About the Manga

1. Weekly Serializations in Shonen Sunday Zokan & Shonen Sunday

In 1984 while she was busy writing not only Urusei Yatsura each week and Maison Ikkoku bi-weekly, Rumiko Takahashi created an entirely different serial beginning in Shonen Sunday Zokan's August 1984 issue. Takahashi's Mermaid Saga was not the first horror story she created, but it was her first horror serial. Takahashi published the series a storyarc at a time, and fans would sometimes have to wait up to a year to see the next two week adventure of Yuta and Mana. Eventually the series moved from Shonen Sunday Zokan (now known as Shonen Sunday Super) to Shonen Sunday proper, and from 1984 through 1994 Shonen Sunday published the subsequent chapters of Mermaid Saga. Even though only a small amount of work has been produced, it has become an enormous success all over the world. In 1989 Takahashi won the prestigious Seiun (Nebula) Award in Japan for "Mermaid's Forest", after winning two years prior for Urusei Yatsura.

2. Wideban

Unlike Takahashi's other works, Mermaid Saga was first collected into wideban format, skipping over the traditional, smaller tankoban format. Wideban's provide a larger page size, a superior print quality and the higher-stock of paper. Additionally the inclusion of the original color pages from Shonen Sunday is a big draw for fans of Takahashi's watercolor work. Because of the sporadic publication of the series, only two wideban were released and both Yasha no hitomi and Saigo no kao were left out of the collection entirely.

3. Shonen Sunday Comics Special

In 2003, as Takahashi's popular series Ranma was being reprinted for the first time, Mermaid Saga was as well. Mermaid Saga saw itself adapated to animation for the third time, this time as a weekly television series titled Mermaid Forest. To tie in to the TV series, Shogakukan rereleased the Mermaid Saga in this new format, entitled Shonen Sunday Comics Special. For the first time Japanese fans were able to have a collected version that included Yasha no hitomi and Saigo no kao, two storylines that has not been available for over nine years.

4. Super Quest Bunko

The Super Quest Bunko books are actually novelizations, known as "light novels" in Japan due to their short length and easy readibility. These two books are written by Tomoko Konparu who has novelized quite a few of Takahashi's works (Urusei Yatsura and Inuyasha). These two books cover the "Mermaid's Forest" and "Tomorrow's Promise/Mermaid's Promise" storylines and contain all new color and black and white artwork by Takahashi.

5. Foreign Language Editions

Rumiko Takahashi's works are published in a variety of languages. The American distribution rights are handled by Viz Media, one of the leading manga translation companies which is owned by Shogakukan and Shueisha. In America two chapters were published each month and then later collected into a graphic novel, which usually contains the same material as a tankoban, but in a larger format. Eventually Viz gave up on the monthly comic book format, and instead brought began bringing out the series every few months in a format much more similar to the Japanese tankoban releases. Takahashi's works are wildly popular in Europe and Asia and have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Italian and French as well.


An Introduction to Mermaid Saga

Cultural Notes