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Manga / Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch

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With a pichi pichi voice, live start!

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is a shoujo manga written by Michiko Yokote and illustrated by Pink Hanamori, which ran in Nakayoshi from 2002 to 2005. An anime adaptation aired from 2003 to 2004. The series combined two subcategories of Magical Girl — the Magic Idol Singer (sans Older Alter Ego for once in the genre) and the Magical Girl Warrior— while taking its style and substance from the original version of The Little Mermaid and plunked it into a magical world of princesses battling demons.

Lucia Nanami is the new girl in town, and with her foreign name, clumsy nature and odd talking penguin friend Hippo (more of a nagging guardian than anything), she's got enough problems. Of course, she's also the regent monarch of the North Pacific Ocean, with the title of Pink Pearl Princess — except she lost her pink pearl. And by "lost", she means "gave away", to save a drowning boy back when she was six. The boy turns out to be school idol and international competitive surfer Kaito Dōmoto, and he's being targeted by the same league of sea demons that destroyed the kingdoms of the Atlantic princesses Hanon and Rina and kidnapped the Arctic and South Pacific princesses. Lucia (now with her pearl back), Hanon and Rina have to save those two, find the other two princesses that disappeared after the attacks, and navigate Lucia's love life, except, oh yeah, mermaid legend goes that confessing your identity to a human will turn you into seafoam.

Although the anime is sugary and child-friendly, and the manga was serialized in a magazine aimed at young girls, the latter is a lot more dark and mature. Lucia and Kaito have a lot more subtext going on, embarrassing situations are more so (for example, in the manga, Lucia accidentally wins a beachside beauty contest when her bikini top comes undone, flashing the audience; in the anime, another girl wins and Lucia's much more modest suit is saved) and there's a bit of gore and more threatening villains.

Another thing that sets the Pichi Pichi mermaids apart from their contemporaries is the combination of the Magic Idol Singer and Magical Girl Warrior. Lucia and friends need their pearls to sing, and sing well; their singing voices can defeat the enemies, and upgrades come via new songs for their repertoires. Each girl, except for Noel and Coco, who spend most of their time in the background, also gets her own Image Song that can be used either in battle or in dramatic situations. In the second season and the second half of the first, some villains also get their own songs.

Once licensed by ADV Films, only to be dropped a year later when they couldn't find a TV deal for the 52-episode first season. The manga is licensed and has been released in its entirety by Del Rey.

This program provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime adaptation of Mermaid Melody has expanded into 91 total episodes.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Rina's hair colors are more muted in the anime, while Seira and good! Sara has orange hair all the time instead of changing to brown as humans. Even Lucia's blonder in the anime; in the manga, her human form's hair looks browner.
  • Adapted Out: In the manga, Gaito and his lovers have a group song named Black Rose Requiem. This was not adapted to the anime, where the Black Beauty Sisters became the first baddies with their own song.
  • Advertised Extra: Purachan is seen lots of times during the first opening, but in the anime itself she is only a background character that doesn't contribute to the plot at all.
  • Aerith and Bob: The national origins of the names are varied and don't match up with the national origins of the people who have them. Mermaids have it worst, but the Amagi family [uh, Licht and Michal?] and Kaito's family do it too.
  • Animorphism: Inversion with Gaito's minions, who were transformed from animals into humans.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Mermaids can't harm other mermaids with their songs. Note that Sara is not in violation of this rule: it is made pretty clear that only songs bestowed by the Goddess will not harm other mermaids. "Return to the Sea" is a song born from Sara's hatred, NOT a gift from Aqua Regina. Therefore it would not be bound by that rule. Still, given that the other mermaids can sing songs that aren't from Aqua Regina — Mizuiro no Senritsu being the most blatant example because it was written by a human — there's still a bit of a question there.
  • Artistic Age: Gackt looks a bit too much like his namesake to possibly be thirteen years old. This is also true of pretty much every character in the series; Maria doesn't really look old despite the many jokes at her expense, and aside from Hanon and the characters who are supposed to be small children, most of the girls are unbelievably stacked.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Pure season's opening pairs up Lucia/Rihito, Michal/Kaito, Hanon/Nagisa and Rina/Masahiro. The first two aren't canon. In fact, the first is barely implied unrequited love from Rihito's side.
  • Big Fancy House: Michal's and Rihito's house is big and fancy. Kaito's is big, but not really fancy.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Mermaids get drunk off of cola in the manga.
  • Boobs of Steel:
    • In season 1, Sara is not only the most well-endowed mermaid, but is also the most powerful princess.
    • Lucia herself. Look how stacked she is, particularly in the manga. If that's not enough, after her life-saving upgrade at the end of the manga, it looks like she grew another cup!
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Yuuri, the loli of the Dark Lovers, who is seen by the others as a pest; also, Seira begins as this before she gets the pieces of her heart back.
  • Brown Note: Their songs are their weapons.
  • Calling Your Attacks: After a song ends, the mermaids shout "Love Shower Pitch!". In the manga [and the video games, if you get a perfect score], Love Shower Pitch is Lucia's personal attack, and the others each call out something different.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: There's a lot of concern over the fact that Kaito doesn't know that Lucia's human and mermaid forms are the same person, which could be simply fixed by Lucia telling him; but justified because she'll turn into the foam if she does so.
  • Canon Immigrant: Kura-chan, a mascot from the anime, appeared briefly in the manga. The manga also likes to use the songs from the anime.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Lucia seems to be the victim of many of these, especially in fillers and early on establishing her relationship with Kaito.
  • Casting Gag: The Spanish voice actresses for Karen and Coco already played mermaids in H₂O: Just Add Water a year earlier. Similarly, Michal Amagi's voice actress played a H2O character whose role in the plot was similar to Michal's.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: It follows this so well that Hanon appears to forget the word "aqua" in the manga when she and Lucia meet up with Rina.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each mermaid princess represents a different pearl.
    • Lucia: pink
    • Hanon: mizuiro (aquamarine/light blue)
    • Rina: green
    • Caren: purple
    • Noel: aiiro (deep blue/indigo)
    • Coco: yellow
    • Sara and Seira: orange
  • Curtains Match the Window: This trope applies for every mermaid in mermaid form save Lucia, in where it applies only while she's in human form.
  • Darker and Edgier: The manga, at least compared to the anime. Part of this is because the manga was aimed at teenagers while the anime was aimed at younger audiences. One example is Maria trying to molest Kaito at one point of the manga (the scene was cut off from the animé).
  • Distinguishing Mark: Tarou thinks his mermaid girlfriend is distinguishable for her long hair. Too bad all mermaids have it.
  • Doomed Hometown: The first arc begins with most of the mermaid kingdoms destroyed by Gakuto, forcing the princesses to escape to the human world if they weren't already captured. Lucia's kingdom is spared. Sara's kingdom was destroyed by her turbulent emotions.
  • Dramatic Wind: Used several times in the anime. ...even underwater. Justified with underwater currents, but the sound is still inexcusable.
  • Dreadful Musician: Mermaids without their pearls. Also, Lucia intended to sing to Kaito to show him that she was the mermaid, but she got too nervous and her singing resulted in this.
  • Drunk on Milk: Carbonated beverages get mermaids drunk in the manga. This happens to Lucia while trying to take care of a sick Kaito. In the anime, it's replaced with a magic MacGuffin mood changer that goes haywire.
  • Everything Fades: The result of the anime making death scenes more child-friendly.
  • Eyecatch: Usually marked with whichever character is most important to the episode.
  • Flash Back: Think of one instance where said flashback doesn't either contain a song, the implications of an attack song, or background music of the character singing in the present.
  • Foreshadowing: Yuuri's piano music in episode 4 only hypnotized human beings. Notice how Kaito wasn't affected by her music.
  • Freudian Trio: Both Hanon and Lucia have very Id tendencies, which leaves Rina the roles of both Ego and Superego to moderate them.
  • Funbag Airbag: Inverted: When Lucia trips and falls, Kaito's face serves as the airbag for her funbags.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Nagisa, male, Makoto, male, and Noel, female.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser:
    • Episode 39; the main trio and the Dark Lovers play games at the hotel. The mermaids are aware of their identities.
    • Episode 79; Mimi (in disguise) and the mermaids (in human form) hang out with each other. They aren't aware of each other's identity.
  • Gratuitous English: Pinku paaru voisu!
  • Gratuitous Princess: Each ocean on earth is ruled by a mermaid princess — the protagonist, Lucia, is the princess of the North Pacific Ocean and has to recruit the other oceans' mermaid princesses. The status of "princess" itself is fairly irrelevant, as the girls aren't seen doing many rulings.
  • Happy Holidays Dress: Lucia owns one.
  • Heart Symbol: At the end of songs.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used while Lucia is sleeping naked.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Noel for Rina, Caren for the three protagonists, Seira for everyone. None of these involves death though.
  • Idol Singer: All of them, as well as Lucia's [anime-only] idol Jennifer.
  • Imagine Spot: Most are from Hanon and Luchia.
  • Inconsistent Dub:
    • The Italian dub songs. For example, Lucia's Japanese image song, Splash Dream, was not given an Italian counterpart. Therefore, when a scene would call for it, the Italian Lucia would sing either Torno all'Oceano (which is actually the Italian counterpart of Hanon's song Ever Blue) or a random song from their established repertoire. Which, of course, caused confusion in certain episodes, such as the episode where, for whatever reason, Hanon ended up singing Stella Preziosa (Rina's song).
    • The Spanish adaptation used the Japanese raws, to the point to keep the credits in the original kanji during the opening and ending, but inexplicably some episodes utilized what is very obviously the script of the unreleased American dub. This includes the tons of sea-based puns inserted in said dub (some of them impossible to translate to Spanish, but still done literally!).
  • In the Name of the Moon: Lucia and friends will often give speeches along the lines of "how dare you villains mess with X thing, we'll protect love with our pichi pichi voices" before launching into a song.
  • Invisible to Normals: A perk of the girls' powers is that the crowds often seem to think that they're idol singers.
  • Invocation: The transformation phrases in the manga, if that's what they are and not their names. The anime turns them into necessary transformation phrases.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Tarou and Hanon both do this.
    • Lucia thinks she should be happy for Kaito when she sees him with another woman on Christmas Eve. Turns out she's his aunt.
  • The Lancer: The lance gets tossed around to most of the team, all in the hopes of making Lucia less of a ditz.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Caren, Noel, and Coco at the end of the manga. Hippo gets a few of these moments in both versions.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime removes the blood and violence, as well as other child-unfriendly aspects like an episode with underage drinking (albeit Drunk on Milk) and implied offscreen sex because the ratings for children's television are harsher than with children's manga.
  • Limited Animation: The anime relies heavily on Stock Footage and Talking Heads and simplified the character designs. This is most obvious with Caren, who in the manga has a lot of outfits and always seems to be wearing animal print, which is hard to animate; in the anime, she has a Limited Wardrobe consisting only of solid colours.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Lanhua creates a karaoke club and Lady Bat creates a divination tent. In the same piece of land, no less. But in different episodes.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Both Kaito and Michal live in mansions (Kaito alone, Michal with only her brother), have few to no friends, and long for real connection.
  • Lovely Angels: Referenced in the climax of the manga, where Caren, Coco and Noel actually get to do something!
  • Love Dodecahedron: More like a love chain: Nagisa->Hanon->Tarou->Sara<->Gackto<-Dark Lovers, and just to make things more complicated, Yuuri, one of the Dark Lovers, falls in love with Hippo.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The Dark Lovers and Sara. Michal is a subversion; she pulled a Face–Heel Turn, but didn't completely turn evil, as she was manipulated into being possessed.
  • Meaningful Name: The title itself: "pichi pichi" is the sound of a fish's tail swishing and it's also the sound effect for someone who's especially excited and cute, like the heroines of the story.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Why do you think the E-pitch (the microphones the mermaids use) looks like an E-kara?
  • Mermaid Problem: Never addressed, but a particular scene in the manga really makes you wonder.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Halfway through the first arc, the Mermaid Princesses get a Frilly Upgrade along with new songs.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: A pearl isn't a mineral, but it is generally considered a precious stone.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Hippo... That is if he isn't in his human form.
  • No Romantic Resolution: At the end, all the couples are set. There is one little problem though: Nagisa and Masahiro still don't know they're dating mermaids. Which means Hanon and Rina can't just come and go when duty calls and hope for a stable relationship. Lucia doesn't have this problem because Kaito knows.
  • No Social Skills: Luchia at the beginning.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: No confessing to humans lest the mermaid wishes to turn into bubbles. The human finding out on their own does not count as a confession.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: As far as main characters go, only Nagisa, Masahiro and Kaito's buddies really count. And if you're reading the manga, exclude Masahiro.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The mermaids' tails look more like fabric costumes than actual fishtails.
  • Our Hippocamps Are Different: Hippo's true form is a hippocamp with a near-perfect classical design. He's got wings, he's got a very long tail, and his hooves are bronze. However, his tail is serpentine and lacks the fins at the end. His mane also reaches all the way to his tail. Hippo rarely makes use of his hippocamp form, however, favoring his human and penguin forms.
  • Overtook the Manga: Especially prevalent in the second season.
  • People Jars: What Gaito uses to keep the mermaids.
  • Princess Protagonist: The story focuses on Nanami, the Princess of the North Pacific Ocean, who teams up with fellow mermaid princesses Rina and Hanon to fight sea demons and save Nanami's boyfriend using their magical pearl powers.
  • Princesses Rule: Each of the seven mermaid kingdoms is ruled by a Mermaid Princess.
  • Prophetic Names: Lucia, Michel, and Michal.
  • Puberty Superpower: At the age of 13. Lucia missed this date because she didn't have her pearl, so it was postponed to one year later.
  • Rainbow Motif: The seven mermaid princesses happen to be themed after the seven colors of the rainbow... more or less. Lucia's pink replaces red, and Noel's deep blue replaces indigo. (Hanon's aqua can still qualify as blue.)
  • Run the Gauntlet: One Pure episode had Michel's minions do something like this, although the heroines went past 4 (of the 5) enemies without having to sing away at them. The first, Alala, was merely bypassed, the second, Lanhua, was struck down by a bowling ball (how it got there is beyond me), the third, Lady Bat, was repelled by the fact her breath smelled of curry, and the fourth, Napoleonfish, let them pass after being threatened with a beating (He was about a third their height).
  • Rhythm Game: Two of the licensed GBA games.
  • Sixth Ranger: Five of them, actually, not counting Kaito.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The early fansubs made a lot of spelling errors regarding the names, but some fans still like to say the wrong names and even start debates over it. The most popular ones are Lucia/Luchia/Ruchia, Rina/Lina, Gackto/Gakuto/Gaito (with the last one being anime Canon), Caren/Karen, Noel/Nuil/Noelle, Michel/Mikeru, Michal/Mikaru, Lanhua/Ranfa/Ran Fa/Lang Fa and Nicola/Nikora. Three of the Dark Lovers also have names that the fanbase debates over, with Izul/Izuru, Eril/Eriru, Yuri/Yuuri being commonly used variations.
    • The correct spelling of the above contested names are meant to be Lucia, Rina, Caren, Noel, Michel, Michal, Lanhua, Nicola, Yzeure, Erill and Urey.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • The mythical mermaid, who, apparently, eventually said "Screw Destiny" to the Obstructive Code of Conduct and went off with the human anyway; also, Sara and Tarou, who wasn't quite so lucky.
    • Yuuri and Hippo. Made even worse by the fact that Hippo was making a fuss over the mermaids falling in love with humans - and Yuuri is a sea witch!
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: While the main effect of the Mermaid Princess' songs is to make enemies cover their ears and run away, they also do things like make force fields, reverse mind control, restore memories, make people hallucinate, and light candles.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Gackto says his true name is Gakuto, with some of the same kanji from Kaito's name when he reveals that they are twins. Even with the name Gackto, he matches Kaito, as they're both named after popular singers. In the anime, this was just changed to having Gackto's name be Gaito all along, getting rid of the Hollywood Spelling issue as well as downplaying his status as a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Gackt.
  • There Is Another: The Amagi family is half-Panthalassa.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: In one episode, Kaito and Lucia were to share an umbrella, but Gaito (disguised as Kaito) almost kidnaps her. Kaito sees this and assumes she just went off with another guy, which sparks an argument between him and Lucia.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Averted; the "lame" power is shared by most of the protagonists, and those with the "cool" power rarely ever actually get to fight.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Gackto and Michel note .
  • Winged Humanoid: Michel and his followers.
  • Word Salad Title: "Mermaid Melody" is obvious, "Pichi Pichi" is the onomatopoeia for a fish splashing and also describes Lucia's happy personality, "Pitch" is another musical reference.
  • World of Technicolor Hair:
    • Mermaids' hair can be of any color in the spectrum, and six of the seven main mermaids' hair colors are specifically modeled after the colors of the rainbow.
    • The humans in the cast tend to have realistic hair colors, but Nagisa and Masahiro (humans) have blue and green hair, respectively, to match the mermaids they fall in love with.
  • You Have Failed Me: Sheshe and Mimi are consumed by Michel because of this.
  • You Know the One: In order to make this seem less awkward, "that person" was changed in the English manga to "the Great One".
  • Younger Than They Look: Seira is born in the very end, but she's depicted as six or so.
  • Yuppie Couple: The schoolgirls are always the same.

Love Shower Pitch! Would you like an encore?