Manga: School Mermaid

The things one does for love.
A horror manga / anthology series by Yoshitomi Akihito (author of Blue Drop) 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.

Within a school, a old worn out notebook is passed around explaining that 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 pretty disturbing so view at your own risk.


Examples

     General 
  • 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.
  • Cute Mute: All the mermaids. Obviously cute, and can only make screech sounds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Love Makes You Evil / Yandere: 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: Hehe you think those mermaids are just cute bubbly creatures huh? However 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.
  • 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.
  • Et Tu, Brute??
  • False Friend
  • 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 / Villainous Breakdown 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.
  • Knife Nut: Toshiko, she came Crazy-Prepared as well as she has a whole variety of knives with her
  • Jerkass: Naomi who 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.

     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.