‘Bubble’ is a 2022 anime movie based in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo where the rules of gravity are different and youngsters indulge in parkour battles. One of them is saved by a mysterious girl. It is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
In Tokyo, two teams face off against each other in a parkour battle, called Tokyo Battlekour, in the gravitationally distorted and ruined city.
Team Blue Blazes (BB) is considered the best out there. During their battle against Denki ninja, it’s obvious why; their star player Hibiki.
The game involves a five-on-five battle as the players scale the debris, buildings and whatever is in the surroundings to reach and raise the flag. Whoever does so, wins.
Players can eliminate opposition by throwing them into the water. To make it worse, there are vortices in the water called Antlion pit, that are deadly if they suck in the player.
During the battle, Team BB’s Usagi is in danger of falling into one of the pits, but Hibiki not only saves him, but he also traverses the floating bubbles to save Usagi and win the battle as well.
By winning, Team BB gets the Denki Ninja’s one month-supply of rice, which is what was placed as the prize for the bet before the battle.
Even so, their team leader, Kai, has an issue with Hibiki never acting like a team player and always doing as he pleases.
Shin helps protect the parkour battlers and also manages Team BB, while Makoto is in the city to research the gravitational anomaly, known as the ‘Bubble Phenomenon’. She stays in Shin’s ship, who was a former parkour player himself but stopped due to an injury that resulted in a metallic leg.
Five years ago, bubbles started raining down across the world. In Tokyo, there was an explosion originating at Tokyo Tower and the entire city was cut off from the rest of the world inside a giant bubble.
The gravity of the city became distorted, and even when the bubbles stopped raining down in other parts of the world, they continued in Tokyo. Eventually, it was flooded as they burst and completely ruined the city.
This led to a mass exodus as Tokyo became a shell of its former self and was considered uninhabitable, only populated by orphans who do parkour battles.
The real reason Hibiki stays away from others is his hypersensitive hearing, which leaves him unable to withstand noise.
He looks for a soothing melody that he can offer hear to help him. He goes to the tower when he hears it but is stopped by the gravity and falls into the water.
With his death imminent, a bubble transforms into the spitting image of a girl pop star on a nearby poster and kisses him, saving him in the process.
Shin brings both Hibiki and the mysterious girl back to the ship. She has taken a liking to Hibiki but acts nothing like a human and more like an animal.
Makoto starts teaching her about the world, and the story of the Little Mermaid, which she starts to believe is her own story. A mermaid who falls in love with a prince on the surface; Hibiki in this case.
Hibiki names her Uta, and she immediately takes a liking to the name. She even reveals that the melody, which Hibiki heard constantly, came from her.
Uta learns to read and understands the concept of Vortex, destruction and creation. There’s a clear connection.
Uta and Hibiki bond as he confides in her that he is into gardening, and enjoys the peaceful sound. His mother had left him at a centre for children with hearing problems, where he was when the explosion occurred five years ago.
All he remembers is being saved. He wants to understand the melody because it soothes him and he doesn’t want to be affected by noise anymore. Uta is that melody.
Team Undertaker, which has managed to get sponsors for new gear that gives them an advantage in parkour battles, kidnaps Makoto and challenges them to a battle, with her as the prize.
Even with their unfair advantage, Team BB manages to beat them thanks to the synergy between Hibiki and Uta.
Hibiki has completely transformed as a person, as Uta has made him into what he really is. He even thanks his teammates for giving it their best in the battle, leaving them surprised.
He confesses that Uta has changed him for the better and is clearly smitten with her. But she is avoiding any physical contact, as touching Hibiki makes her turn into bubbles again.
No matter how much she wants to, it’s impossible for her to touch Hibiki directly. Right when they’re about to kiss, an ominous version of Uta’s melody calls her.
She considers the red bubbles to be her ‘sister’, just like in the Little Mermaid story, who wants her back. She goes to appease her at the tower, as the red bubbles stop Hibiki from chasing after her.
If you still have doubts about the ending, here’s a detailed breakdown.
Bubble ending explained in detail:
The mystery of Tokyo Tower
Bubbles start to rain down on Tokyo, just like five years ago. Makoto realises that the readings began fluctuating ever since Uta joined them, and there’s definitely a connection.
Hibiki intends to save Uta by reaching the tower, and he asks his team to back him up, to which all of them agree. Team Undertaker gives them their gear, which they use to successfully reach the tower area.
Just when it looks impossible, Shin arrives and helps Hibiki reach the tower, something that he could never achieve himself. At the tower, Hibiki witnesses a recreation of the centre on the day when the explosion occurred.
It is revealed that Uta was the bubble that Hibiki connected with that day, which angered the red bubbles, or her ‘sister’, leading to the explosion.
It was, in fact, Uta, who saved Hibiki on that day as well. She has been his guardian angel all along.
Hibiki and Uta
Hibiki finds Uta, who is struggling to appease her sister. When Hibiki tries reaching her, the red bubbles attempt to kill him.
Left the choice of keeping her human form and saving Hibiki, she chooses the latter and escapes her sister to save him. The red bubbles attempt to stop them, but Hibiki and Uta manage to avoid the barrage.
Due to touching him, Uta rapidly turns back into the bubbles, as she quotes lines from The Little Mermaid turning into seafoam. She uses the bubbles to counter her sister and ends the massive bubble that engulfed Tokyo once and for all; correcting the gravitational anomaly.
As Uta begs her not to leave him, she cries and tells him she is grateful to have felt real human emotions of happiness, pain and true love, as she completely transforms into bubbles again.
The new bubbles have the essence of Uta, as when they pop, her voice can clearly be heard. Makoto is the first to figure this out.
As they part, Uta asks for her and Hibiki to meet once again someday, as she becomes the essence of creation after the destruction caused by her sister.
Tokyo is being reconstructed as the gravitational anomaly has finally ceased to exist in the city. Team BB is still taking part in parkour battles, although without all the gravitational distortions.
As Hibiki takes part in a battle, he is followed by a bubble, which chuckles like Uta, and Hibiki realises she is still with her, in soul. This is also in parallel with The Little Mermaid, whose soul helps guide others after she becomes seafoam.
During the end credits, Uta explores the new Japan as she looks at crowds, animals and even takes the Tokyo Subway.