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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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03/07/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi review: Selfish Mr. Mermaid"

Selfish Mr. Mermaid
Story by Nabako Kamo
Art by Nabako Kamo
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Once upon a time in modern day Tokyo (I presume), diminutive, repressed, put-upon, timid, nervous, timorous (ah, that's the word I was looking for), clueless, closeted, salaryman, Mr. Kanan came home to find his apartment flooded from the floor above. Screwing up his courage, he goes upstairs to ask if they wouldn't mind, please, y'know? turning the fucking water off? Anyway, it turns out the person or thing that lives upstairs is a merman who lives in his bathtub. Of course the landlord, in a one panel star turn as a plot point, evicts the merman for flooding his and Kanan's apartment, so, logically Mr. Merman or Mermaid as he is referred to in this book (just go with it, if you're still with me, just go with the Mr. Mermaid thing) moves into Kanan's apartment, primarily into Kanan's bathtub. He must have jimmied the lock while Kanan was at work because when Kanan gets home, there's Mr. Mermaid laying in his bathtub. Shortly after Kanan's arrival home, Mr. Mermaid starts shouting orders for food, wine, massages and, eventually, sex. But not just yet, first Mr. Mermaid has to further terrorize Kanan by threatening to eat him. Still with me? Well, okay, then! Ready for more more more?

So after they have the inevitable, but consensual, sex, Kaioh, this Merman's handle, admits that mermaids don't really eat humans, all he meant was that Kanan is so cute, he just wants to eat him right up. This, I surmise, explains all the oral sex in this book, by Kaioh, because in all the sex, and most everything else, Kanan pretty much just lays there. And, yes, I had to point that out right now and right here. So! Of course Kaioh is merperson royalty, and he takes Kanan to his father's undersea kingdom (Kanan eats a pearl that lets him breathe underwater [yeah]). Under the sea, Kanan is kidnapped by one of Kaioh's enemies and then Kaioh rescues him (hey, nobody is going to read this book for its plot) and they go back to the surface, have more sex, and presumably live happily ever after, at least until Volume 2 gets published and we find out what happens next. The end.

Oh, Christ, gay sex with bitchy eldritch creatures? Okay, Japan, I've tried to understand, but just what the hell is going on over there? (I think I stole that last bit from Dorian.) And yet...I like this book, I like it better in print than when I read the first chapters in scans. Juné's translation is, understandably, better, (because it better be) and whole screen vs. book thing makes a difference here for me, at least. The cover is cute, but this artist really can't draw fish (or genitalia), so I'm not sure why she went with the whole homosexual merbeing thing, except it works as a yaoi concept.

Mermaids, fuck, the last time we had a mer-anything in a bathtub in this country was Splash! in 1984 when Tom Hanks was young, Daryl Hannah was the blonde du moment and there was a big country called the Soviet Union that spanned eleven time zones. So, being a product of Western Civ, I can deal with the whole heterosexual mermaids seducing heterosexual yuppies, but a gay merman kind of threw me. And he's a selfish (as in the title), pushy, bossy, demanding, teasing, snarly, sarcastic, gay merman who really loves Kanan and is quite tender toward him when he is so inclined, which kept this reviewer reading. It's a pretty dopey story, but Kaioh and Kanan have such as sweet dynamic between them, and a sexy one, too, I enjoyed it very much and I'm glad June published it. I mean, the whole sirens luring sailors to their deaths usually doesn't have a happy ending, and Selfish Mr. Mermaid ends on a lovely upbeat note that makes me want more of Kaioh and Kanan in future volumes. What will they do next between bouts of sex sex sex? Hopefully, we'll get to find out someday.

More mermaids at J LHLS, you say?

Mermaid Forest, vol 3 (anime)
Mermaid Forest, vol 2 (anime)
Mermaid Saga, vol 4 (manga)
Princess Mermaid (manga)
Mermaid's Play (art book)

We're more mermaid intensive at J LHLS than I thought.

Replies: 2 comments

Lots of sex? But... he's a merman. How does that work? Aren't their nether regions incompatible?

Posted by Ryes @ 03/07/2008 11:20 PM PST

Oh, that's right, I forgot to mention that none of the mer-folks ever turn into half fish-folk. I don't know why, there's no reason for the merpeople not to transmogrify. When Kaioh and Kanan are under the sea, they don't have sex, so I'm not sure why there wasn't a transformation. I mean, the main point of this book is porn, so I'm surprised Kaioh didn't deliver a pizza at some point in it. On the other hand, this artist doesn't draw fish well, so a hybrid fishman might have been inconceivable. I dunno, I'd think it was weirder than it is if it wasn't yaoiland, where anything goes!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 03/08/2008 06:43 AM PST

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