Little Mermaid Meets Post-Apocalyptic Parkour in Anime ‘Bubble’

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer

Plot: Bubbles that break the laws of gravity have rained down upon the Earth. Cut off from the outside world, Tokyo has become a playground for a group of young people who have lost their families.

Review: Recently I watched Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle, which was loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. This time around its director Tetsuro Araki, most well-known as the mind behind iconic series Attack on Titan, Death Note and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, bringing us his modern day interpretation of The Little Mermaid.

I want to be, a part of your world…

When gravity-defying bubbles rain down on the world, they form a dome over Tokyo and the city is forced to evacuate. But a group of orphaned boys have made the city their playground where they hold parkour competitions. And a couple of intrepid scientists have also been studying the phenomena. One boy named Hibiki (Jun Shison) swears he can hear a song coming from the tower the bubbles encircle and attempts to make it to the top. But when he falls, he’s saved by a girl with strange powers, a girl he names Uta.

There’s no story that can’t be enhanced by Japanese animation and Bubble (released this year) is just further proof of that. With its gorgeous use of colors and styles, Araki makes you want to pause and take in every frame. Adding parkour to the mix brings these scenes to dynamic life as the sport of free running is already a gravity defying one, or at the very least the people who take part in it have zero fear of heights. So having these characters as freerunners was a genius way of utilising the design of the large and abandoned city.

This is going to be sick!

As I mentioned, the story itself is basically a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but more closely resembles the tone of the original fairytale than the Disney animated version, with themes that explore young love and all the tragedy that can go with it. The music, while enchanting, isn’t on par with Belle, but it does play on your emotions as it needs to. And the characters, while stereotypical of what you would find in an anime such as this, are likeable and memorable.

Where Bubble gets a bit entangled is in the story itself. The overall plot is easy enough to follow as the movie is very obvious as to its source material, but I never quite understood the motive behind it all. Why were the bubbles evil? Why introduce a subplot with evil freerunners if they aren’t inherently important to the story? The action scenes do stick with you but they feel a bit out of place considering the main plot thread here.

Why don’t you just kiss the girl?

Bubble is genuinely a beautiful anime that has a lot going for it on the visual scale. The metaphysical stuff is a bit too complex and never really delivers on its purpose. And story-wise the movie is at its best when the focus is on Hibiki and Uta’s relationship but there’s a lot here that feels, for want of a better word, unfulfilled. Still, if you’re a fan of parkour and always wished for an animated movie that enhances and beautifully translates the sport into something otherworldly, it’s worth checking out.

Sommer’s Score: 6.5 out of 10

So have you seen Bubble? What did you think of it? And you can check out more anime content to float your boat below:


2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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