Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
“The Little Mermaid” is, perhaps, one of Anderson’s most well-known tales, though most people I would wager, do not know the source material and cling to the Disney version. The duo of Metaphrog does not do Disney.
Which is a good thing.
Anderson’s tale left me conflicted when I re-read it as an adult, leaves me conflicted whenever I read it know. It isn’t the stepping on knives bit; it’s how the prince treats the mermaid. She sleeps at the foot of his bed, he pets her, she is his dog – faithful to the end. But in fairness to the prince, it isn’t that the mermaid wants him; she really wants a soul. He is a way to gain a story. The whole relationship is strange, yet the mermaid succeeds to a degree because she has more of the “Christian virtues” that the prince should have.
In some ways, this excellent adaption of the story shies away from those issues. The Little Mermaid here is in love with the prince (and perhaps legs). The adaption’s ending is faithful to the choice that Anderson’s character makes. Yet, the image is subtly different for the choice occurs before the wedding. Despite the use of legs, including slit dresses, Metaphrog seem to have tamped down the sexual elements of the story as well as the idea of a soul -the term immortal is used instead, which means the original mermaid might not have had a problem with that.
Those issues aside there is much to love in this. The artwork – blues and greens – is wonderful. The paneling of the story is great. There are people of color, though the two central characters are white. The Sea Witch is not an Ursula type and comes across as a helper.