Lu Over the Wall

Masaaki Yuasa is a verified genius, so it was safe to say that his 2017 punk rock mermaid saga would not detract from his body of work.

Lu Over the Wall is about a young and pessimistic high school student and an incredibly strange little mermaid girl who strike up an unexpected and hysterical friendship.

Lu, the mermaid girl in question, learns that her fins can be replaced by legs upon hearing the beats produced by Kai’s musical exploits.

This leads to complicated hijinks and hilarity, and somehow these unlikely friends have to save the town and its surrounding seas. The finale, which includes blobs of water, ocean fauna taking to the streets and copious amounts of ear candy, is something that cannot be explained and has to be witnessed.

Mermaid Saga

While most of the anime on this list are cute and light-hearted, Rumiko Takashi (of Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 fame) has created a series in Mermaid Saga that is anything but.

In Mermaid Saga, eating the flesh of a mermaid grants you immortality, and the series’ focus is very much a rumination on the concept of immortality itself rather than a straight-up mermaid creature feature.

That being said, there’s plenty of that too, as the first episode features the main character Yuta rescuing fellow immortal Mana from a group of haggard old mermaids eager to consumer Mana and take on her appearance for the next chapter of their immortality.

Give this one a chance if you like slow burn and eerie character-driven anime.

Ponyo

No mermaid anime list could be complete without the eponymous Ponyo! Being Hayao Miyazaki’s take on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic, The Little Mermaid, Ponyo is at once familiar and completely original and is one of the rare films that truly captures the sensibility of being for all ages.

A poetic film about a young boy who strikes up a friendship with a rambunctious and chaotic mermaid girl, Ponyo is a poetic treat for fans of the mermaid genre as well as folklore and fantasy.

Ponyo also manages to rather beautifully proffer up some insight into growing up and adolescence, without being too coming-of-agey about it, and the undeniably universal desire to do your own thing when you’re just too little to understand what that really is yet.

Plus: If you think Lady Dimitrescu from RE: Village is the big beauty your dreams are made of, wait until you see Gran Mamare:

Children of the Sea

So this one was a bit tough, as there exists another anime that is really quite similar and almost just as good called A Lull in the Sea, but Children of the Sea wins because of its unique and gorgeous art style that truly evokes a feeling of water and maritime whimsy.

After a few spats with family and friends, Ruka decides to spend her summer hanging out at the aquarium and marine centre where her father works. There, she meets two curious boys who were raised by, wait for it, dugongs. These boys share aquatic traits never before witnessed in mammals or humans, and thus researchers have taken an interest.

Before long, the three teens find themselves embroiled in a sea-spanning adventure and a series of events that would change the world forever.

Happy #Mermay everyone!

- Dante Ludolf