The Little Mermaid (1975)

“A mermaid falls in love with a human prince, which leads to tragedy.”

– Anonymous, IMDB.

Also known as Andersen’s Fairy Tales: Princess Mermaid, The Little Mermaid is a Japanese animated film based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. The film was released in 1975 by Toei Animation, who also brought us Sailor Moon, One Piece, and Dragon Ball. Kirsten Bishop, who voices the titular character, was a Canadian actress best known providing the voices of Zoycite, Emerald, Kaorinite, Telulu and Badiyanu in the English adaptation of the Sailor Moon series.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
Treading into spoiler territory right off the bat, this film is a more faithful adaptation of the original Little Mermaid story (AKA, don’t expect a feel good ending). It’s actually pretty interesting to see it play out. So far, this is the only version of the Little Mermaid in my collection that has the original ending. That said, there’s a bit of an oddness to the movie that brings in a good supply of laughs, despite the bittersweet conclusion. Full disclosure, my viewing group watched the dubbed version of the film. I think the dub is fairly serviceable, though I’ll admit that there are some questionable line deliveries that got the giggles going.

The most memorable moment from this film for me is the amazing obliviousness of the Prince to the Mermaid’s affections. I think the film is going for a ‘It’s so tragic, she can’t tell him how she feels” thing, but even without her being able to vocalize her thoughts, her body language makes it pretty obvious how she feels.

Again, spoilers if you’re unfamiliar with the original story or if you want to experience the film blind. The Prince, after being saved by the Mermaid on the beach, wakes up to find a look-alike standing over him. Assuming this look-alike is the one who saved him, the Prince fixates on finding her instead of acknowledging the clear affection the Mermaid, now human, has towards him. The Prince eventually gives up the ghost, and straight up tells the Little Mermaid “Since I can’t find her, I want to marry you”. Gee, thanks Prince! Glad to know the pecking order. As in the original story, the Prince happens to meet the look-alike, finding out she’s a Princess. The Prince tells the Mermaid that he’s going to marry her, which causes the Mermaid to drop and shatter a mirror in shock. The scene then immediately changes, presumably to spare us the sight of the Prince either A) Ignoring the dramatic mirror shatter, or B) Cluelessly questioning whatever could have made the Mermaid drop the mirror. Why, it’s almost like she’s upset about not being able to marry you for some reason?

This version of the Mermaid is a decent entry to a Bad Princess Movie night, as it tows the line between being funny and actually having some interesting dramatic moments. Overall, viewing it makes for an enjoyable experience.

I will note, there is a tiny bit of nudity in the movie, due to the Mermaid going au-natural while under the sea. It’s nothing scandalous, her hair tends to cover things up for the most part, but I figured it was worth mention (or at least, an explanation for why I’m using the “Nudity” tag for this film).

References

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