「美しさって、諸刃の刃ナノであった。 水に生きる水人、陸に生きる山人ってまんまじゃん。」 (Utsukushi-sa tte, Moroha no Yaiba nano deatta. Mizu ni Ikiru Mizu no Hito, Riku ni Ikiru Yama no Hito tte Manma jan.)
“Beauty Is a Double-Edged Sword. Water People Living in Water and Mountain People Living in Mountains Really Are Just That.”

Our second episode of Centaur no Nayami continues to examine race relations through a cute monster slice-of-life, but cuts more to the core of how characters within the universe make sense of interacting with races outside of their inner circle. Much of this comes from the second half of the episode, which has the main three girls interact with waterfolk, starting with a flashback towards a visit to a mermaid school. Its interesting to see how out in the open the mountainfolk and waterfolk classes are about exploring each other’s differences.

Rather than being overly weighed down by the expectations to stay proper and modest about racial differences, this episode looks at how the deeper curiosity of teenagers conflicts with the law of the land. Administrators and the student council president of the waterfolk school are going with the program by trying to settle the students down and kept the floor shallow enough for the mountainfolk to walk on, but the student body of the academy are as weirded out and morbidly curious about the mountainfolk as they are. For a world where monster people are common, the features of each are exoticized by one another with Himeno’s body and legs being the subject of heavy fascination with waterfolk. This is shown through the mermen ogling her thiccness, but also through what waterfolk aspire to be if they could walk. One commercial sells prosthetic legs that resemble a four-legged centaur body geared towards waterfolk. While the push for equality made such a mechanism possible, it also creates an issue of whether this could be offensive to centaurs, who have their own fair share of issues with their body image as a result of their horse bodies. Even though we’re talking about mythological creatures, it gives me the vibe of what appropriation in Western context would be like. Is it acceptable to fixate on the activities and body parts of a perceived race, or does it come off like mockery? Do mermaids wanna be a centaur, but not really wanna be a centaur? It makes me curious about what the history behind centaur and waterfolk were like because of how the prosthetic centaur legs and Himeno are the subject of desire for waterfolk.

Similarly, the last quarter of the episode follows an interspecies couple as a mermaid contends with wanting these legs. This, along with other scenes in this episode shed light on how despite racial equality, there is still open tension between inclusivity and the differences among races. The fashion magazine segment opens up about how the demand for centaur models has been short enough so for Himeno to be considered one of the few centaur models they’ve had, and the uphill battle it took to get a snake model in the magazine for the snake people demographic. With the interspecies couple, a group of schoolgirls judge the boy who is able to walk for his standards in choosing to date a mermaid. Additionally, there is underlying tension in a moment in the winter when Himeno’s friends use her horse body as a source of warmth after seeing Akechi use Manami’s wings to keep herself warm. It’s neat how much of the tension in the series comes from what’s on the surface; where instead of making everything outwardly racist, a lot of the dicier subjects of race in the series are approached through the context of what characters discuss or interact with. Where world-building isn’t coming along through heavy backstory, but through how these races behave around each other, and why standards in society still have a way of making people feel different even with the push to be the same.

A few side notes: Some of the magazines on the rack are easy to recognize. In particular, there are two Esquire magazines, one with John Malkovich on the cover, and one with Will Smith that they drew cat ears on. There’s also a Vogue magazine, but I didn’t recognize the blonde actress. Additionally, I loved seeing Akechi get some attention this time around. We establish that she’s a playful flirt towards most of the characters, but has a tightly-knit relationship with her girlfriend Inukai. Seeing the two work together to give Nozomi a cosplay makeover or hide behind Manami’s wings was a great way of giving us a general idea on how they interact as a couple.


  1. So uhh… why is there an armed military presence around the mermaid school?

    One minute the kids are getting of the bus for a fun experience in a different school and the next minute they’re walking past centaur’s armed with automatic weapons.

    1. That’s what make this anime so interesting, they’re not juts your average slice of life. This anime won me over when they dropped those disturbing stuff on the first episode’s B part. It gave it so much more depth on what the characters doing everyday.

    2. Probably to keep track of law breakers. With G-Men supervising class discussions, heavily armed security guards would be necessary for a trip where two races visit/interact with each other. The spoiler also explains more of the world’s standards.

    1. My soft spot for Nozomi intensified with the short-haired gothic lolita cosplay.

      I really loved the mermaid couple story. It was a short vignette of characters who may or may not have much presence in the future, but flesh out the world and how mermaids and mountainfolk coexist and cope with difference.

    1. “Rich kitten still eating catfish (YUH!), that mermaid ain’t really bad, that’s a catfish (YUH!)”

      I think the snake people of the universe tend to be regular human bodies, but with a snake body/head to serve as the neck and head of the person.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. So hold on I thought there are only 4 types of humans. Were merpeople not covered in the course we saw last week? They must belong in one of the 4 categories then.

    I feel bad for that mermaid who chose to live out of the water with his boyfriend. They’re so sweet together. Ideally she wouldn’t have to live with those prosthetic body suits that are just as expensive as real ones. For some reason just knowing the government is making these feels sick. Making someone essentially be a centaur when they’re not?? That’s not helping them live with their identity, that’s CHANGING it!

    1. Merpeople were the last of the four introduced during the first episode’s lecture.

      True, it has to be a big sacrifice in society for a merperson to live on the surface, let alone share a romantic relationship with someone who can walk. I like how they portray the complexities behind how their relationship dynamic is when one can walk and one can’t.

      There is an underlying skeeviness in how even with such a large government regulation on equality, the prosthetics they made for merpeople feel demeaning to both a merperson’s identity and a centaur’s capabilities. Sure it would give merpeople the capability of walking, but at the same time, it places societal pressure on them to feel inadequate about their race, and allows the government to profit off of their insecurity. The icing on the cake is just how crappy it is towards centaurs when we know from Himeno’s perspective, we see that she wished she was light enough to be carried bridal-style.

      I guess that’s what the teacher meant when they said the law emphasized “equality over civil rights”: Where everyone might be legally seen as equals, but it ignores the underlying prejudice behind trying to remain race-blind, and stamps out difference by nullifying/erasing the personal, social, and historical effects of racial conflict in the show’s society.

    2. Well, its less that she chooses and more that her parents chose. Obviously, mermaids work in various industries. Working in the dry world does mean they’re handicapped physically in the street, but naturally any field that a person confined to a wheel chair can work you can find mermaids. I imagine her house is full of water so that she can move around normally. I do find it odd that she’s not using a wheel chair to be independent. There may be a chair for her use at the school. I’ve always cared less about the race relations aspect of this manga but been more interested in physical HOW centaurs, mermaids, etc can function in a world like ours.

  3. EP 03:

    Part A:
    looks like the Jokes and fun found a way into this Anime. But they use the innocent talk of kids for that 🙂

    Part B:
    This… thing… caught me offguard.. it was an critical hit…

    Yes, the introducing of this little Kids, sure help this Anime


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