Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Manga Review: Jyunketsu Ningyo

Manga Review: Jyunketsu Ningyo by Mikage Tsubaki

Merman Sango (uke) comes to the landworld to work in a company in order to make money to support his undersea family. He somehow gets promoted to junior secretary to the president Minami (seme). There’s an urgent package that needs delivery within 20 minutes, and there is no way humanly possible to get it there on time. The recipient is the father of Minami’s girlfriend and his engagement rides on it arriving on time. The secretaries are tearing out their hair. Sango finally pipes up that if Minami will trust him, he can get it there in time. The other secretaries scarper and Minami has no choice but to entrust the package to Sango.

Sango packs the item water tight and then swims the channel to the destination, getting it there safely. He returns and passes out at the president’s feet. He wakes naked, in the president’s bed. Minami asks him how he achieved the impossible. If a mer-person tells a lie they turn into bubbles and die. Sango has no choice but to reveal that he is a merman – and shows his fishtail. [We don’t see how he suddenly manifests his tail, but I’ll give this the benefit of the doubt and say he pours a glass of water by the bedside onto his legs]. Minami is both stunned and aroused, never having seen anything so beautiful.
He dries out and is hugely embarrassed to be completely naked... and human, before Minami! Minami wastes no time in seducing the super cute merman. Afterwards, his girlfriend turns up. Minami breaks up with her, but Sango knows that if Minami stays with him, he will never have a normal life and family. He lies and tells Minami he doesn't love him and then goes to the seashore to await the sunrise and his metamorphosis into bubbles. Minami finds him and says that he will never let him go. Sango remains as he is, true lover conquering all... and they live happily ever after.
The second story is a follow on, in which Sango wants to get Minami a present. He swims to the bottom of the ocean and finds a piece of broken glass. While he's gone Minami goes mad, thinking his lover has left him. When he returns, he's at first puzzled by the broken glass, but soon comes to treasure it more than anything because of the thought behind it.
There are several other (non merman) stories in the anthology, the best of which is "Hercules" which deals with a beetle who falls in love with his keeper and wishes to the beetle god to make him human - very similar to the Haru/clam story in "Selfish Mr. Mermaid" - There's another transformation one about an albino snake. "Found love with you" the last story is also really nice, about a boy who kisses his best friend and feels so guilty that he doesn't wait around to see if his feelings are reciprocated. Its only years later he finds out that his friend loves him back.  Worth checking out for yaoi fans but no mermaid content.
Back to our merman story...
The story is really sweet and the characters are great, particularly Sango the merman. Artwork's not bad either, the colour cover and frontispiece are gorgeous. Things move a tad too quickly, being a short and all - I would have liked more explanations - why doesn't Sango turn to bubbles? How does he get his tail in Minami's bed? Also I'd have liked more underwater tail scenes and just more... everything! 
Sex is all in human form and typical yaoi. There is a pretty hot sex scene at the end of the second story as Minami shows Sango just how much he loves him. Thumbs up, there, very nice.
I liked the idea that merpeople can't lie on pain of death, and thought that the broken glass present was such a lovely story idea. The BL version of the little mermaid, with a happy ending, Jyunketsu Ningyo is a worthy addition to the mer-slash genre and definitely one to track down.

Available to read online here

Verdict 7/10

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