Shorter Series

The Mermaid Saga, One-Pound Gospel and the Rumic series are three of Takahashi's shorter works.

The Mermaid Saga is a horror series that tells the story of a boy named Yuta and a girl named Yuta, both immortal due to the curse of the mermaid's flesh. The pair travels together throughout Japan to find a cure for their immortality.

One-Pound Gospel is a romantic comedy that centers around a young boxer named Kosaku Hatanaka, who is trying to win over the heart of the novice nun Sister Angela.

The Rumic World/Theater/Trilogy is a series of short comedic stories created by Rumiko Takahashi, mostly created early in her career.


Rumic Theater, The Ring and the Rosary and Mermaid's Flesh are fansites to Rumiko Takahashi's three shorter works, namely One-Pound Gospel, the Rumic World/Theater/Trilogy series and the Mermaid Saga.

After their decision to create The Inuyasha Companion, the Acres brothers realized that they were basically going to have to create a site for everything Takahashi did, which includes things like the Mermaid Saga, One-Pound Gospel and her short stories.

Rumic Theater was developed by Harly in 2000 over the course of a weekend. After Rumic World's birth in May of 2002, Mermaid's Flesh was added to the collective by Harley and Dylan a few months later. Finally in 2003, Dylan designs and launches The Ring and the Rosary, thus completing their quest to cover all the works Takahashi did up to that point.

Due to the relatively small size of these sites, all three sites will be covered in one section.

Question and Answer


The Rumic World, One-Pound Gospel, and the Mermaid series are three of Takahashi's shorter works, as Rumic experts, what do you think set these series apart (aside from being short) from the longer series? What makes them special?

Dylan: Well, One-Pound Gospel is definitely in the same vein as a lot of Takahashi's other romantic comedies (Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2) but it is certainly unique. What appealed to me about it when I first got into the series was its bizarre pairing of a nun and a boxer in a romantic relationship. The idea of mixing boxing and Christianity was also really interesting to me, or rather I should say a Christianity from a Japanese perspective was interesting to me.

Mermaid is really, really different. Takahashi was so well known (until Inuyasha) for her comedies, that Mermaid really comes out of nowhere. I mean when you think about it, when Mermaid came out Takahashi had done Urusei Yatsura and a handful of short comedies. All of a sudden here are two characters who are getting impaled and hit by cars, taking chainsaws to the back, having their eyes ripped out, etc. etc. To me even Inuyasha never reaches the level of violence of Mermaid.

And her short works can really be divided into two categories, Rumic World and Rumic Theater. The Rumic World stuff fits her traditional style of shonen stuff, be it sci-fi or comedy or suspense while Rumic Theater is seinen and deals with more slice of life things. I always think of her Rumic Theater stories as being comparable to author Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "magical realism" form of storytelling.

Harley: In terms of the Mermaid series, that was really the first time people saw Takahashi do something fairly dark. There were a few short stories that approached that territory, but I think it goes a long way towards showing the influence of Takahashi's teacher Kazuo Umezu, who she apprenticed under and is truly one of the pioneers of the horror genre in manga, and of the violent material written by Kazuo Koike, who was another of her teachers.

One Pound Gospel goes in the opposite direction, and is much closer to her work on Maison Ikkoku. It's very realistic, and very short, so I think it shows that she can tell a story removed from the fantasy elements and the length which is has become known for. I think that was a lot of the appeal of Maison Ikkoku, and Gospel has those elements as well. It actually just wrapped up at Christmas this year, and I'm working on a translation now, so it's very present in my mind at the moment. She really wrote a great ending.

The Rumic Theater site is very different because it deals with her short stories. It's a little schizophrenic due to the varied series, music, anime, etc, but I do my best to bring them all together in a logical way.

Due to their length, there probably wasn't as much information to cover; did that affect the way these fansites are made?

Harley: It definitely made our jobs easier! These particular sites usually aren't updated much after they go online, and they're primarily just to educate people that these things are out there. Takahashi works on them so infrequently it allows the sites to be static for long periods of time. Otherwise we just treat them like our other sites on a much smaller scale.

Dylan: Yeah, I guess I'd say it did. In a lot of ways it made it easier. In the work I've done on Mermaid Flesh and The Ring and the Rosary, I felt like the shorter length of the series freed me up enough to break the mold of our other designs and to make the sites a bit more playful. They've still got all the great information that I hope people expect from us, but their presentation is different. We don't have three-dozen character profiles to write or hundreds of chapter and episode summaries to do, so we can get a bit more inventive with the look of the sites. I wanted to purposefully make the feel smaller and cozier.

It seems a Guestbook was used for each of the sites at some point in time. What do you think are the pros and cons of a Guestbook? Do they still matter in today's world where Web 2.0 is all the rage?

Dylan: Well, all of the sites with the exception of The Ring and the Rosary were created before the big messageboard booms, where every webmaster could easily use some messageboard or journal service to have instant contact with the visitors of their site. I think Guestbooks really served that purpose in the mid to late 90s. I think they're obsolete now. We should probably get rid of them. I haven't bothered to even view any of them on any of our sites in probably three or four years.

Harley: You know, honestly, I haven't looked at the guestbooks on any of our sites in years. Those are just sort of hold-overs from a past era. They were really great for promoting sites in the past. That was how I primarily promoted Ranma ½ Perfect Edition, and later Rumic World, by signing other guestbooks. But these days, no, they really don't accomplish much. I assume if someone needs to ask me something they'll send an email.

Care to share how each of the three sites were made and managed?

Harley: Just hand-coded in a .txt file. Pretty primitive, but it's easy for me. I do the initial layout in Paint Shop Pro 7, and then just break it down and hand code it. Then when I update I just go back into the source code and do it by hand.

Dylan: We code everything by hand. I have no idea how Dreamweaver works. I'm sure it would make things a lot easier though! Updates are very few and far between. For Rumic Theater Harley would usually put something up whenever Takahashi does a new short story (which has been every February for the past few years). The Ring and the Rosary got its first real update ever just this year as we acquired the uncollected Japanese chapters of One Pound Gospel from the 90s, and then the revision of the entire site as the manga ended. Mermaid Flesh I don't think we've ever updated....oh, wait that's not true. We updated it once when we added the anime summaries for the new TV series that came out a couple of years ago.

Any special memory or behind-the-scene stories you'd like to share involving each of the sites?

Dylan: Just how fast we built the sites. I went on vacation and Harley stayed home and built Rumic Theater completely by himself in a weekend. Scanned everything, summarized everything. He didn't let on anything about it, so when I came home, we had a new site! The Ring and the Rosary was much the same way but in reverse as I was the one who built it in about a week. Out of the three of us, I'm the absolute weakest when it comes to writing code. Harley was in Japan so I was sort of left to fend for myself. I really wanted to get the final piece of Rumic World online though, so I did what I could and put it up as best as I could make it.

Harley: When I first built Rumic Theater, I did the entire thing one weekend while my brother was out of town, so I could surprise him when he came home. For an hour or two I passed it off as a rival site, and he got a charge out of it when he found out I made it.

Rumic Theater

This site covers the short stories by Takahashi, which include Rumic World, Rumic Trilogy and Rumic Theater. The main Rumic World site seems to be named after this series as well. Why did you name the main site Rumic World, as opposed to something more general?

Dylan: Harley may have a different answer, but Rumic World just sounds grander to me. We wanted the entire website to have a HUGE name to it to reflect just how massive the entire collective of websites we all run is. Rumic Theater just doesn't sound as big. And I think Rumic World is pretty general, everything we write about is a part of "Rumiko's World".

Harley: I thought it was a great catch-all name for everything Takahashi does. It sort of encapsulates the "world" in which her work takes place.

Anything memorable from when the site was hosted on How was the service?

Harley: They were actually great! I used them because Geocities was starting to stick ads on the sites around that time, and Freespeech was completely ad free. I seem to remember I had to pitch the site to them and explain why it would be useful. But they were great hosts. I'm not sure, but it might still be up on Freespeech. It was for a long time after I lost the password.

What was your reaction when this site was featured in Anipike's Last Exit Before Toll?

Harley: I was thrilled and surprised. I had been trying to get Ranma ½ Perfect Edition recognized for so long, it was a little ironic that a site I built over a long weekend was the one that got spotlighted.

What what were your inspirations for the themes of Rumic Theater?

Harley: Initially it used a cream background, which was similar to the color of part of Ranma ½ Perfect Edition's background. I switched over to the current blue one, because blue seems to work very well for the other sites at Rumic World, so I thought it would be a good fit.

Translations of short stories come out every now and then. How are they being produced? Who translates them? What are the processes in getting them out? And how are they received by the readers?

Dylan: Harley translates them and will usually do a scanslation for Mason and I that won't end up on the sites. We've just recently decided to share the translations of the stories, but as far as sharing the whole thing (page by page scanslations) that's just for us webmasters. Harley can tell you a lot more about the process of all this.

Harley: I do all the translations myself. The coding of my translations is sort of... tedious. I do it by hand and it takes me forever, so that's why they come out so slowly. And you mentioned the reader response. I get very little feedback regarding those translations, nowhere near the feedback of the Urusei Yatsura translations I helped do, so I don't feel a need to get those translations out very quickly. I have maybe eight or nine stories that I've translated that haven't been released in America, but again, there seem to be very little demand for them. That's another reason why Viz probably never re-released the short stories they translated in the mid-1990s.

What's the future for Rumic Theater?

Harley: Takahashi usually does a new short story every February. I'm not sure if she'll do one this year, because of the One Pound Gospel stories she did in November and December, but if she does one you'll see some information about it on Rumic Theater. Takahashi is really only publishing shorts in Big Comic Original now, so they tend to be very realistic and focus on characters her own age. She says she wants to do shonen manga for the rest of her life, though on some level I feel these stories are perhaps the ones she's finding easier to tell. The audience is closer to her own age.

The Ring & The Rosary

The Ring & The Rosary is the last site to be added to Rumic World, when it was launched, it seemed like it was a bit rushed?

Harley: It was the only thing we hadn't touched on, and I was overseas in Japan when this was built, so it was hard to collaborate on it. Dylan is the primary architect of the Ring & The Rosary. I think the new redesign was a long time coming.

Dylan: Yeah, because it was the last site that we needed to add to make Rumic World complete it was rushed. Harley had gone to Japan already and so I didn't have him to bounce ideas and ask for coding help from, and I didn't want to bother Mason with it; I wanted to carry my own weight. So it was rushed and I was never completely happy with how basic it looked, but it got online and is as far as I know the only One Pound Gospel website there is.

Where did you get the inspiration for the name The Ring & The Rosary?

Dylan: God's will! Ha! No, its just one of those lucky things that popped into my head. It's catchy sounding and it sums up Kosaku and Angela and sort of gets to the heart of who they are as a boxer and a nun. I wish naming my Maison Ikkoku site had gone as smoothly.

One-Pound Gospel is finally finished in Japan, thoughts?

Dylan: I'm really thrilled with the ending (which I won't ruin here). A lot of people, myself included had thought that Takahashi would leave a more open ending to the series, but she really wrapped up everything (for better or worse in the eyes of some readers, I'm sure). I thought it was an extremely moving, beautifully handled ending. Harley's actually doing a translation of it right now, and I think that will actually be a scanslation we share with everyone.

Harley: I was very curious about how Takahashi was going to end it, but I actually guessed correctly. Without giving anything away for those who may not have read it, Dylan guessed exactly the opposite of what happens in regards to Sister Angela, and I called it correctly. I thought the addition of a boxer who also works at a host club was very original.

The new layout launched on 12/25/2006 seemed to have taken a lot of work, want to tell us the steps you took to make it?

Dylan: Well I was really unhappy with how the site looked compared to everything else. It was in desperate need of a makeover, and we had finally managed to find the ridiculously hard to get chapters from the 90s that have yet to be collected into tankobon format in Japan, so I started updating the content, and then Takahashi announced she would be doing a new five part storyline to finish up the series, and everything just sort of lined up. It was really hard to come up with the layout I wanted, but in the end I'm thrilled with the look of it. The site is much closer to what I had originally envisioned for it when it first went online.

Now that the series has ended in Japan, what are your plans for The Ring & The Rosary?

Dylan: Just to post the final updates of chapter summaries! Then she'll be all done.

Mermaid's Flesh

Why did you decide to name the site "Mermaid's Flesh"?

Harley: Dylan came up with it, if my memory serves me well. It was hard to come up with a name, because the stories are rather disconnected. Mermaid's flesh is really the only recurring link between each chapter, so that seemed like a good name.

Dylan: We wanted to stay within the naming convention that Takahashi uses for almost all of her storyarcs for Mermaid, which all have ningyo (mermaid) in their titles. Mermaid Flesh is what enables immortality, so it's a good overreaching name for the site.

It seems Mermaid's Flesh is one of the only Mermaid series fansite around nowadays, has it always been this way, or did the number of sites decrease as time goes on?

Dylan: I think there used to be one other that was pretty nice looking, at I think. That's really the only other one I'm aware of. The Mermaid fan community is really small, although slightly larger than the One Pound Gospel fan community....which is non-existent outside of our site.

Harley: There was another site that predated Mermaid's Flesh and was quite good. It's still around, I believe. Another site made use of our site's background and is hopefully not around anymore. But there have never been many Mermaid Saga sites, four counting ours that I'm aware of.

Who put together Mermaid's Flesh? How long did it take you?

Dylan: Not too long, but certainly not the "weekend" marathon sessions of Rumic Theater and The Ring and the Rosary. Probably like three weeks or a month.

Harley: Dylan and I both worked on it together, and I don't think it took very long. We took our time and I used some mouseover tricks to spice it up a bit. I think it took about two or three weeks to build working at a leisurely pace.

Any plans for a new theme?

Dylan: No, I've always thought we did a good job with Mermaid's Flesh. I love the look of it. I couldn't come up with anything better in a million years.

Harley: Probably not, I've always liked the design of it. I may do a new index at some point.

The Guestbook is filled with spams!

Harley: Is it really? We need to get rid of it. I haven't checked it since a few weeks after the site went online! Oops!

Dylan: Another reason to get rid of 'em!!!