The Little Mermaid (aka Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid) is an anime adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" produced by Toei Animation. It was released in 1975 in Japan and was dubbed into English in 1978.
It has some elements that Disney would later use, such as an animal companion for the mermaid (Fritz the Dolphin) and an antagonistic force seeking to hurt the mermaid on land (Jemmy the cat). The plot follows the original story more closely than the Disney version, keeping the sad ending.
Discotek Media bought the rights to the original film and is selling the master copy on their website, with English and Japanese audio, and English subtitles.
This anime contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The King and Queen lie to their son that his mother is sick, then reveal to him that they're on the way to meet the princess they have picked for him. They also forcefully separate their son and Marina so he can marry the other girl instead.
- Adaptational Villainy: Very slight case with the Prince's parents, who in the original made their preference for a daughter-in-law clear, but stopped short of forcing their son into a marriage he didn't want. Here, they do exactly that. In both versions, he ends up preferring the choice they made for him, so the change is ultimately moot.
- Arranged Marriage: The Prince is expected to enter one with the princess of a neighboring kingdom, per his parents' wishes.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The absolute best thing that can be said about the ending is that Marina gains a soul from her refusal to kill the prince and goes straight to Heaven rather than being stuck in limbo for 300 years.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Jemmy the cat wants Marina dead for no real reason. She succeeds.
- Badass Adorable: Fritz. He takes on an army of polyps using starfish and a mermaid skull as weapons, and saves Marina multiple times.
- Bowdlerise: Later VHS and DVD releases liberally cut seconds out of any scene where Marina or her sisters hair blows away from their breasts and reveals a nipple. The Sea Witch's potion making scene is also cut due to Sea Witch boobage.
- Canon Foreigner: Fritz the Dolphin and Jemmy the Cat are original to this version.
- Cats Are Magic: Jemmy somehow knows Marina is a mermaid.
- Cool Old Lady: Marina's grandma.
- Dark Reprise: Marina sings a darker version of her song on the night of her death.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Marina's gasping and moaning during her transformation.
- Downer Ending: The prince realizes his mistake just after it's too late, and Fritz tearfully chases the bubbles that were Marina. The only consolation is that Marina gets a soul and goes to Heaven.
- Dramatic Shattering: When the Prince tells Marina he's found and is marrying who he thinks is his princess she drops a mirror, which breaks.
- Godiva Hair:
- Marina, both underwater and when she first gains her legs.
- Also her sisters, until they cut their hair as payment to the witch.
- Hypnotize the Princess: Jemmy convinces the Prince's parents that Marina bewitched him.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The full title is Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid
- In-Series Nickname: Marina is called "Princess Mermaid" by the Prince.
- It's All About Me: The Prince confesses to Marina that he wants to marry the girl who found him after he washed up on the beach, but since he can't find her, he wants to marry her instead. This gives the lovesick Marina a brief Hope Spot, even after his parents forbid the union and insist he enter an Arranged Marriage. When the princess his parents choose for him turns out to be the girl who found him, the Prince excitedly tells Marina the good news. It never seems to occur to him that she might feel disappointed or heartbroken that he cast her aside after finding someone better.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The Prince, after he realizes who his "Princess Mermaid" really was.
- Named by the Adaptation: None of the characters had names in the original fairy tale. Here, the mermaid is Marina, and the prince is named Prince Fjord. Additionally, the human princess was unnamed in the original Japanese, but the English dub calls her Princess Cecilia.
- Parental Marriage Veto: The King and Queen are NOT pleased to learn how close their son is becoming with the girl he found, and forcibly separate them after he asserts he wants to marry her over the princess they choose for him.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Seems to be the case after the two meet and learn who the other really is. Unfortunately, she is not really the one that rescued the Prince. She only found him after his real rescuer and desired bride, Marina, had to leave. The Prince realizes this after it's too late.
- Pet the Dog: In the English dub, the sea-witch warns Marina before making her sacrifice to consider the possibility that her love may simply be unrequited.
- Rebellious Princess: Marina visits the surface before she's allowed to.
- Rite of Passage: Earning a pearl in your hair marks mermaids as being able to visit the surface. Marina's the last to get one.
- Spared By Adaptation: From a Certain Point of View, at any rate. In the final ending of the original story (it went through many revisions), the titular mermaid's newly created soul is stuck in limbo and will have to perform at least a century of good deeds before she can go to Heaven. In this version, Marina gets a soul and goes to Heaven immediately after she dies.
- Talking Animal: The ones underwater, such as Fritz, and at least one on land, Jemmy the cat.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The Prince's parents pretend his mother is gravely ill in order to manipulate him into coming to visit them, so they can forcibly separate him from his "Princess Mermaid" and take him to meet the princess THEY want him to marry instead.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Marina's sisters all have impossible hair colors. Except one of the sisters has orange/red hair, which is a possible hair color. In the VHS version uploaded on YouTube, the quality of the video makes one of Marina's sisters' hair look brown as opposed to its actual color purple.