Bubble Anime’s Little Mermaid Connection Explained

Bubble Anime’s Little Mermaid Connection Explained

Bubble Anime’s Little Mermaid Connection Explained

Netflix’s movie Bubble saw a lot of anime’s biggest names combine to create an original anime. Although how original is it, really? There is a big connection between Bubble and The Little Mermaid that is referenced a lot in the movie, but what unites these two stories?

We’ve taken a look through both stories to help you understand the Bubble anime film a little better.

Note: This article contains spoilers for the Bubble film, so read at your own risk.

There are also spoilers for The Little Mermaid, although we’ve all had enough time to learn that story!

Related: Anime Based on Classic Literature

Bubble Anime Explained

Bubble Anime Little Mermaid Connection Explained
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At its most basic level, Bubble is a futuristic coming-of-age and love story.

The anime film takes place in Tokyo, one that’s been isolated from the world by mysterious bubbles. These bubbles have both flooded Tokyo and also disrupted its gravity, leaving the city in ruin.

From the rubble, however, has emerged a community of young kids who take part in parkour tournaments across the city. The lead character, Hibiki, is one of the best, but he also has his own mission surrounding the mysterious gravity field at Tokyo Tower.

When he tries a risky move and falls into the sea, he is saved by a bubble that transforms into a girl. She forms a bond with Hibiki, who names her Uta (meaning ‘song’) after they are the only ones who can hear a certain melody connected to the bubbles.

As Uta learns about the human world, her affection for Hibiki grows stronger. However, touching him causes her body to dissolve into bubbles.

Eventually, bubble activity starts wrecking Tokyo once again. Uta, with Hibiki’s help, manages to stop the event from destroying what’s left of the city.

The ending of Bubble sees Uta bid Hibiki an emotional farewell before dissolving back into the water once again. With the bubbles gone, people start returning to and rebuilding Tokyo.

What is The Little Mermaid Story?

Little Mermaid Bubble Anime Connection Explained
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The Little Mermaid is a fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen first published in 1837. It is widely known thanks to its Disney adaptation.

The original story follows a young mermaid who catches a glimpse of the human world and becomes enamoured by a handsome prince. When that prince’s ship sinks, she saves him from drowning.

However, when she saves the prince, she has to return to the water, and the prince is unaware of who saved his life. Filled with melancholy, the mermaid visits an evil witch who gives her a potion.

With the potion, she can become a human and live in their world. However, if she doesn’t marry the Prince, she will die heartbroken and dissolve into the sea.

While she and the prince become very close, eventually, the prince decides to marry the woman whom he thought had rescued her on that day.

At the end of the story, the mermaid is offered a final deal – kill the prince and she can return to being a mermaid. However, she refuses, and when the prince marries she dissolves into the sea.

Bubble’s Little Mermaid Connection Explained

Bubble's Little Mermaid Connection Explained
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In a making-of documentary, it was revealed that Bubble’s initial concept, by director Tetsurō Araki, was of a dystopian Little Mermaid.

The fact that The Little Mermaid tangibly features in the film – it’s a book that Uta is immediately drawn towards – is arguably less important than the connection between both stories’ overall narratives.

Broken down, both Bubble and The Little Mermaid follow a similar plotline:

  1. A bubble/mermaid follows a lover from a distance.
  2. When the lover needs to be saved from drowning, the bubble/mermaid comes to the rescue.
  3. The bubble/mermaid breaks their world’s rules to join the land of humans with their love.
  4. The bubble/mermaid ultimately sacrifices themselves for the sake of their lover, dissolving into the sea.

During point one and between points three and four is where Bubble delivers most of its original story. However, the narrative of The Little Mermaid continues to appear throughout the film.

Another connection is around singing, which plays a key role in both stories, albeit slightly differently.

In The Little Mermaid, the mermaid is known to have a beautiful singing voice which she gives up to join the human world. In Bubble, it’s revealed that singing was what first brought Hibiki and Uta together and reunites them in the film’s present.

Perhaps one area of deviation is the theme of tragedy, although this is something still debated regarding the original Little Mermaid story.

It’s widely agreed that Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale is a tragic story which deviates into a hopeful ending at the end. Bubble, meanwhile, maintains a sense of hope throughout the film with very little sense of tragedy.

The mermaid/bubble’s ending is also different in both stories, although both deliver that sense of hope at the end.

Overall, Bubble certainly achieves its aim of being a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. It’s a film that hits many of the same emotional marks, particularly around love and loss.

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