Bubbles—the most fragile, light and transitory of objects. They aimlessly flutter through the air at the whim of a merest breeze, and vanish into nothingness at the merest touch. Hey, let's use them as a form of transportation!
You seem a little apprehensive, so let me clue you in on something: on the inside of a bubble, gravity vanishes. Things just bob around in there, having somehow become as weightless as the bubble itself. Don't worry, it's perfectly safe!
The only tricky part is getting out of the bubble once you get in. For some bizarre reason, people put in bubbles tend to find themselves completely unable to get themselves out, no matter how hard they batter the inside of the bubble. It must be a side effect of zero gravity or something.
Oh? How do we get in? Well, we just get a bubble about ten feet in diameter, and... what? What do you mean, impossible? Well, I suppose we'll just have to shrink down to a few inches and use a normal-sized one, then.
What? How do we steer it? Why, isn't it enough to just go wherever the wind takes you? Is your spirit really tied down to such weighty stones as "appointments" and "street numbers" and "deadlines" and—
Well, if you're gonna be such a spoilsport, just take a taxi.
See also Sphere Factor.
- The Sabaody Archipelago of One Piece fame has bubble-transport as its "Hat". Justified in universe by the trees secreting a resin that makes bubbles highly resilient, but only in the immediate area of the islands.
- In Naruto, Utakata, the jinchuuriki of the Six-Tailed Slug, is shown to be able to do this in Filler.
- In Pokémon: The First Movie Mew and Mewtwo both use this technique to battle each other, the former of which was introduced sleeping in one.
- In Ojamajo Doremi Sharp, after the FLAT4 No-Sell the Ojamajos' attacks, Akatsuki uses his magic to imprison the Ojamajos in floating bubbles as a way to get around the magic-repelling Royal Patraine uniforms the girls were using.
- One of Flying Smurf's methods for attempting flight in The Smurfs story "The Flying Smurf" involved being blown up inside a bubble which floated in the air until a passing bird popped it and sent him falling down, crashing through the roof of a Smurf house.
- Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: Dolphine conjures up a bubble she floats in when Purrsia attacks. The bubbles are evidently great defense against magic but not so good for travel as she rides her winged horse for that instead.
- Meet the Robinsons features bubbles as a form of public transportation in the future.
- On Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket gets caught inside a bubble underwater. He punctures it trying to retrieve his hat (which is in a different bubble) and it starts filling up with water. best not to dwell too much on it.
- Timothy Mouse on Dumbo gets caught up in the bubbles Dumbo makes after getting drunk.
- In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dopey eats a bar of soap which causes him to hiccup bubbles. The climax of that scene has him hiccup a bubble the size of his head, which carries his hat into the air for a few seconds before popping. A Deleted Scene also has Dopey hiccup out a bubble containing the spoon he ate shortly thereafter.
- Land Before Time VI: The Secret Of Saurus Rock: while playing on some sort of bubbly mud pit with twin relatives of hers and getting tripped up by them. Upon emerging from the pit, Cera ends up in one of these. Petrie bursts her out of it, though Fridge Logic kicks in on why didn't she use her horn to do so earlier.
- The stonefish seen during this part of the song "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid:
''Down here all de fish is happy
As off tru de waves dey roll
De fish on the land ain't happy
Dey sad cos dey in de bowl
But fish in de bowl is lucky
Dey in for a worser fate
One day when de boss get hungry
Guess who gon' be on de plate?
- Home has the Boov commonly using bubbles as transport.
- Scrat gets caught inside a bubble from a tar pit in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
- The elephants in the "Dance of the Hours" segment of Fantasia blow bubbles with their trunks. One is shocked to find a fish floating inside one. Another ends up getting a bubble stuck to her foot.
- Although he doesn't float inside it, a bubble forms around Fievel when he's atop a bar of soap in An American Tail.
- After Wayne, Gordon, and their wives have been shrunken in Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, they attempt to go and get their kids to help them. Fortunately, the kids, thinking that their parents left on vacation, throw a party, where a bubble machine is conveniently placed on the staircase. Wayne and the others leap into the bubbles to go look for the kids.
- Used by Glinda the Good in the film version of The Wizard of Oz.
- Oz: The Great and Powerful has her using the same effect to save Oscar and China Girl as well as herself. And then she flies without a bubble, admitting that bubbles are just for show.
- One of the tricks the Four Horsemen did at their New Orleans show in Now You See Me had Henley floating in a bubble above the audience. The bubble popped when it touched one of the chandeliers, causing her to fall and be caught by Daniel.
- In the Lone Wolf book Castle Death, Lone Wolf can get trapped inside a bubble, and must escape before he runs out of air.
- Bubbles the Dog gets transported into Xanth this way. (A Wizard Did It, sort of; Piers Anthony decided to immortalize one of his beloved pets into his book series.)
- Appears in Patrick O'Leary's The Gift.
- Used in one of the Oz books (with an explicit hefty dose of magic) to send a whole bunch of guests home from the Emerald City.
- Animorphs: One book has the team morph giant squids so they can get into a Pemalite ship deep underwater. On entering, they find that the ship is programmed to provide an environment to those inside, so they find themselves floating in bubbles of water, themselves floating in the air. They can even spew ink to cloud it entirely, allowing them to demorph undetected.
- In The Adventures of Superboy episode "Yellow Peri's Spell of Doom", the witch attempted to murder Lana Lang by trapping her in a bubble. Since it was airtight, she almost suffocated before Superboy broke it.
- Ace of Base is shown doing this early on the video for "It's A Beautiful Life".
- Glinda travels in a bubble in Wicked, represented onstage by a Clock Punk-ish circular platform that descends from the wings.
Elphaba: Well we can't all come and go by bubble!
- In The Golden Ticket, an opera adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Television Room uses specially-created bubbles to teleport items to a television screen. (Wonka calls it "Bubblevision".) The easily-distracted Mike Teavee, upon seeing this process, decides he wants to be miniaturized and live in one of these bubbles...
- Bubble Bobble, and sequels Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories: how the protagonists travel between levels and how enemies are on the way to being defeated.
- If the True Final Boss gets you in Rainbow Islands, It's a Wonderful Failure.
- Rainbow Islands Revolution has Bub as a human floating in a bubble the whole time, relying on the player's stylus to move him around. Japan is lucky to be able to use the D-pad.
- Bub as a dragon is also able to float in a bubble when one holds down the bubble button in Bubble Bobble Part 2 for the Game Boy. (The NES version has him actually inflating instead.)
- In The Fairyland Story, when Ptolemy dies, she gets swept away into a bubble.
- Used by Mario in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and Super Mario Galaxy.
- And also in New Super Mario Bros. Wii as a means of avoiding death and/or re-entering the level in multiplayer. Just don't have everyone go into a bubble at once.
- In the original Super Mario World, bubbles could contain a floating Goomba, Bob-Omb or mushroom, and tended to pop without being touched.
- Yoshi's Island has Baby Mario (and any baby character in Yoshi's Island DS) enter a bubble and float up when he's knocked off Yoshi's back. Take too long to retrieve him and he gets kidnapped by Toadies. Some transformation powerups are also kept in bubbles.
- Yoshi's Story, the sequel, features prizes stuck in super-rubbery bubbles that projectiles can break. (You can actually break the bubbles using only Yoshi's body if you bump into them or jump on them enough times. It takes a while, but can be done.)
- This can happen to Wario in the Wario Land series. Wario Land II also has a boss named Awabo who is a living bubble trying to float Wario out of the arena.
- In Kirby: Squeak Squad, bubbled objects are sent to Kirby's stomach, which functions as an inventory.
- The Infocom adventure Trinity had this.
- Mew in Pokémon Snap and in the Super Smash Bros. series.
- And before any of that, The Movie.
- The Latheon Gorge segment of Tales of Symphonia is navigated by use of wind-blowing flowers and a magic ring that (among other things) encases the characters in a bubble.
- In Banjo-Tooie the only way to get in and out of Cloud Cuckooland is via bubble lift.
- In The World Ends with You, Draco Cantus will often send a Neku-seeking bubble during it's boss fight, and unless Neku doesn't pop it in time, it'll get popped by the boss, taking what can be a nasty amount of health off. Interestingly, before the fight, Shiki and Beat are captured this way by a fused Kitaniji/Joshua.
- The Lost Vikings has bubbles that vikings can use as a transportation device. The bottom part of the bubble acts as a tiny platform.
- Touhou has Patchy's spell card, Water Sign "Jellyfish Princess", which creates a protective bubble for Patchy to float around in. When it's used by the actual player, the bubble doesn't cause her to float, acting as more of a general barrier for defense.
- The Mega Man Battle Network series introduces this as a status effect of sorts in the sixth game, where it paralyzes the victim, and causes them to take doubled damage from electrical attacks. It also had the Bubble Wrap chip which provided a regenerating bubble shield that could absorb a single hit of damage whenever it was up, but wouldn't regenerate if struck with electricity.
- The former effect is carried over into the Mega Man Star Force series.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D, any dream eaters that that can't swim (Which is almost all of them) end up in a bubble while playing the Water Barrel minigame. It's also weaponized by the Bubble Burst reality shift, where Sora or Riku can ride on top a bubble and entrap multiple enemies within before popping it with explosive force, and again by the Tatsu Steed's Bubble Blast link attack which traps foes in an exploding bubble if they get hit enough times.
- Krang's saucer, the boss of the "Star Base" level of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, uses these as attacks. "Anyone got a pin?"
- Burst Man from Mega Man 7 does this to enter the battle. His Danger Wrap makes Mega Man experience this... and float into a ceiling of instant-death Spikes of Doom.
- This is how Lucy is captured at the beginning of Dynamite Dux, though the bubble is referred to as a "miracle ball".
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear and Master System has Sonic float inside giant bubbles in the second act of Aqua Lake Zone.
- Sonic Triple Trouble has these same bubbles in Tidal Plant Zone, this time activated by giant switches.
- Sonic Mania brings back the bubbles for the new Hydrocity Zone. Hard to steer and they pop if they hit anything, but at least drowning isn't a concern.
- One level of The Smurfs (1994) has your Smurf floating in a bubble to navigate through a maze of thorny vines.
- Certain levels of The Smurfs 2 has your Smurf floating in a bubble to reach difficult places in the level.
- In Lollipop Chainsaw, Mariska can travel inside a bubble and trap Juliet inside one.
- In Sid And Als Incredible Toons, Sid will float off in a bubble if given a stick of bubblegum.
- In The Berenstain Bears Camping Adventure for Sega Genesis and Game Gear, if Brother or Sister fall into a pit, they will float back to the platform they were last on in a bubble, until they have run out of lives.
- Heroes of the Storm has Murky's Safety Bubble ability, which makes him temporarily invincible.
- The Zoogs in Iggle Pop! have trapped the cute Iggles in bubbles. Some can shoot buubles to trap the playable character into one, too, costing them a life.
- In Octogeddon, the titular octopus acquires several useful aquatic animal buddies to aid it on its rampage. During the land levels, they appear floating around in water-filled bubbles, so they can be used during all the levels, underwater or not.
- These are the only way to climb Rumble Falls in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. What kind of bubble can levitate a full-grown gorilla is best left to the imagination.
- In an episode of Disney's The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pooh got trapped inside a bubble. He didn't float around inside it, though.
- In the episode "Find Her, Keep Her", the little bird Rabbit is taking care of floats away on a soap bubble while Rabbit bathes her.
- Bender's Big Score had an improbably cute version during the dating montage with Lars & Leela.
- Used to a ridiculous extent in The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars. The baby is in a bubble on Mars for hours, and neither runs out of oxygen, needs a diaper change, nor milk.
- Happens regularly on SpongeBob SquarePants: the butterfly 'monster' in "Wormy", Squidward at the end of "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Squidward's whole house in "Bubble Stand", and Spongebob himself in "Fungus Among Us".
- Everyone in Bikini Bottom in "Rodeo Daze."
- One entire episode is dedicated to driving in bubbles, when SpongeBob fails his driving test again.
- Bubbles are a common mode of transport in The Dreamstone.
- An episode of Phineas and Ferb had the boys working on a bubble that could be ridden in.
- Showed up occasionally in My Little Pony. The Sea Ponies could form breathing bubbles around people to stop them from drowning, and Fizzy could make all sorts of bubbles, including a couple times bubbles for floating through the air.
- Scaredy Smurf in The Smurfs borrowed a wand from a water sprite that can create bubbles even around himself as protection. Unfortunately, he ended up dropping the wand and Gargamel used it to trap Scaredy in a bubble until the other Smurfs got the wand out of Gargamel's hands and trapped him and his cat inside a bubble.
- In the Looney Tunes "Rabbit Every Monday", Bugs plugs the barrels of Sam's shotgun with bubble gum - when Sam fires, he ends up trapped inside a giant bubble, which Bugs sends bouncing off with a small puff of breath.
- Mr. Bogus:
- Happens to Bogus in the third act of the episode "A Day At The Office", after drinking a bottle of apple juice when he accidentally eats some laundry detergent. This causes him to hiccup a bubble as he becomes trapped inside.
- Happens to Bogus again in the first act of the episode "Bad Luck Bogus", after landing in the bathtub, but only his head is in the bubble, though he does still float up to the ceiling.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 1", Spike is briefly trapped in a bubble by Discord, which pops after lifting him up for a bit. Rainbow Dash catches him before he hits the ground.
- In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", when bargaining with Twilight for all the alicorn magic in Equestria, Tirek holds her friends — including Spike and Discord — suspended in individual bubbles.
- This is a major form of space travel in Wander over Yonder (conveniently, "orbble juice" bubbles seem to generate their own air).
- The New Adventures of Superman: In "Brainiac's Bubbles", Superman and Lois Lois Lane find themselves trapped and floating inside, well, Brainiac's giant bubbles.
- In the Goofy cartoon How To Swim, Goof ends up inside a bubble when the changing booth he's in falls in the ocean. He pops it when he lays down his umbrella and it starts filling up with water as he sits down to eat, oblivious the whole while.
- Rick Sanchez apparently has a gizmo capable of this when he needs to get the kids out of the house. Summer is in the middle of protesting that there's no air in these bubbles when she and Morty are encased in them and carried away.
- In one episode of Dragon Tales, Ord accidentally gets trapped inside a giant bubble when he and Max are playing around with creating big bubbles from a spring. The bubble mix they used was so strong that trying to pop Ord's bubble with a claw or a barrette doesn't work, and they have to cart his bubble (and him) to a cold region where it freezes over and they then shatter it to finally let him out.
- Truth in Television with the Diving bell spider who spends its whole life underwater by living in a bubble and occasionally coming up for air.