- Member: Second Element
- Studio: Second Element Video
- Title: Lost Souls
- Premiered: 2006-04-01
- Within Temptation Jillian (I'd Give My Heart)
****You will need a proper XVID codec in order to view this AMV****
"Mermaid Saga" is Rumiko Takahashi's most avoided work. The majority of her fans find it too disturbing and too far removed from her typical, beloved romance comedys. Personally, I think "Mermaid Saga" is one of her greatest masterpieces, and I cannot accurately describe just what I feel when reading the manga, or watching the OVAs and series. Myself and my friends who worked on this video can only hope that we can share a little bit of it's dark beauty with an audience that has never experienced it.
They say that mermaid's flesh is poison. To eat it is to suffer a hideous transformation into a creature thusly dubbed a "Lost Soul". Very, very few people are lucky enough to consume it and live. Those that do become immortals, dooomed to roam a world full of selfishness and greed, dying dozens of times and reviving, never finding peace. In a way, they are as much lost souls as those that lose their senses and their flesh to the potent poison of both the mermaid's blood and flesh.
Yuta has been alive for 500 years since first consuming mermaid's flesh. He watched his wife grow old and die in front of him, as well as countless other women who, through the centuries, have entered his life and eventually succumbed to death. He has travelled far and wide, looking for a mermaid in hopes of finding a cure for his inability to die peacefully, for the only way to kill an immortal is to decapitate them. Mana is a young girl, who was raised in a remote village specifically as a sacrifice to mermaids. All her life she has been in shackles. When Yuta happens upon Mana's village, he discovers that she too has been turned immortal by mermaid's flesh, and rescues her from her terrible fate. However, due to her circumstances, Mana is young and naive. Not only does she have to learn to walk, but she has a lot to learn about life and the world around her in general. Now a loyal companion to Yuta, the two encounter numerous persons who have in some way, have been affected by the mermaid's curse, and have adapted to their curse in any way they can- whether it's taking advantage of others or commiting cold-blooded murder. Before Yuta and Mana's quest to undo their curses of immortality reaches an end, they will have to constantly endure brutal attacks and agonizing deaths. However, their pitiful situation and Yuta's agony over the other women in his life that have slipped away only brings them closer together. The idea of living forever in lonliness watching loved ones die around you makes them fiercely loyal to one another, and willing to do anything and give everything to stay together until they can finally resolve their curse and finally move on to death and beyond.
Rumiko Takahashi's "Mermaid Saga" is a very unique, supernatural and creepy tale, where the real horror is not in the dying, but in the living.
You are being warned ahead of time that this AMV contains quite a bit of blood and violent subject matter. If you are extremely sensitive to such, then you best not download.
Additional Comments and Musings:
I had long been searching for what I felt was the perfect song for an AMV of the "Mermaid Saga/Forest" series. It wasn't until we were working on another "Inu Yasha" music video to one of Within Temptation's songs that I came across the song "Jillian ( I'd Give my Heart )". The sound and atmosphere of the song was incredibly powerful, and the lyrics eerily dead-on with the theme of "Mermaid Saga". For an anime that is such a visual feast of both enchanting beauty and crimson bloodshed, "Jillian" seemed to be the perfect song to showcase the deeper meaning behind all the violence and suffering. Of course, Yuta and Mana's suffering at the hands of their curse would be the main focus of the AMV, but we also wanted to show the suffering of others who have adapted to the same curse and become inhuman, devilish people. Some of them feel remorse over what they have done, others will not let their horrid past hold them back, and will continue on their rampage of anger and misery. I feel they are "lost souls" as well, just like Yuta and Mana, only they react to this world they cannot die and leave behind in a different manner.
:26 - :31 It took me awhile to get this opening to look right- simply because at this point in the intro to the song, the violins are winding down eerily, so I wanted to try and convey that sense of doom and anxiety through visuals. The drum beats made me think of the scene where Mana is lying near a window, and lightning is reflecting on her. Just that alone wasn't powerful enough timed to the music, so I made a second layer of her, and made it "wind" in the other direction, as well as add in a dream image of that fateful bite that turned so many lives upside down. Hopefully, it is an appropiate introduction to both the song and the AMV.
2:28 - 2:30 This particular character, Natsume, was a girl who died young, but was reconstituted by having the liver of a mermaid placed in her ribcage during a very taboo ritual. Unfortunately, that one mermaid body part not only gives her immortality, but an insatiable desire to consume human livers. There really is no "transformation scene" of Natsume's body being rebuilt, so to substitute, I built a "skeleton" in Photoshop that would flash under her skin a couple of times to give viewers the idea. Preparing the skeleton wasn't too hard nor time consuming, but getting the stupid skeleton to pan along the same path and at the same pace as Natsume was incredibly frustrating, and a lot of trial and error.
3:52 - END There's something very gripping about this whole ending sequence, namely for two reasons. Firstly, as horrible as it is, the possibility of finally being decapitated would finally end Yuta's long-suffering, albeit horrifically. All this time he and Mana have been trying to discover the answer to immortality, so that they could finally die. But when it comes down to it, Mana's emotions and loyalty take over, and she wants to punish thsoe that would hurt Yuta in any way. Needless to say, their very hunter is in fact the small child that she and Yuta more or less took in, that Mana bravely and eagerly protected at one time. Everything comes full circle.
"I've been dreaming for so long
To find a meaning- to understand
The secret of life
Why am I here to try again?
Will I always
Will you always
See the truth when it stares you in the face?
Will I ever
Will I never
Free myself by breaking these chains?
I'd give my heart
I'd give my soul
I'd turn it back, it's my fault
Your destiny is forlorn
Have to live till it's undone
I'd give my heart
I'd give my soul
I'd turn it back
And then at last I'll be on my way
I've been living for so long
Many seasons have passed me by
I've seen kingdoms through ages rise and fall
I've seen it all
I've seen the horror
I've seen the wonders
Happening just in front of my eyes
Will I ever
Wll I never
Free myself by making it right?
Our dream ended long ago
All our stories and all our glory
I held so dear
We won't be together for ever and ever
No more tears.
I'll always be here until the end"