In a sense, Merc Storia is about kids wanting to be seen as capable and mature. Even though the storyline mostly follows this concept, there is one storyline with a reversal of this aspect.
Somehow, I felt like my piece on kodomomuke anime kind of missed the point about what I was trying to say about Merc Storia, so I’ll give it another shot with this post.
Going on a big adventure, like Yuu does with Merc, undoubtedly proves that the travellers are mature and independent, so it makes a good plotline and backdrop for coming-of-age stories. It’s probably why epic adventures like Merc Storia and even One Piece are popular all around the world. In regards to Merc Storia, this coming-of-age concept ties into the fact a few of the storylines revolve around Yuu helping girls with their dilemmas (and no, it’s not a harem…get your mind out of the gutter). That is, these problems are often caused because the character of the day Yuu is helping was ignored by parents, advisors etc. but then they come into their own and prove themselves by having adventures with Yuu. (Uh, I think the pun was unintended there…?)
On a meta level, an anime is one way for a game to admit it’s “grown up” and joined the big leagues in terms of popularity. After all, an anime is an admission of the fact there are fans for the source material and having the anime shown on TV and licensed overseas will only boost international popularity, hence aiding the “maturation” of the source, so to speak. (At least, that’s the idea. Due to the nature of internet streaming, the anime could be ignored and so the inherent idea of anime as promotion will be a flop.)
Then again (and on a non-meta level), “The Lord With You in Dreams and the Tower of Oblivion” (i.e. episodes 6 – 7) storyline involves a father being reacquainted with his childhood ability to imagine stories before bed, embodied by his mouse friend (character-turned-toy) Squeak. This is an interesting reversal to the “maturation through adventure” concept, because while the standard storyline still exists, there is almost zero focus on the parents’ perspective on any of Yuu’s journey, aside from the motivating factor for said journey included “my father was a great healer, but he went missing”. Considering the show is aired in a late-night timeslot (albeit one which kids could hypothetically see if they stayed up late enough due to cram school), it’s almost as if the show acknowledges its main focus is much too childish for people who would be watching at 10 pm and slightly adjusted itself to better suit them.
Basically, if you apply the concept of “coming-of-age” quite liberally to Merc Storia, you’ll see it fits quite well. So what’s your favourite coming-of-age story, either in anime or not?