Mahou no Mako-chan

Mahou no Mako-chan is a 48-episode anime television series that aired from 1970 to 1971. I haven't been able to watch the full series, but its central conceit is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, in that its main character, Mako-chan, is a mermaid who becomes human in order to find the young man that she once saved from drowning.

The first episode covers familiar ground with its introduction of Mako, the mermaid who is curious about life above the sea. She's forbidden from surfacing by her father but goes anyway, only to be smitten by a young man she spots on a cruise ship. When a tsunami wave sends the ship crashing, Mako saves the young man's life and is determined to find him again. This requires visiting Grandmother, who is at first angered at Mako's disobedience but is then amazed and humbled by Mako's stubbornness. The way to become human is to drink a mermaid's tear, and Mako does exactly that. The first episode ends with Mako having new legs and awaiting morning, and presumably the rest of the series follows her adventures in learning about life on land and finding the boy who's captured her heart.

Thanks to Salvatore for letting me know about this series!

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