Chapter Summaries


Ningyo no Mori
volume 1
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Originally Published in:
Shonen Sunday Zokan 1984 August - September
Shonen Sunday Zokan 1985 September - October
Shonen Sunday 1987 Vol. 22-23
Published in English as:
Animerica Vol. 1 No. 1 - 4
Animerica Vol. 1 No. 5 - 9
Mermaid Forest Part 1 - 4
Mermaid Saga Volumes 1 & 2

Chapter 1: Ningyo wa warawanai (zenpen)
(A Mermaid Never Smiles, Part One)
One night, a young woman is awakened by the horrible sounds of moaning outside her room, she wastes no time in telling her caretaker to kill whatever it is that's causing such an awful sound. Her name is Mana. Meanwhile, a ragged young man walks across a public beach, trying to find his way to Cape Nosuri, this boy's name is Yuta. Mana dreams of leaving the room where she's lived her entire life. She hasn't been outside in years, and the old woman taking care of her says she can no longer carry her. Later that night, the old woman meets with the other women of their tribe and tells them that one must give her life. They choose a pretty young girl named Ayu, and say that she's lived the longest. As she enters a pool of water, the other women waste no time in harpooning her to death. Ayu was a mermaid! Soon, Yuta arrives and is startled to find so many women living in such a deserted place. The women quickly kill Yuta, and throw his body into the pit with the remains of Ayu. Within a few hours, the tribe have decided to take Mana outside, when Yuta bursts into her room, carrying the carcass of a mermaid. The women try to attack him again, so Yuta wastes no time in taking Mana hostage. The two run out of the village and into the forest, hiding in the pit where Yuta had been left to die. While he's there, he unbinds Mana's legs and treats her cuts. Yuta then tells her the story of his life. He is immortal. 500 years ago, he ate the flesh of a mermaid along with some other men from his village. One man turned into a horrible monster, and the next day another died instantly. Yuta was afraid he would be the next to die, but his death never came. As the years passed he never grew older, even as his wife became an old woman. She told him that he would have to find another mermaid and eat its flesh if he wished to regain his mortality. As Yuta finishes his story, a horrible sound emerges from behind.

Chapter 2: Ningyo wa warawanai (kohen)
(A Mermaid Never Smiles, Part Two)
As Mana looks on, Yuta begins battling a horrible monster. Nothing he tries seems to work until a woman from Mana's village named Kajika shows up and throws a harpoon laced with poison through it. Kajika tells Mana and Yuta that the thing is called a "Lost Soul" and Yuta realized that his friend who ate the mermaid flesh had turned into something that looked exactly like it. Yuta decides to take Kajika who has been severely injured back to the village. Once he arrives he realizes that everyone there looks exactly alike. Mana's caretaker explains that all the women in the village are mermaids and they need to eat the flesh of an immortal human in order to regain their youth, Mana is the chosen one. The other villagers waste no time in recapturing Mana and bringing her back, but Yuta is able to escape with her once more. As they hide in another cave, the old woman decides to flood the area, and drive them out to the ocean where they can easily catch them and devour Mana. As they are pushed out to sea Yuta sees dozens of mermaids coming to attack. He manages to fend them off until morning, when the old woman says that now that they have become mermaids again they have no chance of regaining their human forms. She then tells them that she too is an immortal human and that she will stay with the mermaids until the end of time.

Chapter 3: Togyo no sato (zenpen)
(The Village of the Fighting Fish, Part One)
Two rival fishing clans, the Toba and the Sakagami control the waters around their islands. They steal cargo from various merchants in the area, but Rin, the leader of the Toba only takes a tenth of a vessels cargo, while the Sakagami take everything and murder the crew. Rin is a young woman that has taken over as the village leader since her father fell ill. She hopes to find the flesh of a mermaid in order to make him healthy again. A dead body washes up on shore and Rin helps two village children bury it, but soon the body wakes up. Rin takes the man to meet her father, where he reveals himself as Yuta. He tells them that he was hired by Isago, the wife of Sakagami Clan leader when he heard they were looking for mermaids. Yuta agrees to stay on in the village and help them fish if they will help him find the mermaid he is after. Time passes and Rin and Yuta develop feelings for each other. One day while in town Isago runs into Yuta again and confirms her suspicions that he is immortal. Later that night she shows up in Toba village and drives a sword through Rin's father, telling her that she will have to find a mermaid to save his life.

Chapter 4: Togyo no sato (kohen)
(The Village of the Fighting Fish, Part Two)
An enraged Rin quickly kills Isago and heads out with Yuta into a storm to find the mermaid. Before long they run across her and Yuta dives into the ocean to grab her. The Sakagami Clan are watching though, and kill Yuta and the mermaid and take Rin hostage. Back on Sagakami Island the mermaid comes back to life and attacks a villager. Rin is about to be raped by a tribesman when Isago arrives and stops him. She explains that she needs the flesh of the mermaid as nourishment for her unborn baby. Rin is taken before the leader of the Sakagami clan and watches as he eats the flesh of the mermaid. By pure luck he survives and decides to get rid of Rin, but Yuta arrives just in time to save her. He and the headman battle each other, but soon he starts to turn into a Lost Soul. Before the headman completely transforms Isago tells him that she is in fact a mermaid and that she is exacting her revenge on him for murdering her former husband. The Toba villagers arrive to rescue Rin while Isago leaps from a cliff and transforms back into a mermaid. Yuta leaves the village in order to continue his search, leaving Rin behind.

Chapter 5: Ningyo no mori (zenpen)
(Mermaid Forest, Part One)
As Yuta lies down to rest, Mana wanders off after a cat. She finds herself in the middle of a road and is hit by a semi-truck. Yuta wakes up and learns what has happened and that they took Mana's body to a doctor named Shiina. When he arrives the doctor tells Yuta that Mana only had a slight concussion and that she snuck away when he left the room, but in actuality Mana died and the doctor was keeping her body hidden from Yuta and the police. Later that night, Dr. Shiina takes Mana's body to a house in the forest and there he begins the process of removing Mana's arm. A girl with white hair named Towa says she needs a new arm, but her older sister Sawa is disgusted at the process. Mana wakes up to everyones shock before the doctor is able to amputate her arm. Yuta decides to ask the doctor a few more questions for the Dr. Shiina and learns that the doctor makes housecalls every week to the Kannagi House in Mermaid Forest. Yuta decides to investigate and meets Towa while breaking in. She tells him Mana is there, but her dog, a Lost Soul attacks and kills Yuta. When he wakes up he finds himself chained to a wall in a sort of dungeon underneath the house. Towa tells Mana that somewhere on the property a mermaid is buried and that Sawa knows where but refuses to tell her. Towa then tries to kill Mana again when it is revealed that her bad arm is actually that of a Lost Soul. Sawa helps free Yuta and tells him that Towa only looks young on the outside, but is aging on the inside. Sawa tells Yuta that when they were young Towa was very sick, and in order to save her life she let her drink the blood of a mermaid, but it caused her arm to deform and her hair to turn completely white. Their father forced Towa to live in a cell under the house and was never allowed outside until he died. Towa arrives and locks Yuta and Sawa inside her old cell. She tells them that she plans on transferring her head onto Mana's body so that she'll live forever. Towa lets Sawa out, but locks Yuta in with her dog.

Chapter 6: Ningyo no mori (kohen)
(Mermaid Forest, Part Two)
Towa says that she'll remove Mana's head unless Sawa shows her where the mermaid is buried, and finally Sawa relents. Yuta manages to kill the dog and escape. He finds Sawa and Towa inside the cave where the mermaid is kept, but warns Towa of what might happen to her if she eats the mermaid's flesh. Towa throws Mana into the pit with the mermaid, where a Lost Soul is waiting. Yuta dives in to protect her and kills the Lost Soul, but the mermaid wakes up and rips Towa's other arm off before Towa decapitates it. She takes the flesh and tries to feed it to her sister. She tells everyone that Sawa wanted to test the effects of the mermaid's blood on her so that she could see if it was safe. She knew all along what might happen to her, but was only concerned with finding immortality. Sawa refuses to eat the flesh and dies of a heart attack in front of Towa. Towa says that it isn't fair that she did not have to suffer as she has her entire life and then she joins her sister in death. Dr. Shiina helps Yuta burn everything and then reveals that he was Towa's fiance.



An Introduction to Mermaid Saga

Cultural Notes