First Impression: Merc StoriA

In the world of Meftelharne, “healers” can use special magic to heal the hearts of monsters so they don’t attack people. It’s a skill the young Yuu is capable of, except for one problem: he’s deathly afraid of monsters, even healed ones. One day, though, he gains an unusual companion in Merc, a tiny girl who appeared from a bottle of water. She has no memories from before her recent awakening, and wants to go on a journey to see what she can learn about her past. Yuu for his part seems willing to go, especially when a shopkeeper offers a stink bag that repels monsters, but when a fluffball steals that bag and leads Yuu into an encounter with an unhealed monster, he might have to face his fears before going on his adventure…

Merc StoriA: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle is an adaptation of a fairly obscure mobile game, so this was not a show I had particularly high expectations for, so I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable it was. The production values definitely are nothing much to speak of, but the content itself actually works for a few key reasons. Yuu is a notable kid protagonist in that he has a specific weakness with his fear of monsters. While it’s definitely a source of comedy for how he’s scared stiff of adorable critters, it also provides a point for character growth in overcoming that fear. Merc herself is cheerful and cute and has some good banter with Yuu, making her a good partner for Yuu’s journey. The idea of “healing” monsters’ hearts rather than defeating them is also interesting and different from the norm. Finally, the feel of this story is one where Yuu and Merc go out into the world, discovering new lands and people wherever they go–in other words, it’s simple adventure fantasy. These sorts of stories where adventurers go out to see the world, without having to save anyone or subdue evil but just to see what lies beyond, are stories I particularly enjoy and wish we could see more of. All this adds up to a show that I’m actually genuinely interested in seeing more of, which is pretty impressive for a mobile game adaptation.

Merc StoriA is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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