Masala: ‘Bubble’ Director Tetsurō Araki on the Importance of Love in Storytelling

Since its publication in 1837, Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” has been adapted and remade more times than anyone can count. From the classic Disney animated musical in 1989 to the sinister Polish interpretation “The Lure,” the story of a lonely mermaid falling for a human prince has been a staple for almost 200 years now.

The latest adaptation to use “The Little Mermaid” as inspiration is the Netflix anime original, “Bubble.” While not an exact copy of the fairytale, this animated film takes the tragic love story in a new direction. This time, the story follows antisocial parkour genius Hibiki in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo as he joins forces and falls in love with a voiceless woman he calls Uta, whose past seems intertwined with the current state of the submerged city. The film, which premiered April 28 on Netflix, has several major names behind its creation, including director Tetsurō Araki, known for his work on fan-favorite anime franchises like “Death Note” and “Attack on Titan,” producer Genki Kawamura (“Weathering with You”) and writer Gen Urobuchi (“Puella Magi Madoka Magical”).

Director Araki sat down to explain some of the creative reasoning behind the film. He discussed his decision to go against his usual action-packed stories like “Attack on Titan” for a more subtle film with “Bubble.” “What [Kawamura and I] set out to do this time around, was to try to catch the attention of the many people who don’t know who we are as creators,” Araki said. “That is why we chose to go for a universal love story.”

Araki also spoke about why the film looked to “The Little Mermaid” as an inspiration, the production’s choice for a more lively dystopian setting and what he hopes the audience will take from “Bubble” as a whole. To catch the whole interview, watch the video above and don’t forget to stream “Bubble,” available on Netflix now!