Monday, June 11, 2007

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch (マーメイド メロディー ぴち ぴち ピッチ, māmeido merodī pichi pichi picchi?) is a shōjo manga and anime series created by Michiko Yokote (横手 美智子, Yokote Michiko?) with artwork by Pink Hanamori (花森 ぴんく, Hanamori Pinku?).

The manga was originally published in the monthly shōjo manga anthology Nakayoshi. There are 32 chapters published (including two special stories) and most of them are compiled into seven volumes issued by Kodansha.

The anime series was produced by TV Aichi. The first season of which, composed of 52 episodes, was shown on the TV Tokyo Network from April 5, 2003 to March 27, 2004. A second season, entitled Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure, lasted for 39 episodes and was aired from April 3 to December 25, 2004.

ADV Films acquired the license to the anime on June 2004 for its North American release, but was eventually dropped due to difficulty in finding backers and securing a TV airing deal.[1] Although the anime has not since been re-licensed for an English language distribution, Del Rey Manga acquired the rights to publish the manga for the North American audience. It began releasing the manga on April 2006 under the title Pichi Pichi Pitch: Mermaid Melody.[2] This came as an attempt to familiarize English readers with the canonical short form of the title, as other titles have done: for example, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon became Sailor Moon and Kidō Tenshi Angelic Layer has been released in North America as simply Angelic Layer.

Pichi Pichi Pitch is loosely based upon the old Hans Christian Andersen version of the "Little Mermaid" tale, which is about the mermaid who falls in love with a human boy, and transforms into a human to win his heart. In the case of Pichi Pichi Pitch, the old 1950s movie Three Coins in the Fountain is sort of mixed in to the plot as three mermaid princesses come to land to learn about the human world through attending middle school and trying to be idol singers.


Lucia, Mermaid Princess of the North Pacific Ocean, sets out to land to find the boy she saved from a shipwreck seven years before the beginning of the story, the boy to whom she entrusted her pink pearl. She eventually found the boy: a surfer named Kaito Dōmoto. But as the human form Lucia assumed, a girl named Lucia Nanami, bears very little resemblance to her mermaid form, Kaito cannot recognize her. She cannot tell Kaito who she really is; otherwise, according to mermaid folklore, she would turn into foam. So she tries to convince Kaito into figuring out who she really is (since the legend does not say anything about the other person discovering a mermaid's true identity by himself).

At the same time, Lucia has been told that a group of water demons or suiyō (水妖) have invaded the marine world and she must gather the six other Mermaid Princesses and their pearls to resurrect the legendary goddess Aqua Regina to stop them. To fulfill this, she joins forces with Hanon and Rina, Mermaid Princesses who came up to dry land, use their pearls, turn into singing idols, and use their voices as an offensive.


Wherever possible, the spelling of the names are taken from the English translation of the Pichi Pichi Pitch manga. Otherwise, spellings are based on those used on official merchandise, or commonly-used fan transliterations.

Main characters

Three DVD covers showing the three forms of the main characters Lucia (blonde hair), Hanon (blue hair), and Rina (seaweed green hair): mermaid (left cover), human (center cover), idol (right cover).
Lucia Nanami (七海 るちあ, Nanami Ruchia?) Voiced by: Asumi Nakata - Mermaid Princess of the North Pacific Ocean, keeper of the pink pearl, and the main character of the story. Lucia goes up to land to search for a boy she saved seven years ago. She is unaware of the danger in the marine world and of her real mission until she is told of them by her "older sister", Nikora. She is characterized by her simplicity and naïveté, but with having a strong will, typical traits of shōjo manga heroines. Her idol form is Pink Pearl Voice.

Many fans in the West still spell her name as Luchia, as early fansubs called her, probably because the Japanese spelling in Katakana, due to the fact that the Japanese alphabet cannot spell "ci", ressembles the Italo-Hispano-like pronunciation of the name. However "Ruchia" is indeed the Japanese variant of the Western name "Lucia". See also note below about Rina's name.

Hanon Hōshō (宝生 波音, Hōshō Hanon?) Voiced by: Hitomi Terakado - Mermaid Princess of the South Atlantic Ocean and keeper of the aqua (水色 mizu-iro "water-color") pearl. Unlike Lucia, Hanon goes up to land to escape water demons. Hanon is perky and feminine, yet a bit more worldly than her friend Lucia. This worldliness is evidenced by many of her actions -- especially by her romantic pursuit of her music teacher, Tarō Mitsuki. Her idol form is Mizuiro (Aqua) Pearl Voice, although the first time that it is named in the manga, she is erroneously called Blue Pearl Voice.

Rina Tōin (洞院 リナ, Tōin Rina?) Voiced by: Mayumi Asano - Mermaid Princess of the North Atlantic Ocean and keeper of the green pearl. Initially she is depicted as stern and bent on revenge for the capture of her best friend, Noel. Later, however, she evolves into a more mature character, and acts as an older sister figure to Lucia and Hanon. Her idol form is Green Pearl Voice.

Many fans in the West still spell her name as Lina, as early fansubs called her, because "Rina" is actually the Japanische version of the western name "Lina", and as well as the tendency in the Japanese language to substitute "r" sounds for "l" sounds and vice versa, especially in romanization.

Major supporting characters

Kaito Dōmoto (堂本 海斗, Dōmoto Kaito?) Voiced by: Daisuke Kishio - Kaito, the adopted son of a pair of musicians, is an avid surfer, as well as Lucia's love interest. Though he is popular with girls, he is secretly in love with a beautiful mermaid who saved him from a shipwreck seven years ago, and has yet to realize that this mermaid is Lucia. Later in the story, it is discovered that beneath Kaito's human exterior lie some distinctively un-human qualities.

Hippo (ヒッポ, Hippo?) Voiced by: Miyako Ito - Lucia's guardian who serves as her guide. Hippo accompanies Lucia in her search for her pink pearl, and is among those who voice disapproval of her relationship with Kaito. He is also polite, always putting -��ん, -san after every name, even when angry. In the anime, he is shown as Lucia's pet penguin. Later on, he is able to transform into a very cute human boy, as well as a creature called Hippocampus.

Nikora (にこら, Nikora?) Voiced by: Eri Saito - virtual manager of the "petit-hotel" Pearl Piari (プチ ホテル パール ピアリ, puchi-hoteru pāru piari?) on land, where Lucia, Hanon, and Rina work (in the manga, she is the owner of a bath house called Pearl Waters). A mermaid like Lucia, Hanon, and Rina, she poses as Lucia's older sister in order to inform her of her mission.

Madame Taki (タキさん, Taki-san?) Voiced by: Kumi Yamakado - owner of the Pearl Piari. A fairly major character in the anime, she is seen most of the time looking into her crystal ball.
Tarō Mitsuki (海月 太郎, Mitsuki Tarō?) Voiced by: Daisuke Kirii - Lucia's music teacher and Hanon's love interest (she refers to him as 太郎ちゃん, Tarō-chan). He had met a mermaid in the past, and made a piano piece for her, not knowing what happened to her after their last meeting.
Noel (ノエル, Noeru?) Voiced by: Ryoko Nagata - Mermaid Princess of the Arctic Ocean and keeper of the deep blue (i.e. 藍色, ai-iro) pearl. She helped Rina escape from the sea monsters, which led to her capture. She is calm, gentle, caring, and studious (as she sometimes wears glasses on land later in the second season of the anime). Her idol form is Ai-iro (Deep Blue) Pearl Voice.

In the third volume of the English manga, ai-iro was translated as indigo, but deep blue makes more sense regarding the character's colour scheme; the colours may be based on the rainbow, but Lucia is pink, not red. It is yet to be seen whether this will be corrected.

Some refer to Noel's name as Noelle, because originally Noel is a male name, while Noelle is the female form, but the official English translation as well as the official Japanese romanization uses Noel.

Caren (かれん, Karen?) Voiced by: Ema Kogure - Mermaid Princess of the Antarctic Ocean, keeper of the purple pearl, and twin sister of Noel. In the anime, she first appears as the winner of a beauty contest that the main trio enters; in the manga, she first appears to save them from the Dark Lovers. In the first season, Tarō asks her about his mermaid, and she later blames Rina for Noel's kidnapping. Even after things are straightened out, she chooses to go find Noel alone. She is Noel's polar opposite, having a mysterious personality. While she is cold and distant in the first season, she is found to be wild, humorous, and even a bit sexual in the second. Her idol form is Purple Pearl Voice.

Coco (ココ, Koko?) Voiced by: Satomi Arai - Mermaid Princess of the South Pacific Ocean and keeper of the yellow pearl. She is incarcerated by the sea monsters for most of the first season, so not much is known about her. In the manga, however, she is a friend of fellow Mermaid Princess Sara. Later, she found to be playful and gentle in the manga, yet brash and outspoken in the anime. Her idol form is Yellow Pearl Voice.

Aqua Regina (アクア・レジーナ様, Akua Rejīna-sama?) Voiced by: Kumi Yamakado - the ocean goddess who gives the Mermaid Princesses new songs and upgrades for their gear. However, this is all that she can do alone after expending a great deal of energy thousands of years ago.
She is needed to ultimately stop the sea monsters, and the seven pearls have to be gathered to summon her; Gaito/Gakuto seeks to summon her as well, so that he can use her to destroy the world. Aqua Regina later gives bands to the mermaids to upgrade their singing power; as in many magical girl series, this is signified by adding frills and accessories to their dresses. She also upgrades their microphones in the end of season one, before she is finally summoned.

Sara's servant (, Bāya?) - This old woman only appears in the manga. She is Sara's servant and guardian from childhood, and worries about Sara's involvement with Gakuto. However, Sara treats the woman like garbage and refuses to listen to her. The old woman therefore helps the princesses in secret to atone for what her ward has become. She is actually at the root of the incident that caused the events in the story.

Gakuto (楽斗/ガクト, Gakuto?) Voiced by: Daisuke Kishio - the leader of the sea monsters who is bent on taking over the marine world. He is always depicted drinking wine, and wearing black.
His resemblance to Kaito made the latter a subject of initial ire by Rina. He is known in the anime as Gaito (ガイト). (There is no definite reason for the name change, but one obvious reason is to distinguish him from J-Pop star Gackt, whose name is spelt the same way in katakana. In the Del Rey manga translation, his name is spelled Gackto in order to emphasize the comparison between the character and the singer.)

The Dark Lovers (ダーク・ラバーズ, The Dark Lovers?) - Gakuto's four female followers who serve him in exchange for his love for them. There are composed of the following:

Izuru (イズール, Izūru?) Voiced by: Sayori Ishizuka - The most mature of the four, she has the power to control waves and marine beasts and has the ability to create dragons from water. She is also the most obsessed with winning the heart of Gakuto.

Eriru (エリル, Eriru?) Voiced by: Yuki Matsuoka - The one with the multiple personality disorder. At one phase, she is cute, and acting as if she were antsy (spinning around and never saying any normal speech). In her other personality, when threatened (or when she spins around), she becomes scary, her eyes glow red, and she changes her voice accordingly.

Maria (マリア, Maria?) Voiced by: Sanae Kobayashi - The one closest to Gakuto in terms of love. She is also very cruel at times, and sometimes seems to see Gakuto more as a boy-toy than a love prospect. She has the power to make and/or manipulate ice and snow.

Yūri (ユーリ, Yūri?) Voiced by: Chieko Honda - the youngest-looking of the four. She has the ability to control people and objects, especially with the use of her music and, if any, a nearby piano. Although Yūri is loyal to Gakuto, his continued treatment of her as a child leads her to a star-crossed relationship with Hippo, i.e. his human form.

The Black Beauty Sisters: Mimi and Sheshe (Screenshot from eyecatch)
Black Beauty Sisters (ブラック・ビューティー・シズターズ, Black Beauty Sisters?) - composed of the red-wearing older sister Sheshe (シスターシェシェ, Shisutā Sheshe?, Voiced by: Miki Tsuchiya) and the blue-wearing younger sister Mimi (シスターミミ, Shisutā Mimi?, Voiced by: Noriko Shitaya). Gakuto hires them after the Dark Lovers' failed attempts to capture the Mermaid Princesses. These two have the ability to sing tunes more powerful than the songs the Mermaid Princesses themselves sing, although in the anime and the second arc of the manga, the Princesses manage to get strong enough to overpower them. Though Gakuto turned them back to their original forms (two angler fishes), they were resurrected in the second season. Their group name is usually shortened by fans to BBS.

Many fans think that the name "Black Beauty Sisters" is just a stage name, as Mimi and Sheshe seem to be in love, and sister can mean other things that would apply to the two, such as sharing the same origin.

Sara (沙羅, Sara?) Voiced by: Kana Ueda - Mermaid Princess of the Indian Ocean and keeper of the orange pearl. She joins Gakuto in his quest to take over the marine world after an incident bestowed her a dark power, turning both her orange hair and her orange pearl pitch black (though her eyes stay orange) and destroying her own kingdom. That incident was a proposed rendezvous with Tarō, her secret human lover, in which he never showed up. (In the manga, he actually arrived before, but Sara's guardian found out about the relationship and insisted that he leave, convincing Sara that he had abandoned her.) In a fury, Sara unleashed a wave of power, destroying her kingdom and causing the wave which killed Kaito's parents and from which Lucia saved Kaito. In the manga, her villain name is Black Pearl Voice and she transforms into an idol in a black dress reminiscent of a diva. However, in the anime, she does not transform until she turns good, and instead has the power to sing offensively in a humanoid, amphibious form like the villains and mermaid idols, with or without her E-pitch. In the end, she decides to join the other mermaids as is her duty. She, herself, seals the gate to Gakto's castle in the book because it's her duty and she unsealed the gate after her kingdom was destroyed. In the TV show, Aqua Regina seals the gate and Sara goes with Gackto because she loves him. She also appears in the second season as a spirit, informing Lucia of the future Orange Pearl Voice and offering her assistance where she can. Sara is also seen singing with the other mermaid princesses in the very last episode of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure.


CD Cover showing the original seven mermaids in their power-up forms.
Although Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is comparable to any shōjo title, the anime's songs are used not only as opening/ending songs, but are also used as battle songs and image songs. Each episode has at least one battle/image song performance.


Opening themes
"Taiyou no Rakuen ~Promised Land~" by Miyuki Kanbe (Episodes 1-28)Translation: Paradise of the Sun ~Promised Land~
"Rainbow Notes♪" by Miyuki Kanbe (Episodes 29-52)
"Before the moment" by Eri Kitamura (Episodes 53+)
Ending themes
"Daiji na Takarabako" by Lucia (Asumi Nakata) (Episodes 1-28)Translation: Important Treasure Box
"Sekai de Ichiban Hayaku Asa ga kuru Basho" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano) (Episodes 29-52)Translation: The Place Where Morning Comes First
"Ai no Ondo" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina. (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano)(Episodes 53+) Translation: The Temperature of Love
Mermaid songs
These songs are usually used in battle and as image songs.
"Legend of Mermaid" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano)
"Koi wa Nan Darou" by Lucia (Asumi Nakata)Translation: Just What is Love?
"Super Love Songs!" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano)
"KIZUNA" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano)Translation: BONDS
"Yume no Sono Saki he" by Lucia, Hanon, and Rina (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, and Mayumi Asano)Translation: To the Place After a Dream
"Splash Dream" by Lucia (Asumi Nakata)
"Ever Blue" by Hanon (Hitomi Terakado)
"Star Jewel" by Rina (Mayumi Asano)
"Aurora no Kaze ni Notte" by Caren (Ema Kogure)Translation: Riding on the Winds of the Aurora
"Return to the Sea" by Sara (Kana Ueda)
"KODOU ~Perfect Harmony~" by Lucia, Hanon, Rina, and Caren (with Coco and Noel in second version) (Asumi Nakata, Hitomi Terakado, Mayumi Asano, and Ema Kogure; second version also includes Satomi Arai and Ryoko Nagata)Translation: HEARTBEAT ~Perfect Harmony~
Other songs
"Kuro no Kyousoukyoku ~concerto~" by the Black Beauty Sisters (Miki Tsuchiya and Noriko Shitaya)Translation: Concert of Darkness ~concerto~Sometimes erroneously called "Voice in the Dark" after a repeated (and understandable for English-speaking veiwers) line in the song.

Video games

Three video games (developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan) were released on Nintendo's Game Boy Advance console during the original run of the anime. All the games featured multiplayer capabilities, but required each player to have his or her own copy of the game in order to play.
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch - Inspired by Dance Dance Revolution. This included eight songs from the anime.
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pichi Pichi Party - A "virtual board game" similar to the Mario Party series.
Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pichi Pichitto Live Start! - Similar to the first Mermaid Melody game. This included fourteen songs from the anime, as well as several mini-games. Although this game (along with the first one) is a Konami-developed music video game, it is not considered part of the Bemani series.

^ Mikhail Koulikov, Christopher Macdonald. "Anime Next - A.D. Vision, Inc.", Anime News Network, 2005-06-21. Retrieved on 2006-10-15.
^ "Del Rey Manga Acquires Four New Kodansha Titles", Anime News Network, 2005-10-06. Retrieved on 2006-10-15.

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