My Bride is a Mermaid
Anime DVD Review
When Ataru Moroboshi grabbed Lum by the horns, he was unknowingly proposing to her. Tahiko Kimura has clearly been channeling Rumiko Takahashi, as My Bride is a Mermaid has all the hallmarks of Urusei Yatsura, as well as Ranma 1/2. Of course, that's pretty good company to be in, so the author throws in all the insanity of Excel Saga, just to shake it up enough that Ms. Takahashi isn't able to sue.
Much like Urusei Yatsura, our male protagonist- Nagasumi, finds himself engaged to be married to a girl he doesn't even know, before the first episode even ends. Except in this case, she's no alien princess, she's the mermaid daughter of an undersea Yakuza, and her mob-boss, high-strung, gangster-daddy is none too happy about the situation, but it's the only way to keep his daughter alive (he'd much rather wipe out the groom and his family).
So, our mermaid heroine transfers to land to be with her betrothed, but, she has to keep her secret identity hidden, which isn't easy, as her legs turn back into fishy-fins the moment they are hit with any kind of water (getting caught in the rain, for example). And some of the Yakuza henchmen (as well as the crazy-ass Dad) come up from below to keep an eye on things, which really leads to more things going wrong than anything going right. And from this is where most of the comedy ensues.
My Bride is a Mermaid is a harem-type romantic-comedy with a heavy emphasis on the comedy rather than harem, or romance. There's no fanservice, but there's lots and lots and lots... and ummm lots of crazy hijinks, insanity, running gags galore, and the show running on tangents; that you would call filler anywhere else, except that here the "plot" is so bare-bones it's merely a framework on which to hang all the gags.
It could become tiresome due to the frenetic pace all this happens and can be exhausting. You really need to watch 3 episodes and then stop, take a break and then come back for more. And yes, the "concept" you've seen before, but, what helps to set it apart is that it's a bit more raw in some ways because of the dialect and Yakuza angle. There's a fair bit of fighting action for a comedy series and some of it comes from the character of Maki, a conch who does her best to defend Sun. She's tiny, in-your-face and intends to kill Nagasumi no matter what.
One of the more amusing running gags in the show is that Nagasumi's first kiss is stolen (via CPR) by one of the men working for Gozaburo, a tough guy named Masa. Nagasumi's mother has the hots for him, his father is concerned about that and Nagasumi keeps having near-yaoi moments when he looks at him as he gets all soft in the face and gooey.
It's all highly amusing as well as endearing but it's also the kind of quick turn-on-a-dime humor the show uses as its trademark; it'll turn crude and then sweet (and then back to crude). The humor here keeps it fresh, giving it that extra bit of life to make these bizarre character combinations work. While you're no doubt familiar with the concept, you've definitely never seen it as unabashedly zany as this.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, November 2010
Below: Scenes from My Bride is a Mermaid.