This article discusses the ending of the Netflix anime film Bubble, so it will contain spoilers.
Netflix anime film Bubble is set in the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic dystopian Tokyo. The city is abandoned due to a mysterious bubble fall phenomenon, leading to the city’s subsequent drowning in water. The film’s story is loosely based on the 19th-century fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, that tells a story of a mermaid who longs for a human soul after falling in love with a handsome prince.
In the story of Bubble, we can see a group of teenagers get up enjoying a dangerous game called ‘Tokyo Battlekour’. In this dangerous game, five players engage in a free run across the demolished city to lift a flag held in a particular location. Hibiki is one of the gifted players in the game and is a crucial asset for the team ‘Blue Blazes’. But, he is an isolated guy who doesn’t socialize much with his other team members, and doesn’t have any intention of doing so. He always puts the headphones on as his ears are sensitive to the minimal amount of louder noises.
He doesn’t want to hear all the bustling noises, but a particular song attracts him, which nobody else can hear. The song comes from an exploded tower, where a higher amount of gravitational anomaly is recorded (a situation can be seen around the city after the bubble fall phenomenon). Hibiki goes there to find the source of the melodic sound but falls into the ocean. On the verge of drowning, a mysterious girl rescues him.
The girl behaves mysteriously and doesn’t speak to anyone. Being merciful, Hibiki takes the girl with him to his team’s headquarters. They observe the athletic abilities of the girl and decide to train her to be a part of their team. The girl happily joins them. Due to her singing ability, Hibiki names her Uta (a Japanese word that means song). When everybody falls asleep, she sneaks into Hibiki’s room and touches his lips one night. And as soon as she feels his lips, her hand turns into bubbles. She realizes that she is made with bubbles, and she is going to dissolve with a human touch.
Netflix anime film Bubble ending explained
Soon, Hibiki and Uta mingle together, and Hibiki knows that it’s Uta whose singing voice attracts Hibiki. Hibiki tells her about his condition of sensitivity to noises and the disconnection he has to feel from the world due to this condition. But Uta’s presence makes him feel connected to someone, and slowly he recovers from the detachment. The director shows us Hibiki’s emancipation from his headphone as a symbol of this.
But this connection is not accepted by the other bubbles. They take Uta to the tower (the center point for all the bubbles to emerge). Hibiki, with his teammates, goes to the tower to rescue Uta. As soon as Hibiki reaches the top of the tower, he remembers the day when the bubbles fall from the sky for the first time. That day he heard the same melodious humming he often hears. He got into the touch with a particular bubble. This human interaction with the Bubble angered the other supernatural bubbles, and in effect, a blast occurred, and the catastrophe across Tokyo took place.
Hibiki realizes that it was Uta who saved him on that day. And her longing for human connection was raised after her initial interaction with him. She fell in love with him at first, but she was not allowed to have this kind of relationship. In almost surreal imagery, Hibiki sees Uta imprisoned in a giant bubble. He tries to reach her, but other bubbles stagger him into the ocean. Seeing this, Uta frees her from bondage and saves Hibiki from drowning. Soon, the sky becomes more explicit, and the tower collapses. In this situation, Hibiki sees Uta’s body dissolves into foam. In this moment of tragedy, Uta says that now she has a human heart able to feel loneliness, pain, and happiness. The foams flow in the air converting the other supernatural bubbles trying to harm Hibiki into good ones. And the sky filled with bubbles (parallels with the ‘daughters of the air’ from the fairy tale ‘The Little Mermaid’). In this way, symbolically, the director shows us that Uta gains eternity.
This draws parallels to the fairy tale of ‘The Little Mermaid’ where the little mermaid dissolves into foam and ascends into the air with a soul, becoming a daughter of the air. As Uta saves Hibiki, the little mermaid also saves the prince’s life by not falling into the trap of the conspiracy of murdering him by her sisters. In that way, both the parallel characters gain eternity and employ themselves to better humankind.
This film signifies the central theme of the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth. And with excellent writing and visuals with proper use of the music, Bubble achieves a great deal of ability to tell this impactful story. Though the end is somewhat saddening, overall, it spreads the words of the value of love and hope. And perhaps in this cruel world, we should long for that without losing our faith.
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