‘Bubble’ : Movie Review

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Basic Stats/Info

Genre: Anime, Sci-Fi/Romance
Directed By: Tetsurō Araki
Written By: Gen Urobuchi
Cinematography By: Kazuhiro Yamada
Character Designs By: Takeshi Obata
Music By: Hiroyuki Sawano
Produced/Animated By: Wit Studio

Bubble first premiered at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival on February 10.
Then later premiered for general audiences on Netflix on April 28, 2022.
It will be receiving a theatrical release in Japan on May 13, 2022.

Bubble has a runtime of 100 minutes.

Synopsis

In a near future the world descends into the post-apocalyptic scenario where bubbles mysteriously appear from nowhere. Enveloping the entire world and wreaking havoc with Tokyo at the center.

Fast forward five years and things have settled down, but Tokyo is still inaccessible because all of the bubbles have concentrated within the “giant bubble” that surrounds the city.

While being inside Tokyo is illegal, groups of orphans make their homes within, using parkour tournaments as a way to trade and barter supplies amongst themselves.

On one of these teams, The Blue Blazes, a young man Hibiki(sound/echo) is one of the best there is but chooses to continuously isolate himself from others.

One day he decides to climb Tokyo Tower, which is still inaccessible due to wild and constant fluctuations in the gravity around the tower. He fails and falls, and begins to drown in the waters that cover Tokyo.

However, a mysterious girl, who is later named Uta(Song), appears from the bubbles, saves his life, and our story begins.

Trailer/OP Credits Song

I’ve attached the trailer for the movie as well as the OP Credits song.

For those that may be unfamiliar with what an OP is, it is the opening theme song given to an anime. Japanese production companies tend to put more effort into the opening themes of shows and films compared to their American counterparts.

It is not uncommon for popular artists in Japan to be tapped to do OPs.

Anime fans are also aware that you always listen to the OP at least once, and for some, you never skip.

Official Trailer for Netflix’s ‘Bubble’
Full OP for Netflix’s Bubble

Review

‘Bubble’ was… definitely interesting.

Cinematography/Visuals

From start to finish it was clear that Wit Studio had put a lot of attention(and budget) towards the visual effects of the film.

Every sequence, still, and color was crisp, clean, and absolutely gorgeous. Television and Film are visual mediums first and foremost, and ‘Bubble’ does an absolutely terrific job drawing you in with their visuals.

I’ve attached some stills(not even my favorite shots tbh) below so you can see what I’m talking about. They, of course, don’t spoil any of the story, that would be quite rude!

Hibiki tending to his secret garden
Hibiki tending to his secret garden
Uta looking towards Tokyo Tower
Uta looking towards Tokyo Tower
Uta(left) and Hibiki(right) share a special moment
Uta(left) and Hibiki(right) share a special moment

Sound

In a movie where your male protagonist is named Sound, and the female protagonist is named Song, it would make sense that sound and music are going to be integral to the movie itself.

I can best describe the music in the movie as your typical Japanese style pop music. I will gladly take corrections from people who know music, which is not my forte(get it?)

The music itself wasn’t anything too groundbreaking or special but did well with the to match the visual tone of the movie.

The sound mixing throughout is terrific, little effects are prevalent throughout the movie adding a little more depth to a movie that falls flat(haha I did it again) in other areas.

Story

‘Bubble’ is a modern sci-fi spin on the classic fairytale The Little Mermaid. It’s referenced many times throughout the movie and is clearly inspired by the classic fairytale.

It’s important to note that I’m not talking about the Disney version where Ariel lives happily ever after.

I’ll let you research for yourself which version I’m talking about(yay interactive!)

However, one of the things that I’m now continuously thinking about after watching Bubble is the use of Spiral shapes throughout the movie.

Spirals are frequently mentioned as a constant in the universe. From the shape of galaxies, to the centers of sunflowers, whirlpools in the ocean that swallowed Tokyo, the Fibonacci sequence. Spirals appear everywhere throughout the film.

In the movie, I believe, they’re meant to represent the cycles of life and death, deconstruction and reconstruction. Humans coming together, clashing, then separating, only to come back together again, repeating the cycle.

Should You Watch ‘Bubble’?

‘Bubble’ has a very simple story and is very straight forward.

The movie explains a lot of itself to the audience but leaves so many questions unanswered. This is probably intentional because those details aren’t important.

The Cinematography and Music alone are good enough to justify watching Bubble at least once. You may find yourself coming back strictly for the visuals.

I recommend watching it in Japanese since that is the movie’s native language.

Rating

I’ll give Bubble a 7/10 rating because while the story is very simple it is very much a visual masterpiece.

You can watch it on Netflix with a subscription.

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