“Bubble”: when “The Little Mermaid” brilliantly meets the art of parkour

Orchestrated by a studio and a creative team expert in anime, bubble runs an (almost) faultless run.

Available since April 28 on Netflix, bubble immerses us in a world flooded with bubbles having modified the laws of gravity, and more particularly in Tokyo, which found itself cut off from the world. In this particular context, the Japanese city has become a playground for parkour enthusiasts who organize confrontations. Everything changes when Hibiki, a young prodigy, is propelled out of his comfort zone but saved by Uta, a young girl with mysterious powers. This meeting will lead them to a revelation that will change the world.

A shock team to lead an amazing adventure

Behind this production, we find a team accustomed to anime: the Wit studio, which notably produced the first three seasons of The attack of the Titans. Despite adventures that will only end in 2023, the shadow of Eren Jäger is very present in bubble. The director is none other than Tetsurô Araki, known for his work on films and series The attack of the Titans and Death Note. On the technical distribution side, the script is to the credit of Gen Urobuchi (mahou shoujo madoka magica, Psycho-Pass) and character design to Takeshi Obata, who also worked on Death Note. As for the soundtrack, it is Hiroyuki Sawano, also familiar from the anime The attack of the Titanswho composes the music.

If the dialogues are not his strong point, bubble can count on several moments of intense poetry.

Finally, on the dubbing side, we find Mamoru Miyano (The Seven Deadly Sins, Beautiful), Yuki Kaji (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Tasuku Hatanaka (My Hero Academia) and Jun Shison as the hero Hibiki. One thing is certain, Wit Studio wanted to bring together the crème de la crème of anime to bubble, and it shows. The film is beautiful, colorful and it doesn’t take long to find yourself immersed in this apocalyptic universe, where Tokyo is a city immersed and cut off from the world. The sets are basic (namely unoccupied rooftops and skyscrapers or transformed into playgrounds), but the whole thing gives the film an atmosphere worthy of I’m a legendwith a more colorful and poetic touch.

A remarkable work on the animation…

Faced with an ever-growing Netflix catalog, and while waiting for a series in the universe of tekken, bubble first stands out for its screenplay. Here, no supernatural monsters or characters with superpowers. The heroes are a band of young men accompanied by a former parkour champion and a scientist. Their only concern is to survive, trying to win parkour battles on the disused rooftops of a submerged Tokyo. Faced with a sometimes uneven rhythm, between action and contemplation, the parkour scenes are one of the great successes of this film. Driven by animations that can already be found on The attack of the Titansthe racing and acrobatic scenes are impressive and the sensation of aerobatics behind our screen could not be more realistic.

Rarely has an anime transcribed this feeling of aerobatics and acrobatics so well.

… but more dispensable on the psychology of the characters

Halfway between Yamakasis and Konoha ninjas, the heroes of bubble themselves symbolize this desire for lightness that floats in the film. A symbolism much more advanced than the personalities, all more cliché than the other. Talented but lonely and marked by drama, Hibiki is the hero of this film. At his side, the parkour team is made up of familiar characters, such as the authoritarian and suspicious leader, the particularly turbulent youngest, not to mention a scientist who stands out for her maternal side (between outbursts of anger and support from size), and a mentor always there to provide advice and double-meaning phrases.

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Endearing characters who shine more by their flexibility than by their originality.

But what makes bubble so special is the character of Uta. The young girl appeared out of nowhere to save Hibiki during a fall and she will prove to be a teammate of choice in parkour battles. Mute and as agile as a cat, she hides a secret, which it is obviously good to preserve. Rather than focusing its entire story on the strange disaster that struck Tokyo, the film takes a surprising and refreshing direction as soon as this character arrives. Like Ariel in The little Mermaid, the young girl finds herself projected into a world she does not know and she is attracted to a young man. This modern and sporty revisit of Andersen’s famous tale, which is moreover openly quoted for a scene or two, allows bubble to treat yourself to a bubble of poetry, all carried by sober but effective music. The finale may leave some viewers perplexed by unresolved questions, but Tetsurô Araki’s film is certainly a break full of lightness and aerobatics not to be missed.

“Bubble”: when “The Little Mermaid” brilliantly meets the art of parkour