Bubble is a 2022 Japanese anime romantic fantasy film directed by Tetsurō Araki, who brought us many episodes of the anime series Death Note. The film is set in a dystopian Tokyo, which no longer follows the classic laws of gravity thanks to the arrival of mysterious bubbles that wreaked havoc. It’s not a film that gives us a lot of explanation, so there is room for much speculation. Here’s the plot and ending of the 2022 anime movie Bubble; spoilers ahead.
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Where To Watch?
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch.
Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
The Little Mermaid: Original Story
The original Little Mermaid story, written in 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen, is tragic, unlike Disney’s rendition. The story follows a young mermaid who gets to live in the lands of the humans for a year when she turns 15 years old. Soon as she reaches the surface, she sees a prince celebrating his birthday at sea and falls in love with him. A storm hits the ship, and the mermaid saves the prince but she leaves before he gains consciousness.
The mermaid yearns for the prince and makes a deal with the sea-witch to make her human in exchange for her beautiful voice. However, the deal is her life will be forfeit if the prince marries someone else. While the prince adores the mermaid (now human with legs), he doesn’t fall in love with her. Eventually, he agrees to marry a princess, wrongly assuming that she was the one who once saved him.
The mermaid’s heart breaks. Her sisters approach her before she dies, saying they have made another deal with the sea-witch and hand the mermaid an enchanted knife; if she kills the prince, she can become a mermaid again. But the mermaid loves the prince too much and can’t kill him. She dies and turns into sea foam. However, her sacrifice makes her ethereal, and she would ascend to the heavens one day.
Bubble Anime: Plot Explained
As clearly expressed in the film, Bubble is the story of The Little Mermaid (1937) retold.
What are the Bubbles? What was the Bubble Event in Tokyo?
The way I see it, there is a parallel reality where bubbles are living beings. A little hard to believe, yeah? So are merpeople! In the film, there is a statement, “Our Milky Way galaxy will collide with Andromeda in about 4.5 billion years”. Much like this, the bubble-reality happens to collide with ours, and Tokyo happens to be the epicentre of the collision. There’s more; the bubbles got angry, but first…
Who or What is Uta?
Uta is a bubble person. She is the mermaid in this story. She’s been following Hibiki, enamoured by him. However, this is not a one-sided love story unlike the case of The Little Mermaid.
Who is Hibiki? What’s up with his ears? Does he cause the destruction of Tokyo?
Hibiki is a boy in Tokyo who’s got extremely sensitive ears. He’s the prince in this story. Before the Tokyo incident, Hibiki hears Uta’s voice as she sings (thanks to his sharp hearing). The two of them connect on the tower. Moments later, there is an explosion, and Uta saves Hibiki. It appears Hibiki and Uta trying to communicate angers the bubbles, and they create the blast in Tokyo.
While the bubbles stop falling worldwide, Tokyo gets trapped in a giant bubble and is flooded by the bursting of bubbles. This interference also messes with the entire gravitational field in Tokyo. Did Hibiki cause it? Yes, it appears so; his interaction with Uta in her bubble form causes him to accidentally anger the bubbles, which causes the explosion and flooding.
Families are forced to leave the city. However, the orphaned kids begin living in Tokyo illegally as they have nowhere else to go. They compete in dangerous parkour games utilizing the erratic gravity in Tokyo.
What does Uta want? Why does she take a human form?
The movie Bubble shows The Little Mermaid’s tail from the boy’s (prince) perspective. Years after the explosion, Hibiki continues to hear the music from the tower, which was the epicentre of the blast 5 years back. He tries to climb up there, but the chaotic gravity throws him off, and he falls into the ocean. Uta goes after him and combines with Hibiki’s breath-bubble to take on a human form and saves him.
After this, we can draw parallels to The Little Mermaid with Uta wanting to be human, but in this story, it is not about Hibiki’s love being absent. In fact, the melancholy Hibiki becomes a cheerful person thanks to his interactions with Uta. He even gives her the name and eventually confesses his love to Uta.
However, Uta can’t physically touch Hibiki. Every time she does, a part of her turns to foam. In the parkour challenge by the Morticians, Uta loses an arm in the final moments. Just like the Little Mermaid was given a year to be on the land, Uta seems to have made a bargain to be with the humans for a fixed time. Her time is up, and the bubbles are angry that she’s not back.
Tokyo flooding again
The bubbles’ anger causes Tokyo to begin drowning again, just like 5 years back. Hibiki’s team takes a boat and heads out. They pick up the Morticians and Hibiki on the way out. Hibiki says that he needs to rescue Uta from the tower and his team joins him. The Morticians hand them their hydraulic boots as a thank you for saving them. The team parkours their way to the top and gets Hibiki beyond the cloud on the tower.
Bubble Anime: Ending Explained
The ending of the anime Bubble shows Uta sacrificing herself to save Hibiki. Uta cherishes the time she spent with Hibiki and that her human heart could feel happiness, pain and true love. She dies but becomes the daughter of the air and lives in an ethereal form by the side of Hibiki.
At the tower, Uta is grabbed by her sister, who appears to be beckoning her to return to the bubble world. The other bubbles glow red and attack Hibiki. Uta sees Hibiki dying, and she knows well that touching him will mean certain death. Nevertheless, she dives and saves Hibiki, who runs with her dodging the attacking the angry bubbles. In her final moments, Uta acknowledges and is thankful that she spent time as a human to feel love, even if only for a short while. Uta thanks Hibiki as she turns into foam and floats away as Hibiki is left weeping. The bubbles stop attacking, and this seems to be because Uta is no longer human and is not interacting with Hibiki.
After this, we see that the giant bubble engulfing Tokyo is now gone, and the gravitational anomaly has disappeared. It looks like the bubbles went back to being friendly soon as Hibiki and Uta lost physical proximity. Five years back, the first explosion happened when Hibiki and Uta (in her bubble form) got close at the tower. After that, Tokyo alone remained engulfed in a giant bubble and got flooded. The same flooding event repeated when Uta overstayed her time with physical proximity to Hibiki. Once she turns to foam, she loses her human form and her proximity to Hibiki, and this causes the giant bubble to burst and Tokyo’s gravity to return to normal.
In the closing scenes of the anime Bubble, we are shown that Tokyo is being rebuilt, and Hibiki has fully transformed into a team player and now wears a smile. Uta is the daughter of the air and is always beside Hibiki.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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