I loved every page, and the story only promises to get better and better.

I’m absolutely hooked, and I can’t wait for a third volume. It’s well written and drawn, it’s creepy and suspenseful, and it never fails to entertain.
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