Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto (Partial Re-Watch) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

In early 2016, I stumbled upon a series by the name of Umi Monogatari. For the record, it has nothing to do with the Monogatari series by Nisio Isin. This series has an abysmally low average rating on MyAnimeList, which intrigued me more than anything. After viewing it the first time, I left with a shockingly positive outcome. “This anime is severely underrated! How can people not understand that this is actually a pretty good series?” I thought to myself often.

Try as I may to keep things positive, a lingering doubt permeated in my mind as the years continued onward. Why is this so low in score? What is it that makes people find this so easy to despise? For this year’s festivities, I wanted to once again travel back to my younger twenties and see if things still held up, particularly a series that has seen its fair share of malignment. After three and a half episodes, I return with one question:

Why… did I think this was good?

Copy-Paste Synopsis

Marin and her sister Urin live in the sea. One day they find a ring fallen into the sea. They get out of the sea and meet a girl Kanon, the owner of the ring. Kanon tells them she doesn’t want the ring anymore because it was given by her boyfriend whom she just broke up with, and she throws it into the forest. Marin thinks Kanon is still in love with him and looks for the ring with her sister. But Urin accidentally breaks a seal near a shrine…

AniList

Actual Review

Before typing this out, I took a quick skim of my prior post on this (and cringed at the paragraphing). Seems I had quite a bit to say about this series “making sense” and having “character development.” Granted, it’s been nearly seven years and I only managed to get through not-quite four episodes, but these things seem a little… strange to highlight.

Before I get a little too excited and start giving the impression that this is actually The Worst™, Umi Monogatari is not a terrible series. Its primary issue, about a third of the way in, is that it’s so boring. This is not an adjective I like to use often in criticism, only it’s hard not to use it when that’s essentially the entire reason I dropped this re-watch. I grew tired of watching these characters talk about a lot of trivial tweenage stuff and some magical mumbo-jumbo.

Blurry pics from 2009 make me nostalgic.

Moments exist where I managed to find some sort of… reason to continue watching. Admittedly, I think a decent chunk of what kept me going the first time around was because the blonde-haired mermaid was adorable. She’s still adorable, except my eyes kind of gloss over with how often the camera angle takes advantage of her lack of clothing. Her exuberance is heartwarming and fish-out-of-water naivety has some charm to an otherwise very basic cast.

Small aside: Did you know that Umi Monogatari is based on a pachinko game series? Never realized this until just yesterday. Maybe that’s why people think this is bad? Because it’s a cash-grab? It at least gave some credence to its overall score.

Anyway, at one point I praised the series for the way it used the anime trope of characters having “auras” as an actual plot device. Not sure why this was worth noting because, while neat, it’s not something that really means anything. The human lead has an “evil” aura about her that many characters comment on. Does it really serve any purpose other than to ostracize her from her peers? No. Does it play a role in the fantasy elements in any meaningful way? Not really.

Hwah??

Speaking of fantasy, this is a supremely lazy fantasy series. Some ancient darkness was unleashed and then blonde mermaid becomes a “priestess” to fight the darkness and then the human lead becomes another “priestess” to fight the darkness and then they just start kicking ass without training or knowledge of anything and… you follow? Things sort of just happen onscreen and the audience is expected to clap and cheer. More style than substance.

Onscreen… the animation is pretty cheap-looking. The first episode in particular is especially poor, with a lot of still background shots with people standing motionless. Backgrounds look genuinely unfinished in many scenes, going for a “minimalistic” approach without any specific reason to. They attempt to make this up by having characters be more comedically expressive (which is fine)… except it makes it more apparent where their priorities were.

Action sequences fare slightly better. At least in those situations I can see where they could feel confident enough in releasing this. Again, though, the context behind them absolve the action of any real excitement or stakes. There was even a scene that featured two child-like demonic entities and it decided to give a quick shot of one of their asses… child-like. Come on

Save yourself!

Conclusion

Another re-watch, another substantial drop in overall score from before. Umi Monogatari only gave me about 70 minutes of content before I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the time, making it my first drop of this year’s festivities. A shame, though; years prior, I would have argued fiercely to the quality of this series, and it feels nice to have some sort of “underrated gem” that you know of.

Just another passing memory of something that once rang proud. Now it’s just “that one series spawned from a pachinko game lol.”

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

For more anime reviews, check out the associated archive.

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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