Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Merc Storia – The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle

Original Run: October 11, 2018 - December 27, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Based on the Video Game: Merc Storia: Yujutsushi to Suzu no Shirabe

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Merc Storia: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

In a world where humans and monsters co-exist, Healers are needed to maintain tranquility. In short, a Healer is someone who can calm the rage of a monster, and these exceptional individuals are instrumental in preventing unnecessary violence. One such Healer is a young boy named Yuu (voiced by Mutsumi Tamura).

One day, Yuu’s father, another Healer, went on a journey and never came back. But before leaving, Yuu’s father left his son a special gift – a glass jar filled with a mysterious blue liquid.

To Yuu’s surprise, the liquid turns out to be a small, fairy-like girl who calls herself Merc (voiced by Inori Minase). Unfortunately, Merc has no memories of who she is or where she is from. Nevertheless, Yuu and Merc form an instant and inseparable bond.

Hoping to discover Merc’s origins, the pair decides to follow in Yuu’s father’s footsteps and head off on an adventure. Where they will go and who they might meet is anyone’s guess. If nothing else, though, Yuu and Merc know they can face anything as long as they are facing it together.

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Series Positives

Merc Storia: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle (Merc Storia) wasn’t good, not because it was based on a mobile game. We all need to remember IDOLiSH7 proved such an aspect can be a non-factor when done correctly. No, Merc Storia wasn’t good because it was simply bad.

Granted “bad” may be too harsh. Instead, this series was boring, as well as, sometimes, really, really stupid. But on the brighter side of life, at least it was visually decent.

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I have to give Merc Storia credit. For as bare bones as it was, it didn’t look cheap. This show was well-animated, the characters had nice designs, and it would appear as though plenty of effort went into making everything commendably beautiful.

Put another way: I can believe this story was based off a video game.

The first major problem which faced Merc Storia was its end purpose. What exactly happened in this show? Go right ahead. Ask me what happened.

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What happened Odyssey?

I dunno.

Merc Storia just sort of occurred and then it was over. After all, this show was mostly made up of small side-adventures that – at their lengthiest – lasted three episodes. There was no overarching narrative. There wasn’t a final goal.

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Sure, you could argue the main characters, Yuu and Merc, were journeying to unlock Merc’s lost memories. However, that only came up in a significant way maybe once.

Throughout its entire run, Merc Storia didn’t stay in one place long enough to establish much. Any characters we met along the way – minus Yuu and Merc – had their five minutes of fame and then it was off to the next thing.

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Given this setup, color me surprised when there was a scene I found to be pretty damn cool. It came during Yuu and Merc’s visit to an opera house and what they saw there was kind of epic. The only thing I will say is, a character named Antel sang a song and his voice actor, Kento Itou, f@#$ing crushed it.

It really is a shame such a killer performance is now stuck in Merc Storia. I mean, no one’s going to hear it because that would mean they would have to sit through this endurance test of a series.

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Series Negatives

“Well, that was dumb,” was what I said to myself as soon as I finished Merc Storia. I then promptly went to bed without a second’s worth of thought. There was no ill will festering in my mind, no ounce of anger. There was just a whole lot of nothing.

And I think “nothing” is a rather fitting description for this series.

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I would never dream of berating anyone for liking Merc Storia. However, if I met someone who did, I would then be compelled to wonder, “What was it that hooked them?” This show was so eye droopingly flat there was no place left for it to be hollow.

Earnestness may be a virtue, but a fun story it did not make.

For starters, the only reason Yuu and Merc can be considered the main characters of this show was through their continuity.

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And in case you are wondering: No, I did not mean to say “consistency.” The totality of Yuu and Merc’s consistency was that they appeared in every episode. These two were like water in the ocean. They were necessary for things to be, but there was far greater stuff occurring in their midst.

It’s never a good sign when you find yourself forgetting the protagonist is part of their own tale. But in the end, can you really blame me for thinking that?

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Yuu was a no-confidence wimp who was always dragged along this way and that. People only bothered with him because of his abilities as a Healer. Too bad Yuu keep insisting he had zero talent for the job and very little control over his powers. A rather odd stance to take since he never once failed at calming a monster down.

That leads me to how Yuu kept jumping at his own shadow. His cowardice made it exceedingly difficult to want to follow him along his journey. Keep in mind: Fear isn’t necessarily a detriment. When a character is afraid, that can be a driving force behind their personality. A hero who goes forward despite their fears is inspiring. Yuu was not that because he was afraid of the Pokémon – I mean, monsters – of Merc Storia.

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To take some of the blame off Yuu’s shoulders, nearly everyone in this series suffered from the same problem.

The monsters of Merc Storia – and I must keep stifling a laugh every time I use the word “monster” to describe these creatures – weren’t in the least bit monstrous. From Yuu and Merc’s own Toto (voiced by Yumiri Hanamori) to the so-called dragons of this story, everything was as threatening as a stuffed animal, and people’s overreaction to them tended to get way out of hand.

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For instance, an entire town went into full DEFCON mode when a hoard of ticked off flying floofballs came charging in from the horizon. I’m not sure what this series was trying to achieve, but if it was thrilling action readiness, it failed miserably.

With all that said, let’s return from our abrupt tangent and realize, I’ve been aiming most of my criticism towards Yuu exclusively. What of Merc? She’s easy:

Merc was a bottle fairy who had no memories.

That was it.

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How about we back up for a second and reassess? What if I have gotten it wrong? Maybe Merc Storia didn’t bother too much with its main characters since they weren’t the point. Instead, why don’t we suppose this series had hoped to showcase its many different worlds and locations? I’ll say this, there was diversity.

We had the Fairy Kingdom, the Dog-People Kingdom, the Angel Kingdom, the Bird Kingdom, the Halloween town of Alloween, and China.

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Whether Merc Storia intended to highlight each of its baby’s-first-fantasy-story settings (and China) or not, it didn’t matter. The results were the same.

There was nothing this show had that was capable of hooking your interest. You could give the series your full attention or have it playing in the background and you will pretty much have the same experience.

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Final Thoughts

Either out of curiosity, being a fan of the mobile game, or you are just bored, there still isn’t much of a need to go out of your way for this series. Even after having watched the thing, it almost feels as if I hadn’t.

I am dead serious. If it weren’t for this review serving as proof, you probably could have convinced me I actually never saw this show. It was just that dull.

There was a story that went nowhere, two protagonists who were nothing, a gross misuse of the term “monster,” and it wasn’t even enough of a trainwreck to make fun of it all.

Merc Storia: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle is one you can skip.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Merc Storia: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

Post Editor: Onions

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