Merc Storia takes places in a world where humans and monsters coexist. The protagonist, Yuu, is a healer apprentice and possesses the ability to tame monsters. In a quest to regain the memories of Merc, a girl confined in a bottle, the pair embarks on a journey. (Source: MAL News)
Merc Storia is a late adaptation of an ancient mobage, and as of right now, it’s one of the most overlooked anime of the fall season. I’m writing this review so I can convince you to give a chance to what I personally feel is the best anime of this season, and one of the best animes of 2018.
So here’s the premise: in this world, people and monsters are living together peacefully. However, not all monsters have been tamed. That why healers exist, whose job is to heal those monsters’ hearts. Our protagonist, Yuu – from “yuusha”, a.k.a. hero in English – is one of them, there’s just one problem: he’s deathly afraid of them, which makes his job quite complicated. And he’s a wimp in all regards anyway. And his sidekick, Merc, is just a tiny girl in a jar whose only power is to float and has lost her memory prior her encounter with Yuu. In the first episode, after a confrontation with one of those monsters, they begin their travelling through the country in order to find a way to restore Merc’s lost memory and for Yuu to overcome his fear.
All this setup, which was the first episode, however, is just an excuse. Merc Storia, despite what the title suggests, is not mainly about Merc, but about the unique places they visit through their travels. These mini arcs consist of one or two episodes, and after their problems have been resolved – or partly resolved -, Yuu and Merc moves on to their next destination. And while they’re certainly helping, they’re only there to give an incentive for these mini arc’s main characters to solve their own problems themselves. And the story doesn’t shy away from heavy topics: people’s role in their society according to their gender, a father not being able to connect with his own daughter, dealing with loss, keeping up appearances and self-worth, just to name a few. And as I’ve said, each place is very unique: for example, episode 8-9’s mini arc is a musical – I’m not kidding.
And don’t expect heavy action. Our hero is not a fighter after all. And sometimes even the monsters themselves play little role in these mini arcs. But if you can get through the episodic premise, you get a damn good story. I ended up in tears multiple times; episode 6-7 is one big tearjerker, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Animation is certainly not this series’ strong suit to be honest, but the backgrounds are gorgeous and more than make up for it, especially later in the series. The already mentioned episode 6-7 is one of the best examples of that.
Let’s start with my pet peeve: the sound effects of the monsters can be annoying and it’s not helping when you’re in the middle of a headache or a migraine. Now that I have this out of the way, I have nothing but praise. The OP, the ED, the background music: it gives the series an aura you could call “comfy” for a lack of a better world. And don’t forget the aforementioned musical episodes. They really outdid themselves on this front.
Merc Storia is a damn good story and if you can overlook some of its flaws, which has nothing to do with its writing, you’ll get one of the best anime this year. Please don’t sleep on this one!