The Winter 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale
How would you rate episode 1 of
Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
For me, this series had a major strike against it right from the start: it's trying to duplicate underwater a setting which looks right out of any bucolic surface world locale and it's doing so without making more than the most minimal adaptations for the atmosphere actually being water. For instance, what sense does an arched bridge make for an underwater setting? Or a paved road when everyone just swims anywhere? How do you drink hot tea or east cake underwater, and how practical are surface-world clothes in such a setting? Also, the girls at least have proper mermaid tales but no hint of gills. The two interesting concessions to the underwater setting are a road out to a remote locale which looks like a long pipe and handrails along the sides of buildings. Yeah, I understand that realism isn't at all what's being aimed for here, but this just comes across as lazy world-building to me. (I had some of these same issues with the recent Aquaman movie, but it at least tried to look like an alien setting.)
The series might be able to overcome this if it was actually doing anything interesting with its setting and circumstances, but until the last couple of minutes what transpires here is about as mundane a slice-of-life story as they come. The town's out in the boonies, a new girl arrives under mysterious circumstances and gets integrated into the gaggle of like-aged girls, and that's about it. In all, the first 20 minutes or so of the episode are mind-numbingly dull, to the point that I almost dozed off during the episode. Things get more interesting with the arrival of the Grand Tide, whose brief roll through town gives the episode its first true dose of excitement. I find it rather hard to believe that a building the size and prominence of the theater was supposedly revealed to the girls for the first time by the Grand Tide knocking some (coral) trees down, as it seems too conspicuous to escape notice with the kind of vertical movement that is possible underwater, but whatever. It at least provides some sense of mystery for the story to work with, and this story needs any kind of spark that it can get.
None of the characters stand out so far for personality, nor do the rather underwhelming technical merits. Even the sounds of swimming or water moving seem to be just randomly thrown in to remind us that this is taking place in water. Overall, this isn't the worst debut I've seen so far this season, but it's easily the most boring.
Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale seems to be operating on “SpongeBob Logic”: Instead of being a normal “cute girls doing cute things” show, Bermuda Triangle is an underwater fantasy that follows cute mermaids who go around doing cute things, though don't think the merfolk of Parrel are going to let the fact that they all live hundreds of miles below the surface of the ocean get them down. They all live in European-style cottages, complete with glass windows and modern furnishings (though one must wonder what possible purpose a window could serve in this kind of environment, or how such technologies could even exist in a world where fire and electricity are problematic elements, to say the least). The girls manage to pour coffee into mugs, wooden boxes don't seem to either float or rot in the ocean water, and the presence of blankets and pillows and modern-style t-shirts and dresses seem to imply that there exists a flourishing textile industry somewhere under the sea.
It's a waking nightmare for physicists and marine biologists is what I'm saying, but obviously Bermuda Triangle isn't exactly gunning after any prizes for its world-building or its writing. This is as low-key and gentle a premiere as you could ask for, where the chief factor that will determine how much you enjoy it is just how large of a moe-mermaid-anime shaped hole there is in your heart. I reckon you're either going to be sold on this premise from the get go, or you're going to find yourself checking out shortly after the main characters spend almost four minutes dilly-dallying with their mailman, who is naturally an anthropomorphic sea lion.
I was one of those latter viewers, unfortunately. For a show whose logline practically demands dangerous levels of whimsy and charm, Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale's premiere is disappointingly safe and muted. The central mermaid girls all feel interchangeable, and things barely pick up even after the main mermaid stumbles upon a mysterious younger mermaid who is sleeping in a magical looking bubble. Instead of leading to a more involved plot with deeper mysteries that might have gotten me slightly more interested in the show's world and character, the girls instead opt to go eat some sea-sandwiches and explore an old theater.
I'm sure there's some larger story to be told about this mysterious conflation of advanced technology and underwater, faux-European nostalgia, but Bermuda Triangle doesn't seem very interested in telling it. Instead, we get a below-average slice-of-life story with a mermaid twist that barely feels incorporated into the story. Even though we haven't gotten much in the way of slice-of-life shows this winter, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone but the most die-hard fans of the genre.
How do you spice up a cute girls show about the only four teenagers (five by episode's end) living in a rural town? How about making them mermaids? That seems to have been the thinking behind Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale, a sweet little slice-of-life that is otherwise unremarkable within its genre. The story takes place under the sea, and while that's a fun idea, almost nothing about the story actually needs to involve mermaids and the episode does virtually nothing with its setting. Apart from the fact that everyone's a fish from the waist down, the character designs, world-building, and movements don't actually differ from a land-based story at all, and in fact this can be quite distracting if you're in a nit-picking mood. Why do the mermaids wear so much clothing, taking extreme care to cover them below the waist? Why doesn't hair or cloth move underwater, or for that matter, how can they eat cake and have land furnishings down there? Why are they still calling the mill a “windmill” when it clearly runs on ocean currents?
That last one may simply be a subtitle issue that will be fixed later on, but the others are things that kept making me wonder why on earth the show had to be about mermaids in the first place. Apart from a couple of references to currents and tides, there's no use made of the setting at all. This feels like a waste, and that's not even getting into the fact that the “mysterious theater” that they'd never seen before was clearly visible when the girls were sitting on a bluff overlooking the entire town.
In all fairness, Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale doesn't really want you to think. It just wants to be that relaxing show about cute girls being cute with their adorable sea otter friend, who apparently doesn't need to breathe. Obviously, I had a hard time getting into it, but if you're looking for sweet harmless fluff, I suspect that this is going to deliver in spades, with a bonus theme of the girls learning about the joys of theater and possibly performing. If you don't overthink it, this could be charming.
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