A Mermaid in Love is a transgender love story written by Yu Sakurazawa.
Austin/Ava Fisher is the 18-year-old protagonist of the story. She is blonde, with Celtic white skin and light blue eyes. Ava hails from a low-income family but has blossomed as a swimmer sponsored by a sports merchandise company. She has felt that she is a girl trapped in a male body since she was 10 years old. Ava has recurrent dreams of a boy whom she believes to be her soul mate. Except for her career, a loving grandmother and her deceased mother’s antique diamond pendant, she owns nothing.
Austin/Ava Fisher: is the 18-year-old protagonist of the story. She is blonde, with Celtic white skin and light blue eyes. Ava hails from a low-income family but has blossomed as a swimmer. She has felt that she is a girl trapped in a male body since she was 10 years old. Ava has recurrent dreams of a boy whom she believes to be her soul mate. Except for her career, a loving grandmother and her deceased mother’s antique diamond pendant, she owns nothing.
Liam Murray: is a 21-year-old wealthy boy who lives in Surrey. With his noble high forehead, thick brown hair and bewitching green eyes, Liam is the epitome of handsomeness. He is also a broad-minded soul who believes that love transcends the superficialities of class and gender. Liam has dreamt of a beautiful girl who resembles Ava since he was 12. When he meets Ava, he is dumbstruck at the resemblance between her and his dream girl. However, Liam is confused because he is presently infatuated with another girl who he believes has saved his life. However, Liam accepts Ava as his best friend.
“Nana” Fisher: is Ava’s 70-year-old grandmother. She is pretty, with the same white skin and blue eyes as Ava. She has taken care of Ava ever since the latter’s parents died in a freak accident. Nana worked in a mill but had to stop working because of her arthritis. She and Ava are living on social welfare benefits since then. Even though she isn’t well off, nana is very supportive of Ava’s career. Nana accompanies Ava to her swimming lessons and also uploads video clips of Ava’s swimming as a result of which Ava wins sponsorship from a sports merchandising company.
Robin Wilkinson: is a 21-year-old mass communications graduate and the daughter of a rich media baron. Robin is also a flutist in a band which gives street performances. Robin is adventurous, greedy and a bit deceitful. She trespasses into Liam’s mansion and lets him retain the illusion that she has saved him from drowning. Robin is deeply infatuated with Liam and wants to possess him at any cost. However, she is also capable of realizing her mistakes and of correcting herself.
Jerome Murray: is Liam’s 48-year-old father. He is good-looking like his son, with the same dark brown hair (tinged with grey) and green eyes. He is a wealthy media baron who is kind-hearted as well. Since he has no daughters, Jerome adopts Ava. He is as affectionate towards Ava as he is towards Liam. Jerome Murray is also ambitious. He wants to strike a partnership with another media baron called Wilkinson and hopes that Liam will marry Wilkinson’s daughter.
Gregory Hunt: is the thickset, ginger-haired, bearded Managing Director of Impetus sport merchandising company. He is a shrewd businessman with a pseudo nice manner and a fake hearty laugh. He is tremendously concerned about the image of Impetus and orders Ava to stop HRT if she wants to continue being sponsored by Impetus. When Ava refuses, Hunt offers an alternative: Ava should undergo SRS to become a “complete” woman but should bear the costs of the surgery herself.
Mathew Stone: is the thin, anemic-looking Public Relations Manager of Impetus. He visits Ava’s house and delivers a message from Impetus: Ava should stop taking female hormones if she wants to continue being sponsored by Impetus. Stone’s ultimatum puts Ava in a dilemma. She goes on a walk to clear her head during which she spots Liam in Surrey.
Dr. Cynthia Saunders: is a skinny, shifty-eyed surgeon in her mid-40s. Her long pockmarked face, hooked nose and pointed chin give her a witchy appearance. Hunt appoints Dr. Saunders to perform SRS on Ava for “free”. Dr. Saunders wants no cash but expects to be paid in kind. She asks for Ava’s deceased mother’s antique diamond pendant as her fee. Ava explains the personal significance of the pendant to Dr. Saunders, but the latter is greedy, insensitive and persistent. She wants the pendant at any cost.
Coach Sheila Harrison: is the young coach Impetus appoints after Ava recovers from SRS. Coach Harrison observes that though Ava’s swimming strokes and techniques are still flawless, she has lost her original speed. She makes Ava go through a grueling fitness regime to gain her stamina, which includes cardio, weight-training and a 10 km walk. Coach Harrison also advises Ava to go on a trek to test endurance levels. Ava obliges and comes across Liam once again.
Dr. Smith: is the Murrays’ family doctor who makes house calls. He is a short, skinny man with a beard. Dr. Smith examines Ava after the latter’s encounter with the cougar and discovers that Ava has suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage as a result of loud screaming at the sight of the cougar.
Yvonne: a tall, gossipy girl in Austin’s school whom Austin begs to exchange her uniform with his. Subsequently, Yvonne tells everyone in school about the incident, leading the boys in school to mercilessly tease and taunt Austin about being a “pansy”.
Dr. Saifuddin Choudhri: is a doctor living in the East End. He is a lean, dusky, mustached man in his mid-40s. Dr. Choudhri has a grave manner, but a kindly heart. He admires Ava as a swimmer and also understands her struggles with a gender identity disorder. On the night nana has chest pain; Dr. Choudhri makes a house call and regretfully informs Ava that her grandmother has passed on. He invites Ava to stay in his house for a few days until she recovers her moral strength after the tragedy.
Mrs. Choudhri: is the wife of Dr. Choudhri. She is a plump dusky woman in her 40s. When Ava knocks at the door of the Choudhri residence in the middle of the night, Mrs. Choudhri opens the door. When Ava explains the situation to Mrs. Choudhri, the latter immediately rushes inside and informs her husband.