Merc StoriA: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Yuu, a young healer with the power to heal the hearts of monsters, receives a mysterious bottle from his father as a gift. When Yuu touches the bottle, Merc, a girl made of liquid, appears from it. Merc has no memories from before she met Yuu and wants to learn more about who she is, so the two of them set out on a journey through various countries. And thus begins the comical fantasy of Yuu, an apprentice healer with a fear of monsters, and Merc, the girl in the bottle. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: As game adaptations go, Merc StoriA feels like actual effort has been put in. While the concept of healing monsters in order to befriend them still seems a bit gamey, it’s the only part of the production that perhaps hints at the anime’s origins. But despite that effort, quite a few elements go underexplained in this very first episode: Yuu has a father who goes on long trips from time to time, yet when his father fails to return by Winter as promised no one begs to question what happened to him. The show doesn’t even make it clear whether Yuu is even concerned with finding his father when he finally sets out on his own journey. Yuu’s mother disappears somewhere along the way as well, despite being a part of the story early on. Even more pressing is Yuu’s fear/dislike for monsters, which features prominently in the episode, but is never explained or hinted at prior to the first mention of it. Answers could very well be just around the corner, but it’s nagging elements like this that feel like things we should know sooner rather than later, and don’t seem like things that should be left out from the get go.
Linny: Not only does the episode raise so many questions about its own characters, it doesn’t even bother to answer or explain just how much time has passed in its time skip from the introductory scene to the ‘current’ day in the rest of the episode. Yuu is clearly older than now than in the opening sequence and has very much changed in personality. Both his parents are also missing yet the episode refuses to drop the tiniest of hints as to why this is so.
Tom: Much of Merc StoriA’s humor feels aimed at children. Very obvious goofs, simple gags, all combine to give Merc StoriA this vaguely humorous atmosphere, one I think children are more likely to take to than adults. With that audience in mind perhaps it even makes sense that we don’t question where the father or mother are, because the focus is on allowing children to get sucked into this world via Yuu, and his journey to befriend monsters across the land.
Linny: This may be more of a personal gripe but Merc StoriA’s art doesn’t feel very appealing and is too basic and even off-putting in certain scenes. Combine that with the lack of proper build up, explanations, and the simplistic comedy and you get the feeling that Merc StoriA is definitely meant to be a kid’s show.
Merc StoriA is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.