Manga: School Mermaid

To find your true love, you must kill!

A horror manga / anthology series by Akihito Yoshitomi (author of Blue Drop and Eat-Man) about Japanese school girls who really want boyfriends. But rather than going through the trouble of getting the attention of a boy, talking to them and just being themselves, they decide on a much quicker way to do so... By hunting mermaids in their school and eating their flesh.

No, really. That's the premise. Okay, yeah a bit far-fetched, here's some more detail.

Around a few Japanese high schools, an old worn out notebook is passed around detailing a certain spell that, when chanted at a certain time at night, will cause human looking mermaids to appear before the user. These mermaids wear Japanese style swimsuits with a letter on their chest. If the mermaid with the first letter of the boy you love is caught and killed, all you have to do is eat the flesh of it while thinking of your true love and, presto, instant boyfriend. However the mermaids won't be caught so easily since they can swim through the walls and floors like water and are extremely fast to boot.

This doesn't deter the girls who find this notebook and indeed give it a shot. The thing is though some are quite, er, competitive in trying to get what they want. And then of course there's the much deeper dark secret of the mermaids themselves.

Originally published as a three-chapter one shot story, it was given a short serialization run that managed to produce two volumes of material. Fair warning - this manga is pretty disturbing so view at your own risk.


    open/close all folders 

  • And I Must Scream: In an interesting sense, in the last story one of the characters surmises that the reason the mermaids will sometimes go on the attack is that they can feel if someone who enacted the spell truly does love a boy and doesn't need the flesh of a mermaid to get him to return their feelings. As such they become jealous of that person and try to kill them because they know they're stuck by the spell's curse and can never have that kind of affection because they tried to take the easy way out through the spell rather then simply come out with their feelings. This might be why they're constantly smiling for potential victims, they're not really genuine as if they're hoping for their pursers to fail. In fact, a sign they're about to turn feral is when they don't do this, meaning they sense a girl's true affection for a boy.
  • Author Appeal: There's only one reason behind the mermaids being portrayed as cute (but creepy) teenagers in classic Japanese school swimsuit...
  • Brainwashed: Whatever the spell does to the girls after they turn into mermaids, it strips them of their personality and makes them akin to mindless dolphin like creatures whose only instinct is to try to avoid being killed by their pursuers. A recent tale actually revealed that some of the more prominent personality traits can survive mermaidification, especially if a mermaid has a strong connection with a potential pursuer.
  • Cute Mute: All the mermaids. Obviously cute, and can only make screech sounds. Subverted, they can talk if only in parrot like fashion when they feel their pursuers are mocking them i.e dressing like them.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The mermaids don't seem the least bit bothered by being stalked by girls trying to kill them, until one gets brought down. Also seen when Haruko watches them drag Yoshiko away.
  • Fragile Speedster: The mermaids are indeed fast but one heavy blow will take them out instantly.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Anyone who eats mermaid flesh, since mermaids are magically transformed humans. And you must do so , not only to get your wish for whom you want to love you. But if you don't, you get transformed into a mermaid immediately afterwards. Somewhat subverted, as a recent tale shows that mermaid flesh tastes like fish.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Some of these protagonists really want a boyfriend, to the point their willing to kill each other if they like the same one.
  • Nightmare Face: You think those mermaids are just cute bubbly creatures? Some nights they made not be in the mood to be playful, leading to this happening.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Most obviously, they look like schoolgirls in swimsuits, able to "swim" through walls like they were water. Though when they go on the attack, they start looking more like the mermaids from old tales i.e their skin becomes more scaly, they gain fins on their hands, their nose disappears and they suddenly sprout fangs.
  • Race Against the Clock: You'd better be finished by the time sun comes up...
  • Squee: Creepy mermaid sound. In fact it's all they can say especially when one turns into a mermaid if they don't eat mermaid flesh by sunrise. However, ones that retain some of their mental faculties, like Kaori, are still able to display affection through tactile means.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Journal detailing the mermaids and how to hunt them. It obviously contains Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
  • Was Once a Man: The mermaids were actually all human school girls at one point who invoked the spell. They failed to catch a mermaid before sunrise however and the spell turned them into mermaids themselves, doomed to be hunted and eventually killed by the next people who find the notebook.

     Haruko and Yoshiko (The original one shot story) 
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Happens to Yoshiko as she was unaware what the price of failing to eat mermaid flesh meant.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Haruko wins, but the ending brings up the possibility that one day she will screw up and lose in the worst possible way.
  • Batman Gambit: Haruko pulls one on Yoshiko - helped along by the fact that the latter had more than one flaw that fed into it
  • Downer Ending: Haruko got Yoshiko turned into a mermaid because Yoshiko is easy prey, and Haruko will move on to the next person - boyfriend, victim, somebody. There is the possibility that she will screw up at some point, and get turned into a mermaid herself, though.
  • Evil Plan: Brilliantly masterminded by Haruko on the unathletic, weak-hearted Yoshiko from the beginning.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Haruko happily pulls the trigger and eats the mermaid while Yoshiko is going through her Heroic BSOD / Villainous Breakdown and is doomed by it.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Why Haruko chose to partner up with Yoshiko in the first place. She knew that Yoshiko wouldn't be able to bring herself to kill and eat the mermaid, and so would become one as well. This would get her out of the way and ensure Haruko would then have a weak and easily killable mermaid to hunt the next time she wanted one, since she knew Yoshiko's other flaws would remain after her transformation.
  • Heroic BSOD: Depending on how you view Yoshiko, her loss of composure in the last chapter spells her doom.
  • The Reveal: Once Haruko completes her endgame, Yoshiko experiences first hand why there are mermaids there in the first place.
  • Slasher Smile: That creepy-ass grin of Haruko as Yoshiko is turned into a mermaid. You'll know it when you see it.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Yoshiko can't bring herself to eat Ohara, and that attack of conscience dooms her when Haruko's subsequent Eviler Than Thou Batman Gambit comes to fruition.
  • Villain Protagonist: Both girls but Haruko's Eviler Than Thou Gambit turns Yoshiko into the hapless victim

     Toshiko and Naomi 
  • Bi the Way: With the sun coming up, having killed an S mermaid and Naomi on the verge of either killing her or waiting out the clock for her to become a mermaid. Toshiko can't think of anyone else to use the spell on until she remembers that Naomi's surname starts with an S, and so thinks of her while eating the mermaid flesh, figuring that Naomi will stop trying to kill her if she falls in love with her. Naomi then eats some of the mermaid flesh herself to avoid turning into a mermaid while thinking of Toshiko (whose surname is also revealed to start with an S) and as a result, the two fall in love. Umm...yay? Happy ending?
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Yuuko, the girl that Toshiko sees turned into a mermaid when she found the book. Ironically she accidentally kills her when she thought it was Naomi trying to creep up on her.
  • Jerkass: Naomi practically forces herself into Toshiko's mermaid hurt after hearing Naomi likes the same boy she does. What's more she actively hurts Toshiko to get an early lead.
  • Knife Nut: Toshiko came Crazy-Prepared with a whole variety of knives.
  • Yuri Genre: Both Toshiko and Naomi end up like this after consuming the mermaid flesh.

     Misaki and Noriko 
  • Christmas Cake: Noriko, so desperate to avoid this she willingly invokes the mermaid curse.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Noriko manages to kill an "M" mermaid which Misaki is able to cut flesh from and eat before Noriko reaches her who thinks that Noriko stole the one she loved from her. Turns out Misaki wanted someone else who had a name with the letter "M". Noriko just assumed she loved the same boy she did. Misaki calls her out on this stating she went crazy on her before she got the chance to explain. If that wasn't bad enough, time runs out before Misaki can share the mermaid flesh with her, causing Noriko to become a mermaid. Ironically one of the oldest victim of mermaid girls.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: A very disturbing reversal of this it's the teacher who wants the student in this case. The end of the story reveals that this was Misaki's plan as well.

     Mariko and Kaori 
  • Continuity Nod: Doubles as Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror. The transcript of the mermaid spell and the effects of the curse fails to include the information on the page that Haruko kept from Yoshiko about what happens when you fail to eat mermaid flesh before the sun rises once you recite the spell. Makes one wonder if Haruko decided, in her sadistic thought processes, to keep the page out of the journal so future users of the spell had no idea of the consequences...
  • Lighter and Softer: Well, as Lighter and Softer as you can get in a horror anthology manga. The only mermaid killed is done so offscreen, and it reveals several things about the mermaids, such as the fact that the mermaids can retain aspects of their original selves, can interact with objects in the real world, are treated as missing in the real world, don't actually taste like human flesh, but fish, and can display affection for each other. However, it also reveals that the mermaid spell works outside of the original school...
  • Poor Communication Kills: Kaori and Mariko begin their tale having found a rough transcript of the original journal's instructions. However, the transcript failed to include several key notes, such as the consequences of what happens when one does not eat mermaid flesh after reciting the curse.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: We learn a lot more about the mermaids through Kaori and Mariko's adventures, and while it may also classify as a Bittersweet Ending due to both of them being mermaids, they are together, presumably forever...until one of them is hunted down and killed...
  • Together in Death: Close to it anyway, Mariko invokes the mermaid curse and finds Kaori. Despite Kaori offering up her flesh, Mariko refuses to eat it and willingly waits out the clock to join her friend as a mermaid.

     Yui and Saori 
  • All for Nothing: In the end, no one gains anything. Yui and Rekio beat each other over a mermaid with a false letter. Saori's little lesson to Yui ended up not being worth it for a boy she didn't even want and one of their classmates died due to all three's pettiness.
  • Berserk Button: You try to dress like a mermaid, they'll make sure you have the full experience.
  • Body Horror: When the mermaids appear before Asami who's in the girl's restroom, some of them come in through the faucet and look like grotesque mounds of flesh.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Reiko ropes a girl named Asami into the hunt and has her dress like a mermaid into order to slip in with them and pull a sneak attack. It didn't seem to occur to Reiko after running into Yui and Saori that that would put Asami in danger of being mistaken for a real mermaid and be hunted. Sure enough that indeed is what happens. But the tragedy comes when the mermaids reveal they don't like fakers.
  • Downer Ending: Neither Rekio nor Yui get the guy they wanted as Saori changed the letter on the mermaid she killed and had managed to kill a mermaid-fied Asami who appeared in front of her who had the correct letter, allowing Saori to steal the guy whom the two were after. However Saori now has to live with the knowledge she had unwittingly gotten Asami killed (As she planted the notebook in the locker Reiko and Yui were using, knowing their heated rivalry). She only intended to embarrass Yui however and didn't think Asami would be dragged into the hunt. If that wasn't bad enough, the boy she stole the two from reveals he was in love with Asami. Ouch.
  • False Friend: Played both ways here. Yui is the more deliberate example, selfish and mean but acts caring to get what she wants. But the girls of her school consider her very lucky, so Saori hangs around her in the hope her luck will rub off on her. A fact Yui is all too aware of.
  • Gold Digger: From Saori's thoughts, Yui only wants a certain boy because his parents are doctors and quite wealthy.
  • Heel Realization: As Saori continues to hunt mermaids, she thinks back on Yui's comments to her and starts to wonder why she's even helping such a horrible friend. And has an even more major one after the whole ordeal and the boy's confession to her.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: We see what happens if the mermaids catch you during their feral phase. They kill you like a pack of piranhas.
  • Lack of Empathy: Neither Yui nor Reiko show any concern over Asami being taken by the mermaids, only throwing accusations at each other over who was responsible for her fate before Saori gets them to stop fighting and sends them to the mermaid she managed to kill. Heck Yui doesn't even show concern for Saori until after seeing her in school the next day despite not knowing if Saori ate mermaid flesh or not.
  • Loophole Abuse: An odd case in this one, Yui and Reiko eat mermaid flesh but the spell doesn't work for them because it was the wrong letter (due to Saori changing it). Though since they did manage to eat the flesh anyway, it keeps them from becoming mermaids.
  • The Rival: Reiko, a girl who Yui share a locker with. She gets in on the mermaid hunt after finding the notebook in the locker after Yui forgot it. Naturally Yui isn't pleased by this, especially when she aims for the same "E" mermaid Reiko is after.

     Hidemi and Nanae 
  • Action Girl: Hidemi single-handily knocks out every mermaid that comes after her and even manages to fight off Nanae.
  • Deadly Doctor: Nanae in sense, she's the school nurse of Hidemi's school.
  • Driven by Envy: It's revealed here that the mermaids turn feral if they sense a girl honestly does like a boy and doesn't truly need mermaid flesh (i.e: the feelings are mutual from the boy) to get them to fall in love.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Hidemi manages to survive both the mermaids and Nanae's attack, beat the spell's curse and get the guy she wanted in the end.
  • Evil Is Petty: Nanae developed the whole scheme because all of the male students fall for her beauty save for one, the boy Hidemi likes, and wants to use the spell to force him to fall in love with her. What's more she target the girl who liked him both because she a last name that ended in an "R" (the boy they both like has a last name starting with it) and as a way to get rid of competition.
  • Glasgow Grin: Hidemi inflicts this on Nanae in their struggle when the latter tries to kill her.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Nanae banked on Hidemi being too soft to kill a mermaid and thought for sure she would be an easy target. Unfortunately for her, Hidemi may not be willing to kill but that doesn't mean she can't defend herself.
  • Invisible to Normals: This story reveals that mermaids will only appear and interact with those who chanted the spell. Otherwise they're unseen by anyone who hasn't.
  • Karma Houdini: Somewhat. Nanae is given a Glasgow Grin for her troubles and quickly limps off afterwards, her beauty she took so much pride in now soiled. But she's still plotting to get an "R" mermaid and slips the notebook into a bookstore knowing some girl will find it and read from the book. Though considering how often the book passed hands to different schools, it's implied she either failed or just gave up (because, really, she can't keep track of every girl that gets their hands on it and even then she's has to actively hunt for said mermaid and we've seen how fast they are). Regardless she's responsible for a number of naive girls of other schools falling victim to the mermaid spell.
  • Loophole Abuse: Hidemi unknowingly stumbles onto one by putting her feeling for the boy she likes on a chalkboard, largly because she thought she was going to turn into a mermaid. However this is considered an Act of True Love in the spells rules, thus making her exempt from turning into a mermaid as Hidemi already shown she does love the boy she wants and doesn't need the mermaid flesh. Sure enough, the boy she like visits her in the nurse ward and reveals he likes her too.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Hidemi tries to leave the school after the spell is activated. A barrier knocks her back, knocking off her shoes in the process. She's forced to go around in her socks for the rest of the night.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Narrowly averted, Nanae tempts Hidemi to read the spell when Hidemi thinks back to seeing the boy she like earlier walking home with another girl. Turns out that was his sister.
  • The Un-Reveal: As this is the last story of the series, we never learn how the mermaid spell was created.
  • Win to Exit: This story reveal that if the spell is activated, it forms a magic barrier around the school that won't let the chanter leave until they either kill and eat a mermaid or the time runs out.