In some kind of fantasy world somewhere, there is a small undersea village called Parrel, which is inhabited by mermaids. One day, four young mermaids are tasked with delivering a package to the village chief. They soon find out that the package contains a mermaid girl who is around their age. She was from the “big city,” but was sent to live in Parrel for a time; and her name is revealed to be Kanon.
The other four mermaids try to show Kanon around the village, but a sudden dark wave (which the mermaids call the “Grand Tide”) suddenly passes through. Once the waters are clear again, the five young mermaids find that some coral trees have been knocked down, revealing a pathway to an abandoned theater.
I cut out a lot of stuff from the summary above, because a chunk of this episode was mostly fluff; and I just wanted to summarize the most important plot points.
I really wanted to like this show as underwater worlds and mermaids have the potential to create a really charming series. But after watching Colorful Pastrale’s first episode… I don’t know…
First off, the physics of this world baffle me. The mermaids live underwater, and there are even bubbles animated in some scenes to imply that the characters are moving around in water. But then there are scenes with lamps hanging straight down (shouldn’t they be… floating?), and characters pouring water… underwater…? Sure. Okay. I know that physics doesn’t matter much in a magical fantasy world but it does take a little getting used to. It would also be nice if the writers actually cared enough to address these issues rather than just handwaving it away because this is a fantasy anime.
Secondly, the characters. The girls so far are all pretty bland personality-wise, to the point that you wouldn’t even be able to tell them apart if they didn’t have such vastly different color schemes. I also kind of wish the art style for the mermaids was a little bit more refined. I’m not sure what kind of look the anime is going for, but the mermaids’ droopy eyes look really awkward; especially in the close-up shots of their faces.
Third, there is a potentially interesting story here, especially with the reveal of a hidden theater and the potentially menacing Grand Tide stuff—but it’s buried under a whole lot of “filler-like” material (for lack of a better word). This series is obviously going for a slice-of-life angle, but a good slice-of-life show knows how to be entertaining. It’s amazing how utterly mundane this series is, even though it features a fantastical world and mermaids. (I also kind of wish they had chosen a more interesting aesthetic for the city rather than just “quaint European styled town—except UNDERWATER!” But that’s a personal nitpick.)
This show is apparently based on some kind of Cardfight Vangard side-universe/side-story, which is a bizarre thing to make a show out of, but whatever. The thing I’m most sad about is that this show could have easily been pretty good if the writing and animation were just a bit better—there are scenes where it’s obvious some thought and care was put in; such as in the architecture of one character’s house, which doesn’t have stairs because mermaids can simply swim up through different floors. There’s also some glimmer of interesting world-building scattered throughout the first episode. If the art style were a little bit cuter, that would help the popularity of this series as well. Overall, the series just unfortunately feels kind of lazy in most aspects. This show is definitely one I’ll have to be in the right mood to want to sit down and watch, but I hope the later episodes do improve somewhat. I’ll probably be taking a look at the second episode, although I will likely pass on reviewing Colorful Pastrale even if it interests me. There’s just not much substance here for me to talk about.
Out of five: