02 December, 2010

Mermaid Princess

I just learned that an anime version of The Little Mermaid was made 14 years prior to the Disney version, in 1975. Wow. And in the anime version, the mermaid is not only blonde, but topless (imagine that!). And the story allegedly follows Hans Christian Andersen's story more closely than the Disney version (no they-lived-happily-ever-after here, folks). Do you have any idea how excited that makes me?

But the bad news is that it's probably impossible to get a hold of. This is a movie I don't just want to see, but would love to own. But the problem is that even if I found a copy, I couldn't trust that it's a good copy. Firstly, it's an old film that's not very popular, so it's not like it's been released and re-released on different formats and advertised and whatnot. I found a DVD copy on Amazon, that a lot of people seem to be happy with, but at least one review mentions that there have been some edits. The offending material? Violence and nudity, as you'd expect. And those are the parts that make this movie worth seeing, right?

I don't think the whole "uncensored" market was as big a deal in 1975 - on the other hand, they may not have felt the need to edit it back then, so maybe I could find an old VHS copy? But you know what else wasn't a big deal back then? Subs. I don't think there was much of a market for English audiences watching anime in Japanese in the seventies. I don't think anime itself was nearly that popular then as it is now. So how do I find an old movie like this that has Japanese audio, English subtitles, and no edits?

The obvious answer is to turn to the black market, but you're still in trouble if what you're looking for isn't very popular, or is really old, or isn't actually available in just the format you're looking for. I'm sure an unedited Japanese copy could be found, but what are the chances anyone has ever produced English subtitles for it? And with bootlegs, you can never be completely sure of what you're getting. I can't be any more sure than with the official DVD release that I won't be getting an edited copy of the movie. And having not seen it before, I might not even realize it.

Not that that makes it okay. I hate few things more than being duped into seeing something censored without realizing it. I saw the original Last House On The Left on account of a lot of cult hype I had heard, but my reaction to it was underwhelming. Then I discovered that I almost certainly watched an edited version of the movie, with all the best parts cut out. (Why is it always the best parts that they cut out?). Which just ruined my whole experience of the movie.

So I come across something like this, and it happens from time to time, and I get all excited, and then I think, it's all just pipe dreams. I'll never get my hands on what I'm looking for...

The movie is actually viewable on YouTube I see, but it's in English of course. (Maybe I'll watch it anyway).

Here are some screenshots, courtesy of this wonderful English fansite.

Here's another version of the story from 1975. It's pretty good, too.


  1. Wow, good find! I'm impressed. By the concept, at least.

  2. So I watched the English version on YouTube anyway. I liked it. That other (shorter) version I linked at the end is also worth viewing.

    I took a screencap of the mermaid princess sitting on a rock looking out to sea, after getting her legs. It would look great as a painting. I put a filter on it in photoshop, but it would look better as a real painting.

    Longing for the Sea

    I also like the scene where she washes up on sea and then drinks the potion. She collapses, and her tail turns into legs, and she's lying there on the rocks, nude, most of her body covered by her golden hair. I bet that would make a pretty painting too.